20 Day Trips From Houston

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Houston, also known as H-Town (the nickname created by a local R&B group from the 90s), is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the entire United States. The city was first named after General Sam Houston and contains both a famous Theater District and Museum District. There’s lots to do in Houston but if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, here are some fantastic day trips from Houston.

20 Day Trips From Houston

Top 3 Houston Day Tours

Day Trips From Houston – Under 1 Hour

1- Space Center Houston

day trips from houston tx
An intriguing day trip from Houston is to visit the Houston Space Center. Pictured is the Saturn V rocket building.

The Space Center displays three spacecraft that have successfully completed space missions (Mercury 9, Gemini 5, and Apollo 17) and a collection of Moon rocks.

The Independence Plaza Complex within the Space Center contains the only space shuttle replica in the entire world, so this is an absolute must-see.

The Space Center Houston is 26 miles (42km) and approximately a 30-minute drive from Downtown Houston. Skip the line and buy your ticket here

2- The Woodlands

The Woodlands is a suburb of the greater Houston area known for its upscale shopping districts (including the Woodlands Mall) and sprawling parks.

Thrill seekers should head to iFly at Woodlands Houston to experience indoor skydiving.

For those with little ones looking for a little less adrenaline rush (while keeping all of the excitement), don’t miss the Woodlands Children’s Museum.

The Woodlands is 32 miles (51km) and a 35-minute drive from Downtown Houston. 

3- The Great Southwest Equestrian Center

day trips from houston for couples female friends looking over shoulder while sitting on horse during sunny day.
Interested in horses? Take a Houston day trip to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center for fun on horseback.

This Equestrian Center hosts some of the country’s most prestigious horse shows, such as the Great Southwest Fall Classic, the Platinum Classic, and the Heritage Classic.

All of the Great Southwest shows are free and open to the public, as is the parking, making it a magical and affordable day out.

The Great Southwest Equestrian Center is in Katy and is 28 miles (45km) and a 40-minute drive from Downtown Houston.

4- Kemah Boardwalk

2 day trips from houston
This observation tower has a view of the bay at Kemah.

The Kemah Boardwalk truly has something for everyone: from amusement rides and waterfront dining to shopping and kids’ crafts, the boardwalk is guaranteed to be a packed day of fun for the entire family.

Make a weekend out of this trip by staying at the Kemah Inn, which includes private balconies overlooking the waterfront.

The Kemah Boardwalk is in Kemah and is 35 miles (56km) and approximately a 45-minute drive from Downtown Houston. A relaxing way to explore is on this guided Houston tour, which includes Kemah Boardwalk.

5- Galveston

best one day trips from houston Galveston skyline and beach, Texas.
Taking a day trip from Houston to Galveston is one of the popular things to do.

Galveston is one of Texas’s most popular coastal cities and a hugely popular vacation destination during spring break, especially for college students.

Galveston was Texas’ largest city but sustained substantial damage during the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

After enjoying the waves and the sun at the beach, check out one of the city’s many ghost tours and learn all about the history of this iconic port town or go on a dolphin-watching cruise.

Galveston is 50 miles (80km) and an hour’s drive from Downtown Houston. Check out this Houston sightseeing tour and Galveston day trip.

6- Brazos Bend State Park

romantic day trips from houston
Brazos Bend State Park is an easy day trip from Houston for nature lovers.

The Brazos Bend State Park is free for everyone 12 and under and $7 for all those 13 and above.

Here you can hike, bike, fish, picnic and geocache.

The George Observatory is also in the park but make sure to buy tickets online and ahead of time from the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Brazos Bend State Park is 45 miles (72km) and a 45-minute drive from Downtown Houston.

7- Blessington Farms

small town day trips from houston
Visiting a farm is an easy day trip from Houston.

The best time to visit Blessington Farms is during the Fall season to experience the pumpkin patch and hayrides.

Here you can also pick your own strawberries and blueberries, an experience that can be both educational and exciting for all ages.

The farm is currently only open on the weekends.

Blessington Farms is in Wallis and is 41 miles (66km) and approximately an hour’s drive from Downtown Houston.

8- Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe expands across 22,000 acres and includes 157 miles of shoreline.

The lake has many boat rental choices and watersports stores if you don’t have a boat.

After a long day on the lake, nothing is better than a delicious meal at one of the many lakeside restaurants while watching the sunset over the water.

Lake Conroe is 56 miles (90km) and approximately an hour’s drive from Downtown Houston.

9- Sam Houston National Forest

day trips from houston 2020
Sam Houston National Forest is a short day trip from Houston.

Another example of Houston’s stunning natural beauty is the Sam Houston National Forest, one of the four National Forests of Texas.

The forest spans over 163,000 acres (66,000 ha) and three different counties.

Several archeological digs have taken place within the forest, yielding evidence of settlers from thousands of years ago.

The Lone Star Hiking Trail runs through the forest, but if you get the chance to explore this beautiful landscape, wear a high-vis vest during deer hunting season in November and December to stay safe.

The Sam Houston National Forest is in New Waverly and is 60 miles (97km) and approximately an hour’s drive from Downtown Houston.

Day Trips From Houston – Under 2.5 Hours

10- Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum

The discovery of oil at Spindletop (a salt dome three miles away from the city of Beaumont) aided the Texas economy.

It’s celebrated to this day with a “Gusher Re-enactment” where water is sprayed (in the place of oil) to show how the oil well exploded with oil for nine days until the stream could be controlled.

You can stroll around the replica of the boomtown through old-fashioned shops and get a taste of what life was like during the oil boom in Texas.

The Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum is in Beaumont and is 85 miles (137km) and a 1.5-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

11- College Station

College Station is best known as home to the Aggies or Texas A&M University.

This college town also hosts attractions such as the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the Messina Hof winery, the Texas World Speedway, and the New Republic Brewery.

To catch the vibe of the buzzing student life, check out the Northgate bar district or watch a game at the famous Kyle Field.

Texas A&M is known across the state for its strong sense of community and fraternity with its alumni throughout the world, so check out the campus and experience the atmosphere.

You might also enjoy this Aggies-themed scavenger hunt across the city.

College Station is 99 miles (159km) and a 1.5-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

12- Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point

day trips from houston texas
Take a day trip from Houston to Brazos Bend State Park or Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point for alligator sightings.

Another free day trip from Houston is the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point, where you can discover the best places to see alligators and various birds and listen to a Cajun band.

The exhibit displays describe the wildlife and landscape along the Creole Nature Trail and explain Southwest Louisiana’s culture.

Make sure to stop and grab a bite at a traditional Louisiana restaurant nearby, as Cajun cooking is special.

The Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point is located in Sulphur and is 135 miles (217km) and approximately a 2.5 hours drive from Downtown Houston.

13- San Marcos

fun day trips from houston five kayakers on the water
Kayaking or rafting on the San Marcos river is a must-do day trip from Houston for active travellers.

For a truly unique experience, head to San Marcos and take a beginner stained-glass class at River City Glassworks.

However, the main attraction of this city is the San Marcos river, where you can go tubing, kayaking, rafting and hiking.

The Wonder World Cave and Park is a wonderful addition to the natural beauties surrounding Houston, as the cave tour will truly take your breath away.

The park also includes a petting zoo and observation tower.

San Marcos is 167 miles (269km) and approximately a 2.5-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

14- Temple

hill country day trips from houston Glass of light beer on a dark pub.
Going on a brewery crawl in Temple is a fun day trip from Houston.

Temple has a range of great wineries and breweries, such as the BJ’s brewery (which creates beer for all of the BJ’s restaurants), the Bold Republic Brewing Company, the Fire Base Brewing Company, the 3 Texans Winery and the Moose & Goose Winery.

Check out the Lions Junction Family Water Park for younger adventurers, and for those who love the outdoors, make a stop at Friar Creek’s Trail.

Temple is 173 miles (278km) and approximately a 2.5-hour drive from Downtown Houston. Here’s a wine and beer tour you can join if you’d rather someone else does the driving.

