outdoor activities in Houston

15+ Best Outdoor Activities and Things To Do in Houston

There are so many great outdoor activities in Houston including walking tours, parks, and outdoor performances. If you’re searching for activities to do in Houston and the surrounding areas, you’re in luck! I’ve put together a list of 15+ outdoor things to do in Houston. 

Ready to discover some outdoor adventures for a sunny day? Keep reading to discover the best outdoor activities and things to do in Houston and nearby. Some of our favorites include national parks, great beaches, and walking tours. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find an outdoor activity that’s just the right speed in the Houston area.

#1 Mudding at Xtreme Off Road Park and Beach

Off roading is always a blast at Xtreme Off Road Park & Beach.

This place has it all. There’s cabins, rv hookups, camp sites and miles of trails with plenty of dirt, mud, water to get rowdy in.

off road parks in Houston

#2 Blanket Bingo

Every Thursday night at 6:00, you can play a free game of Blanket Bingo at Market Square Park downtown. There are fun prizes to win and delicious food available from a local Greek and American cafe. You can bring your own food and drinks too which makes this the perfect spot for an evening picnic.

#3 Blue Lagoon Texas

Need a budget-friendly outdoor adventure that’s one of a kind? Discover the beauty of the Blue Lagoon just north of the city. The beautiful turquoise water and white sands will have you dreaming of tropical places. Plus, it’s the perfect spot for updating your Instagram photos.

outdoor activities in Houston

The Blue Lagoon is the site of two old limestone quarries and it’s an ideal spot for diving. New to scuba diving? There’s a school at the lagoon where you can enjoy a guided dive or get your certification. 

#4 Brazoria National Wildlife Preserve

If you like birds, you’ll want to spend a day visiting the Brazoria National Wildlife Preserve. This refuge for waterfowl is an important stop on the Central Flyway migration route for many birds, including migrating snow geese. 

Brazoria is just south of Houston and the population of geese can be more than 100,000 during the winter months. It’s a great spot to see the elegant white flier, native larks, egrets, and long-billed ibis. 

#5 Buffalo Bayou Park

Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre park at the heart of Houston with lots of great opportunities to spend the day in nature enjoying all the outdoor activities Houston has to offer. There are lots of outdoor things to do in Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park including hiking, biking, and boat tours. 

outdoor activities around Houston

Explore the waterways between skyscrapers with a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard for a unique experience you’ll love in downtown Houston. Then, take a boat tour right through the Waugh Bat Colony. Along the water, you can hike or bike the scenic jogging path. 

There are miles of trails to explore on foot or via bicycle too. Buffalo Bayou Park also offers several art installations to enjoy including sculptures and monuments. Don’t miss the scenic overlooks along the bayou to get a great view of Houston’s downtown skyline too.

#6 Davy Crockett National Forest

The Davy Crockett National Forest is a great spot for a family adventure. It’s just a two-hour drive from Houston. On the way, you’ll get to see some of the wilder portions of land in this part of Texas too. 

This forest features an abundance of pine and mixed hardwoods all the way to the horizon line. There are remote hiking paths to explore and backcountry campgrounds that will let you escape into nature just a few hours from the city center. Don’t miss walking along Hickory Creek and climbing up Neches Bluff while you’re there. 

#7 Discovery Green Park

Discovery Green Park is one of the top things to do in this Texas city. There’s so much to do from kayaking and paddle boarding to yoga, dog runs, and playgrounds. There’s something for everyone at Houston city parks! Get involved in the Houston community with outdoor yoga classes and family movie nights. 

downtown Houston parks

Need more cool things to do at this park? Enjoy the fresh air and live entertainment at Thursday night concerts hosted by the University of Texas. Discovery Green Park is also the perfect place for a leisurely stroll while you listen to live music in the background.

#8 Galveston Island

There’s certainly an abundance of outdoor things to do in Houston, but Galveston Island is one of our favorites! This barrier island south of Houston is a favorite spot for locals to enjoy the great outdoors.

