21 Scenic Day Trips From Houston, Texas

Houston is the fourth-most populous city in the US and one that is welcoming and accessible in Texas. The town boasts of plenty of historical, scientific, and art museums guaranteed to make your experience memorable. 

Here are some of the best day trips from Houston if you’re looking to get outside the confines of Houston. 

Galveston Island

Galveston

Galveston Island is less than an hour’s drive from Houston, and one of the most famous travel destinations. The island that features a sandy beach also boasts of Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

As an adrenaline junkie, you can check out the roller coasters and rides on Pleasure Pier while historical enthusiasts will love Ship Elissa, Moody Mansion, and Moody Mansion. 

Access to the beach allows you to explore various activities like water sports, fishing, and boating. 

The beach meets with a sidewalk; a place referred to as the Seawall Boulevard. The pedestrian-friendly walkway has restaurants, hotels, and other attractions.

Enjoy the range of rides or stroll in the Moody Gardens that have an aquarium, a rainforest garden, a theme park, and a discovery museum. 

Port Arthur

Port Arthur

Port Arthur sits along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The small-sized city is home to different species like alligators, fish, and bird populations. 

You can explore other activities like water sports, cycling, fishing, hiking, and boat tours.

Visit the various cultural attraction sites like the Famous Faith Trail, Museum of the Gulf Coast, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, But Mon Buddhist Temple, among other monuments. 

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island

Revel in some sun-n-sand delight at the Mustang Island State Park. 

The park that is also perfect for camping lovers offers a serene and beautiful space away from the mainland. 

You’ll love the long paddling trail that stretches over 30 kilometers and offers deep-sea fishing excursions. Some natural scenery includes the Atlantic green sea turtles, dunes, 400 species of birds, and over 600 different types of fish at the bay Inter Alia. 

Enjoy fantastic views along the paddling trail or participate in activities like fishing, biking, hiking, and going for picnics.

Village Creek State Park

Village Creek

Village Creek State Park is an hour and a half from Houston. The family-friendly park is a perfect spot if you’re looking to spend your day out in the sun.

Find activities like canoeing, hiking, swimming, and geocaching at the Creek. 

You can rent fishing equipment for free, and you won’t need a license to go fishing.  Moreover, the park has a combination of natural habitats like pine savannas, wetlands, pinewood forests, and swamps. 

You can go for wildlife observation and birdwatching as there are various species in each of these areas.

Brenham

Brenham

An hour and ten minutes visit, Brenham is a fantastic getaway if you’re looking for a spot with plenty of lush fields with a breath of fresh air. 

The city has different outdoor and indoor attractions. Visit the local Blue Bell Ice Cream Creamery that shows off how Texas’ favorite ice cream is made.

You can opt for a relaxing day in one of the several spas available. Check out the Brenham Heritage Museum that has a lot to offer when it comes to the city’s history.

USS Lexington

USS Lexington

If you’re looking to learn more about the World War II era, you should check out the USS Lexington.

The Museum that was founded in 1992 after the CV-16 decommissioning gives you information on the work of naval aircraft in protecting the country. 

It has hundreds of exhibits that have a connection to this mission. 

You can also try out the virtual battery stationeries and flight simulators. Pearl Harbor adds some history to the museum.

Macon

Macon

Macon is home to the Tubman African American Museum that boasts of fantastic insights into America’s heritage. 

With modern sculptures and folk art, you’re guaranteed an exciting experience while here.

Other attractions in this city at the heart of Georgia include the Grand Opera House and the Hay House. 

Cultural spots like the Museum of Arts and Science and the Allman Brothers Band Museum are also worth visiting.

Goose Island State Park

Goose Island

Goose Island State Park is close to the Aransas Bays and St. Charles on the Gulf coast of the state.

Although you cannot swim in the park, you can enjoy other activities like fishing, camping, and hiking. 

Another impressive highlight of the park is the Southern Live Oak that has a circumference of 35 ft and a crown that spreads 90ft. outwards. The tree is thought to be over 1,000 years old.

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Anahuac

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife conservation area with over 30,000 acres of the coastal marsh territory and prairie along Texas’s coast.

The refuge that was founded in 1963 gets tremendous support from volunteers who protect the diverse wildlife.

You’ll find species like bobcats, decide sparrows, alligators, and fulvous whistling ducks throughout the year. 

Alternatively, you can have a ranger take you through education classes or take you on a tour of the wildlife refuge.

Texas State Aquarium

Texas State Aquarium

Located in Corpus Christi, The Texas State Aquarium is a private conservation organization that has an aquarium facility.

The aquarium protects marine wildlife in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Find different exhibits like jellyfish, dolphins, crabs, urchins, and stingrays in the aquarium.

Another impressive feature with this aquarium is that its displays are not limited to water creatures. The aquarium also provides a display for alligators, turtles, otters, and local species of birds. 

You can choose to participate in the facility’s interactive presentation or navigate the aquarium by yourself. Children will love the mock archaeological dig site and water park. 

Creole Nature Trail

Creole

Consisting of 180 miles of roadway running through the outback of Louisiana, The Creole Nature Trail boasts of many natural reserves and scenic views. You can find over 400 types of fish, birds, and alligators in the nearby waters.

