Car Rental in Dallas
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Dallas?
Dallas is the heart of the Dalla-Fort Worth Metroplex, the largest metro area in Texas and one of the largest in the country. Though Dallas has an image of being pretentious, it is a great starting point for experiencing quintessential Texas. Downton Dallas serves as the typical large American city. Neighbor Fort Worth, however, features more of the cattle history that one expects of Texas.
The metroplex is a sprawling urban jungle. If venturing outside of Downtown Dallas, which any travel absolutely should, a car is absolutely necessary. Though the highways are crowded and traffic a nightmare, there is no other reasonable way to get around the metroplex.
Dallas is also a great place from which to begin an epic road trip through Texas. One should head south to Austin and San Antonio then get lost in Hill Country before making the journey to West Texas, the land of empty roads and large ranches that many think of when thinking of the state. Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park are quite a drive away and very remote, but a bucket-list type of destination. From the national park, you can even cross the Rio Grande in a paddle boat and visit Mexico in the safest possible border town. Of course, none of this is possible without having a car.
One-Way Car Rentals in Dallas
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Dallas and drop off in another city include:
- From Dallas to Pittsburgh - 18 offers from US$ 111.03 per day
- From Dallas to Las Vegas - 68 offers from US$ 113.06 per day
- From Dallas to Salt Lake City - 18 offers from US$ 112.05 per day
- From Dallas to Houston - 25 offers from US$ 121.01 per day
Top ways to enter Dallas
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the largest airport in the state of Texas. It is located almost directly between Dallas and Fort Worth. When arriving at the airport, follow the signs for rental cars to get to the shuttle bus to the Rental Car Center, which takes about 10 minutes. The route upon entering the airport to drop off the car is well marked and afterward just take the shuttle back to your terminal. There is a toll to enter or transit through the airport, but you should not have to pay it if picking up or dropping off a rental car.
Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) is much closer to Downtown Dallas than DFW. In fact, it takes just 15-30 minutes to reach Downtown from the airport. All of the large rental suppliers have locations at the airport, though to reach them, a shuttle found on the lower level of the terminal is required. When returning a rental car to the airport, a QuickTrip gas station can be found just outside the airport’s territory. A closer Chevron station is also an option, though it generally has higher prices.
It is also possible to arrive in Dallas on an Amtrak train, specifically the Texas Eagles from Chicago or St. Louis from the north or other Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix, or Los Angeles from the west. The Heartland Flyer travels from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. If arriving at Union Station in Dallas or Central Station in Fort Worth, the downtown locations of rental suppliers are located nearby.
Finally, it is generally allowed to take rental cars from surrounding states to Texas (and vice-versa). Travelers coming from Oklahoma City can reach the metroplex via I-35, which splits into East and West sections going to Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively. From Arkansas, I-30 traverses the stretch from Little Rock to Dallas. If coming from northern Louisiana, I-20 connects both Moroe and Shreveport with Dallas.
Useful city facts
Due to its southerly location, Dallas is swelteringly hot for a significant portion of the year. Expect temperatures 90°F (32°C) or above from mid-May to mid-September and very little relief from clouds or rain. Spring and Fall bring more bearable temperatures along with rain. Winters are usually quite pleasant, though it may be cold for a few days and might snow once or twice.
Dallas lies at the southern end of what is usually called Tornado Alley. During spring and summer, massive storms can pass through the area bringing hail and tornadoes. If you have never traveled in an area that sees tornados, be sure to keep up with current weather conditions and be prepared to seek shelter if a tornado warning is given or if you see a funnel cloud. Do not think your vehicle is sufficient shelter. When traveling along Interstates and other highways in rural parts of Texas, storm shelters can be found at rest areas.
Dallas is the fifth largest sports media market in the country. It has teams in all four major sports league, which means travelers can attend a game at any time of the year. In Downtown Dallas, the Dallas Stars of the NHL and the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA play at the American Airlines Center. In Arlington, the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL play at AT&T Stadium and the Texan Rangers host home games at Golden Life Park.
