A colorful field of bluebonnet flowers in Fredericksburg Texas, one of the best day trips from Houston

27 Best Day Trips from Houston in 2022 (By a Local)

In this guide, I’ll share 27 of the best day trips from Houston to help you get out and explore beyond the city.

I’ve called Houston home for over three decades, and spent much of my childhood vacationing in “H-town.”

Everyone will find a Houston day trip to love on this list, whether you enjoy hiking, water sports, horseback riding, or theme parks. I’ll also share options perfect for trying new wines, gazing at the stars, or exploring old-world towns. Let’s dive in:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

27 Best Houston Day Trips 

Fredericksburg

A town filled with old world charm offering diverse itineraries is the reason why I continue to return to Fredericksburg.

The Enchanted Rock from afar in Texas
The beautiful Enchanted Rock of Texas

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 4 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Fredericksburg Website | 👉 Suggested Wine Tours

You’ll probably want to linger on Fredericksburg’s main drag where vintage clothing boutiques, antique shops, craft breweries, and eateries line East Main Street. But the reason Fredericksburg tops this list of day trips from Houston is because there is so much more to explore!

Remnant of Deutschland, Fredericksburg ironically is called the “Tuscany of Texas” because its landscape includes over 100 vineyards. This historic town offers an abundance of wine tours where you can picnic, taste, and buy award-winning vino.

Enchanted Rock – a 425-foot indigenous rock – enchants you to backpack, hike, camp, or just soak in the breathtaking scenery. In the springtime, visitors flock to Fredericksburg for off-road photo ops in fields of bluebonnets (Texas’s official flower).

You also can go horseback riding through exquisite terrain. After taking in the panoramic views, you’ll understand why this area is called “Hill Country.”

Bellville

You’ll get to visit a real-life castle in Bellville. What more is there to say?

The Newman’s Castle Fortress from the outside in Bellville, Texas
Impressive Newman’s Castle Fortress in Bellville Texas USA with moat draw bridge lookout tower, 2017

🗺️ Distance from Houston:  70 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Bellville Website

Texas isn’t known for royalty, but you can still visit a castle in Bellville. A little more than an hour’s drive from Houston, Newman’s Castle features a 3,000-pound drawbridge, a moat (alligators included), a chapel, and five corner turrets. And guess what? The owner lives there, too!

The back-in-time edifice is the brainchild of renowned Newman’s Bakery owner Mike Newman. Newman’s European excursion inspired him to build the castle that hosts six daily weekly tours. You can get more information and schedule a time inside the bakery or call in advance. 

Newman suggests exploring the town’s quaint boutiques, antique shops, and other historical sites, including forging knives. Before heading out, make a last stop at the bakery to indulge in a few sweet treats.

George Observatory

Enjoy a star-studded evening with family and friends while learning about space.

The George Observatory under the clear blue sky
George Observatory in daylight

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 50 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | George Observatory Website

A visit to the George Observatory is a must for adults and kids. Barely an hour away from the Houston city lights, you can treat yourself to a star-studded experience – weather permitting. 

This galactic excursion includes an up-close-and-personal gaze of Jupiter through the real star of the observatory – the 36-inch Gueymard Research Telescope, which is one of the nation’s largest. 

Astronomy enthusiasts can answer all your questions as they guide your constellation laser tour. Plus, you get to witness captured live camera feeds.   

The observatory is part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, set in Brazos Bend State Park. Arrive early for a one-hour tour scheduled at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. with advanced purchased $10 tickets. 

San Antonio

Texas’ second largest city is the perfect getaway to enjoy the natural beauty and learn a little Texas history

Colorful big umbrellas at the Riverwalk in San Antonio
The famous Riverwalk on September 29, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. A bustling place with many restaurants and bars. (photo: f11photo / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3 hours to 3.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | San Antonio Website | 👉 Natural Cavern Tours

San Antonio is synonymous with the Alamo and the Riverwalk, which you absolutely have to experience. The best times to visit (and remember!) the Alamo is early spring or October, when temperatures are cooler and lines are shorter. 

Advance ticket purchase isn’t necessary because you can buy them onsite. Afterwards, enjoy Tex-Mex eateries and sip margaritas at one of the Riverwalk’s many restaurants. A 35-minute boat tour along the iconic Riverwalk should be your last stop before heading home to Houston. 