You can start by exploring the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point that exhibits Louisiana’s Cajun roots and natural splendor. Kids will also love the interactive displays.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga

Chattanooga has plenty to explore as it has its roots in Tennessee. Spend your morning at The Incline Railway or explore the Lookout Mountain before going into Rock City and Ruby Falls. 

These falls have a waterfall that is 145ft high underground, and they are estimated to be over 30 million years old. 

You can see several states from the rocky ledge. Moreover, Rock City is Chattanooga’s most famous landmark.

Texas Energy Museum 

Texas Energy Museum

An hour and twenty minutes from Houston, The Texas Energy Museum tells of the state’s long history of oil production. The museum is in downtown Beaumont, Texas.

While here, learn about the new use of chemistry and the development of petroleum refinery technology. 

You’ll find robot actors that share the story of the 1901 Spindletop gusher. Kids can participate in seasonal presentations and educational programs about the oil-rich history of Texas.

Sam Houston National Forest

Sam Houston

Sam Houston is one of the four national forests in Texas. It’s 50 miles away from Houston city center and boasts of various species of flora and fauna.

Enjoy different activities like off-roading, camping, boating, hunting, fishing, horse riding, and hiking. 

The forest is home to other bird species like the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and the bald eagle. The management ensures the support of these endangered species by providing pavilions and shelters. 

Stark Museum of Art

Stark Museum

Located outside Houston in Orange, Texas, The Stark Museum of Art is home to most of American Western art.

The Museum that was founded in 1978 includes works by famous people like Georgia O’Keefe that focuses on applied arts and Southwestern indigenous cultures.

Find Steuben Glass’s the United States in Crystal that includes porcelain and a set of glassworks. The exhibition also has educational programs, rotating exhibits, and lectures.

Austin

Austin

Austin is a two-hour drive from Houston. The city has plenty to offer like live music venues, countless lakes, and parks. Enjoy activities like boating, swimming, biking, and hiking while in Austin.

Some popular attractions include the Mexican Art Museum, Umlauf Sculpture Gardens, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. 

While in Austin, you can stay at the Hyatt Place, Aiden by Best Western, Archer Hotel Austin, and the Fairfield Inn.

Kemah

Kemah

The lively bayside city of Kemah is 40 minutes from Houston.  You’ll love how the city has something for everyone from carriage rides, a classic seaside boardwalk, to a tour of the Lighthouse District, you can be sure to have fun while you are here. 

Stop at the Boardwalk and explore the various entertainment options available or sample the different restaurants and shopping malls. 

Kemah offers a Clear Lake Charters sailboat that allows you to go into the bay. You can also visit Stingray Reef when you are at the Kemah Aquarium. 

The Clear Lake Park also has a fishing pier and an old Indian burial ground.

Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend

Get ready for something wild and exciting at the Brazos Bend State Park.

The Park is only 50 minutes away from Houston and features a plethora of activities like geocaching, biking, hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. 

Experience the unique ambiance of the wetlands and watch local wildlife from the Creekfield Lake Nature Trail.

You can opt to go hiking around the trails around the lakes, explore bronzed wildlife, or go fishing in one of the scenic lakes.

Blessington Farms

Blessington Famr

Inspire your inner gardener by visiting the Blessington Farms. While here, you can pick your vegetables and fruits while learning about the best farming practices.

The best part is that you can tailor your experience depending on the seasonal produce. For example, the summer is perfect for strawberries, and the fall has a lot of pumpkins. 

You can host corporate events, field trips, or birthday parties at the Blessington Farms.

While strolling through some areas of the farm is free, you can opt to pay $20 and take advantage of everything the farm has to offer. 

Johnson Space Center

Johnson Space Center

The Johnson Space Center is the headquarters for the astronaut corps and one of the major bases of NASA. It also acts as the base for most space station mission operations.

If you’re looking for an exciting day trip, the space center is a must-visit, thanks to the interactive exhibits and educational panels that your kids can participate in.

The space center is open every day of the year and still acts as the hub for USA’s space exploration programs. You can explore the facility behind the scenes as astronauts live and train here. 

Some of the exhibits you’ll see include the enormous shuttle spacecraft placed on the modified Boeing 747 carrier plane and a piece of moon rock that you can touch.

The museum tells a rich history of the US space program, and a part of it is dedicated to the development of the space program.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park

The Pedernales Falls State Park is located in the heart of the Hill Country, which is outside Johnson City. The park has a variety of activities like swimming, hiking, camping, fishing, and horseback riding.

Explore the swimming holes or push your limits with the hiking trails. 

You’ll take three hours to get to the 5212-acre park that is famous for fishing with carp as huge as fifteen pounds. 

Get an interactive mobile map from the Texas Parks and Wildlife site that ensures you get the best of the excursion and plan accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Houston is home to several cultural centers, parks, museums, and a space center. If you’re an avid day tripper, you can go hiking, fishing, shopping, camping, and exploring the listed best day trips from Houston above. 

Grab your partner, family, or friends, and enjoy the weekend getaway to these destinations.

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