There are hundreds of great day trip destinations located a few miles from Houston. In this article, we will share the top eight best day trips from Houston.
What are the best day trips to take around Houston?
Some of the best day trips from Houston include Galveston, Blessington Farms, Sam Houston National Forest, Port Arthur, Brenham, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Village Creek State Park, and George Ranch Historical Park. These day trips are ideal for solo adventures, families, and couples’ getaways in Texas.
The Top 8 Best Day Trips from Houston
As much as Houston has enough attractions and lots of things to keep you busy, you may want a break from the city once in a while, even if it’s only for a day. Fortunately, there are lots of incredible places to visit around Houston.
And, all these great destinations are located within a short distance away, making them ideal for a day trip.
Whether you love nature, arts and culture, history, or beaches, there’s a solid day trip just a few miles from Houston. Here are our top 8 best day trips from Houston.
Galveston is a beautiful beach town located less than an hour away from Houston. It features white-sand beaches, beach parks, historic buildings, boutique shops, restaurants and plenty of other exciting attractions.
Once you arrive here, you can begin your adventures by visiting the Strand District.
This charming and historic neighborhood is home to a wide range of restaurants, boutique shops, and historic sites.
Also, there’s the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, which is now a designated National Historic Landmark. The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier with its amazing amusement park is also located in the Strand District.
Galveston also offers numerous opportunities for outdoor lovers. And, you can start by exploring some of its stunning beaches, such as East Beach and Stewart Beach.
Stewart Beach is a great spot for sunbathing and swimming while East Beach is popular for its live music and volleyball courts.
Galveston is also home to the Galveston Island State Park, another great spot for outdoor lovers. Some of the activities here include biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, birdwatching, sunbathing and swimming, just to name a few.
If you love history, then Galveston also has got you covered.
There are several educational and interesting museums in this beach town, ideal for both children and adults.
Some of the museums that call Galveston home include the Galveston Railroad Museum, Texas Seaport Museum, Galveston Naval Museum at Seawolf Park and the Galveston Pirate’s Museum.
You can then wrap up your trip here by visiting Moody Gardens, a recreational and educational complex with lots of attractions such as a small water park, 3D theater, an aquarium, and a rainforest pyramid.
If you are making a list of the best day trips from Houston with kids, then you should add Blessington Farms.
This is one of the best places around Houston to go on a day trip with children since it offers a wide range of fun activities for families.
Your visit will begin with a hay ride around this farm. During this time, you will learn more about its roots as well as how it operates every day.
At the farm, your children can participate in activities like tug of war, swinging on ropes, exploring a rope maze, climbing tire mountains and jumping on inflated trampolines, just to name a few.
Also, you will get an opportunity to feed and interact with monk parrots, donkeys, hens, goats and camels.
Depending on the time of the year, you may also get an opportunity to pick your own fruits, including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. There’s also a pumpkin patch where you can choose your pick.
Blessington Farms is open every day from 9 am to 2 pm Thursday and Friday as well as from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
It’s located approximately 40 miles from downtown Houston. It should take you around 50 minutes to drive there.
Sam Houston National Forest
The Sam Houston National Forest is located approximately 60 miles north of Houston. It’s among the four designated national forests in the state.
The entire forest covers an area of approximately 163,000 acres, making it an ideal spot for outdoor activities and adventures.
After making your way here, you can begin by hiking or biking along the Lone Star Hiking Trail or choose another one, depending on your preferences. And as you hike or bike, you will soak in the beauty of the greenery and trees around you.
You will also spot wildlife along the way, especially birds.
You can then proceed to Cagle Recreation Area, home to Lake Conroe. This lake offers the ideal spot for water activities, including paddle boarding, kayaking, and boating.
Or you can simply sit on the lake’s shores, as you take in the beauty of the surroundings.
The San Jacinto River also runs through this park. It’s suitable for boating, fishing, and sailing. Also, hunting is allowed in this area.
So, remember to pack your hunting gear if you are going for this day trip from Houston.
After exploring the park and partaking in the different activities available for a couple of hours, there’s a high chance you will be feeling hungry. Fortunately, there’s an eatery on site, located at the Double Lake Recreation area, where you can grab some food and drinks.
The Sam Houston National Park is open throughout the year while the park offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Without a doubt, this is one of the best day trips from Houston for nature lovers.
Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico and approximately one hour from downtown Houston is the small town of Port Arthur.
It’s packed with museums, historical sites, stunning vistas and lots of outdoor adventures.
