Top 20 Day Trips around Houston For A Short Escape
There are various choices for day trips around Houston for a short escape from the daily hustle and bustle. There is wetland, prairie, bayou (of course!), and forest ecosystems. Then there are natural refuge areas for wildlife, museums dedicated to art, history, and science, besides a host of destinations that bring alive the culture of Texas state. For those who cannot do without their share of sun ‘n sand, a beachfront offers you a good time and a tan too! And the best thing about all these experiences is that you don’t need to travel long from Houston. So, if you are looking for a short road trip out of Houston, this is where you should start looking –
Battleship Texas State Historic Site
This historic battleship is just next door to Houston, active during World Wars I and II. There are guided and independent tours for history buffs, which take you across all its decks and allow you to soak in a good dose of war history. You can also choose to enjoy a picnic out in the open at another historic site nearby, the San Jacinto Battleground.
- Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/battleship_texas/
- Address: 3523 Independence Parkway South LaPorte, TX 77571
Space Center Houston
A popular destination for families and school students, the official visitor center of the NASA Johnson Space Center is a fun way to interact with the space history and legacy of the United States. There are year-round tours designed to educate the public about what has been achieved in space travel so far. Space Center highlights are NASA Tram Tour, space exhibits, spacecraft, and live shows.
- Website: https://spacecenter.org/
- Address: 1601 E NASA Pkwy, Houston, TX 77058
- Hours: 10 am to 5 pm Weekdays, Open till 6 pm on weekends.
George Bush Park
This county park is situated within the city limits of Houston, and it is also the site for the man-made Buffalo Bayou. There are lots of baseball and soccer fields, trails suitable for hiking and joking, and a separate field for flying model airplanes. Some of the significant on-site activities you can indulge in are geocaching and shooting. An outdoor picnic could also be in order at one of the Park’s pavilions. There are several natural habitats to cover for the avid hikers, including swampland, forest, and bayou.
- Website: https://www.pct3.com/Parks/George-Bush-Park
- Address: 16756 Westheimer Pkwy, Houston, TX 77082
- Hours: 7 am to 10 pm
Known as the “Gateway to the Bay” because of its proximity to the Galveston Bay, Kemah attracts many tourists throughout the year because of the 60-acre entertainment district called “Kemah Boardwalk.” This place boasts of an amusement park, arcade games, shopping opportunities, restaurants, and boat rides.
- Website: https://www.kemahboardwalk.com/
- Address: 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX 77565
Brazos Bend State Park
Though you won’t find any beachfront here, still this Park is famous among nature and adventure-lovers. Several trails in this Park allow visitors to enjoy the Texas wetlands while taking in the sights and sounds of the jungle. The most popular among these is the Creek field Lake Nature Trail, embedded with viewing platforms all along its half-a-mile paved length and bronze representations of the Park’s animal residents. In addition, you can hike, bike, and do horseback riding on the several routes planned across the Park.
- Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/brazos-bend
- Address: 21901 Farm to Market Rd 762, Needville, TX 77461
- Hours: 8 am to 10 pm
The island boasts several beach parks, which are open to the public, and several fun-filled activities like fishing, boating, and water sports so that you won’t know where the hours went by. However, the highlight is the Seawall Boulevard, the hub of tourist activities on Galveston. In addition, the site boasts of Pleasure Pier amusement park, which stretches into the gulf, offering an unmatched ocean view.
- Website: https://www.galveston.com/
The small city is not just a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. It is also home to one of the world’s longest man-made piers – the Texas City Dike levee. This five-mile-long pier is ideal for a picnic on the water and leisurely fishing sojourns. Besides, Texas City also has museums, which offer an extraordinary glimpse into different aspects of American history.
- Website: https://www.texascitytx.gov/
Sam Houston National Forest
If off-roading is your idea of spending an adventurous weekend away from Houston, head to the Sam Houston National Forest, one of Texas’ four national forests. Spread over 160,000 acres of forest land, it is home to diverse flora, fauna, and fantastic hiking trails. In addition, there are fishing spots, camping sites, and horseback riding trails. Bird-watching is a delight here as you will get to see all the important bird species here, including the red-cockaded woodpecker. Also, the bald eagle loves to spend the winters here!
- Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/texas/about-forest/districts/?cid=fswdev3_008443
- Address: 394 FM 1375 West, New Waverly, TX 77358
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
This unique conservation area is spread over a whopping 34000 acres of land, in the form of prairie and marsh territories, all along the beautiful Texas coast. Established in 1963, this refuge is run by volunteers, who enjoy protecting the diverse wildlife of this area, so that the visitors can enjoy their time here. You will see alligators, whistling ducks, bobcats, and even seaside sparrows at this Wildlife Refuge. You can call in advance and book yourself for lead tours, seminars, and environment classes.
- Website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/anahuac/
- Address: FM1985, Anahuac, TX 77514
This little city nestled along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is more than just the beach. Port Arthur is also home to diverse species in birds, fish, and alligators. And it offers many outdoor activities to enjoy like cycling, hiking, fishing, and water sports. The unique boat and swamp tours provide a closer glimpse of the diverse fauna. The Museum of the Gulf Coast is a cultural landmark and the Faith Trail, which showcases religious monuments belonging to different faiths.
