12 Best Outdoor Activities In And Near Houston, Texas - Updated 2021

outdoor activities in houston

Houston is a city full of surprises. This magnificent Texan metropolis is home to world-class attractions like Space Center Houston, and boasts an impressive assortment of outstanding museums, urban parks, and cultural activities. But in addition to the terrific urban delights, Houston is also a great base for outdoor activities. From hiking in Sam Houston National Forest to camping in Brazos Bend State Park, there are plenty of ways to escape into nature. Additionally, the beach town of Galveston is just an hour away from Houston. It is a wonderful destination to enjoy water sports like surfing and boating, as well as wildlife sightseeing tours. Here’s a rundown of the best outdoor activities in and near Houston, Texas, that you can indulge in on your next trip.

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1. Explore downtown breweries on a bike (from USD 70.0)

Houston is home to quite a lot of breweries that are well-loved by the locals. If you’d like to dabble a bit and have a taste of your own, what better way to do that than a bike tour with the experts?

This excursion will have you cycling around downtown, seeing vibrant murals and historic landmarks along the way. Sigma Brewery and 8th Wonder Brewery will be welcoming you with their best beers. Who knows, you may just find your new favorite spirit right here!

Downtown Houston Brewery Bike Tour

Duration: 4 hours

30 reviews

2. Cycle around the city at sunset (from USD 25.0)

Admire the cenic skyline and outdoor places in Houston on this sunset cycling tour. This guided 90-minute excursion takes you through Buffalo Bayou Park, where you can enjoy fantastic views of creative art installations and the city skyline as you ride around the peaceful park. This activity is a great way to combine sightseeing with some exercise, and allows you to stop and take plenty of fantastic pictures. Drinks and snacks are provided.

Downtown Skyline Sunset Ride

Duration: 1.5 hours

177 reviews

Nearby options

3. Catch a wave while surfing (from USD 85.0)

If you’ve always wanted to try surfing, this Airbnb experience is perfect for beginners. The Texas surf is the perfect spot to try this sport as the small waves and warm water make a calm and inviting environment. This 90-minute long activity takes place on beautiful Galveston Island and is taught by a local instructor. You’ll start your surfing lesson on the beach, where you’ll learn essential skills like how to balance and pop up on the ocean waves, as well as other safety information. You’ll then wade into the water to try and catch your first wave. This activity is limited to groups of six participants, so you can enjoy the benefit of personalized time and attention from your instruction. Bottled water and all equipment is provided.

Surf Lessons with a Local Surf Coach

Duration: 1.5 hours

58 reviews

4. Challenge yourself on a scavenger hunt (from USD 16.0)

For a fun twist on sightseeing, try this exciting scavenger hunt. This excursion will take you across Galveston as you try and solve clues and finish challenges. You’ll discover local gems and hidden spots as your race to riddle out the puzzles in this two-hour activity. With 10-15 surprise checkpoints in store, this is a great way to create unique memories as you explore enchanting Galveston. This interactive excursion is for a group of up to 10 participants, and is both family- and dog-friendly. Many of the checkpoints require driving around the city, but a carless version of the scavenger hunt is available on request.

GO GALVESTON Scavenger Hunt

Duration: 2 hours

75 reviews

5. Go fishing in the gulf (from USD 400.0)

Venture into the waters of Gulf of Mexico, and try your luck while you cast your line. This four hour-long fishing excursion will take you out into the North and South jetties of Galveston, which stretches 5 mi (8 km) into the Gulf of Mexico. Your experienced guides from Reel Men Fishing Charters can help you find where the fish are biting, and provide season-appropriate bait and gear. The Gulf of Mexico is home to over 100 species of fish, which makes Galveston a premier fishing destination. As no specific species are targeted during the jetty trips, anglers can fish whatever is available during the season of their jetty excursion. This trip is great for beginner and experienced anglers alike, and the boat, guide, gear, bait, and fish cleaning are all included. Anglers must provide their own fishing licenses.

Half Day 4 Hour Jetty Trip

Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

24 reviews

6. Skim the waves on a jet boat ride (from USD 54.0)

For a thrilling, family-friendly outdoor adventure near Houston, this jet boat ride in Galveston is a must-do. This 25-minute activity is a fantastic adventure, and a great way to beat the heat. As the jet boat speeds through the water, you’ll experience thrilling right-angle turns, as well as a maneuver known as “the Hamilton Spin”, in which the boat spins 360° on its axis and sprays a wall of water into the air. You may get drenched, but that’s all part of the fun. Just make sure you wear comfortable clothes. This excursion is limited to a group of 11 participants, but is not recommended for pregnant women or travelers with back problems.