But if you want a different experience, explore the Natural Bridge Caverns. The Caverns are ancient caves 180 feet below ground filled with stalactites and stalagmites forged over thousands of years. Choose from various tours that fit your time, curiosity, and budget.  

Schulenburg

A small town loaded with European charm and church architecture dating back to the 1800’s.

View of the ceiling and the inside of St. Mary Catholic Church
St. Mary Catholic Church Interior Dome and Ceiling Detail. One of the painted churches of Texas. (photo: xradiophotog / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 90 minutes to 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Schulenburg Website

If you enjoy architecture and touring old church buildings, then Schulenburg should be high on your list of day trips from Houston. In as quick as 90 minutes, you can arrive in the old-world German town of Schulenburg to view some of the most awe-inspiring painted churches. 

Settled by German and Czech immigrants in the 1800s, they built over 20 elaborate churches remnant of their home countries in the Texas Hill Country. Unfortunately, only 15 remain, and four reside within short distances of Schulenburg, including St. Mary’s of Praha. 

Though underwhelming outside, the church’s opulent interiors display magnificent stained glass windows, intricate murals, and hand-painted pastel-colored walls and ceilings. Feel free to take a self-guided excursion or book a tour through Schulenburg’s Chamber of Commerce.

Brenham

Brenham is the place to sample as much iconic Blue Bell ice cream as you’d like.

The Blue Bell Factory building from the outside in Brenham, Texas
The Blue Bell factory in Brenham (photo: Nina Alizada / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 70 minutes to 1.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Brenham Website

Most Texans will tell you the only stop you need to make in Brenham is at the Blue Bell factory. While there, you’ll learn how Texas’s favorite ice cream gets made and sample ample complimentary scoops at the Parlor.

This quaint town, however, offers more to explore during your Houston day trip. A time warp into Texas’ past, the Texas Declaration of Independence signing took place at the landmark Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. You can learn more about the town at the Brenham Heritage Museum.

Then head over to Truth Barbeque for a belly-full of authentic Texas barbeque. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth with a heaping serving of coconut meringue pie from Must Be Heaven. Satisfied customers say it’s the “best pie ever!”

Richmond

This small town is a throwback to frontier living, live music, and wine

Scenic view in Richmond during a sunny morning
Summer storm clouds building over Richmond, TX

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Richmond Website

The small town of Richmond, located 40 minutes south of Houston, offers Texas-sized fun on the 20,000-acre George Ranch. The 100-year-old homestead offers a real-life frontier experience with Western-clad guides who tour visitors across the half-mile George Ranch Heritage Trail loop. 

The tour also includes observing historic 1830’s homesites and cowboys roping cattle.

If you prefer more city-slicker activities without the city crowds, check out Braman Winery. It’s a family-owned establishment that includes a brewery. In addition to craft-style beers, patrons can choose from reds, whites, and sparkling wines, and listen to live music. 

Braman’s also offers special events like wine bingo, ladies nights, and open mics. 

New Braunfels

Visit a waterpark or grab a tube and float along lazy turquoise rivers.

A sunny morning at the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels
Guadalupe River in New Braunfels 

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3 hours to 3.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | New Braunfels Website | 👉 New Braunfels All-Inclusive Tubing Tour

New Braunfels is another Texas town rich in German heritage, and makes for one of the best day trips from Houston for families. 

Home of the original Schlitterbahn Waterpark, between San Antonio and Austin, New Braunfels sprawls the Guadelupe and Comal Rivers. 

Every summer, these lazy turquoise rivers teem with visitors from all over to enjoy tubing – a relaxing float while taking in beautiful scenery. 

Most tubing companies charge, supply the necessary equipment, and send customers on their way. But, this guided tour down the Comal boasts best practices and tips while having a blast as you navigate rushing rivers and slippery rocks. 

They provide the tube, plus a water bottle, a sunglass float strap, a dry bag for your cell phone, and a dry bag necklace for Bluetooth speakers. 

Lake Charles

A fun-filled Houston day trip on the water and a great place to enjoy authentic Creole food.

