Take a day trip from Houston the next time you have a free day and a full tank of gas. From the beach to central Texas, there are a number of great cities within driving distance from Houston that are perfect for day trippers. Have an unforgettable day when you spend it experiencing one of these 8 best day trips from Houston.


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Galveston Island Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

Galveston Island

With a sandy beach less than an hour drive away from the city, Galveston Island is one of the most popular travel destinations for Houstonians. Beach dwellers will enjoy the more than 30 miles of sandy coast here. However, there is more to experience in Galveston than just the beach. Visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark or Moody Gardens. History buffs will enjoy touring Moody Mansion, Bishop’s Palace, and Ship Elissa, while adrenaline junkies shouldn’t miss the rides and rollercoasters found on Pleasure Pier. You’ll have a day you’ll never forget when you visit Galveston.

Brazos Bend State Park Alligator at Brazos Bend State Park
Credit: Bigstock.com
Alligator at Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park

Escape to nature for the day by visiting Brazos Bend State Park. Home to six lakes, picnicking areas, and hiking and biking trails, this Houston-area park is sure to offer a refreshing experience. However, keep an eye out for the resident alligators that call this place home. George Observatory can also be found here too, which is both an observatory and a museum. You may never want to return to the city after a day spent here. If you’d like to extend your stay here, there are campsites too.

Kemah Kemah Boardwalk entrance arch illuminated at night.
Credit: bigstock.com
Kemah Boardwalk entrance arch illuminated at night.


Head to Kemah to enjoy your day on the boardwalk. Restaurants, shopping and even an amusement park are found along this bayside attraction, so visitors of all ages will enjoy their day here. The day might be over but the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down here. During the summer, there are typically free live music and free fireworks on Fridays at the Kemah Boardwalk.

Brenham Blue Bell Creamery Statue in Brenham, Texas
Blue Bell Creamery Statue in Brenham, Texas


Brenham, Texas is a charming country town that is only an hour drive from the city of Houston. Brenham is located in Washington Country, known as the “Birthplace of Texas.” So you can spend your day browsing the museums in the area, like the Brenham Heritage Museum. However, this area also becomes a popular travel destination during the spring when the bluebonnets are in bloom. Before heading back to the city, stop at Texas’ ice cream giant Blue Bell Creamery for a scoop or two.

Sam Houston National Forest Sam Houston National Forest
Sam Houston National Forest

Sam Houston National Forest

One of Texas’ national forests is found only 50 miles outside of the city. The Sam Houston National Forest is well known among hikers, bikers, recreational fishermen, and horseback riders. The only long-distance hiking trail in Texas, the Lone Star Hiking Trail, is found in the national forest and spans 130 miles. You won’t regret leaving the city for this Texas gem.

Austin Austin, TX is known as the Live Music Capital of the World.
Austin, TX is known as the Live Music Capital of the World.


Texas’ state capital is only two-and-a-half hours away from H-Town. Austin, Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so it’s a great place to visit for music lovers. Spend the day enjoying one of Austin’s most popular festivals like ACL (Austin City Limits) or SXSW (South by Southwest). Apart from its music scene, Austin is known for its local restaurants, boutique shopping, and outdoor recreation.

San Antonio San Antonio Riverwalk
San Antonio Riverwalk

San Antonio

From Texas historical sites to great Tex-Mex eateries, San Antonio offers a number of attractions for daytrippers. Stroll the River Walk, visit the Alamo, and explore the San Antonio Museum of Art. Or you can spend the day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park. Natural Bridge Caverns is also found in San Antonio. Tours are offered through the cavern, which is one of the largest caverns in the state.

New Braunfels New Braunfels
New Braunfels

New Braunfels

This central Texas city is a popular destination during summertime when Texans all across the state flock here to tube the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers. If the rapids on the rivers aren’t extreme enough for you, then spend the day at the massive Schlitterbahn water park. Winter in New Braunfels can be fun too, where you can enjoy live music at Gruene Hall or book a tour of all the local craft breweries.

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