fbpx

50+ Best Day Trips Less Than 4 Hours from Houston TX

Texas is so big, we made a slogan out of it: “Everything is bigger in Texas.” While road trips across the state can be fun, we know not everyone’s up for that. So, we’ve rounded up some fun, short day trips from Houston packed with popular attractions, natural beauty (including our beloved Texas Hill Country), themed parks, and more!

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you can enjoy some of the best places near Houston just a few hours away and still be home the same night. 

So, pack your suitcase, and let’s explore Texas!

With our latest edition of our Texas Travel Guide, you can take an exciting vacation every weekend without breaking the bank and still have more to do! And in just one trip, the guide pays for itself! You’ll be amazed at all the hidden gems, international influence, and wacky attractions you’ll find all over Texas!

Not ready to purchase quite yet? We wanted to make this guide as accessible as possible, so we’ve shared our 1st edition of our guide, 50 Texas Trips Under $50. Click the button below to get yours for FREE!

Best Day Trips Near Houston < 1 Hour

Galveston

A great place for water sports and sandy beaches, Galveston offers one-of-a-kind sites like the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and the Galveston Bay, where you can see the Gulf of Mexico and dine to the fullest. 

Don’t miss the diverse wildlife exhibits of Moody Gardens, the carnival fun along the Kemah Boardwalk, or Galveston Island State Park – a haven for birds, trails, fishing spots, and kayak launches. 

Things to do in Galveston

Sugar Land

Just a short drive from Houston, Sugar Land is a city replete with diverse entertainment and culture. 

Visit the city’s cultural attractions, like the Houston Museum of Natural Science for educational adventures, and explore the antique shops for a day filled with fun.

It also boasts the beautiful Brazos Bend State Park, one of many great day trips with outdoor activities near Houston. If you have a love for arts and culture, Smart Financial Center hosts live shows, including well-known performers that you won’t want to miss. 

Things to do in Sugarland Texas

Conroe

Prepare to be enchanted by the natural beauty of Conroe, from the majestic pine trees of W. G. Jones Forest to the serene water of Lake Conroe. Experience the thrill of kayaking, paddleboarding, or riding the historic Southern Empress paddlewheeler. 

For family fun, visit the 7-acre Wood, with attractions including a petting zoo, mini golf, and more. In the fall, head to P6 Farms for pumpkin picking, apple blasters, and more season activities. You can fly in a vintage WWII B-17 bomber or purchase a day pass to Margaritaville, a local resort with amenities like an on-site waterpark. Conroe has something for every adventurer!

Things to do in Conroe.

Pearland

A pleasant day trip to Pearland offers visitors a taste of small town charm while exposing visitors to worthwhile historical sites and parks. Start your day by visiting the Sri Meenakshi Temple – a chance to experience India in Texas. Be sure to stop by the bustling gift shops at the BLK Market, a building with a wide array of black-owned businesses.

Pearland has a flourishing and diverse culinary scene. You can chow down on classic Texas BBQ, savor some Tex-Mex, or try out exotic fusion dishes. It offers something for all taste buds. 

Need a break? Swing by a local bar or kick back at the Delores Fenwick Nature Center – and the best part is it’s free! 

Things to do in Pearland

Bay Area Houston

The bay area is made up of four cities: Bay Area Houston consists of the Texas cities Nassau Bay, League City, Seabrook, and Kemah, so there’s lots to see!

Visit the Johnson Space Center, where you can ride in a flight simulator, touch the moon, and get a little behind-the-scenes look at NASA. Or, hike the Nassau Bay Trails, eat fresh seafood along the waterfront, and more!

Things to do in Bay Area Houston

Alvin

Head to Alvin for a fun day at the Bayou Wildlife Zoo, a safari adventure across 80 acres onboard an open-air tram, meaning lots of great photos of you feeding the animals. Meanwhile, Froberg’s Farm has family-friendly seasonal festivals, an on-site steakhouse, and activities like strawberry-picking!

Things to do in Alvin Tx

Cypress

Cypress is a great place for outdoor activities! Visit the Berry Center (a multi-purpose sports complex), catch a live music show, and explore the beautiful botanical gardens. Take a stroll on the Boardwalk at Town Lake, which offers a fine line of restaurants, special events, and shops. Self-guided tours are available. 

Related Posts: Best Speakeasies in Houston TX

Best Day Trips Near Houston < 2 Hours

Beaumont

Beaumont is known for the Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum (a recreated town that shows what life looked like in the 1900s) and its tasty Cajun cuisine.

As for outdoor activities, Beaumont is home to some of the best campgrounds in Texas, not to mention there are the Cattail Marsh Wetlands, local kayaking trails, and more! 

Although you can visit anytime, it’s best to go in March so you can participate in their annual Mardi Gras festivities.

Top Things to do in Beaumont TX this Weekend

Bryan

Often referred to as “Aggie Land,” Bryan is packed with local eateries and boutiques. Don’t miss out on a visit to Messina Hof Winery for a wine tasting, and if you time it right, experience a moonlit dinner at Ronin Farm. 

Take a plunge into history at the George H.W Bush Presidential Library and Museum and wander through the Barbara Bush Rose Garden, located behind the museum.

Things to do in Bryan Texas

Calvert

Calvert is a delightful escape from Houston’s city buzz. Explore the charming downtown, filled with antique shops and historic buildings. Be sure to savor some local cuisine, especially the pecan pie at Royalty Pecan Farms.

