Houston is no stranger to green spaces, and with so many of our new projects in the area, we now have a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy. The city has experienced a “green space renaissance” in recent years, according to some.
While Houston was once recognized as nothing more than an urban jungle, true Houstonians know how to have fun, whether it’s miles of hiking and biking trails or sprawling city parks. Check out our list of the best free and low-cost outdoor activities in Houston:
Outdoor Activities in Houston – Lakes
It’s a great idea to have a getaway plan in place when the hot weather becomes unbearable. We’ve got you covered with the best lakes in and around Houston to help you beat the heat:
Sheldon Lake is known for its bird-watching and fishing, and it offers visitors a variety of terrains to explore, including marsh and coastal prairie. Hiking and boating are also available, making this another well-rounded park to visit.
Timings: 8 am – 5 pm
Where: 14140 Garrett Rd., Houston, TX 77044, United States
The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a nature preserve with marshland, coastal prairie, and forest land as its focal points. This lake’s main attraction is its nature trails; you won’t be able to swim, fish, or boat here.
Hours of Operation: 9 am – 4 pm
Location: 4501 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX 77024-7708, United States
Lake Livingston is one of Houston’s and Texas’ largest bodies of water. It’s a great swimming hole that gets deep enough to be useful for cooling off. Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards are available for rent at the park.
Timings: 6 am – 10 pm
Where: 300 Park Road 65, Livingston, TX 77351, United States
Looking for more outdoor activities around nature? Check out the full list of Best lakes in and around Houston
Outdoor Activities in Houston – Fishing
Looking for a way to get away from it all? Fishing is a great way to get out of the house and relax while taking in some beautiful scenery.
This Katy park is a great place to spend a family day fishing. The 5-acre lake is stocked with catfish during the summer and has a pier and bank access. Every few weeks, restocking takes place.
Timings: 7 am – 10 pm
Where: 5597 Gardenia Ln, Katy, TX 77493, United States
Lake Conroe is an excellent spot for catching catfish, both for eating and for bragging rights. Largemouth Bass can also be found in the lake, and they can grow to be quite large. Other species include Hybrid Striped Bass, Bluegill, and others.
Location: Montgomery, Texas 77356, United States
This catch-and-release fishing spot, which is part of Houston’s Hermann Park, is conveniently located in the city’s museum district. However, there is a snag. At Bob’s Fishing Pier in McGovern Lake, only children under the age of 12 and seniors over the age of 65 are permitted to fish.
Hours of Operation: 9 am – 7 pm
Location: 1500 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004, United States
Check out our complete list of Best fishing spots in and around Houston
Outdoor Things to do in Houston – Hiking Trails
There’s no reason to stay at the dog park when there are so many dog-friendly hiking trails in Houston. When dogs get in the car, they already go crazy.
The name comes from the park’s location along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou near Houston’s downtown area. Walking trails, boat rentals, a play area, and even a skate park run along the banks! This is exactly what you and your furry companion require.
Timings: 6 am – 11 pm
Where: 1800 Allen Pkwy &, Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77019, United States
This park for families includes a water area, a play area, and even group fitness classes. While dogs are only permitted off-leash in dog parks, this is one of the trails worth visiting.
Hours of Operation: All day
Location: 3801 Eastside St, Houston, TX 77098, United States
Memorial Park is one of the country’s largest urban parks. Houston is extremely fortunate to have such a large park with dog-friendly walking trails! With so many routes to choose from, your dog is sure to get tired.
Timings: 6 am – 11 pm
Where: 6501 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007, United States
Wish to explore more? Check out more of the Best dog-friendly hiking trails in Houston
Things to do Outside in Houston – Camping
Are you thinking about going camping? Give your kids a taste of their childhood by taking them outside to enjoy the great outdoors as a family. There’s no need to drive for hours if you can set up camp in one of Houston’s many nearby parks.
Come to the island to go for a walk on the beach or a swim in the sea. Alternatively, visit the island to fish or observe coastal birds. Whatever brought you here, Galveston Island State Park will provide you with a safe haven. Only an hour from Houston, but on a different island!
Hours of Operation: 7 am – 10 pm
Location: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554, United States
Jellystone Park is a campground and water park in the Houston area that puts all others to shame. Although the rates are not cheap, you can spend all day in their amazing pools, lazy rivers, water slides, and other attractions. There’s also a fishing lake, a golf course, and sports arenas.
Timings: Sat – Thurs: 8 am – 5 pm | Sun: 8 am – 9 pm
Where: 34843 Betka Rd, Waller, TX 77484, United States
You can camp, go birding and beachcombing, canoe or kayak, swim, fish, hunt (in season), and walk in this park. Take a stroll through the marsh along the Gambusia Nature Trail Boardwalk.
Hours of Operation: 8 am – 10 pm
Location: 19335 S. Gulfway Drive, Sabine Pass, TX 77655, United States
If you want to spend more time in nature, there are plenty of camping grounds to choose from. Check out Best Campsites in Houston
Best Outdoor Activities in Houston – Swimming Holes
Tonkawa Falls is home to a spectacular 15-foot waterfall that cascades into a natural swimming hole. The natural beauty of this serene spot is enhanced by the overhanging bluffs, the spray of the waterfall, and the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
Hours of Operation: Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs & Fri: 7 am – 8:30 pm | Tues & Sat: 7:30 am – 9 pm
Location: 524-550 E 4th St, Crawford, TX 76638, United States
Jacob’s Well is well-known in Texas, and most families have visited it. This popular swimming hole has been used since the days of the early settlers and is practically a Texas institution.
Timings: 8 am – 6 pm
Where: 1699 Mt Sharp Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676, United States
The Balmorhea State Park is surrounded by miles of West Texas desert, but that only adds to the allure of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool! The water temperature is consistently 72-76 degrees all year.
Hours of Operation: 8 am – 5 pm
Location: 9207 TX-17, Toyahvale, TX 79786, United States
If you’re looking for more, check out Houston’s best swimming holes.
So, how do you intend to spend your spare time outside? Let us know in the comments section below.
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