Seven Great Places To Go Within An Easy Drive Of Houston

by Buck Kim

Visiting the American South is a vacation experience that many people end up enjoying during their lifetime.  One of the best cities to go to when wanting to have a good time is the city of Houston, Texas.  Houston offers a number of different experiences including a taste of Texas, the American South, a true international city, and a coastal region all in one.  Very few people travel to this truly fun getaway city and end up disappointed.  It really does offer a great time for every type of traveler there is.

Houston is a wonderful city to visit with tons of great things to do and see.  The downtown area can be fun for all ages with its nice selection of restaurants, shops, and attractions.  Uptown Houston is equally nice, with less of a business feel to it and a lot more shopping opportunities.  There are other great things in Houston as well including first rate museums, luxury accommodations, bars and nightclubs, professional sporting events, tour opportunities, and more.  Sometimes though, one of the best things to do on a vacation is to actually take a day and get out of the city being traveled to.  Houston is perfect for this too as there is a nice selection of attractions and other communities within an easy drive of it.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is about two hundred miles to the west of Houston and can be driven to in about three hours or a little more.  This drive takes visitors through a large section of Texas and gives them a great idea of what the rural parts of the state look and feel like.  There are some wonderful little communities to stop in and explore along the way including Katy, Sealy, Glidden, Flatonia, Luling, and Seguin.  San Antonio itself is a beautiful city that offers historical attractions, professional sports, museums, art galleries, landmarks, shopping, and more.  One of the most popular features of San Antonio is the RiverWalk area where travelers are welcome to walk along or even take boat tours of a beautiful river area lined with parks, shops, and restaurants.


Kemah is a small community just south of Houston and works great as a day trip destination itself, or a fun place to stop on the drive between Houston and Galveston.  Kemah features a lengthy boardwalk that not only is lined with things to do, but is also a great place to just sit back, relax, and do some people watching.  There are restaurants, cafes, street vendors, amusement rides, and more all located immediately at the boardwalk.  Kemah sits on Galveston Bay and has a very nice waterfront area where sitting back and enjoying the views of incoming and outgoing ships is yet another joy to be experienced there.


Galveston sits just short of an hour’s drive to the south of Houston and is a very popular destination for those from around the country, as well as for the locals from Houston too.  The city of Galveston and all of Galveston Island offer a fun day filled with tons of coastal activities.  There are miles of beautiful beaches to explore, fun restaurants and cafes to eat at, historical landmarks to see, and of course great access to the water.  Outdoor recreation on the beaches of Galveston is very popular and it isn’t uncommon to see vacationers taking part in boating, swimming, diving, surfing, sunbathing, beach combing, wind surfing, kayaking, and more while there.  Galveston also features the Schlitterbahn Water Park Galveston attraction which is extremely popular with families.

San Jacinto State Park

San Jacinto State Park is located just a short drive from Houston and is a very worthwhile trip for any traveler or travel group to make, especially for anyone with an interest in history.  The park contains the San Jacinto Battleground Monument which commemorates the decisive battle in which Texas won its independence from Mexico.  Also found at the park is the Battleship Texas.  For a reasonable entrance fee, a vacationer can actually step foot on and take a tour of a real World War II battleship.  Both of these attractions are well worth the time it takes to get there, which is not very much at all.  There are other things to do at the park too including nature walks, picnicking, and even camping.

Lake Charles, Louisiana

The community of Lake Charles, Louisiana is located just 140 miles east of Houston.  It takes about two and a half house of driving to get there, and the traveler goes through some great scenic areas along the way including coastline, rolling hills, lakes, rivers, and more.  Lake Charles itself is a fun little town that features many things including casino action.  Travelers of all ages can be sufficiently entertained both in the city itself and in the natural areas found in the immediate vicinity.


The community of Surfside is a low key beach community that sits a little less than an hour away from Houston.  Surfside offers many of the same things that Galveston does, but is a little off the beaten path so it doesn’t have the crowds during the peak summer months.  The beaches at Surfside are beautiful and big enough to handle all of the vacationers that head there each year.  The community also offers fun things to do including eat out, go shopping, and relax.

Schlitterbahn Water Park

For a fun time in the sun within an easy drive of Houston, many families rave about the Schlitterbahn Water Park in the community of New Braunfels, Texas.  This community sits about 175 miles west of Houston and is about a three hour drive.  It isn’t just locals that rave about the Schlitterbahn Water Park though, travel magazines and television shows have consistently rated it the number one water park in the entire world for a number of years.  There are beach areas, swimming pools, wave pools, water cannons, and all sorts of waterslides.  For those wanting to make a weekend out of it, San Antonio is only about another forty five minutes down the road.

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While Houston is a fun city to go to based on what can be found there, an often overlooked benefit that the city has is how conveniently located it is to several area attractions.  A traveler can spend their vacation in Houston and see all the great things that the city has to offer, and then they can see some very interesting attractions in the surrounding area as part of either a road trip or as something to do on their way to or from the city.  Vacationing in Houston is a great idea for a number of reasons, but one of the top reasons is because of all the first rate things found in the surrounding area.

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