On the Road Again: Day Trips from the Houston Area

Julie Pippert - Houston
December 4, 2012

Houston is so large, driving anywhere can feel like a day trip! The great thing about this large but wonderful city is that there are so many spots in and near Houston that are well worth the drive. With busy family schedules it can be tough to get away, but that's often how you bond best and build the best memories. These are some of the top spots in easy distance of Houston that offer family fun and great experiences.

Galveston: The Strand, the beaches, the art market

Galveston is a great and easy day-trip for the Houston area, any time of year. The beaches and Schlitterbahn in spring and summer offer wonderful water fun. Dickens on the Strand and historical downtown bring magic to the holiday season. What’s truly great about Galveston is the vibe: open, friendly, casual, and relaxed. It’s one of the rare preserved historical cities (despite hurricanes!) that offers long-standing family-owned restaurants and businesses. Plus, it’s incredibly artsy, too, with local and regional artisans that display and share their wares on monthly market days. If you prefer more excitement in the way of a theme park, check out the new Pleasure Pier. And, of course, there is the famous Moody Gardens. There’s just so much to say about Galveston that fun barely covers it, so definitely check out the marvelous Island Visitors web site to plan your visit.

Chappell Hill: Quaint, charming and full of pleasant surprises and events

Just north and west of Houston, the adorable little town of Chappell Hill is adjacent to Brenham. With lavender fields, wineries, sausage companies, and festivals, this town offers something special for families on a regular basis. In the summer, try the Lavender and Wine Festival. In the spring, grab your family and cameras, and get your best bluebonnet photos. Any time of year, enjoy the neat historical museum. During the holiday season, Chappell Hill puts out festivities in a fabulous, historical way. The Christmas Fayre offers food, live music, Santa, and even real reindeer! It’s close enough to Brenham to head to the Brenham Creamery and get some famous Bluebell Ice Cream and the cool tour. Your family can stay in one of the many hotels along 290, if you choose to make it an overnight stay, or one of the lovely B&Bs. But it’s also a short drive for Houstonians. Check out the Chappell Hill Chamber of Commerce for more information.

Yogi Bear Park: Not your average camping ground

If your family hasn’t yet enjoyed Jellystone Park in Waller, Texas, plan your trip soon! Take friends, too. Yes, you’ll want to stay overnight, even though it’s a short drive from the Houston area. You can pitch your own tent, hook up an RV, or stay in one of the comfy cabins. It's hands down the best “focused on family fun” camping park. Your family can stick to a lot of the traditional camping experiences in the lovely campgrounds, which includes woodsy areas and a fish-stocked pond for fishing, as well as some nice walking trails. Or you can take part in the fun activities from the themed parades, pool and giant slide, bouncy house, and more. They even offer organized activities, including arts and crafts. Best of all, it’s very reasonably priced, and the activities are mainly included in the cost of camping. See more about the activities. It’s a fun family spot but also a great spot to gather with friends.

The Woodlands: Master planned for master fun

It’s easy to think exclusively of The Woodlands as a suburban town with a mall, but that vastly underestimates all it offers. The Convention and Visitor's Bureau highlights all it has to offer the day tourist. It’s a quick drive but gives the sense of getting away. Your entire family can have a great time strapping on skates and zipping (or slipping!) along The Ice Rink. During the holiday season, your kids will adore the Winter Wonderland. Catch one of the waterway taxis and cruise the canal to enjoy the lights. The calendar will tell you all about special events, so you can choose the best day for your family according to what you enjoy. And, of course, there is all the shopping and dining. One of the very best things is the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Choose a fun family concert, head over to The Ice Rink, cruise the waterway lights and mark that down as one of your best family days ever!

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