There are times when the hustle and bustle of Houston can really get to you. The best thing to do when you start to feel claustrophobic is to get out in nature and wide-open spaces.
Besides the swampland that surrounds Houston, where would you go to enjoy the great outdoors? There are many places in and around Houston that are so worth the trip.
If you like to hike, you’ll find these parks and hiking spots a haven for getting out of your city blues.
Brazos Bend State Park
This state park is 45 minutes away in Needville, but it is well worth the trip! They offer so many things to keep you busy and enjoy nature that you could stay a whole weekend and not see it all.
The park includes 37 miles of nature hiking. Yes, you read that right, 37 miles! Who can cover that kind of mileage in a day?
There are also two lakes in the park and plenty of alligator observatories. So you can get as many views of alligators as you please — from a safe distance!
Make sure you read the alligator safety manual before you go so that you know how to proceed cautiously.
They host the annual Brazos Bend 50 run if you enjoy running for competition. You can also ride horses there, but you have to bring your own horse.
You’ll see many people using binoculars and cameras to capture all the different wildlife and birds that reside in the park.
You can fish at either lake off the shore or fishing pier. Since it’s a state park, you don’t need a fishing license to fish.
As you can see, this park is more than just a hiking trail. It offers plenty of other activities and nature to see.
Buffalo Bayou Park
Just out of the downtown district lies an excellent hiking spot with lots of bridges and plants to keep your hike interesting. Not only will you see the Buffalo Bayou scenery, but you can bring your four-legged furry friend and take him to the dog park after.
You can hike the 4.8-mile loop for a shorter hike, or there are about 15 miles of connected trail to other parks. You can make a really long hike altogether if you choose.
If you have kids, there is a nature play area, and teens can enjoy the skatepark. Within this park is the waterworks, where you can tour the historic Houston cisterns. The tours cost seven dollars per person, but you can enter for free on Thursday.
This park is within the memorial neighborhood of Houston. It has a 2.88-mile loop of gravel and woods for hiking, but it offers many other options for Houston’s citizens to stay active.
The park contains a fitness complex with tennis courts, playing fields, and even a swimming pool. If you would rather bike than hike, there are six miles worth of biking trails strung along the bayou.
Memorial park connects to the 300-acre golfing course that is among the top courses in the nation. Golfers come from all over the country to swing away!
But wait…there’s more! Memorial park also contains the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. This conservation area has five miles of trails, including a birding trail and wildflower trail.
Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail
This hiking spot offers twelve miles of trails, some with shading for hot days and some lit up for walking at night. There are restrooms for public use, so you don’t have to worry about finding a bush or tree for privacy.
There are playground and picnic sites to use if you want to make it a family day outing. On a sunny day, you can stand at the right spot and use the sundial to tell time.
This park connects to the eleven miles of neighboring Katy’s George Bush Hike and Bike Trail. You can bring your pet as long as you keep them leashed.
Lake Houston Wilderness Park
As the name implies, this park has a lake, but there are also more than 20 miles of hiking trails. The lake offers overnight campsites for those who want the primitive camping style.
If you aren’t much of a survivalist, you can also rent a lakeside cabin or A-frame. These can occupy up to six adults. You can even ride horses, kayak down the creek, or bike the trails.
This heavily-forested park is just 30 miles outside of downtown Houston.
The entrance fee for this park is $3 per day. If you want to camp overnight, the price will be higher.
Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge
With over 40 thousand acres of land in this park, there’s lots of wildlife to see. This park offers a protected place for animals of five different ecosystems.
The primary purpose of this park is to protect wildlife, but it’s open to the public for your enjoyment. The miles of boardwalks and natural trails are open to the public so long as you observe the rules and leave the wildlife alone.
What kind of wildlife can you expect to see here? There are many different waterfowl and shorebirds. Alligators up to 12-feet long have also been spotted.
Parts of this park are open to hunting and fishing for those who enjoy this type of recreation. However, when it comes to hiking, there is no shortage of trails and interesting areas to walk.
With so many different places to go for a hike nearby, take advantage of the great outdoors. Some of these are perfect for a quick afternoon hike; others you’ll need to plan for an entire day of activity.
Try them all, and it may surprise you what exciting things you’ve been missing!
Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at 8181 Med Center with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making 8181 Med Center the place to call home.