John Neely Bryan explored the area around what is now Dallas after the Texas Revolution. He planted a stake nearby and would return two years later, in 1841, established a settlement that would eventually become the city of Dallas. Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845.
Dallas received its town charter in 1856 and with the railroad approaching and stagecoach lines going through the town, it continued to grow. After the Civil War, many African Americans moved to the city to establish their own communities and flee rural areas. In 1871 the town would become a city and the completion of major north-south and east-west Texas railroads in 1873 would ensure the city’s growth.
The city continued to grow and reinvent itself during the 20th century. After oil was struck in East Texas, Dallas became the financial center for the industry. In the 1960s, the most famous event in the city’s history would take place.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was riding in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza when he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald who was ion the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
In the second half of the 20th century, the city saw a boom in construction and population that continues to this day.
Neighboring Fort Worth was founded as an army post for the security for settler and oversight of the area’s Native Americans. A few years later, the fort was shut down and settlers moved in which laid the foundation of what would become the city of Fort Worth. This original period is also what inspired the phrase “where the west begins” that is often said of the city. The city later became the center of the cattle ranching industry.
If you want to get a feel for the North Texas area before visiting, there are a few movies and television shows that were set in Dallas and include a lot of information about it.
King of the Hill was one of the most popular cartoon television shows throughout the 2000s. It featured a family, headed by Hank Hill who sold propane, that lived in Arlen, Texas (an amalgamation of four Dallas area cities) and primarily comprises of a slice of life view of stereotypical Texas. The older television shows of Dallas and Walker, Texas Ranger were also set in Dallas.
As for movies, the recent Dallas Buyers Club show Dallas in the 1980 and the classic family movie Benji was filmed around McKinney and Denton. Bonnie & Clyde, though an old movie, is of great interest if you want to see what the area was like before it became the sprawling mass it is today. Filmed in the 1960s and set in the 1930s, the movie clearly shows what the area looked like a long time ago.
Top destinations and activities
- Reunion Tower - Located in Downtown Dallas, Reunion Tower is one of Dallas’ landmarks. The 561-foot tall tower can be seen from much of the city. The ball-shaped tower has both a restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty, and an observation deck that includes an outdoor viewing platform. The ball is lit up in various colors at night.
- Dallas World Aquarium - Located northwest of downtown in the West End Historic District, the Dallas World Aquarium is a great place for those traveling with their family. The Aquarium is actually equal parts aquarium and zoo. Its upper level is an artificial rainforest complete with exotic birds and animals. The lower level is a traditional aquarium with various tanks exhibiting aquatic life from exotic locations across the world. The aquarium is certainly worth a visit if in the city and makes for a great rainy day activity.
- Dallas Holocaust Museum - The former Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance will close on July 31, 2019, to be replaced by the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum on September 18, 2019. The original museum was created by Holocaust Survivors from the Dallas area, detailing the history of the Holocaust. The new, expanded museum will expand its focus to the victims and survivors of other genocides and advancing human rights. Both the old and new museums are in Downtown Dallas.
- State Fair of Texas - If any one thing can be said to provide the quintessential Texas experience, it is the State Fair of Texas held every October in Dallas. In 2019, the State Fair will take place from September 27 to October 20. From the time that Big Tex greets you, you’ll be inundated with all the Texas you can handle. In addition to the rides and attractions usually found at fairs, you can expect live Texas country music, livestock exhibitions, and art shows. A novelty, of course, is the Big Tex cooking contest which has entries of all kinds of fried foods. Certainly, worth the watch, you may want to avoid partaking in any of these delicacies if you are watching your waistline or don’t want to have heart problems. If visiting at other times of the year, Fair Park is still worth a visit.