Aerial view of buildings around Lake Charles
(photo: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 2.5 hours to 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Lake Charles Website

Lake Charles is where I grew up and one of the friendliest places for day trips from Houston. Whenever I visit, I can’t leave before grabbing a bite at Steamboat Bill’s. I always order the shrimp po’boy or pounds of spicy crawfish (when in season).

Lake Charles is also a popular gambling destination. Two luxurious casino resorts dot the Calcasieu River shoreline, including the Golden Nugget Lake Charles. Settled along the Gulf Coast, there are tons of water activities like speed boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing.  

If you crave more wet and wild fun in the sun, take an 11-mile drive or rideshare to SPAR Waterpark in Sulphur ($6-$14 admission). Park features include a lagoon, serpentine slides, and splash pads. 

Texas City

A quick Houston day trip perfect for fishing, crabbing, and spending time on the water.

Aerial view of the Texas City Dike
Texas City Dike

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 45 minutes to 50 minutes | 📍 Google Maps 

I spent much of my childhood on the Texas City Dike with my uncle and cousins, building sand castles, fishing, and crabbing. The five-miles stretch is the longest man-made fishing pier in the world. 

There are ample boat launches for boat owners who want to fish, ski, parasail, or participate in other extreme water sports. Summer weekends charge a $10 vehicle entrance fee but are free on summer weekdays and during winter. 

Another way to enjoy the water and cool off is on the splash pads at Rainbow Park.       

Other dike activities include soccer at Bay Street Park, golf at Disc Golf, and dining at Boyd’s Cajun Grill.

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens is where Disneyland meets interactive education, making it one of the best Houston day trips for kids.

View of the Moody Gardens from afar
(photo: Mark Taylor Cunningham / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Moody Gardens Website

When my goddaughter was middle-school-aged, visiting Moody Gardens as a family was one of my favorite day trips. It’s an educational wonderland housed in three grand pyramids: Discovery, Aquarium, and Rainforest.  

The Discovery Pyramid features traveling exhibits and 4-D films, and has an upper and lower level. You can’t miss the 12-story Aquamarine Pyramid, shaded in blue. It encompasses colossal pools containing 1.5 million gallons of sharks, seals, penguins, jellyfish, and other ocean creatures. 

At the Rainforest, you’ll find over 1,700 exotic plants and animals native to rainforests from around the world. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop to purchase trinkets to commemorate such an extraordinary escapade.

It’s definitely one of the top day trips from Houston for families with children!

LaPorte

Explore Texas history, relax on the beach, or enjoy a picnic in the park. 

View of the battleship VV-25 “Texas” under the clear blue sky
The battleship VV-25 “Texas” (photo: IevgenGluzhetsky / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | LaPorte Website

LaPorte features the only beach in Harris County. Sylvan Beach presents scenic views of the bay and immaculate white sand. The adjacent 31-acre park makes a perfect locale for a romantic or family picnic in the park. While there, take some time to fish on the pier or enjoy a boat ride.

You can also find the White House replica, Governor Ross Sterling Mansion, in LaPorte. Still inhabited by an actual family, the Exxon oil founder turned governor built the palatial home in 1924.

Don’t finish your day trip from Houston to LaPorte before visiting The Battle of San Jacinto. The monument commemorates the 1836 Texas Revolution and stands 161 feet tall. Another ode to the battle is the Battleship Texas, a now retired vessel that rests along the Houston Ship Channel. 

Texas State Aquarium

Catch a dolphin show and learn about other sea creatures of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

View outside the Texas State Aquarium
View from Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi TX USA

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3 hours to 3.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Texas State Aquarium Website | 👉 Suggested Texas State Aquarium Tours

Witness an amazing dolphin show and discover other marine life at the Texas State Aquarium. The aquarium houses sea creatures native to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The exhibits feature sharks, stingrays, octopus, various fish species, and of course dolphins. 

The aquarium also devotes time to rescuing and rehabilitating marine wildlife and cleaning the oceans. 

During summer, this is one of the most popular day trips from Houston. So, if visiting then, try to go during the week to avoid crowds. There is also plenty of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. And, baby backpacks allow parents to better navigate through crowds.

Ticket prices range from $29.95 to $39.95, and the aquarium opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

Galveston

Take in panoramic views while relaxing on the ferry, try surfing, and explore historic Victorian homes.

