Although Houston, the nation's fourth largest city, has plenty to see and do inside the city itself, sometimes it is nice to "take a drive" and visit some of the sites in the outlying area. Luckily for Houston area tourists and residents alike, there are a great many attractions within a short drive of the Bayou City. Here are a handful of ideas for those wishing to spend a day experiencing something outside the confines of Texas' largest city.
During the warm weather months, most visitors begin thinking of Texas beaches. While it’s true that Galveston is home to several great beach parks, it is also a year-round tourist destination with several attractions and entertainment options. And, it is only an hour and a half drive from downtown Houston. Among the most popular attractions on Galveston Island are Moody Gardens, the Galveston Pleasure Pier, and Schlitterbahn Water Park. Galveston also features a number of outstanding restaurants.
Located just outside of Richmond, southwest of Houston, the George Ranch Historical Park is a living history exhibit that aims to educate the public about Texas history situated on the site of a former working ranch. The George Ranch is just a short drive outside of Houston. and is a great way for visitors to get a feel for life in early Texas.
f you happen to be heading to Houston or Southeast Texas, you can't pass up an opportunity to visit the San Jacinto Monument and San Jacinto Battleground - the very place where Texas gained its independence. Also moored at the San Jacinto Historical Site, where it is open for tours to the public, is the Battleship Texas, a veteran of both World Wars. The close proximity of these two historical attractions allows visitors to get a feel for two distinctly different periods of Texas and US history all in the same day.
Covering nearly 100,000 acres, Big Thicket National Preserve was the first such preserve in the United States. The Big Thicket NP is home to a diverse group of plants and animals, plays host to thousands of nature enthusiasts annually and is within a two-hour drive of Houston. The Big Thicket National Preserve is so massive, however, it is tough to explore in a single day. But, each and every trip to the Preserve is a unique experience that keeps visitors coming back.
Lake Conroe's 21,000 acres lie just a short drive from Houston. It's quick access to the nation's fourth largest city has made it one of the busiest lakes in the state when it comes to recreational boating traffic. The Lake Conroe area also boasts a huge outlet mall and plenty of dining options. Without a doubt, day trippers to Conroe will find more than enough water and shoreside activities to fill out a summer day.