Outdoor Activities in Houston: 15 Fun Things to Do Outside!

Houston may be known for its big skyscrapers and sprawling metropolis, but this Texas city also has a lot of outdoor activities to explore.

This city offers a wide range of outdoor activities for those who enjoy history, nature, and the great outdoors.

Whether it’s a romantic picnic, a scenic bike ride, or relaxing in nature, there’s plenty of places to escape the urban hustle.

Make sure you don’t miss these fun things to do outside in Houston!

1. Explore Buffalo Bayou Park

The Buffalo Bayou Park offers a great way to spend a day in nature, and it’s located in the heart of downtown Houston.

The park offers miles of trails for hiking and biking, as well as a scenic jogging path.

Buffalo Bayou Park is also home to several art installations, including public artworks as well as sculptures and monuments.

In addition to the hike and bike paths, there are also several scenic overlooks along the bayou that provide views of downtown and the skyline.

Galvestone Island State Park Sunset
photo by Dan Thibodeaux

2. Visit Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park is located just off the coast of Houston, offering over 4 miles of nature trails and a variety of outdoor activities for all ages.

You can enjoy fishing at this state park or relax on one of the beaches with views of the Gulf Coast.

There are also several picnic areas throughout the park, so you can pack a lunch for some outdoor fun.

The park features a large variety of wildlife, so it’s a great place to see birds and other wildlife native to the area.

In addition to the outdoor activities, Galveston Island is also home to several historical sites, including the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA.

The Pleasure Pier, a popular amusement park, is also located here.

3. Join a Haunted Houston Walking Tour

Houston is known for its haunted history, and there are several walking tours you can join to learn about the city’s dark past.

This popular Haunted Walking Tour takes you through some of Houston’s oldest buildings and spooky landmarks that are said to be home to ghosts and spirits.

If you’re interested in learning about the ghosts of Houston’s past, this family-friendly walking tour is a great way to discover the city’s haunted history.

It’s not just a walk – it’s a fun learning experience!

Looking for something a little more grown-up? Try this Houston Ghost and Pub Walking Tour instead.

4. Go Paddleboarding at Lake Conroe

Paddleboarding is an easy and fun way to enjoy the sun and get a great workout all at the same time.

Lake Conroe is one of the most popular lakes in Texas, and it’s home to a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Not only will you have uninterrupted views of the lake, but the water is also fairly calm and perfect for beginners trying their hand at paddleboarding.

Houston Zoo Jaguar
photo by jan buchholtz

5. Explore the Wild Side at Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is home to more than 6,000 animals and is a great place to spend the day exploring.

Take your time strolling through the 55-acre park, or get tickets to their Animal Encounters experience to see a handful of the zoo’s most popular animals up close and personal.

This one-of-a-kind experience is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids, but be sure to make reservations in advance!

6. Have a Picnic at Discovery Green Park

Discovery Green Park is located in the heart of downtown Houston and is a great place to bring the family for a picnic in the park.

A beautiful space with plenty of seating, you can sit back and relax while you enjoy your afternoon nibbles.

They also have a playground and waterpark available for kids to play on.

Events are held regularly here throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar to see what’s happening.

7. Watch an Outdoor Movie at Market Square Park

There is no better way to enjoy a warm evening than by watching an outdoor movie under the stars at Market Square Park.

Bring a picnic blanket plus some popcorn and settle in for a movie on the grass.

Check their official website for upcoming screenings and events.

Mercer Botanic Gardens
photo by Thomas Hawk

8. Visit the Mercer Botanic Gardens

Live in the city, but need a quick escape? With over 393 acres of garden and arboretum that’s full of life, the Mercer Botanic Gardens is a beautiful retreat with lots of sprawling greenery and stunning plants to admire.

The Mercer Botanic Gardens offers free admission to all visitors daily from 8am to 5pm (Nov to Feb) and 8am to dusk (Mar to Oct).

Make sure you take time out of your day for this amazing garden!

9. Catch Some Waves at Surfside Beach

Take a day trip down to Surfside Beach! Spend time lazying around on the sand with the ocean waves and cool breeze in your face.

The surf is usually pretty good here, so if you decide to make it your spot for the day, be sure to bring your swimsuit and towel!

With the ocean’s beauty and the sun on your back, it is a relaxing activity that will make you feel like you are in paradise.

10. Stroll Through Downtown Houston

One of the best ways to experience all that Houston has to offer is by taking a walking tour around the city’s downtown area.

The tour gives you a great look at Houston’s classic landmarks like Minute Maid Park and sites with historical significance.

The knowledgeable guide will show you all the city’s best photo spots while telling you about its history and interesting facts during this three-hour tour.

11. Go Kayaking at Lake Woodlands

Kayaking in the Woodlands is a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and explore the natural environment.

Even if you’re just going for a quick paddle around the lake, kayaking is the perfect form of exercise for those who want to stay active outdoors.

Most people who have never experienced this type of adventure before are stunned by how much fun it really is!

Buffalo Bayou Bike Trail
photo by Roy Luck

12. Explore Houston’s Bike Trails

Houston is a relatively bike-friendly city with over 170 miles of trails for you to discover, taking you throughout the city’s different neighborhoods that are perfect for leisurely rides.

The best part about Houston biking trails is that they have scenic views as you ride along.

If you’re looking for a new place to explore by way of your two wheels, check out this map of biking trails in Houston.

13. Go Boating at Galveston Bay

Galveston Bay is the largest and most diverse estuary in Texas. It extends along the Gulf of Mexico coast and includes over 200 miles of shoreline, covering an area of approximately 600 square miles.

Go boating or book a fishing excursion and enjoy some sun and relaxation by the bay all day, or check out some of the amazing restaurants that line the shoreline if you have time after your trip.

Galveston Bay is an amazing place to explore, and it’s definitely worth getting out on the water.

14. Try Your Hand at Fishing at Lake Houston

Lake Houston is one of the most popular lakes in Texas for fishing enthusiasts.

The lake is home to a wide variety of fish species, including blue catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill and more.

Crack a beer and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you catch some fish.

Hermann Park Houston Texas
photo by Theresa Quintanilla

15. Go Golfing at Hermann Park

What better way to spend a beautiful day than playing golf with friends or family?

Hermann Park is one of the best golf courses in the Houston area, with 18 holes to play and well-maintained.

The greens are rolling and challenging, and there are no roughs to speak of.

As with any course, it is important that you make reservations for tee-time beforehand.

The green fees are affordable, with fees starting at $23 for Monday to Thursday to $34 for Friday to Sunday.

So if you’re ready for some fun, get your clubs and head out to this great course!