- Arts District - Just north of Downtown Dallas and its skyscrapers is the Arts District of the city. The district has thirteen facilities for the visual and performing arts. Chief among them is the Dallas Museum of Art, which hosts artworks dating from antiquity to the modern day. The AT&T Performing Arts Center is the epicenter of opera, musical theater, theater and ballet in the city. The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center is also located in the district and is ranked by many as one of the great orchestra halls of the world. No matter what type of fine art you want to experience, it can be found in the Arts District of the city.
- Deep Ellum - If you want to experience pop art or popular entertainment, Deep Ellum is the place for you. It is located east of downtown past the I-45/I-75 highway. Here you can get a tattoo, see one of your favorite musical artist perform, or find a place to party all night long. The neighborhood hosts the Deep Ellum Festival every year. The festival is a large party in the streets with live music, food, and art. The next festival will take place on April 3-5, 2020.
- Downtown Fort Worth - Downtown Fort Worth is popular with those that live in the metroplex and tourists alike. Particularly, Sundance Square is a place to visit both day and night. The square is actually twenty blocks full of shops, bars, restaurants, and historic buildings. The area often sees outdoor festivals and concerts.
- Fort Worth Stockyards - The other main attraction in Fort Worth is the stockyards, a national historic district. The are became a livestock center in the 1870s with the railroads. The area would continue to grow in importance through as a cattle trading center through the first half of the 20th century until auctions started to be held closer to where the livestock was raised. In addition to tours covering the history of the stockyards, the area also offers an entertainment mecca based on the Texas cowboy image. From Texas-style honkey tonks to restaurants and nightclubs, the area is extremely popular with both locals and tourists. The Grapevine Railroad is also a great opportunity for railway buffs, running as a historic railway between the Stockyards and Grapevine.
Traffic and parking tips
Given that the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a sprawling conglomeration home to millions of people, it should be expected that traffic is nightmarish at times. Going into Downtown Dallas or Fort Worth on weekday mornings or out of them in the evening is, expect long delays. The Downtowns are not the only places that see heavy traffic, though. Traffic jams can be run into throughout the entire area. Be particularly careful to leave enough time when returning to the airport.
Parking can be equally difficult in many places in the metro area. Do not expect to find free parking in Downtown Dallas. On-street parking is available, though can only be paid for with cash or via the phone app ParkMobile. Many lots and garages are also available, some owned by the city and some privately owned. Note that some of the city-owned garages are only available for pay-by-phone customers.
Downtown Fort Worth has many lots and a few garages. Most parking is free in the evenings. Parking is also readily available in the Cultural District and near the Stockyards. Consult Fort Worth’s Tourist Information for handy parking tips.
Most hotels in or in the vicinity of the downtown areas charge a daily fee for parking. Hotels further away may not charge for parking, particularly those located along the major highways.
The Dallas area, along with other cities in Texas, has a toll road system that can be quite confusing not just for travelers visiting the city, but for local themselves. The metroplex has quite a few toll roads, including the Dallas North Tollway, the President George Bush Turnpike, and the Sam Rayburn Tollway. There are also two tolled bridges, though the average tourist won’t need to worry about them. Finally, transit through DFW and Addison Airports requires payment (electronically).
The situation with rental cars and tolls in Texas is unfortunately different than in other states. It is not possible to pay any of the tolls in cash. Nor is it possible to make a payment on your own in any way if driving a rental car. In most cases, rental car companies provide a system for tolls that includes a daily fee for each day of the rental period after a toll is incurred. This means that no fee would be charged if no toll road is taken.
Drivers that opt out of the rental car companies systems become responsible not only for any tolls payable but also administrative fees from the toll company and high fines from the rental company. So if the system does not include a daily fee for every day, but a fee for every day after a toll road is taken, it is best for the driver to NOT decline it.
In addition to normal toll roads, the metroplex also has a system of express lanes, called Texpress, that includes sections of I-35W, I-35E, I-820, and I-635. The express lanes are separated lanes that require payment. If you want to avoid paying for trips along these highways, you must stay alert and avoid entrance into these lanes (they are always signed before the entrance).