15- Goose Island State Park

Goose Island State Park spans over 341 acres (137 ha) and is home to the “Big Tree”, a Southern live oak tree with a circumference of 35 feet (10 m) and a whopping 44 feet tall (13.4 m)

The Big Tree is over 1000 years old.

Camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and bird-watching are just a few activities available at this park.

Goose Island State Park is located in Rockport and is 180 miles (290 km) and approximately a 2.5-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

Day Trips From Houston – Under 4 Hours

16- Austin

day trips from houston
If you’ve never visited Austin, you can do a day trip from Houston to explore the city.

Austin is the capital of Texas and home to the Capitol Building, which is open to the public for tours.

If you get the chance to visit this massive monument, stand in the centre of the floor below the dome and look straight up for awe-inspiring views.

Austin is also known for its current massive expansion and shift towards progressivism and “hipster” culture.

Because of this, many artsy districts have popped up around the city, offering gourmet vegan food and craft beers.

A highlight of a trip to Austin is a sunset boat cruise. And, of course, you can’t go to Austin without visiting the Museum of Ice Cream.

Austin is 168 miles (270km) and approximately a three-hour drive from Downtown Houston. A great way to see the sights is on a single-loop sightseeing tour aboard a double-decker bus.

17- The Alamo

unusual day trips from houston blue sky and people waiting to enter the Alamo
Exploring the Alamo Mission in San Antonio makes a day trip from Houston well worth it.

The Battle of the Alamo is the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution, which ultimately ended in the creation of the Republic of Texas.

This site is honoured as part of the turning point in the fight for Texas’ independence from Mexico, and the Alamo itself has been named an official Texas State Shrine by the Texas Legislature.

Both Texans and tourists flock to this historical landmark to learn more about the state’s history and the bloody battle that was fought at this garrison.

When visiting the Alamo, take the time to explore the riverside of San Antonio and take a ghost tour of the city for more spooky historical facts.

The Alamo is located in San Antonio and is 197 miles (317km) and approximately a three-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

18- USS Lexington

The USS Lexington has been docked in Corpus Christi since 1992 and currently functions as a museum open to the public.

The ship is named after one of the major military battles in the American Revolutionary War after shipyard workers petitioned the Navy Secretary to name the ship in honour of the USS Lexington (CV-2) that was sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea during World War II.

The USS Lexington is the oldest remaining fleet carrier in the world and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2003.

The USS Lexington is located in Corpus Christi and is 207 miles (333km) and approximately a three-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

19- Texas State Aquarium

day trips in texas from houston
Another interesting day trip from Houston is to Corpus Christi, where you will find several attractions, including the USS Lexington and Texas State Aquarium.

The Texas State Aquarium is home to over 500 species, including seahorses, otters, jellyfish and turtles.

Admission is more expensive than anything else on this list (coming in at almost $40 per adult), but the price is worth the unforgettable experience the aquarium offers. Plus, kids two and younger can enter for free.

For that extra special experience, you can book ahead to go snorkelling with a shark in a cage.

The Texas State Aquarium is in Corpus Christi and is 207 miles (333km) and approximately a three-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

20- Dallas

3 day trips from houston Dallas cityscape
A day trip from Houston to Dallas is doable but start early in the morning as it’ll be a long day.

Perhaps the most famous city in Texas, Dallas is home to a host of entertaining experiences.

History buffs will want to visit the JFK assassination museum, known as the Sixth Floor Museum, located in the spot where the sniper fatally shot and killed President Kennedy or join this tour.

Dallas also has its own version of the iFly experience where you can test your fear of heights with some indoor skydiving.

Reunion Tower has an Observation Deck in Downtown Dallas with the city’s best panoramic views.

Dallas is 240 miles (386km) and approximately a 3.5-hour drive from Downtown Houston.

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Georgina Fullerton is a British American who has lived and travelled all over the world. Travel, writing and adventure are her main passions in life and she loves exploring new places, languages and cultures. She has visited over 15 countries and has a tattoo of all of her favourite monuments from around the world. Georgina has a degree in Linguistics and a degree in French and has taught English to teenagers in France. She lives just outside Dallas, Texas, where the sun never stops shining.