The Bishop’s Palace under the clear blue sky in Galveston, Texas
The Bishop’s Palace (photo: Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 1 hour to 1.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Galveston Website | 👉 Top Suggested Tours

Half the fun of Galveston is getting there. If you’re traveling there for the first time, please take the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. What you’ll get is a free dolphin show and panoramic views of Galveston Island.

Once there, the only problem will be what to do first. Galveston is a playground for surfers and wakeboarders. It’s also home to Pleasure Pier, an outlandish theme park overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, with roller coasters named Texas Flyer and Shark Rollercoaster. 

Another theme park option is Schlitterbahn Waterpark, offering over 31 aquatic ride attractions. 

Architecture buffs can tour historic Victorian homes. You’ll especially want to visit during the Christmas holidays. For food options and shopping, head to The Strand. You also may consider returning for Mardi Gras.

Beaumont

Learn about the origins of the Texas oil boom and meet Big Tex, the largest living alligator caught in captivity.

View of the sunrise on a boardwalk in Beaumont, Texas
A beautiful sunrise over the wetlands along a boardwalk

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 90 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Beaumont Website | 👉 Book a Beaumont Scavenger Hunt

Beaumont was once a booming oil town, hence all the oil refineries in the area. In 1901, the city had its first major gusher in Texas history. For nine days, oil blew 100 feet into the air. To get an idea of Beaumont’s oil origins, visit Spindletop – preservation of the world’s largest oil gusher – at Lamar University’s Gladys City Boomtown Museum.

Consider the two-hour, self-paced scavenger hunt that leads to the world’s largest fire hydrant at the Fire Museum of Texas. 

To see the largest alligator (Big Tex) sprawling at 13 feet and weighing more than 1,000 pounds, visit the Gator Country Adventure Park. 

Space Center Houston

Do as the astronauts do, and get a sneak peek of what life will be like on Mars. 

Astronauts displayed inside the Space Center Houston
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (photo: amadeustx / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 50 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Space Center Houston Website | 👉 Suggested NASA Tours

Let’s say up front that one of our day trips from Houston is still within the city limits, and in fact one of the most famous Houston attractions. But the Space Center is a 50-minute drive south of downtown, and worth a full day trip. 

The 250,000-square-foot complex offers tours of the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility and Mission Control. 

Starship Gallery houses flown spacecraft and let you see the last Moon mission from the Apollo 17 Command Module. You can touch moon rock and walk inside the Skylab-1G Trainer where astronauts trained for life in space. 

Discover what life could be like on Mars in the Mission Mars interactive exhibit. Space Center Houston offers numerous interactive galleries and exhibits, but don’t leave before visiting the Astronaut Gallery, which displays collections of spacesuits and other astronaut gear. 

Alvin

Pick strawberries, get lost in a corn maze, and travel through a winter wonderland.

A strawberry farm field in Alvin, Texas
Strawberries waiting on a farm field in Alvin Texas to be picked by visitors.

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 45 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Alvin Website

Spend a leisurely day picking strawberries at Froberg’s Farm. Additionally, the farm has pickings of fresh vegetables and nuts. Autumn is the best time to visit since Froberg hosts a fall festival. The farm completely transforms and includes a pumpkin patch and a corn maze. 

The award-winning Shimek’s Garden is another option for spending a lazy Saturday or Sunday. With over 850 flowers to choose from, there is no shortage of natural beauty to recharge in. 

Alvin is also one of the best day trips from Houston during Christmas, when the town transitions into a winter wonderland. Take the whole family there to ride the Christmas Train that wanders through gingerbread villages and a snowy town replete with penguins. Enjoy festive treats, including hot chocolate and funnel cakes. 

Austin

Go ziplining, listen to your favorite bands, or be a racecar spectator.

The Austin State Capitol building from the outside
Austin State Capitol with beautiful yellow sunset

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 2.5 hours to 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Austin Website | 👉 Top Suggested Tours

It would take many day trips from Houston to check off all the fun activities in Austin.

Visiting the state capitol is an obvious way to spend the day in Austin. But if it’s an adventure you crave, book a reservation at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. The park boasts the lengthiest and fastest zip lines, speeding up to 30 miles an hour. 

