Things to Do Outside in Houston: A Guide for the Outdoor Enthusiast

Houston's great outdoors will surprise you, from natural preserves in the center of the city to quaint beach towns just a short drive south. Starting in downtown, visitors can explore the Buffalo Bayou Trails by bike or foot while enjoying the scenic parks and overlooks along the way. The park is the perfect spot for visitors to catch some rays and relax by the area lake, take the pups to one of two dog runs, watch live music at the amphitheater and more. In the same vicinity is the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, a sculptural spectacular in the heart of the city. 

Fifteen minutes east of the trails, nature awaits at the Arboretum & Nature Center where visitors can continue exploring the outdoors. In the same area lies the Rienzi Collection within the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, a serene outdoor garden highlighting sculptures, fountains and artful architecture, where gallery talks are hosted at 1 pm on the third Thursday of every month. 

Aside from laying by the beach, water sports, fishing and golfing, Galveston is an essential outdoor playground whether you're into relaxing on the beach, spending the day at the golf course, or petting stingrays at the aquarium. Also south of Houston is the Kemah Boardwalk, an amusement park featuring classic rides and vintage thrills, plus a variety of dining options. 

Standing 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument, the San Jacinto Monument is a towering sculpture and reflection pool that represents a pivotal moment in Texas history. Military and history buffs will also enjoy the nearby Battleship Texas memorial, a permanently docked U.S. Navy ship that carried soldiers throughout both world wars.

Guests enjoy championship golf, kayaking on The Woodlands Waterway and riding The Woodlands’ more than 180 miles of hike-and-bike trails. At night, The Woodlands is magical with outdoor concerts, romantic Water Taxi rides and The Fountains at Waterway Square.