If planning to travel on Texas 99, an outer ring toll road, make sure your rental provider has a TollTag for the car. Pay by plate is not possible on this road and the fines for using it without a proper tag are very high.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Denton - Just north of Dallas and Fort Worth, Denton is home to the University of North Texas and is, therefore, a college town. The city has a burgeoning music scene with many live concerts and multiple music festivals. It is also home to the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo. The historic town square is a good place to find unique shops. The university has a planetarium whose shoes could be of interest to the traveler. Finally, the town is the closest to the Texas Motor Speedway, though the speedway is technically a part of Fort Worth. The race track hosts races throughout the year including NASCAR and IndyCar races.
- Lake Texoma - On the border of Texas and Oklahoma, Lake Texoma is just an hour’s drive north of Dallas. The lake is extremely popular both due to its size and how close it is to the metroplex. The lake offers numerous opportunities for recreational activities. In addition to the usual swimming and fishing (though be sure to get a license if fishing anywhere but in state parks), there are both private and public places where camping is possible. Boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, and windsurfing, and sailing are also popular.
- Waco - An hour and a half south of Dallas, Waco is unfortunately probably best known as the site of the siege if the Branch Davidians’ compound in 1993, though this actually happened outside of the town. On a more positive note, Waco is the place where Dr. Pepper was originally formulated. The Dr. Pepper Museum in downtown details the beginnings of the drink. It also has an old-fashioned soda fountain. The town is also home to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, which details the history of the law enforcement officers that are unique to the state of Texas.
- Paris - Before you say that you can’t possibly make it to Paris and back in a day, know that Paris is also the name of a town in North Texas about a two-hour drive from Downtown Dallas. The town was made somewhat famous by the film of the same name, though the movie is not actually set in the city. In addition to the 65-foot tall Eiffel Tower replica complete with a red cowboy hat on top, the city has several grand homes from the 19th century that are in immaculate condition. The Sam Bell Maxey House is one of them and is now open to the public as a historic site.
- Glen Rose - Just 75 miles from Downtown Dallas and even closer to Fort Worth, Glen Rose is a great place to visit to experience natural history. The Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Dinosaur Valley State Park are both just outside Glen Rose. The first offer more the 20 miles of hiking trails where several dinosaur footprints can be seen. The later is a wildlife center. Dinosaur World is also worth visiting with kids with opportunities to pan for fossils and see animatronic dinosaurs.
- Enchanted Rock State Natural Area - Located in Hill Country in Central Texas, Enchanted Rock is a granite mountain that rises above its surroundings. The state park is more than the rock, however. Visitors can go caving, hike on one of its many trails, rock climb, or have a picnic. Backcountry camping is also possible. Venturing further into Hill Country, visit Fredericksburg, a town founded by German settlers. You could also stop by Llano, the “Deer Capital of Texas” on the way to the natural area.
- Jefferson - Though a small city with a population of around 2,000 people, Jefferson is a popular tourist destination. It is just two and a half hours east of Dallas. Though it can be visited as a day trip, it may be worth staying overnight in one of the many bed and breakfasts in the city. Jefferson has many popular attractions. A bustling city in the 19th century due to steamboat traffic, Jefferson saw a decline with the rise of railroads. Instead of being abandoned, though, the city was preserved in its 18th-century form. It now has beautifully maintained streets and buildings which leads to its popularity.
- Tyler - An East Texas city named after the tenth president of the United States, Tyler is known as the Rose Capital of America. The prime tourist attraction is, unsurprisingly, the largest rose garden in the country. The garden hosts the annual Texas Rose Festival every October. A great zoo and science center can also be found in the town. Tyler is just a one-and-a-half-hour drive southeast of Dallas along I-20.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular class of rental car in Dallas is the economy of which the Kia Rio is a great example. Given Dallas’ popularity among those traveling with families and the opportunity it provides for long road trips, Intermediate and Fullsize cars are also very popular. The Chevrolet Cruze is a good example of the intermediate class and the Chevrolet Malibu is a good example of the full-size class.