Racing spectators flock to the Circuit of the Americas in the winter to watch the Formula One Grand Prix. In the spring, the racetrack hosts the IndyCar Classic. 

College-aged and partygoers gravitate toward the city’s infamous Sixth Street. Nicknamed the Dirty Sixth, nightclubs, bars, and microbreweries line the street.

Every October thousands of music lovers gather at the Austin City Limits music festival. For a stretch of days, fans get to listen to their favorite indie, hip hop, country, and rock acts.

San Marcos

Go snorkeling in crystal clear waters and other fun-filled water activities.

View from the Rio Vista Park during autumn season
Rio Vista Park on a beautiful Autumn day.

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | San Marcos Website 

San Marcos is another Texas town primed for fun water activities on your Houston day trip. Snorkel Texas provides self-guided and guided ventures. Snorkelers can expect to see sunfish and sea turtles in the crystal underwater world.

The San Marcos River is first-class real estate for tubing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and private float trips. Meadows Center Glass-Bottom Boat Tours give spectators a 30-minute up close and personal view of various aquatic creatures.  

At the Rio Vista Dam, visitors can rent tubes to float along 13-acres of artificial rapids. Or, at the nearby Olympic Outdoor Center, canoes and kayaks rent for $45 for a half day.

Waco

Visit the Silos of “Fixer Upper,” and learn all about Dr. Pepper, Texas’s favorite soft drink.

A suspension bridge under the clear blue sky in Waco, Texas
Waco Texas suspension bridge (photo: Tricia Daniel / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Waco Website | 👉 Waco Fixer Upper Tours

“Fixer Upper” fans may venture straight into the Silo district. This Waco tourism hotspot includes a bakery, coffee shop, restaurant and food truck, and multiple shopping options.

But if you’re more into outdoor activities, Cameron Park is where you want to be. Attractions like Lovers Leap, Emmons Cliff, and Mouth of Bosque overlook the Bosque and Brazos Rivers. The park is a favorite for swimming, hiking, and kayaking. 

Or, you can head over to BSR Park at Waco Surf to float along the “longest lazy river in the world.” A surf lagoon, water slides, cable circuit, eateries, and more round out the park’s features. 

Lastly, a Waco visit isn’t complete without touring the Dr. Pepper Museum to get a full history of Texas’ favorite soft drink. 

Sam Houston National Forest

A short distance to hiking through miles of beautiful forest, kayak in Lake Livingston, or go ATV’ing.

A road in Sam Houston National Forest
(photo: Garrett Weeks / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 50 minutes to 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Sam Houston National Forest Website

Sam Houston National Forest, the “Jewel of Texas,” spans 160,000 acres and sprawls across three Texas counties. So unless you know where you’re going, ensure you enter Sam Houston National Forest Ranger Station into your GPS. 

Once inside these charming woods enveloped in two lakes, the question will be, “what shall I do first?”. Lake Livingston and Lake Conroe see plenty of fishing, sailing, kayaking, and other water activities. 

After setting up camp at Double Lake, Cagle, or Stubblefield, take a hike (or bike) along one of the 17 scenic trails, which range from a half-mile to 17 miles. 

If you own an ATV, definitely load it up to ride on the wild side through the moss-draped woods. 

Surfside Beach

Try horseback riding along the Gulf Coast and hang 10 on big waves.

Clear blue sky over the Surfside Beach

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Surfside Beach Website

Just one hour south of Houston, the little town of Surfside Beach offers big fun in the sun. Fishermen, pack up your rod and reels for some big catch off the fishing pier. Or, since evenings are prime for catching crustaceans, end the day at the crabbing pier. 

But you’ll want to get an early start to surf the big waves, thanks to the long jetties. Book a diving charter to explore the colorful corals of the Flower Garden Banks Reef, or rent a small boat from the marina to sail the Gulf for the day. 

No beach day trip is complete without jetskiing, which you can also rent with an advance booking. Lastly, Horse lovers can spend the day trotting along the coastline. 

Armand Bayou Nature Center

Take a pontoon cruise along the swampy marshes of Armand Bayou.

