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cover photo of the front of the Southfork Ranch from the TV show Dallas.
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Anna Marie

Tour the Southfork Ranch from the Hit TV Show Dallas

Southfork Ranch was the iconic setting of the hit TV series Dallas. From 1978-1991 fans faithfully tuned in and followed the adventures of JR and the rest of the Ewing family. Travel to this legendary ranch with PullOverandLetMeOut and take the tour!
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Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

From 1978 to 1991, the hit series Dallas was a mainstay of American television. Millions tuned in weekly to follow the adventures of JR Ewing and the rest of the Ewing family. The fictional family lived on a ranch outside of Dallas, Texas. Over the years, the iconic setting became nearly as well-known as the television show. Today, the Southfork Ranch is open to the public, welcoming guests from all over the world to revisit this historic slice of Americana. Here is what I learned when I took the tour of Southfork Ranch.

Where is the Southfork Ranch?

Just about thirty miles north of Dallas in Parker, Texas, is where you will find the fabled Ewing mansion and Southfork Ranch. Quite possibly the world’s most famous ranch, today it is a premier event venue and meeting destination. It is also open for tours. While in Dallas for the North American Irish Dance Championships, I took a brief excursion out to visit this famous location.

the mansion from the tv show Dallas front
The Ewing Mansion at Southfork Ranch

The Visitor Center at Southfork Ranch

Southfork Ranch is open weekdays year-round from 9 am to 5 pm and until 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Start your visit to Southfork Ranch in the Visitor Center. It is here where you can buy your tour tickets. The guided tours begin at quarter past the hour and last approximately one hour.

It’s best to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the tour. That way you can also spend some time in the gift shop. It is massive and filled with all things Dallas.

In addition to the incredible gift shop, there is a Dallas museum for ticket holders to explore before their tour.

The museum is packed with memorabilia from the show and is a delightful stroll down memory lane for fans.

The Ewing Family Tree exhibit at the museum was one of my favorites. Complete with a color-coded key, this extensive outline details all of the marriages, extra-marital affairs, familial relationships, and even denotes the characters who were shot or got shot.

entrance to a visitor center
The tour begins at the Visitor Center
ewing family tree
Brad Pitt is even included in the Ewing Family Tree.
a woman in a directors chair
Exploring the museum is a highlight of visiting Southfork

Taking the Tour

After enjoying he exhibits in the museum, step outside to hop aboard the tram traveling to the Ewing mansion. Learn fun facts from your driver along the way as you experience the beauty of the ranch.

Once you arrive at the house, you’re greeted by a guide who will take you through the history of the house, the television show, and all of the important rooms.

Touring the house is like stepping back in time to see how the fictional family lived. Each room contains a tiny piece of nostalgia from the program and its memorable characters.

Our guide, Gail, does a fantastic job of engaging us with her knowledge of the home, the program, and the cast. She also fields a number of questions including my way-too-specific one about the episode featuring Brian Dennehy. What can I say? I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to television trivia. 🙂

a green tractor pulling a tram
Travel to the mansion on the tram
a long dining room table fully set with dishes and glasses.
The Ewing family frequently dined together at Southfork.
a living room with a man's portrait over the fireplace
The Ewing Living Room

Explore Outside

The scenes filmed at the Soutfork Ranch were filmed outdoors. Breakfast on the patio, sunny afternoons by the pool, and the famous BBQs where JR did so much of his wheeling and dealing were all outdoor scenes. Visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds after the house tour to take in these notable locals and to meet the animals on the ranch.

I was like a groupie as I photographed the famous swimming pool and we couldn’t wait to have our photo taken at the Ewing breakfast table.

