Glamorous magnets for drama, the impossibly wealthy Ewing family dominated television from the late 1970s through the early 1990s on the primetime tv series Dallas. Their constant scheming, backstabbing, cheating, and deception gripped viewers—350 million people around the world tuned in on November 21, 1980, to find out who shot J.R.—and one of the most popular characters was the opulent setting itself.
The Ewings were a fictional Texas oil family who loved money, power, and the legendary Southfork Ranch, their massive familial estate. Southfork Ranch, the setting of many of the most infamous moments from the series, was extremely real, however, and viewers have been eager to see it in person since the show’s earliest days.
Where Is Southfork Ranch in Texas
Just 25 miles north of the city of Dallas, in Parker, Texas, Duncan Acres was chosen in 1978 by Lorimar Productions to stand in as Southfork Ranch, Dallas’s key exterior location. Once the show became popular, fans flocked to “Southfork Ranch,” hopeful to catch the cast and crew filming the newest scandalous scene. They were often disappointed as all interior scenes were filmed at a sound stage in Los Angeles built to resemble the ranch. Still, Duncan Acres was so inundated with visitors that the owners, who had been using it as their private home, decided to sell the property.
The new owners officially changed the name to Southfork Ranch, and opened the grounds and house to the public, turning it into a mecca to television’s hottest drama. It’s estimated that in 1984, when the show was at its most popular, over 1 million fans came to Southfork Ranch.
Twenty years after its successful first run ended, Dallas remains a huge draw—and visitors continue to line up for tours of the ranch. The grand mansion and orderly grounds entice both fans of the show and visitors to Dallas who wish to get out the city to see the real Texas.
How Many Acres is Southfork Ranch?
The show makes the Ewing's home seem as if it takes up about a third of the state, but how big is Southfork Ranch, really? The property, now worth approximately $6 million, covers over 300 acres and includes the 5,900-square-foot Ewing Mansion, herds of horses and cattle, barns, a large event and conference space, and numerous other buildings.
Southfork Ranch Tours
Southfork Ranch draws approximately 400,000 visitors a year. Once you drive through the iconic Southfork Ranch sign, your experience begins.
The Visitor Center is full of incredible memorabilia, including handprints, autographs, Lucy’s wedding dress, and video interviews with the show’s cast. The Visitor Center is also home to the Ranch Roundup Store, the perfect place to pick up some fun branded collectibles, or for a photo op.
Next, take a tram ride right to the Ewing Mansion. The scenery is beautiful—look out for grand oak trees, a bounty of wild song birds, and the classic silhouette of one of the 20 proud Texas Longhorns that call the Southfork Ranch home.
The Ewing Mansion is your next stop, where you can learn about the characters, the actors, the production, and maybe even some tantalizing gossip about what really happened during filming. The tour guides are some of the best you’ll encounter, and many of them have been leading tours for years.
Southfork Ranch Tour Highlights
You can’t miss the room’s centerpiece, a large-scale painting of John Ross “Jock” Ewing, the patriarch of the mighty Ewing family.
The Dining Room and Kitchen
The perfect place to give a backhanded toast to Miss Ellie from your luxurious seat at the Southfork dining room table!
Sue Ellen and J.R., Jock, Miss Ellie, and Bobby all invite you to take a look-see at their living quarters. The glamour and luxury that the Ewings demanded is on full display in these ornate bedrooms. It’s important to have a soft place to lay your head after an exhausting day of double-crossing!
After you’ve seen the mansion’s many rooms, take a walk through Southfork’s stunning grounds. Fans of the show will love the pool—which may be a lot smaller than they’d expect because of the movie magic used in filming. Everyone will appreciate the many acres of smooth lawn, the grand Texas live oak trees, the massive Texas Longhorns, and the friendly horses. In addition, you won’t want to miss taking a picture with Jock Ewing’s grey Lincoln Continental—a true boat of a car measuring 19-feet from tip to tail.
Chuck Wagon Dinner
What visit to a Texas ranch would be complete without a barbecue? Groups can sign up to enjoy The Chuckwagon Dinner. Eat traditional Texas barbecue with all the fixins’, served from the back of a wooden-wheeled chuckwagon. Nothing is better than delicious barbecue enjoyed to the sound of gently strummed campfire music and cowboy poetry—it’s a perfect Texas end to a perfect Dallas day!
Visit Southfork Ranch, with YMT Vacations
If you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, join YMT at “The World’s Most Famous Ranch” on the Heart of Texas & New Orleans tour. Explore the grounds, tour the Ewing Mansion, and enjoy a delicious Chuckwagon Dinner at Southfork Ranch as part of your tour of Dallas. That’s just one part of our delightful 11-day tour from New Orleans to Dallas. Call your travel professional or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072 to book!