When we think about planning trips to Texas, the big cities are what comes to top of mind: Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Austin. If you live in Texas or are already planning to travel to Texas, we recommend Decatur as a unique road trip. Decatur Texas is located about an hour’s drive from the Dallas-Forth Worth area and makes a great day trip or side trip if you’re already planning to be in that area. If you make it to Decatur, keep this list of awesome things to do in Decatur TX with kids handy.
Things to Do in Decatur TX with Kids
Looking for small town charm in the Lone Star State? Add Decatur to your Texas road trip itinerary. My family and I recently spent four days and three nights in this warm and friendly Texas town and everything was kid-inclusive, which we loved. And yes, pretty much everywhere you go in Texas is warm and friendly. Here are some of the top things to do in Decatur TX with kids.
1. Explore Decatur Town Square
Decatur TX has one of the most charming town squares you’ll ever see. Whether you’re looking for food, drinks, shopping or entertainment, you can find it in downtown Decatur, all easily walkable.
If you are an architecture buff, you’ll want to check out the Wise County Courthouse – AKA “The Pink Lady” and snap pictures from all angles.
If you like to shop – or just window shop – you’ll find lots of locally owned stores and boutiques in the Decatur town square to wander in and out of.
Biggar Hat Store sells custom made hats with craftsmanship that will truly wow you as well as a small selection of boots and other goods.
There are lots of places to shop small in Decatur. Two of my favorites were Cowgirl Crap (what a great name, right?) and 287 Home and Gift.
2. Get Creative at the DIY Studio Decatur
Chip and Joanna may have put shiplap on the map in Texas, driving hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to nearby Waco. But if you’re planning a trip to Waco to see all the DIY and crafty things, Decatur will up your ante.
The parent company of DIY Studio Decatur Texas is a supplier to the Magnolia Market, meaning that some of the goodies you see for sale in Waco are made in Decatur. You will need a reservation, so make plans for this activity in advance.
If you want to create something truly fun and unique, The DIY Studio Decatur Texas is your place. They offer classes geared toward couples (where you make one project together), families, girlfriend groups, corporate groups and anything else you might be able to think up. The DIY Studio Decatur is located in a large industrial building with lots of space, supplies and tools, so what you’re able to create is pretty much limitless. Check out their website for a list of available classes.
3. Nock It Archery Center
If you’re looking for an indoor activity to do with kids, check out Nock it Archery Center. Whether you’re a pro with a bow and arrow or a total newbie, you’ll have fun here. Our family of four had almost zero experience with archery and we all had a blast.
4. Visit NRS Ranch
National Ropers Supply is part giant western wear and tack store, part museum and part outdoor rodeo experience. They also offer onsite cabins if you want to spend the night on this beautiful property.
Don’t miss this one. Our hosts made sure we visited and I’m so glad they did. We’d have probably passed it by as “just another western wear store.” It is that, but it is so much more. Check out their calendar of events to see what’s happening during your visit.
Want more TMOM tips? Check out the things you can do in Decatur Alabama.
5. C.A.R.E. Tiger Sanctuary
The Center for Animal Research and Education is in nearby Bridgeport, about 10 miles from Decatur. C.A.R.E. is a nonprofit dedicated to the rescue and long-term care of exotic animals as well as education and research that improve quality of life in captive populations. C.A.R.E. is home to to approximately 50 animals, mostly big cats. Many of the animals in residence at C.A.R.E. are transfers from other facilities or private zoos and some were formerly kept as pets.
A tour of C.A.R.E. is an educational experience versus a zoo experience and not suitable for kids under eight. The tour lasts about 90 minutes. There’s no sitting down and guests are out in the elements with little shelter the entire time. Guests on the tour need to be able to be still and follow the instructions of the tour guide. This is for everyone’s safety, including the animals.
Please note: Tours are currently suspended in an effort to keep the animals safe from COVID-19. If you are planning a visit to Decatur/Bridgeport, check their website often to see the current status of visits. It truly is an incredible experience.
6. Area Parks
If you are looking for a place for kids to burn off energy, there are several nearby parks to choose from.
Harmon Park, located on the corner of East Mill Street and South Church Street, has a large playground. For more area parks, check out the Decatur Parks and Recreation page.
Where to Eat in Decatur TX
When you’re planning your things to do in Decatur TX with kids, I’m sure eating is at the top of your list. No one likes to travel hangry.
I recommend Sweetie Pie’s Ribeyes in downtown Decatur and the iconic Whistle Stop Cafe, located just a few blocks from the town square. I also love nearby Five Boys Ranch in Bridgeport and Trinity Street Coffee Coffee Bar in the town square. Trinity Street Coffee Bar has recently opened an adjoining restaurant called Trinity Street Roastaurant. I was in Decatur two days before they opened and got a peek inside and it looks great. I can’t wait to try it on a return trip.
If you’re looking for something sweet, pop into Hey Sugar, a delightful little candy shop in the square. They offer just about every type of confection you could want, including a large selection of retro candies and sodas.
If you’d like to learn more about food and restaurants in Decatur, check out this list of great places to eat.
Where to Stay Near Decatur, Texas
Jill Robbins is a freelance writer covering lifestyle, travel, health, and commerce. Her writing has appeared in SheKnows, HuffPost, Tripsavvy, Insider, AARP, and other publications.