Direct Flight: Family fun abounds in Plano, Texas

Plano Balloon Festival

(NewsUSA)—Looking for a family getaway that’s anything but ordinary? Look no further than Plano, where Texas-sized fun comes without big-city hassles or price tags. Less than 30 minutes from DFW and DAL airports, Plano offers the perfect mix of outdoor thrills, indoor fun, colorful festivals, and tempting eats. Walkable lodging, entertainment and dining areas make it easy to strike the right balance between recreation and relaxation. Here’s a head start on planning your family adventure in Plano:     

Get colorful at The Crayola Experience, a wonderland of color and creativity with 22 hands-on attractions, letting kids of all ages name and wrap their very own Crayola crayon, see how crayons are made, star in their own coloring book, and more.     

Go Ape! Don’t just get out in nature — glide over the forest canopy at Go Ape! Treetop Adventure Course. Zip lines, Tarzan swings and suspended obstacles bring out everyone’s inner monkey amid 800 acres of natural beauty.     

Go back in time at Heritage Farmstead, a living history museum on a 360-acre farm that recreates Victorian-era life. For another fun, nostalgic activity, climb aboard a vintage train car at the Interurban Railway Museum in Plano’s quaint downtown arts district.     

Get festive. If you happen to visit Plano in late September, enjoy the signature Plano Balloon Festival, with its magical evening balloon “glows,” tethered balloon rides, and carnival atmosphere. But there are other fun happenings all year round, and no matter when you visit, you’re sure to come across a colorful festival, street fair, or free outdoor concert.     

Taste your way around Plano.  Plano has more restaurants per capita than New York or San Francisco and offers up great renditions of kid-friendly favorites like burgers, pizza, Tex-Mex and more. For those nights when everyone in your family wants something different, there’s always Legacy Hall, a European-style food hall with individual stalls offering multiple choices, from duck fat-fried chicken and lobster rolls to Belgian-style waffles to gourmet s’mores featuring house-made marshmallows, all under one roof. Parents can enjoy craft cocktails, wine or beer brewed on site along with their meal of choice.   

Stay in style. Plano hotels have mastered the art of making kids feel at home and parents feel pampered after a busy day of play. Two convenient and popular options are the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center and the Dallas/Plano Hilton Granite Park. 

Direct flights from the Washington, DC area to Plano are available from BWI and DCA via Southwest to Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), from DCA to DFW via American, and from IAD to DFW via United and American.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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