Best Things to Do in Calvert TX

Huntsville

In Huntsville, outdoor enthusiasts can explore Huntsville State Park, with its serene lake and extensive hiking and biking trails, as well as the Sam Houston National Forest.

Satisfy your taste buds at one of Huntsville’s acclaimed, local restaurants, and don’t forget to visit the Blue Lagoon for scuba diving and swimming!

Things to do in Huntsville

Victoria

Start your day at Victoria’s Museum of the Gulf Coast to dive into the region’s history and heritage. Nature lovers should check out Riverside Park and Rose Garden for a beautiful 562-acre park with various outdoor activities and picnic tables. 

Before you head back to Houston, visit the Texas Zoo or the second oldest dance hall in Texas, Schroeder Dance Hall, for drinks and dancing.

Things to do in Victoria Texas

Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a coastal gem with attractions like the Museum of the Gulf Coast and Sabine National Forest. Enjoy the fishing piers and indulge in fresh seafood. 

It’s a perfect day trip from downtown Houston if you love uncrowded beaches, diverse cultural scenes, and affordable fun! 

Things to do in Port Arthur TX

Bellville

Just a couple of hours from Houston, Bellville is a historic town with picturesque homes, a charming downtown, and a gorgeous castle with a moat! Hang out at local wine bars or learn to forge your own knife.

The Blessington Farms Pumpkin Patch is a must-visit during the fall.

Things to do in Bellville

Livingston

Explore Lake Livingston State Park and take a stroll through the lovely downtown area. Outdoor activities like horseback riding are a hit here. Consider staying overnight in a cool castle Airbnb for an even more immersive experience.

Things to do in Livingston

Orange

Orange, with the USS Lexington Museum and the surrounding Gator Country, is a treat for history and wildlife enthusiasts. The city’s historical sites and museums offer a great day trip experience as well!

Enjoy the lively Orange Blossom Festival, which celebrates the local citrus industry with parades, crafts, and live entertainment. You can also explore the beautiful Shangri La Botanical Gardens, which harbors lush, native plants and wildlife.

Things to do in Orange TX

Related Posts: Things to Do in Houston on a Rainy Day

Best Day Trips Near Houston < 3 Hours

Belton

Get away from the urban hustle and bustle with a day trip to Belton. You can explore Mother Neff State Park and enjoy the scenic “beaches” at Temples Lake Park. 

The Bell County Museum is perfect for history buffs. Shop in the downtown area and wrap up your day with a delicious dinner and a movie at the Beltonian Theatre.

Things to do in Belton

Driftwood

Escape to Driftwood, a slice of small-town heaven near Houston, filled with natural beauty and high-quality wine. Visit Charro Ranch Park for its blooming wildflowers. The Salt Lick BBQ is a favorite among locals and visitors.

Things to do in Driftwood

Georgetown

Explore Georgetown’s historic district and visit Inner Space Caverns. Take a stroll through San Gabriel Park, swim in the Blue Hole, and enjoy the city’s surrounding, outdoor beauty.

Before you hit the road, shop at Main Street and stick around to enjoy the beautiful sunset over Lake Georgetown.

Things to do in Georgetown

Grapeland

Grapeland is known for outdoor adventures like the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area, a haven for nature lovers. You can also go on a fun safari, explore a replica ghost town, and enjoy some hiking in the nearby state park, all in just a few hours!

Things to do in Grapeland TX

Manchaca

Enjoy live music and food trucks in this small town near Houston. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely drive to escape the big city for a day.

Start with fishing at Keeper Cider, followed by a drink at Manchaca Springs Saloon. You can also book a guided safari tour or a fun photo session at Indian Springs Ranch. 

And don’t forget to try a Texas barbecue at Valentina’s!

Things to do in Mancha

New Braunfels

New Braunfels is a great destination for a family day excursion. You can experience the thrill of water rides at Schlitterbahn Waterpark and spend time at Landa Park. 

For more day trip options, try floating the Comal River or visit Natural Bridge Caverns. Enjoy German food at local restaurants like the historic Naegelin’s Bakery.

Things to do in New Braunfels

Round Rock

Begin your Round Rock adventure at Kalahari Resort, America’s largest indoor waterpark. Enjoy water slides, pools, and dining. Then, check out Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park next door for rollercoasters, games, a climbing wall, and more!

This small town outside of Austin is also home to several parks, international cuisine, and a downtown area full of shops, restaurants, and bars.

Things to do in Round Rock

San Marcos

A visit to San Marcos is perfect for shopping and relaxation. Enjoy tubing on the San Marcos River, visit the Meadows Center, and roam the vibrant downtown area.

For added thrills, consider a helicopter tour, river rafting, or scuba diving. Don’t miss unique attractions like Wonder World Park’s caves and wildlife, the Meadows Center, and the Grotto’s scenic overlook!

Things to do in San Marcos

Seguin

Seguin is known for its historic sites and natural beauty. Visit the Sebastopol House State Historic Site and enjoy the outdoors at Max Starcke Park.

You can also explore Pape’s Pecan House, known for its nutcrackers and giant pecan. Enjoy family fun activities at ZDT Amusement Park, shop at boutiques and antique stores, or savor wings, Southern cuisine, and live music.

Things to Do in Seguin

Waco

Embark on a fun day in Waco. Shop at Magnolia Market, relax in the world’s longest lazy river at Waco Surf Park, and experience history and science simultaneously at the Mayborn Museum Complex. 

End your day with a sunset horseback ride, tapas and wine at Segovia Wine Bar, or a sunset boat tour on the Brazos River.