Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

15 Best Day Trips from Houston

Houston is the most diverse city in Texas, and that diversity extends to its attractions. The Houston area has tons of things to do, including museums, beaches, parks, and more. Whether you are single or with your family, looking for outdoor adventures or shopping fun, some of these Houston day trips are for you!

Please note that drive times are from downtown Houston and may vary dramatically depending on your specific location and the traffic at the time.

Here are the best day trips from Houston!

Woman paddleboarding in San Marcos Texas river, a great day trip from Austin

Best Day Trips From Houston Less Than 1 Hour Away

Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk is the perfect Houston day trip for family fun. It is home to dozens of waterfront stores and restaurants including everything from Starbucks and Build-a-Bear Workshop to the Aquarium Restaurant and Treasure Chest Gift Shop.

The amusements at Kemah Boardwalk include a Ferris wheel, a double-decker carousel, hypnospin, and many more. There are midway games, an arcade, and a playground. Don’t forget to take in the seaside shows, too!

Driving Distance from Houston

45 minutes.

Aerial view of Kemah Boardwalk near Houston Texas

Space Center Houston + Johnson Space Center

Fun and educational, Houston Space Center is one of the most famous attractions in the Houston area.

Enjoy exhibits about shuttles from different eras, the amazing astronauts who flew in them, even explore inside the shuttle replica Independence! Adults and kids alike will want to check out the interactive exhibit Mission Mars.

READ NEXT
One Day in Houston: How to See Houston in a Day

You can even go to Johnson Space Center and tour astronaut training facilities and mission control.

Driving Distance from Houston

37 minutes.

Rear end of a parked rocket ship set against a bright blue sky

Katy

Katy is home to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, which holds prestigious horse shows and rodeos as well as other livestock events.

For kids and families, there is Typhoon Texas: State of the Art Waterpark. If you are looking for a quiet afternoon, there are several museums to get lost in, including the Katy Railroad Heritage Museum (with a caboose car outside to explore), Katy Heritage Museum and the Katy War Veterans Memorial and Museum.

Driving Distance from Houston

30 minutes.

READ NEXT
21 Cool Things to Do in Conroe, TX

Conroe

Conroe is the place to come if you want a day of fun and sun! There is jet skiing, kayaking, rafting, and boating. Away from the water, there are several miniature golf courses, go-karts, bowling, and outdoor obstacle courses.

For a taste of the local spirits check out Bartletts Distillery for a tour and tasting or visit the tasting room at Southern Star Brewing.

Driving Distance from Houston

40 minutes.

Sunset over Lake Conroe Texas

Blessington Farms

Get out of town, pick your own vine-ripe berries and vegetables, and get hands-on with animals at Blessington Farms in Wallis.

Fishing comes with your admission, so B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bait). The aviary has Quaker parrots you can feed. Blessington Farms even has some unique fun for kids with their rat race (where you roll tubes on a track by running inside them), the Spider Webb to climb on, sand mountain, and a barrel train ride.

Driving Distance from Houston

50 minutes.

Blueberries being picked from a bush with 2 hands visible holding them. Picking blueberries in the summer is one of the best things to do in Conroe TX

Brazos Bend State Park

Outdoor lovers will rank Brazos Bend State Park among their favorite day trips from Houston.

Here, you’ll find nature trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. You can also fish from the shores or pier, no license needed!

READ NEXT
Hiking in Houston: 15 Best Trails In + Near Houston

Brazos Bend is all about nature, so it’s a perfect place to spend the day if you love getting outdoors!

Driving Distance from Houston

50 minutes.

View of a pond at Brazos Bend State Park as seen from a wooden deck, one of the best day trips from Houston TX

Galveston

Galveston is one of the most popular day trip destinations from Houston–no surprise, considering its beautiful and, more importantly, easily accessible beach!

The most popular beaches are Galveston Beach, Porretto Beach and East Beach, but once you’ve had your fill of the water, there are still plenty of things to do in Galveston.

READ NEXT
21 Best Things to Do in Galveston

The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier has 16 rides, midway games, and a variety of other family-friendly activities. When you get hungry from all the fun, try one of the local favorite restaurants like Shrimp ’n Stuff, Mosquito Cafe, Salsa’s Mexican Cafe, or Olympia Grill at Pier 21. There are breweries to visit, such as Beerfoot Brewery, Devil and the Deep, Symposium Brew Pub, and others.

Other great places to visit in Galveston include Moody’s Mansion, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, and The Strand District (where the Galveston Island Railroad Museum is, along with an array of shops and businesses including Hotel Galvez and Spa).

Driving Distance from Houston

1 hour.

Galveston Pier with beach in the foreground where people are swimming. Galveston is one of the best houston day trips

Sam Houston National Forest

For a taste of the western edge of the Piney Woods, beautiful hiking trails, great camping, and even places to canoe or kayak in order to get a different perspective on the environment, the Sam Houston National Forest is absolutely one of the best day trips from Houston.

READ NEXT
10 Coolest Caves in Texas (+ Map to Find Them!)

For a getaway that feels worlds apart from the sprawling city, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the forest.

