While Houston is amazing with its laid-back yet cosmopolitan vibe, getting away once in a while makes you feel so much fresher. Texas has many weekend getaways to offer and what better way for a weekend getaway than a true blue road trip. For those of you wanting a short retreat from everyday life and to unwind and play in the lap of nature, you’re in for a treat for the combination of wetland, bayou, and prairie. The forest ecosystems in the areas around the city have given rise to several protected nature parks which are worth a visit and for those of you who would rather enjoy a culturally oriented trip, there are several small and big cities around Houston that host an array of art, historical and science museums.
Unmissable on this year’s weekend getaway road trips from Houston are these top 10 destinations. Check them out here!
Spend the day picnicking, hiking, watching some armadillos or check out the Center for Visual Arts that houses local artist works that are worthy of a major museum, or play a hand at the beautiful Lantana Golf Course. The Dallas Arboretum has been listed among the top arboretums in the world so make sure you don’t miss out on that. In the evening, head over to the courthouse square and just enjoy amidst the bustling crowd.
Travel time: 4 hours
Travel distance: 250 miles (402 kilometers)
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ice storms at Sandia Peak. Photo credit: Sandia Peak Ski & TramwayPosted by Visit Albuquerque on Thursday, 3 December 2015
With near perfect weather all around the year, this could be your go-to trip in any season. New Mexico’s largest city, Burque, is bike-friendly and is home to some heavenly Mexican food. Drive across the rumble strip on Route 66 at the right speed to hear it play “America the Beautiful”, go fishing at Tingley beach, catch the birds eye view from the Sandia Peak tramway or experience the adrenaline rush at Cliff’s Amusement Park, with the New Mexico rattler which has been named among the top 25 roller coasters in the world.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Travel time: 13 hours
Travel distance: 888 miles (1500 kilometers)
Also See: 32 Best Things do in and around Houston
3. Inks Lake State Park
The weather looks cloudy so check out the changes to our weekend events: Cowboy Coffee is on! Stop in tomorrow morning...Posted by Inks Lake State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Thursday, 6 December 2018
Probably the most overlooked of the attractions near Houston, this place is the ideal space to chill. With perfect weather, it is much quieter and less crowded versus Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg and the likes and is replete with hiking and fishing, kayaking and swimming in the Colorado River. The crystal clear lake, the homey lodges on one side, the breeze off the lake, the sizzling of the skillet at the campsite, a late night swimming opportunity and lots of more fun awaits you at Inks.
Campsites (ranging from basic to 50-amp RV sites) are available and so are cabins to rent.
Inks Lake State Park
Travel time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Travel distance: 218 miles (350 kilometers)
4. Pedernales Falls State Park
Located in the heart of the Hill Country, just outside of Johnson City, the park has tons of acres of trees and water with ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, horseback riding, camping, hiking and more. The 5212-acre park (2100 hectare) is known for its spectacular hiking trails and swimming holes. It is also very popular for fishing with carp as large as 15 pounds. The Texas Parks and Wildlife provides an interactive mobile map on tpwd.texas.gov so you can plan your exploration and make sure you make the best of the excursion.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Travel time: 3 hours
Travel distance: 201 miles (323 kilometers)
5. Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Winner of the "Photo of the Week" contest! Larry Cominsky took this photo of two does that are looking very curiously at...Posted by Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway - Texas Parks and Wildlife on Saturday, 8 December 2018
Lake Mineral Wells State Park is located along Rock Creek, a large tributary of the Brazos River. You could enjoy some camping, water recreation, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding here. The trailway provides opportunities for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. Located on a railroad bed, the grades are very flat and the curves are very gentle, making it popular for trail users of all ages and abilities.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Travel time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Travel distance: 300 miles (482 kilometers)
6. Shreveport, Louisiana
Nice evening shot by @jontolar #shreveporttimesPosted by The Shreveport Times on Tuesday, 3 June 2014
The history of this place speaks volumes. It was the temporary Confederate capital during the civil war and the birthplace of Elvis and Lead Belley. It features an abundance of street and mountain biking trails and fabulous culinary options. Also, the city is an architectural marvel with several old homes and other buildings dating back as early as the mid-1800s and offering some fine examples of Victorian, Romanesque, Georgian Revival, Art Deco styles.
Travel time: 4 hours
Travel distance: 238 miles (383 kilometers)
7. Big Bend National Park
Instagrammer pattywagon_ captured this shot of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. 😍Posted by Trips To Discover TX on Saturday, 1 October 2016
Possibly the quietest and least crowded National Park out there, it is the perfect place and is neither underrated nor overrated. With wide open spaces, great scenic drives and gorgeous trails, it is worth the long drive from Houston. The USD 25 per vehicle entry pass gives you seven days in the park. You could choose to camp or stay at the Chisos Mountain Lodge.
Big Bend National Park
Travel time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Travel distance: 603 miles (970 kilometers)
8. El Paso
Located at the intersection of Texas, Mexico, and New Mexico, on the edge of the Rio Grande and just across the border from Chihuahua, El Paso is a city with a distinct flavor with the meeting of two different countries, two cultures and is a magnificent desert landscape. It also juxtaposes authentic Mexican culture with a growing hipster scene.
Hiking, rock climbing, camping opportunities in Franklin Mountains State Park, the Hueco Tanks Historic site that offers a geological look back in time, the theatrical performance of Viva El Paso, the Plaza Theatre are some musts when in El Paso. The city is good to visit any time of the year and is sunny more than 300 days per year, even the winters are mild with a temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Travel time: 10 hours 30 minutes
Travel distance: 740 miles (1190 kilometers)
9. Fort Worth
This city comprises of quirky cocktail lounges, museums, an eclectic food scene, some really good live music at Stockyards and lots more. Also every Friday and Saturday night, year round, they hold a rodeo in an indoor ring in the Stockyards Coliseum. You could also visit the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, this expansive delight showcases over 2500 plant species spread across 109 acres (44 hectares). The weather at Fort Worth is pretty mild. However, it does get freezing generally in December and January and really hot between July to August so these months could be avoided.
Travel time: 4 hours
Travel distance: 262 miles (421 kilometers)
10. Mustang Island State Park
Take in the gorgeous sunset over the gulf at this beachside park for some sun-n-sand delight and amazing camping experience. This getaway is an idyllic, peaceful island just a ferry ride away from the mainland. The 20-mile (32 kilometers) long paddling trail, deep sea fishing excursions might also interest you. However, do note that it may be pretty hot even at night. The park’s natural scenery includes interesting sand dunes, more than 400 species of birds, the Atlantic green sea turtles and 600 different types of fish roaming the waters of the bay inter alia. The best views of all this and more can be found along the padding trail. Also, there are many activities to take part in, including outdoor favorites like mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
Travel time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Travel distance: 230 miles (370 kilometers)
The highway beckons
So grab your friends, your family, your partner and speed away to the weekend getaway of your choice!
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