McKinney, Texas, was so named for Collin McKinney, a settler in North Texas who had the distinction of signing the declaration of independence. This city maintains its historic roots to this day, offering a variety of destinations and activities designed to help visitors better appreciate the city’s storied past.
If you’re looking for a fun destination that you can enjoy with the family, you’ll find an abundance of options around McKinney. Outdoor adventures are particularly popular in this climate, where even January weather often maintains high temperatures in the 50s. Head out and explore these highlights.
Geocaching in Historic Downtown
Geocaching is a fun family activity where you hunt for hidden boxes using their GPS coordinates as a guide. You can easily download a GPS locator to your phone to aid in the search. There are six official geocaches in McKinney, but you may find many more through geocaching apps or online groups. Each official cache has a small gift that you can collect, as well as a logbook where you sign your name to let others know you’ve found the treasure.
These official caches also have a stock of plastic bags that you’re invited to take to help clean up the surrounding area and control litter. McKinney’s geocaches are all stored in durable, repurposed containers that are rather large. They’re never buried, but they could be concealed under rocks or leaves. Inside the cache, you’ll find more information about the container’s previous life to add extra interest to your hunt.
Recreation at Finch Park
Finch Park is a great destination for family fun on a nice day. With tennis courts, basketball courts, and pickleball courts, there are plenty of options for a few fun games. Younger children can enjoy the playground while adults relax on the nearby benches. The park offers two pavilions, as well as picnic tables and charcoal grills, so you can enjoy an afternoon picnic or cookout. Take a walk around the park on the picturesque trail loop complete with two pedestrian bridges.
From May 1 to Oct. 31, you can also enjoy the park’s splash pad. Frolic and play in the refreshing spray and beat the heat with the family as you enjoy the fountains and watery play structures.
Frog Hunting in Downtown McKinney
As you stroll historic downtown McKinney, you may notice that it has a special affinity for frogs. Artistic frog sculptures abound throughout the downtown area. Turn an afternoon of shopping into fun for the whole family by challenging your children to go on a frog hunt and take pictures with all their finds. These clay statues all have the same shape, but they’re painted in a variety of creative ways. You can spot cowboy frogs, tuxedo-clad frogs, patchwork frogs, and more.
There are more than 20 frogs to find around town. You can look up their locations online, but you may find that it’s more fun to try and spot them on your own.
Visiting the Weekly Farmers Market
The McKinney farmers market in Heritage Village at Chestnut Square takes place all year round. You can find it every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon between April and November and on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. between December and March. Browsing the market, you’ll find baked goods, local and organic produce, meat, honey, and dairy products, wines, crafts, flowers, plants, and much more. You’ll typically find a tour, demonstration, or special event adding entertainment to the market as well.
Every week, the farmers market features live music. Children will especially enjoy the pony rides and face painting that’s available. Take the family on a regular hunt for local treasures and tasty treats at this destination.
Exploring the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary spans 289 acres. The property includes a museum with a variety of exhibits, including the Magic Planet exhibit with a four-foot interactive globe, the Living Lab with real specimens to work with, and the Pioneer Village with a prairie settlement scaled down to playhouse size. You can even take a stroll with native butterflies and pollinators in the Native Texas Butterfly House & Garden or go canoeing through the wetlands.
Beyond the museum, you’ll find over 6.5 miles of nature trails. These are open for self-guided tours. Each trail is unique with terrain that ranges from easy to moderate. The longest of the trails is the 1.25-mile Sycamore trail, so you can easily embark on any of these walks with family members of all ages.
Go on a Selfie Hunt for History
Turn your visit to Chestnut Square into an adventure through time with a selfie hunt that takes you to the area’s most significant spots. You can print out pioneer characters online to color, and take these paper friends with you on your adventure. The history hunt has 10 destinations for you to find, including a brick honoring a WWII soldier, a hanging horseshoe, the Two-Bit Taylor Inn, and the oldest home in McKinney.
Take selfies at each spot on the tour and share them to Facebook or Instagram with the proper tags for a chance to win a free week at Prairie Adventure Camp.
Play at Towne Lake
Towne Lake is a 22-acre body of water that’s available for paddle boating, fishing, and lakeside fun. The park features horseshoe courts, baseball fields, volleyball courts, and a disc golf course. The park’s playground has a climbing wall, learning stations, and two oversized slides. There’s also a one-mile nature trail for an easy afternoon hike.
Towne Lake’s recreation center offers a variety of indoor activities as well with a rec room, gym, and game room complete with ping-pong and foosball.
Do you know of any beloved McKinney attractions that we’ve missed? Contact us at Huffines Hyundai McKinney and let us know so we can update our list. We want to make sure our visitors can always find the best local highlights for their families while finding them the car of their dreams.
Image via Flickr by Get McKinney