Nature lovers will enjoy the wetland reserves filled with birds and alligators. Families will love spending time on the beach and enjoying the fun fairs. History buffs will enjoy riding on vintage Victorian streetcars. 

#9 Haunted Houston Walking Tour

Would you like to learn about Houston’s past? Discover a bit about Texas history with a haunted walking tour. It’s a fun way to see some of Houston’s oldest and most historic buildings and spooky landmarks.

There are family-friendly walking tours you can enjoy with your whole family for a fun learning experience and some great exercise too. Alternatively, try Houston’s Ghost and Pub Walking Tour for a more adult experience that features stops in some of the city’s best pubs. 

#10 Hermann Park

One of Houston’s most popular free events includes taking in a performance at Hermann Park’s Miller Outdoor Theatre. It’s a great spot to listen to music from Houston Symphony, plays, musicals, and cultural dance performances. I’m certain you’ll find something for everyone to enjoy at one of Hermann Park’s special events. 

Don’t worry about getting a great seat, you can reserve theater seats ahead of the show or bring your own blankets and chairs to watch from the park’s green spaces. Whatever you choose, all seating options at the park are free.

Hermann Park also features a golf course. The greens are rolling and challenging, and there are no roughs to speak of, making this 18-hole course one of the best outdoor things to do in Houston. 

#11 Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is home to more than 6,000 animals and it’s one of the best outdoor activities in Houston. Take your time enjoying this 55-acre park while getting up close and personal with the animals through special animal encounters.

things to do in Houston with kids

It’s the perfect outdoor thing to do in Houston with young children! Check out my ultimate guide to the Houston Zoo for more detailed information and insider tips on a fun outing for the whole family!

#12 Karbach Brewing Company

There are lots of options for quality craft beer in the Houston area, but Karbach Brewing Company offers a chance to enjoy outdoor activities in Houston along with your favorite hops. You’ll love hanging out in their Biergarten. 

Karbach features outdoor games like Jenga and corn hole. There’s also an outdoor stage for live music. Plus, plenty of spaces for the kids to run around and a dog-friendly area too. 

#13 Market Square Park

If you’re looking for a great way to catch a movie while enjoying outdoor activities in Houston, go to Market Square Park. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the summer months in Houston. Bring a blanket and set up shop in one of the picnic areas with popcorn for a fun summer movie on the grass.  

#14 Mercer Botanic Gardens

Want a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? Enjoy almost 400 acres of sprawling greenery in the Mercer Botanic Gardens. Admission to the gardens is free all year. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in the city if you enjoy beautiful flowers and green spaces. Take a self-guided tour through the gardens to enjoy a full day of beauty and relaxation.

#15 Museum District Tour

The Houston Museum District includes 19 museums, public art exhibits, contemporary architecture, and gorgeous landscaping. The two-hour walking tour will give you a chance to explore these world-class examples of art and design with a knowledgeable tour guide to help you explore the timeline and cultural shifts expressed throughout the district. 

Along the way, be sure to stop and visit the Museum of fine arts, the Houston Museum of natural science, and the art car museum.

#16 Sam Houston National Park

Sam Houston Park is just 50 miles north of the Houston city limits so you can get there in less than an hour. Once you’re in this national forest you’ll get to experience 163,000 acres of forest featuring palmettos, pines, swamps, and creeks.

It’s a beautiful place to see the local birds and wildlife. The best thing to do on a day trip is explore some of the Lone Star Hiking Trail. This trail offers backcountry camping along the 128 miles of hiking paths that will give you plenty of outdoor activities in Houston to explore and enjoy during your visit.

#17 Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is a great budget-friendly option for families. You’ll get a chance to see all the unique ecosystems and biodiversity the Texas Gulf Coast offers.

outdoor activities in houston

There are two dedicated visitor centers where you can get trail maps and learn about the beautiful migratory birds that fly through this reserve every year.  

There are all kinds of great activities to do in Houston. If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Houston, the spots I mentioned above are definitely some of our favorites. 

Do you know about some awesome outdoor things to do in Houston that I forgot to mention? Share your favorites in the comments. I can’t wait to read them and check out your favorite places too!

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