View of the lake in Armand Bayou Nature Center
(photo: Annine Berg / Shutterstock)

 🗺️ Distance from Houston: 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Waco Website 

Local wildlife and wetlands populate Armand Bayou, where several species of birds, reptiles, and deer roam freely. 

The best way to explore Armand Bayou is to book an ABNC Pontoon Cruise. The company offers morning, sunset, and night tours for $35. The morning cruises are only available on Saturdays from 8 – 9:30 am, where you get to watch wildlife troll the water’s edge for breakfast. 

The 90-minute sunset cruise operates on Saturday and Sunday evenings when natural habitats are most active. Experience the sounds of the wild during the night cruise, which sells for $45 and runs only on Friday nights. Bayou nights bring out the bats and alligators. 

Though the cruise tour welcomes ages five and older, the night tour requires children to be 10 or older. 

Kemah

Walk along the boardwalk for shopping, good food, and amusement park fun.

People enjoying their day in Kemah boardwalk amusement park
(photo: JSvideos / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 35 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Kemah Website | 👉 Suggested Kemah Boardwalk Tours

The Kemah Boardwalk is a popular day trip for Houstonians. Only 35 minutes south of the city, the 60-acre boardwalk, packed with shops and restaurants, attracts families, couples, and friends groups. In addition, the amusement park, replete with rollercoasters, Ferris wheels, and exhibits, attracts kids of all ages.   

After building up an appetite from playing in the sun all day, dine at the Forrest Gump-inspired Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Or, enjoy a meal seated around a 50,000-gallon fish tank filled with exotic sea creatures at the Aquarium Restaurant. 

Since Kemah rests on Galveston Bay, it’s prime for boating, jet skiing, and sailing. It’s also a popular cruise destination. Boat tour options range from luxurious to dinner to party ventures. 

Corpus Christi

Explore miles of coastline and take a tour of the longest World War II  aircraft carrier

The USS Lexington on the water of Texas under the clear blue sky
USS Lexington

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Corpus Christi Website | 👉 Top Suggested Tours

Corpus Christi is a popular spring break destination (Padre Island), but this coastal city welcomes all ages. Five miles of coastline offer plenty of beach fun for surfing, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. 

The Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail provides 20 miles of trails through shallow water. While exploring, expect to see Atlantic green sea turtles swimming and galloping along the jetties. 

A tour of the Essex Class, the longest-serving World War II aircraft carrier, provides visitors with plenty of displays of military artifacts. The 16-deck “Blue Ghost” houses over 20 aircraft. The Essex Class offers a 3-D mega theater, escape rooms, a flight simulator, and a mess deck eatery. 

Admission ranges from $13.95 to $18.95 and operates between 9 am to 5 pm. 

Round Top 

Go antiquing at a Texas-sized Antiques Fair.

View of Henkell Hall from afar in Round Top
(photo: Alizada Studios / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 1.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Round Top Website

There’s just something about antiquing on the weekends. And one of the greatest places to do so is at the Round Top Antiques Fair. With only a population of 90, the antiques show attracts over 400,000 twice a year in the spring and fall. 

The show encompasses two iconic venues: The Big Red Barn and The Continental Tent. Explore through the 30,000 square feet treasure trove with antiques ranging from Continental furniture to textiles to early American country. 

Dallas/Fort Worth

Tour Dallas in a six-seater and overlook downtown Dallas from a 470- foot observation.

View from Downtown Dallas during sunset

🗺️ Distance from Houston: 3.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Dallas Website

It doesn’t get more Texas-sized than Dallas, also known as the “Big D.” Realistically, it takes at least a weekend to soak up all the city has to offer. But if you only have time for a day getaway, opt for the one-hour all-electric Cruizer day tour.

This six-seater roadster gives passengers a front-seat view, including the iconic downtown Dallas skyline. Additionally, you can spend some time atop the 470 feet Reunion Tower observation deck to view the entire city using high-definition cameras and telescopes. 

The Dallas Arboretum is another favorite among nature lovers. The 66-acre garden turns into a magical pumpkin patch during autumn. If you’re a history buff, don’t leave without visiting the Sixth Floor Museum, which displays the legacy of President John F. Kennedy. 

👉 Read Next: Best Day Trips from Nashville

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That’s it for this list of the best day trips from Houston! Have a fun day trip!

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