- Route 66 - The most direct route between Chicago and Los Angeles available these days doesn’t pass anywhere near Texas. The historic Route 66, however, passed through the Panhandle of Texas. Though the route through Texas now mostly coincides with I-40, portions of the old road transiting through small towns and Amarillo still exist and are certainly worth the trip north.
- Big Bend National Park - In the southwestern part of the state, and a nine-hour drive from Dallas, Big Bend National Park is one of the most remote national parks in the country. It is, therefore, one of the least visited. This is unfortunate, though, as the park offers excellent hiking and biking trails. The park is the most popular between mid-November and the beginning of January and late March (when students have spring break). Due to extremely high temperatures, travel during the summer is not recommended and the hours of some of the facilities is reduced. Though the park is far away from everywhere, the drive to it is half the adventure. Getting lost on the desert and mountain trails in unspoiled and lonely nature is the other half.
- Oklahoma City - The capital of Oklahoma is located 200 miles (320km) directly north of Dallas making for a quick three-drive along I-35. Though often deemed to be flyover country by those in large coastal cities, there is plenty to offer the tourists. The heart of the city for visitors is downtown and the north side. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, located at the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing, is the one must-visit in the city. The outdoor memorial is free and open all day and night. The museum details the bombing and investigation and is located next door in the formal Jornal Record Building. The city isn’t all tears, though, having persevered through the tragedy. For a lively restaurant and nightlife scene head to Bricktown. Additionally, the Myriad Gardens park hosts an impressive botanical garden. After visiting the city, head further into the rural parts of the state for its frontier heritage or to travel part of the former route of Route 66.
- San Antonio - More than 35 million people visit San Antonio every year. The city is known for the Alamo, famous for its role in the Texan Revolution and the soldiers who, though surely outnumbered, defended it from the Mexican Army. The Battle of the Alamo would become a turning point in the war. Many are of course underwhelmed at the site having expected the physical size to match the size of its historical importance.
San Antonio is not just the Alamo, though. The city is also known for the Riverwalk, a pedestrian area below street level along the San Antonio River. The Riverwalk is packed full of bars, restaurants, and hotels. Boats are available to get around the area. No trip to Texas should leave out San Antonio.
- Houston - The fourth-largest city in the country is also the most populous city in Texas. Though it is a sprawling city, most of the sites of interest to tourists are located in or near Downtown. These included museums, an aquarium and art galleries. One notable destination that isn’t located downtown is the Space Center. Houston has been home to the Johnson Space Center since 1961 which included the Mission Control Center for all subsequent space missions. The Space Center Houston serves as the visitor’s center and offers educational programs and a museum. It is located about 25 miles southeast of Downtown Houston.
- Austin - The capital of the state of Texas is often said to feel as if it is not located in the state. Austin is home to the University of Texas and its more than 50,000 students. The are is also packed with tech startups and known for its musical and food scenes. In fact, the city is often known as the Live Music Capital of the World. The typical landmarks, museums, and such that come with a state capital can also be found. Located on the way between the Dallas-Forth Worth area and San Antonio, a stop in “weird” Austin is certainly worth the while.
- Louisiana - North Louisiana, in which an area called Sportsman's Paradise can be found, is only a few hours away from Dallas, though what most tourists are after is in the southern part of the state. The capital of tourism in Louisiana (but not the capital of the state) is New Orleans, which is an eight-hour drive from Dallas. On the way there, though, visitors must pass through Acadian, or Cajun country. This is were the bayous, alligators, and unique cuisine can be found. Of course, a visit to the French Quarter, Garden District and further to the outlying areas of New Orleans should not be missed.
- Arkansas - Located northeast of Dallas, Arkansas is not normally high on tourists’ destination lists. Aside from the historic sites of Little Rock and the Crystal Bridges art museum in Bentonville, the primary draw of Arkansas is its natural and it is thus known as the ”Natural State.” In the northern part of the state, the Ozark Mountains can be found. Hot Springs is unsurprisingly named for the hot springs that surround it. Various state parks offer camping and other recreational activities. If you want to get outdoors and experience a piece of nature, Arkansas is a great destination for you.