- Website: https://www.portarthurtx.gov/
Village Creek State Park
If you are looking for a family-friendly, relaxing place closer to Houston, Village Creek State Park is a good option. You can swim, hike, canoe, and also indulge in geocaching here. Fishing equipment is available on rent, and you can fish along the creek without a prior license. In addition, different species live in the Park, which makes it an ideal place for bird-watching and observing wildlife.
- Address: 8854 Park Road 74 Lumberton, TX 77657
- Hours: 8 am to 10 pm
Stark Museum of Art
Located in Orange, Texas, this museum was established in 1978. Since then, it has been known as the home to one of the most diverse collections of American Western art. Though several well-known artists are displayed here, one of the highlights remains the paintings by Georgia O’Keefe, Steuben Glass’s crystal the United States, etc. Apart from the permanent exhibits, the museum also has special lectures, rotating presentations, and several educational programs for visitors.
- Website: https://starkmuseum.org/
- Address: 712 Green Ave, Orange, TX 77630
- Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, Wednesday to Saturday
Trip mores than 2 Hrs, not exactly days trips but a good weekend getaway
Creole Nature Trail
The scenery offered by the several nature reserves in the outback of Louisiana is in full view along this nature trail, which runs for 180 miles. There are 400 species of birds, alligators, fish, and shellfish in the forests and waters of the Creole Nature Trail. You can start your trip at the Adventure Point, boasting of the state’s natural splendor as well as the Cajun roots that run deep here. Kids will enjoy the various interactive displays, while nature-lovers will enjoy the information put out all along the trail.
- Website: https://www.visitlakecharles.org/creole-nature-trail/
- Address: 1205 N Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles, LA 70601
- Hours: 8 am to 5pm on weekdays, 8 am to 3 pm on weekends.
Goose Island State Park
Flanked by the St. Charles and Aransas Bays, this Park is surrounded by water on all sides. Though you cannot go swimming here, since the authorities recommend against that, you can still enjoy the waters through fishing for speckled trout, flounder and red drum fish varieties. Besides, there is hiking and camping to spend hours in the lap of nature. However, the highlight of this State Park is the “Big Tree.” This Southern live oak is 35 feet in circumference while its crown spreads across a 90 feet area. Believed to be more than 1,000 years old, the Big Tree invites visitors in droves.
- Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/goose-island
- Address: 202 S Palmetto St, Rockport, TX 78382
- Hours: 8 am to 10 pm
Austin is known for its world-famous, local, independent music scene and its robust hipster culture. It is also home to the two most famous American annual festivals – Austin City Limits & South by Southwest – celebrating music and tech innovation. Besides, Austin is home to attractions like Bullock Texas State History Museum, Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. As for food-lovers, the magnificent culinary scene of Austin provides a variety of mouth-watering delicacies to satisfy hungry taste buds!
The Alamo in San Antonio
Initially built as a mission, The Alamo commemorates the battle during the Texas Revolution. It is officially described as the “Shrine of Texas Liberty….where heroes fell.” The bloody war here in 1836, with the Mexican army killing all the soldiers of a small Texan outfit, which was defending the area, inspired other Texans to rise and fight to gain independence from Mexico. This popular tourist destination offers daily guided historical tours to history students with some lessons from the past.
- Website: https://www.thealamo.org/visit
- Address: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
- Hours: 9 am to 5:30 pm
This is a World War II-era aircraft carrier and a combination of a ship and a museum. Lexington was decommissioned shortly before 1992, when the boat was turned into a museum. Suppose you want to learn more about naval aircraft and its role in defense of our country. In that case, you can enjoy a tour of the 11 decks of the Lexington or sit inside the flight simulators or the virtual battle stations. Another museum attraction is the Pearl Harbor exhibit, dedicated to Japan’s 1941 surprise military strike on the United States.
- Website: https://usslexington.com/
- Address: 2914 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402
- Hours: 9 am to 6 pm
Texas State Aquarium
This is a private conservation unit with an aquarium facility dedicated to marine wildlife protection in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The aquarium is home to several exhibits featuring stingrays, jellyfish, dolphins, sea urchins, and crabs. Apart from the water creatures, the aquarium also has local otters, alligators, birds, and turtles. Visitors can enjoy these exhibits as well as the daily interactive presentations that represent the ecological diversity around them.
- Website: https://www.texasstateaquarium.org/
- Address: 2710 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402
- Hours: 10 am to 5 pm, Monday closed.
This city boasts of an awe-inspiring skyline, innumerable tourist activities to indulge in, and a tragic connection to John F. Kennedy. Dallas is mainly a haven for art lovers because of being home to the country’s largest continuous arts district. The highlights of which include the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Nasher Sculpture Center. The city also has many open, green spaces as well for fun picnics.
So, these are the top 20 Day Trips around Houston, which you can undertake alone, with friends or family, and have a great time! From national parks to a battleship, museums to amusement parks, cityscapes to beachfront, there is a lot you’ve got to see for which you don’t need to travel far from Houston. So, just get in your car and drive to these diverse experiences, which await you just a short distance from Houston!