Looking to get out of the city for a day or three with the family? While Houston is such a fun place to be, the Lone Star State presents incredible opportunities for outdoor adventures, educational experiences, and prime-time road trips.
Texas is such an incredibly big place with so much to discover and the locale of Houston makes it such a great starting point for some of the best day trips.
While Houston features amazing outings such as the Space Center Houston, NASA's Johnson Space Center, and the Houston Botanic Garden, it can be so much fun to pack up the car and discover some of the hidden gems outside of the metro-Houston area. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly Houston day trips.
Apologies if you're looking for Dallas on this list--the almost four-hour drive to Big D makes for a tough day trip for Houstonians...
10 Awesome Day Trips From Houston
The capital city of Texas is a booming hub for great eats, live music, and outdoor adventures! While there are great boutiques and nightlife, Austin also has an incredible selection of kid-friendly activities. Spend a day kayaking on Lady Bird Lake, go biking on one of the nature trails, or take a scenic drive to see the bluebonnets in springtime. Additional kid-approved fun includes the Austin Botanical Gardens, ride the new and improved Zilker Eagle train at the park, or spend a day at the Thinkery.
2. Galveston Island
Located just an hour outside of the city, Galveston Island is a sure bet for a Gulf coast weekend getaway with the family. Galveston offers fishing, boating, swimming, nature trails, and so much more! Head to Moody Gardens for rides, stingray petting at the aquarium, and the famous Rainforest Pyramid. Walk the boardwalk of the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Or head to Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston!
3. La Porte
If you have older kids who are fascinated by history, visit the Battleship Texas State Historic Site, just outside of town. Located alongside the Buffalo Bayou in La Porte, Texas, you will find the San Jacinto Battleground site and the San Jacinto Monument. Here you can relive the epic battle that helped shaped Texas history!
In a small town called Brenham, some of the best ice cream in the USA is made. The Blue Bell Creamery is where the mind-blowingly delicious Blue Bell Ice Cream is created for all to enjoy. While Blue Bell may be more of a southern staple, it is no joke that this ice cream helped shaped the lives of young Texans everywhere. Drive one hour to Brenham so you can grab a scoop at the parlor and shop in the Country Store.
5. San Antonio
Located a three-hour drive west of Houston, San Antonio is a wonderful option for a weekend getaway with the family. You even get to take a scenic drive through the glorious Texas Hill Country. There is no shortage of exciting things to do with the kiddos here, including taking a tour of the Alamo as well as the Six Flags Over Texas' Fiesta Texas amusement park and waterpark.
6. Brazos Bend State Park
Another awesome day trip from Houston is in Needville, situated less than an hour from downtown Houston. Brazos Bend State Park provides a Texas State Park oasis with all the activities, wildlife, and learning opportunities you could dream of. Whether you are just driving through the area or planning a weekend-long trip, Brazos Bend is a wonderful destination for people of all ages. Explore the hiking trails in the wetlands, look out for alligators, and take a guided tour of the diverse ecosystems at the park.
7. Kemah Boardwalk
The ultimate family getaway can be found 30 miles from downtown Houston at the Kemah Boardwalk. The famous boardwalk is built along the shores of Galveston Bay and Clear Lake and is known as one of the premier boardwalks in the USA. Kemah boasts a wide array of rides, attractions, shops, restaurants, and all sorts of fun!
8. Sam Houston National Forest
One of the four National Forests in the state, the Sam Houston National Forest is located 50 miles north of Houston and boasts 163,037 acres. Spanning Huntsville, Conroe, Cleveland, and Richards, Texas, this national forest offers hiking, camping, biking, fishing, and hunting.
9. Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
Located an hour from downtown Houston, the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge presents 37,000 acres of winding bayous, ancient flood plains, and vast reaches of coastal marshland. If you are looking to see wildlife, this is the place! Keep your eyes peeled for alligators, migratory birds, and six rail species.
10. McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge
Nestled on the Louisiana border near Beaumont, the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge boasts almost 60,000 acres of the largest freshwater marsh remaining on the Gulf Coast in Texas. Similar to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, the McFaddin Refuge features amazing flocks of migratory birds and is also home to the largest concentration of American alligators in all of the state.
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