You can begin your tour of this small charming town with a visit to the Museum of Port Arthur. Here, you will get to learn more about the local community, as well as the town’s history, including its oil boom, which happened around the early 1900s.
Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site is another great spot to visit for history buffs. You will learn more about the area’s Civil War history.
Also, you will get an opportunity to explore a replica of the Civil War period fort.
From there, you should proceed to the Sabine Pass Lighthouse, which is among the three of its type in the entire country. The Golf Coast Museum is another notable place to pass by during your visit to this town.
Port Arthur also offers lots of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. For instance, you can do fishing and kayaking on Sabine Lake while Sea Rim State Park offers activities like hunting, fishing, kayaking, and paddling, among others.
During these outdoor activities, you will be able to spot different types of wildlife, including different types of birds, alligators, and fish. You can also rent a kayak and explore the waterways.
Port Arthur is also home to some sacred sites, including the Buu Mon Buddhist Temple and Our Lady of Guadalupe, a catholic church.
You should plan to spend at least seven to eight hours in this port city.
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most delightful wildlife sanctuaries in Texas.
Located about an hour’s drive east of Houston, this wildlife sanctuary is one of the best places in Houston for fishing, crabbing and birdwatching.
This park is set on approximately 34,000 acres, running along the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, you will have plenty of space to roam in water, get a secluded fishing spot or quietly watch wildlife.
Popular activities here include wildlife watching, hiking, paddling and nature photography. Waterfowl hunting is also allowed in some areas of this preserve. However, make sure you have a permit.
Here, you will spot different species of waterfowl, mottled ducks and large raptors. Also, shorebirds thrive here, including storks, pelicans, sandpipers, and snow geese, just to name a few.
Apart from bird species, this sanctuary is also home to other types of wildlife. Some of the other animals you are likely to spot here include feral hogs, coyotes, swamp rabbits, alligators, sea turtles and bobcats.
If you love visiting and exploring small towns, then a visit to Brenham should make your list of the best day trips from Houston. This charming small town is full of history, culture, and natural beauty.
It offers a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape Houston’s hustle and bustle.
Situated in Washington County, Brenham offers plenty of attractions to fill a whole day.
And, it’s located about an hour’s drive from Houston, making it a great day trip for those looking to escape the big city.
After arriving here, you can begin your tour by visiting the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory. Here, you will be taken on a tour of the facility and taste some of the ice cream flavors produced here.
There’s a shop café where you can purchase some to take home.
From the ice cream factory, you can proceed to Washington-on-the-Bezos for a bit of Texas history. The Declaration of Independence from Mexico was signed here. There’s also the Barrington Living History Farm, which showcases how life used to be in the 1800s.
If you are visiting during the spring, you will also get an opportunity to see the fields covered in blue by bluebonnets.
You can then grab lunch at one of the BBQ spots, shop for antiques and then head home.
Village Creek State Park
Village Creek State Park is yet another haven for nature lovers. Located in Lumberton, Texas, this park has a wide range of flora and fauna, thus offering the perfect spot for a day out in nature.
This park is ideal for activities like paddling, swimming and canoeing. Also, the creek waters several great fishing spots, where you can get bass, sunfish and catfish, among others.
Village Creek State Park also has several miles of trails, which you can explore by hiking or biking.
You will come across different types of landscapes, including swamps, wetlands, and pinewood forests.
Furthermore, several wildlife species call the park home. Therefore, it’s also a great spot for wildlife viewing and bird watching.
This park opens every day, throughout the year, between 8 am and 10 pm. The entrance fee is $4 for anyone over the age of 13. Overall, this is one of the best day trips from Houston for families and nature enthusiasts.
George Ranch Historical Park
If you are looking for a unique but interesting and fun day trip from Houston, then you should consider visiting the George Ranch Historical Park.
Situated approximately 45 minutes away in Fort Bend County, this working ranch is one of the best day trips from Houston for families.
At the ranch, you will be taken on a tour, which will allow you to explore the historic property, through different time periods, ranging between the early 19th century and the early 20th century.
Apart from exploring the historic homes, you will also learn various hands-on activities, including working cattle, blacksmithing, making clothes and churning butter.
Furthermore, there are live demonstrations of farming and ranching activities.
Also, you can go on a hike on the property, enjoy a picnic or simply relax and soak in the serene surroundings. Overall, a visit to this ranch offers history, adventure, and fun, all rolled into one day trip.
- There are hundreds of great day trips destinations around Houston
- You can explore historic sites and spots, beaches, small towns, and nature parks
- The majority of these day trips destinations are open year-round
- All these day trip destinations are within a few hours’ drive of Houston