Galveston Small-Group Jet Boat Ride

Duration: 25 minutes

39 reviews

7. See amazing marine life on a boat tour (from USD 28.0)

Embark on a terrific marine safari with this dolphin sightseeing tour in Galveston. On this hour-long exploration, you’ll get a fantastic tour of the Galveston Harbor, and pass by fascinating stops in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, Seawolf Park, and the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa And Texas Seaport Museum. This area is home to amazing marine life, including bottlenose dolphins and sea birds. The open-air tour boat is a wonderful platform to view the area’s wildlife in its natural habitat. You’ll also get splendid views of the Port of Galveston before heading back to the land. This tour is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Galveston Narrated Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

Duration: 1 hour

574 reviews

8. Explore Galveston Island by e-bike (from USD 75.0)

Traverse the lush landscape of Galveston Island on this guided e-bike adventure tour. This tour includes several stops around this island, with the first being outside Ashton Villa, a historic home that was built in the mid-19th century. You’ll then head towards the Seawall, where you’ll learn about the Galveston Hurricane that prompted the construction of one of the longest continuous sidewalks in the country. This two-hour guided tour is a great way to explore the breathtaking beauty of the island, and learn about its rich history, wildlife, and architecture. This excursion is a private tour - minimum 2 and maximum 10 people are allowed. E-bikes and helmets are included, and infant seats are available.

E-bike Island Adventure Tour

Duration: 2 hours

57 reviews

9. Go hiking in Sam Houston National Forest

Source: Photo by Flickr user Chris M Morris used under CC BY 2.0

Located an hour north of Houston, Sam Houston National Forest is a scenic recreation area. This peaceful outdoor area is an incredible destination for hiking. The extensive Lone Star Hiking Trail passes through the shady forest, and shorter trails can be found in Little Lake Creek Wilderness and Big Creek Scenic Area. Hiking here is a popular activity in the winter and spring seasons, when the temperature is pleasant and mild.

Sam Houston National Forest

Address: 394 FM 1375 West, New Waverly, TX 77358, United States

Website: Sam Houston National Forest

10. Ride a horse in Cypress Trails Ranch

Trail at Horse World
Source: Photo by Flickr user Experience Kissimmee used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Enjoy the beauty of the rugged Texas landscape on an exciting horse riding experience. Cypress Trails Equestrian Center is located 25 minutes north of Houston, and offers a variety of riding experiences that cover the picturesque and challenging trails of the area. From all-day rides to peaceful evening excursions, Cypress Trails Equestrian Center provides fantastic ways to explore the area on horseback. Their riding experiences are also accommodating to first-time riders, as all their excursions are guided, and begin with a lesson on proper riding position, working with the horse, and trail safety.

Cypress Trails Ranch

Address: 21415 Cypresswood Dr, Humble, TX 77338, United States

Website: Cypress Trails Ranch

Opening hours: 8am - 7pm (daily)

Price: from 60 USD

11. Enjoy mountain biking in Jack Brooks Park

Mountain biking in mud (Unsplash)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user thomasschweighofe... used under CC0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Jack Brooks Park is a communal park located in the town of Hitchcock, Texas. This park is a great spot for a wide array of outdoor activities, including archery, canoeing, and horseback riding. The park also has a number of special mountain biking trails that include technical trail features like log rides and teeter-totters for exciting challenges.

Jack Brooks Park

Address: 5700 FM 2004 &, Hwy 6, Hitchcock, TX 77563, United States

Website: Jack Brooks Park

Opening hours: 12am - 12pm (daily)

12. Go camping in Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park, Pilant Slough
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jujutacular used under CC BY 3.0

Fall asleep surrounded by magnificent landscapes of Brazos Bend State Park. This state park is located along the Brazos River in Needville, Texas, and is just 45 miles (72 km) south of downtown Houston. During the day, you can explore the incredible scenery by hiking, horseback riding, and cycling, then set up camp for a peaceful overnight stay surrounded by nature. The park has five different campsites available, including areas for groups and campsites with electricity. All camping areas include restrooms with showers, a fire ring, and picnic tables with benches.

Brazos Bend State Park

Address: 21901 Farm to Market Rd 762, Needville, TX 77461, United States

Website: Brazos Bend State Park

Opening hours: 8am - 10pm (daily)

Price: from 12 USD

Get out and explore Houston

From horseback riding to surfing, Houston is a wonderful base to enjoy outdoor activities. In addition to fantastic urban activities, great beaches, state parks, lush forests, and recreation areas are also nearby. Whether you want to try a new sport or have some fun with the whole family, these activities are great additions to your itinerary. Soak up the sunshine and scenery, and enjoy these Houston outdoor activities!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Hannah is a freelance writer, list making aficionado, and world traveler currently based in Germany. She is an avid explorer, and believes in creating new experiences to put on her bucket list to...Read more

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