Cleburne is a perfect day trip destination for families and couples looking to explore small town America and all the joys of Southern living. With warm summers and mild winters, Cleburne is a year-round destination where you can take in the beautiful outdoors, revisit history, explore quirky museums, enjoy delicious food and make unforgettable memories. To help you get started, check out these day trip itineraries for families and couples for a short but exciting visit.
Morning: Family Breakfast at R&K Café II and Chisholm Trail Museum
Start the morning off right with a hearty breakfast at R&K Café II, where the servers great you with smiles. The quintessential American menu has fresh eggs, pancakes, grits, bacon and chicken fried steaks.
After an indulgent meal, stretch your legs by exploring the outdoor Chisholm Trail Museum. The trail marks the site of the largest man-made animal migration ever documented—2017 marked the 150th anniversary of the famous migration. In its heyday, the trail held more than 5 million cattle as they made the arduous journey from Cleburne to Abilene, Kansas, employing nearly 45,000 cowboys. At the museum, a large teepee and life-size cattle silhouette greet you, and free docent-led tours are offered Thursdays through Sundays. Expand your child’s mind as they learn about the time of cowboys and pioneers. The whole family will enjoy wandering through several replica buildings that show what life looked like during the Wild West. On the grounds, you’ll also find the Big Bear Native American Museum, which has a large collection of Native American artifacts including headdresses, spears and clothing.
Lunchtime: Burger Bar
Stop by and enjoy some of Cleburne’s best burgers at Burger Bar. The building was built in 1902 and has been the place to go for burgers since 1949. The 68-year-old gas- fired griddle cooks the burgers and buns to perfection. Only four customers can sit at the counter at a time, while the others wait for a spot or an order to go. If you want something a little spicy, try the burger with grilled onions and jalapeños. Craving some sugar? Pay a visit to the nearby Lindy's Treats & Treasures for homemade sweets and mouthwatering pastries.
Afternoon Activities: Catch a Game at the Depot or Go Bowling
The Depot at the Cleburne Station is home to the minor league baseball team Cleburne Railroaders; the team began playing again in 2017 after a 100-year hiatus. The Depot was named the "Best of the Ballparks 2017: Independent Baseball" by Ballpark Digest, and the team’s name honors the town’s long railroad history. Check out its schedule and cheer on the Cleburne’s stars at the ballpark.
When there isn’t a game to catch, create your own fun at Pin Center Bowl, where you can bowl for up to four hours for only $10. The center has 16 bowling lanes with Brunswick Vector scoring equipment, games for kids, a video arcade, billiards and a full-service snack bar.
Nightlife: Loaf’n Dog and The Plaza Theatre Company
After bowling visit Loaf’n Dog, in the historic district, for its condiment-rich Vienna hot dogs and sausages. Specialties include The Mary Sunshine Dog (with nacho cheese, chili, jalapenos and diced onions) and The Joy Dog (vegetarian). The restaurant offers a special kids menu with Mason Mini Dogs and mac n’ cheese with a sliced Vienna dog. On warm nights, venture out to the patio to enjoy the fresh Texas air. On Friday nights, local bands and singers perform, and on Mondays is an Open Mic Night.
The Plaza Theatre Company’s new location at Dudley Hall presents classic performances, such as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Music Man” and the “The Little Mermaid.” Throughout the year the theater showcases affordable performances, including Shakespeare plays, Broadway musicals, comedies, dramas, and family-style concerts. The Plaza Theatre Company Main Street hosts the popular Plaza FamJams (on Fridays) and features children’s musicals like “Junie B. Jones the Musical (on Saturdays).”
TABLE FOR TWO
Morning: Outdoor Activities at Cleburne State Park
Take a leisurely hike or go on a thrilling mountain bike ride at Cleburne State Park. The park provides 5.5 miles of scenic trails that wind through dense woodland and wide-open wildflower fields, making for an exciting start to the day. Take a break at Cedar Lake with your loved one and enjoy a snack before hitting the trails again. If you are looking to cool down on a warm day, canoe, kayak, fish or go for a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the 116-acre spring-fed lake.
Brunch: Heroes Café
Bring your appetite when you pop into Heroes Café, located in a saloon-style building on S. Main Street, and enjoy chicken fried steak with homestyle mashed potatoes or bite into a juicy jalapeno cheddar sourdough burger. Finish your meal with a slice of its legendary buttermilk pie or a piece of Texas chocolate sheet cake. You won’t be disappointed with either.
Afternoon: Gone With the Wind Remembered Museum
If you’re a fan of the iconic movie “Gone With the Wind,” you must visit Gone With the Wind Remembered museum in Cleburne. Owner and die-hard fan Vicky Lynn Rogers has collected over 6,000 pieces of movie memorabilia over the course of 30 years. You’ll find thousands of rare items at the museum, including over 600 dolls of Scarlett O’Hara, an armchair used in the film and props from the movie. Enter through a replica of the Tara door and you’ll be amazed by the devotion and the costumes on display, from Bonnie Blue’s original return from London costume to hats designed by Walter Plunkett for the film and much more. The museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nightlife: Dinner at Purple Turnip and Songbird Live!
Spend date night at the Purple Turnip, where shades of purple create a soothing and intimate atmosphere. Choose from dishes like Southwestern crab cakes, shrimp Caesar salad with artichokes and entrees like the grilled chicken breast with portobello mushrooms or herb crusted tilapia. Have a sweet tooth? Share a piece of the key lime or coconut cream pie or Mississippi mud cake. The cafe is open for dinner Thursdays through Saturdays.
And if you happen to be in Cleburne on a Saturday night, don’t miss Songbird Live!—a fun listening room to enjoy great music in historic downtown. Whether you like classical guitar, bluegrass, western swing, pop or jazz, you’ll be entertained by the talented musicians.
Photo Courtesy of Jhan Beaupre, Gary Wylie, and Kortney Boyett