I especially appreciate how guests can get up close and truly enjoy immersing themselves in the setting. It allowed me to relive those Friday nights when my family would tune in to see what JR was up to.

a swimming pool outside a white house
Bobby, played by Patrick Duffy, would frequently swim in the pool at Southfork.
two women seated at a table on a patio
My travel buddy Ursula and I are seated at the table on the Ewing patio.
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With 63,000 square feet of event space, we host hundreds of events annually, including weddings, reunions, holiday parties, corporate meetings, concerts, company picnics, and more. Whether you are hosting a group of just 10 or 10,000, Southfork Ranch provides a beautiful backdrop for any occasion. Often called “The World’s Most Famous Ranch,” the setting, facilities, and service will make your next event truly unforgettable.

More Than Just the House

Beyond the house and its immediate surroundings, there is more to see at Southfork Ranch. I highly recommend visiting the outbuilding where Jock Ewing’s iconic Lincoln Continental is on display. This was actor Jim Davis’ personal vehicle. Fans of the show will recognize the emblematic “Ewing 1” personalized license plate.

There is also an impressive event space that you can take a look at as you wander. This is a much sought-after location for a range of events from proms to weddings to conferences and more. Rumor has it, there may even be a Dallas reunion in the not-so-distant future.

a large empty ballroom
Southfork Ranch boasts ample event space.
a large Lincoln Continental
Jock Ewing's Lincoln Continental

Trail Rides

Southfork Ranch is indeed a real ranch. As a result, there is much more to do and enjoy in addition to the tour. For an authentic ranch experience, visitors can saddle up and take a trail ride. Trail rides are available seven days a week, based upon availability, and weather permitting.

Riders that are at least 8 years old, 48″ tall, and weigh under 240 pounds can ride the ranch and enjoy viewing Southfork from horseback.

Trail rides head out five times daily beginning at 10:00 am and must be booked at least an hour in advance. You will also need to arrive thirty minutes before your scheduled ride.

In addition to the popular trail rides, Southfork Ranch also offers horse riding lessons and their exclusive Wrangler Day Camp. This is a three-day educational equine camp where you’ll learn the important fundamentals of western riding, grooming, saddling, and caring for a horse. These camps are offered weekly with two different sessions available.

the tree-lined drive at Southfork Ranch from the tv show Dallas
Stroll down to the main entrance of the Southfork Ranch

Experiences

Southfork Ranch features a variety of experiences that the most devoted Dallas fans will delight in.

Experiences include:

  • Live Like a Ewing
  • Live and Dream Like a Ewing
  • Chuck Wagon Dinner
  • Day on the Ranch
  • Equestrian Day

Each of these special experiences is tailored to allow guests to maximize their time at the ranch with a range of perks and add-ons that provide the ultimate Ewing experience.

Whether you’re interested in dining like JR, spending the night, or even taking a helicopter ride, these experiences are designed to create a made-for-TV memory like no other. Prices vary and you will need to call ahead for availability, but if you’re up for a one-of-a-kind Dallas treat, these are Texas-sized packages you’ll love.

a luxurious bathtub filled with glass balls that look like bubbles
The Live and Dream Like a Ewing package lets you spend the night luxuriating in the world's most famous mansion.

Take Away

According to the Southfork website, “For thirteen years, television sets were tuned into 356 episodes of Dallas, one of the longest-running TV series in history. Viewers made themselves at home at Southfork, the Ranch the Ewings called home and where the world was a weekly guest.”

I agree and I think that’s why I was so eager to visit this quintessential place so closely associated with my youth. Dallas was more than a television program, it was a social and cultural phenomenon bringing people together. Families gathered around the set to watch this epic drama filled with intrigue, scheming, and wealth. To this day, the question, Who shot JR?, conjures memories of the iconic program.

The tour is a fun, affordable glimpse into an important part of American pop culture. While it’s been a long time since the show was a weekly event, its impact is still felt. Dallas’ popularity continues with new audiences thanks to streaming services.

Although Southfork Ranch isn’t located in the heart of downtown Dallas, it  is an integral part of the city’s identity and essence. The ranch, the city, and the television program are forever interconnected. And that makes this tour well-worth making the journey. 

two women standing in front of a white house
The Ewing Mansion is the White House of Dallas

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