- Memphis - Of course, if already in Arkansas, it would take only a few more hours to drive to Memphis. Time permitting (and if allowed by your rental supplier), this certainly should be done. Memphis is one of the most famous cities in the world when it comes to music. Memphis is one of the cities along the Mississippi River where the blues originated, the unique version of it termed Memphis Blues. Historic Beale Street was the epicenter for the development of this sound. The street is now the most popular tourist attraction of the city, with numerous bars and clubs with live music every night of the week.
Venturing outside of downtown, Sun Studio is where many famous songs and albums were recorded, including Elvis’ and Johny Cash’s first recordings. It is now open for tours and parking can be found behind the building. Completing the musical tour of the city, head to the southern part to Graceland, the legendary home of Elvis Presley.
Aside from music, the city is also known for the historic part it played in the civil rights movement and its cuisine. The city was, unfortunately, the location where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The Lorraine Motel, where he was fatally shot, now serves as the National Civil Rights Museum.
As for food, Memphis is known for its unique style of barbecue which is slow-cooked pork, usually, the ribs and shoulders that can either be made using a dry rub or brushed with sauce. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest takes place in the city every May.
Car Rental Prices in Dallas
- Large cars - from $41 per day
- Medium cars - from $38 per day
- People Carriers/Vans - from $60 per day
- Premium cars - from $58 per day
- Small cars - from $37 per day
- SUVs - from $60 per day
Top 9 Cities near Dallas
Houston Car Rentals from $29.31 per day358.3 km / 222.6 miles away
Austin Car Rentals from $29.31 per day316.4 km / 196.6 miles away
El Paso Car Rentals from $29.31 per day906.2 km / 563.1 miles away
Corpus Christi Car Rentals from $31.72 per day579.5 km / 360.1 miles away
McAllen Car Rentals from $31.72 per day765.1 km / 475.4 miles away
Lubbock Car Rentals from $29.31 per day470.9 km / 292.6 miles away
Killeen Car Rentals from $31.72 per day230.1 km / 143.0 miles away
Laredo Car Rentals from $31.72 per day652.2 km / 405.2 miles away
Brownsville Car Rentals from $43.85 per day785.5 km / 488.1 miles away
Top 12 Locations near Dallas
Dallas Love Field Airport Car Rentals from $29.31 per day11.7 km / 7.3 miles away
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Car Rentals from $29.31 per day21.0 km / 13.0 miles away
Killeen Ft Hood Airport Car Rentals from $31.72 per day230.1 km / 143.0 miles away
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Car Rentals from $29.31 per day316.4 km / 196.6 miles away
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport Car Rentals from $29.31 per day358.3 km / 222.6 miles away
Houston William P. Hobby Airport Car Rentals from $34.12 per day395.1 km / 245.5 miles away
Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport Car Rentals from $29.31 per day470.9 km / 292.6 miles away
Corpus Christi International Airport Car Rentals from $31.72 per day579.5 km / 360.1 miles away
Laredo International Airport Car Rentals from $31.72 per day652.2 km / 405.2 miles away
McAllen-Miller International Airport Car Rentals from $31.72 per day765.1 km / 475.4 miles away
Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport Car Rentals from $43.85 per day785.5 km / 488.1 miles away
El Paso International Airport Car Rentals from $29.31 per day906.2 km / 563.1 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
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Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Budget||Hyundai Elantra||4||2||Large cars|
|SIXT||Chrysler Pacifica||4||2||People Carriers/Vans|
|Avis||Ford Fiesta||3||1||Small cars|
|Dollar||Mazda 3||2||2||Large cars|
|Thrifty||Ford Focus 3d||3||2||Medium cars|
|Thrifty||Nissan Frontier||4||5||Large cars|
|Thrifty||Buick Regal||3||2||Premium cars|
|Thrifty||VW Jetta||2||2||Large cars|