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  • Walking along the beach in Brazosport, Texas
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    Brazosport: Superb Surfing and Wildlife Wonders

  • The impressive pyramids of Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas
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    Galveston: A Historic Seaside Escape

  • Marshy landscapes outside the Delores Fenwick Nature Center in Pearland, Texas
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    A Natural Wonderland in Pearland

  • Cullinan Park in Sugar Land, Texas
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    Sugar Land: Outdoor Adventures and Incredible Performances

  • The Texas City Dike in Texas City, Texas
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    Reel in Relaxation in Texas City

Surfing at sunrise in Brazosport, Texas
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Fresh Air and Natural Delights: Road Trip Around Houston, Texas

By Sarah Etinas

  • Route distance:
    375 km
  • Suggested Time:
    5 days

Start exploring Around Houston and discover some of the region’s coolest small towns

Just outside the big city, get out into the open air and savor some of Texas’ most exciting hidden gems. In neighborhoods and communities near Houston, you can explore the natural world in fascinating museums, catch a wave at Gulf Coast beaches, take walking tours through heritage-rich landmarks and so much more. Let the unique landscapes of the Texaswetlands spark your imagination and inspire you to see what’s out there.

01
Walking along the beach in Brazosport, Texas
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Brazosport: Superb Surfing and Wildlife Wonders

Fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport and begin your road trip in Brazosport, a seaside town just an hour and a half from the airport by car. First, you’ll want to take advantage of the gulf-front location with a trip to Surfside Beach, home to some of the best surf swells in the state. Even if you’re not a surfer, this Gulf of Mexico beach is a treat. Explore the replica of the historic Fort Velasco or go for a wildlife-filled stroll along the picturesque Bird & Butterfly Trail.

Your animal-spotting adventures aren’t over yet. Glimpse more creatures at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge and Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. As you walk on wooden boardwalks through the marshy habitats, keep your eyes peeled for alligators, bobcats and waterbirds. Finish up your day in Brazosport with a visit to Sea Center Texas for a fascinating up-close animal experience. Nestled in the nearby town of Lake Jackson, the aquarium and hatchery boast floor-to-ceiling fish tanks, touch tidepools and free interactive tours.

70 km
1 hour by car
02
The impressive pyramids of Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas
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Galveston: A Historic Seaside Escape

From Brazosport, cruise north on the coastal Blue Water Highway for about an hour to reach Galveston. Start the day at Moody Gardens, an educational theme park divided into three different pyramids. There, you can encounter the natural world in exhibits ranging from animal encounters to 4D theater experiences. If historic attractions are on your agenda, head to the Texas Seaport Museum, an attraction dedicated to Galveston’s trade-focused roots, and the nearby Historic Seaport, where you can see the massive 1887 Tall Ship Elissa.

After a museum-filled morning, get your fill of sea air with an afternoon at Galveston Island State Park. Kayak or paddleboard through this 800-hectare green space, keeping an eye out for fish and birds, then stick around a little longer with an overnight stay at one of the park’s campsites. For a more laid-back beach experience, head to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Play a few carnival games, admire the views from the Texas Star Flyer Ferris wheel and take a leisurely stroll down the scenic pier. Wrap up your time on the Gulf with a beachfront dining experience at Katie’s Seafood Market, Benno’s Cajun Seafood or any of the friendly eateries along the water.

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70 km
1 hour by car
03
Marshy landscapes outside the Delores Fenwick Nature Center in Pearland, Texas
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A Natural Wonderland in Pearland

Get back on the road for a one-hour drive northwest to the quaint neighborhood of Pearland. Your first stop: the Delores Fenwick Nature Center. There, get an up-close view of alligators, turtles, snakes and frogs and take a guided wildlife-watching hike on select days. On your walk back to the Delores Fenwick Nature Center parking lot, you may notice a giant pear statue. That’s the first of the pear sculptures in the town’s Pear-Scape Trail. Built in honor of the town’s history of nurturing bountiful fruit trees, this outdoor scavenger hunt takes visitors all through town to find 23 colorful one-meter-tall pear statues. Download the accompanying digital passport for a chance to win a prize!

Reward in hand, make your way to the next stop: The Sri Meenakshi Temple, the only temple outside India devoted to the Hindu deity Meenakshi. Enjoy a self-guided tour filled with stunning architecture, elaborate statues and preening peacocks. For dinner, kick back with a meal at local staple Killen’s Barbecue. With loads of favorites like tender beef ribs and flavorful pulled pork, you’ll leave with a full belly and a burst of energy for more Around Houston adventures.

40 km
0.5 hours by car
04
Cullinan Park in Sugar Land, Texas
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Sugar Land: Outdoor Adventures and Incredible Performances

Half an hour west you’ll find another city with a food-themed name: Sugar Land. Start the day with a little bit of educational fun at the Houston Museum of Natural Science of Sugar Land, where young learners can find out about the science of space and take a step back in time through paleontology in half a dozen interactive exhibits. Once you’re ready to get active, Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park is the place to go. With eight miles of trails and ziplines, you’ll get the thrill of your life at this Sugar Land attraction. To savor even more time outdoors, venture to Brazos River Park, where you can peddle down cycling tracks, meander along walking trails and test your skills on a 9-hole disc golf course. When night rolls around, Sugar Land shows a whole new side of itself. Get all dressed up for a lively show at state-of-the-art Smart Financial Centre or go for a more casual show with a visit to Sugar Land Town Square, where live music floats through the air.

90 km
1 hour by car
05
The Texas City Dike in Texas City, Texas
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Reel in Relaxation in Texas City

Round out your road trip Around Houston with a stop in Texas City. Taking you just across the bay from Galveston, the drive to Texas City provides one last look at Texas’ beautiful waterways. Get your water-filled thrills in bright and early at Lagoonfest Texas Beach Club & Aqua Adventure Park, where water slides, bumper boats and more invite you to spend hours on this a nearly five-hectare man-made crystal lagoon. Once you’ve had your fill of fun, set off on an open-air tour of the 1867 Settlement District, one of the first communities of free Black men and women in Texas. See The Bell Home, a cabin once owned by Frank and Flavilla Bell that’s now a museum, and make sure to stop and learn more at interpretive kiosks around the district. No trip to Texas City would be complete without a visit to the Texas City Dike, the longest man-made fishing pier in the world where you can throw out your line and reel in impressive redfish. Once you’ve worked up an appetite with all that angling, venture to Mainland City Center’s Restaurant Row. Enjoy a memorable meal before loading up the car and heading back to George Bush Intercontinental Airport to catch your flight home.

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Texas Longhorn cattle making their way through the gates of the historic stockyards

Destination

Fort Worth

Taking in the sights downtown on a horse and longhorn tour

Destination

Bandera