Driving Distance from Houston

1 hour.

Piney woods in Sam Houston National Forest as seen looking up

Navasota + Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

Known for its excellent antique and interesting historical sites connected to Texas history, Navasota is one of the best Houston day trips for those interested in history.

Circle P Antiques and Collectibles, Bluebonnet Village Collectible, Pink Champagne Antiques, and Stonecroft Marketplace are just a few of the shops where you can find wonderful vintage items in Navasota.

READ NEXT
7 Epic Texas Road Trip Ideas

Aside from antiquing, Navasota is also near several historical sites, including Washington-on-the-Brazos Historical site (where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed) and the Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site (an Inn and store restored to their 1850s glory).

Driving Distance from Houston

1 hour.

White building surrounded by green grass that is the Washington-on-the-Brazos state historic site in Texas

Houston Day Trips Under 2 Hours Away

College Station

College Station is the home to the beautiful, historic, and enormous Texas A&M University.

The campus itself is celebrated for its beauty and houses the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The museum features artifacts like the Presidential limousine and a replica Oval Office.

After the museum, you can stop for a picnic next door at Research Park. The Sam Houston Sanders Corp of Cadets Center is also located on the Texas A&M campus.

READ NEXT
10 Cool Things to Do in College Station, TX

Of course, the best reason for a Houston day trip to College Station is for football: if you’re in town at the right time and can get tickets, don’t miss the chance to enjoy a game at historic Kyle Field!

You can also visit the Brazos Valley Natural History Museum or the Children’s Museum in nearby Bryan and stop and have a bite to eat at Lamar and Niki’s Pit Barbeque and Soul Food on your way back home.

Driving Distance from Houston

1 hour, 30 minutes.

Century tree at Texas A&M with a bike parked under it

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

This is the place to come to watch the wildlife!

Hike the nature trails, hunt waterfowl, fish, boat, or take a guided walk and learn about the natural resources Texas has to offer.

Visit the Butterfly Garden for the spectacular flowers, plants, and butterflies, or The Willows to see the migrating birds in the spring and fall.

Driving Distance from Houston

1 hour, 20 minutes.

Alligator on the edge of a pond at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Beaumont

When in Beaumont, the most popular thing to do is to visit the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum. This is a living museum that recreates the experience of life in a boomtown at the start of the 20th century.

Don’t miss the Lucas Gusher re-enactment and be careful not to get caught in a (staged) old-fashioned gun fight!

Other museums in Beaumont include the McFaddin-Ward House Museum, the Fire Museum of Texas, and the Clifton Steamboat Museum.

READ NEXT
21 Best Small Towns in Texas (+ Map!)

Beaumont Botanical Gardens offers paved pathways and plenty of benches to rest on while enjoying their modern and antique roses, other flower varieties, and native plants. The gardens also house the Warren Loose Conservatory.

Driving Distance from Houston

1 hour, 15 minutes.

Boardwalk at sunset in Beaumont Texas, one of the best Houston day trip ideas

Day Trips Under 3 Hours From Houston

These next couple of day trips from Houston require a disclaimer: committing to one of these means a very long day in the car, and in order to make them feasible, you really need to avoid traffic as much as possible (a big ask in Houston, I know), which means a very, very early start.

However, if you’re short on time and want to see some of the most iconic places in Texas, these spots are doable as Houston day trips.

Austin

With as many as 100 live performances on one night and the home of some of the planet’s most iconic music festivals, the capital of Texas is proudly known as the live music capital of the world.

Be sure to stroll down South Congress to sample the eclectic boutiques and some of Austin’s most popular pieces of street art.

From there, enjoy some outdoor fun as you, hike, swim, or canoe at Zilker Park, climb Mount Bonnell for some spectacular views or jump into the popular Barton Springs Pool for a swim.

To learn a bit about Texas history and government, consider touring the state capitol building, the governor’s mansion, or the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The LBJ Presidential Library is also located in Austin and has several interesting features including an LBJ robot.

Cap off the night by experiencing some of Austin’s iconic nightlife, whether that’s on Dirty Sixth (popular with students and visitors), West Sixth (a bit of a more refined crowd, and still lots of fun), or over on Rainey Street.

Skyline of Austin Texas as seen over Lady Bird Lake. Austin is one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas tx

Driving Distance from Houston

2 hours, 27 minutes.

READ NEXT
11 Stunning State Parks Near Houston

San Marcos

If you take a day trip to San Marcos, it’s generally with the intention of doing one of two things: floating the river, or shopping at the largest outlet mall in the USA… and both are fantastic reasons to visit San Marcos.

There are also plenty of other things to see in and around San Marcos, though: consider going snorkeling (yes, snorkeling in Texas–the water is absolutely clear enough!), hunting down some of the city’s colorful murals, or going for a glass-bottom boat tour as part of your day trip from Houston.

Driving Distance from Houston

2 hours, 40 minutes.

2 photos from Texas, one of Galveston and one of Brazos Bend State Park. Black and red text on a white background reads "15 best day trips from houston"

Leave a Comment