Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas metropolitan area City urban area skyline metropolis cityscape skyscraper daytime residential area tower block Architecture tree sky neighbourhood morning Downtown urban design condominium real estate suburb mixed use building sunlight grass landscape
Outdoors + Adventure

The Best Hikes in Houston, Texas

Houston is known for many things — top-notch restaurants, experimental bars, world-class art museums and a newly revitalized downtown. The country’s fourth-largest city doesn’t exactly inspire images of the great outdoors, though. It’s known more for highways than for hiking trails. Over the past 15 years, however, Houston has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a green makeover within this concrete jungle. Both locals and visitors alike are benefiting from more space to go running, biking, canoeing and more. Although several of the city’s parks sustained flooding during Hurricane Harvey, most of them are now fully operational. Here are four of the best for outdoors activities in Houston.

See recent posts by Jeanne Cheung, Marriott Traveler

Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas tree outdoor bench grass Nature vegetation botanical garden Garden nature reserve park plant pond wooden water landscape wetland reflection bank landscaping watercourse riparian forest shrub bayou old growth forest walkway wood surrounded
Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas waterway reflection water body of water metropolitan area City tree urban area sky daytime Canal River skyline plant bank leaf cityscape Lake pond real estate tower block Downtown grass skyscraper recreation park reflecting pool watercourse landscape bayou metropolis lacustrine plain condominium evening reservoir channel estate
Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas tree outdoor park grass green Nature plant woody plant vegetation branch leaf flora grove plantation Garden spring woodland landscape botanical garden oak area

Hermann Park

Thanks to a $119 million renovation, 445-acre Hermann Park is now Houston’s premier green space. The focal point of this historic park in the Museum District is the 740-foot-long Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, edged in sculpted stone and lined with oak trees.

Take a pedal boat ride on McGovern Lake, or perhaps enjoy a free performance by the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet or the Houston Symphony at Miller Outdoor Theatre (check the schedule of events in advance).

While you’re in the neighborhood, check out a few more of the city’s outdoor attractions, as well. The Hermann Park Golf Course and Houston Zoo both border the park. On Rice University’s campus, located nearby, an installation by renowned artist James Turrell is open to the public. “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace is the site of a free light show that takes place Wednesday through Monday at sunrise and sunset.

Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas metropolitan area sky daytime skyline landmark cloud skyscraper City urban area cityscape metropolis tower block grass residential area horizon Downtown corporate headquarters meadow condominium tree real estate building landscape computer wallpaper cumulus meteorological phenomenon energy suburb

Buffalo Bayou Park

The 160-acre space along Houston’s main waterway, Buffalo Bayou Park, recently underwent a $58 million facelift complete with new running and biking trails, a skate park, public art and pedestrian bridges.

The Waugh Drive Bridge is even home to the city’s largest bat colony. Plan to take a boat tourto see the approximately 200,000 Mexican free-tailed bats that usually come out at sunset year-round, or rent kayaks from Bayou City Adventures and paddle along the narrow stream of water. Those who prefer to stay on dry land can take a bike tour with Bike Barn and explore miles of paths lined with oak and magnolia trees.

Memorial Park

Runners will want to head to Memorial Park, with its 30 miles of pathways that include the popular Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail, which is paved with crushed granite.

Sprawling across 1,466 acres, it’s one of the largest urban parks in the country and includes facilities for tennis, softball, swimming, track, croquet and volleyball, in addition to an 18-hole Memorial Park Golf Course. It’s also home to The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, where visitors can wander 5 miles of nature paths and learn about the region’s native plants.

Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas urban area Winter tree Architecture City reflection snow window building Downtown facade plant
City Houston Outdoors + Adventure Scenic views Texas Trip Ideas outdoor sky metropolitan area grass skyline tower block skyscraper cityscape geographical feature landmark urban area metropolis human settlement residential area neighbourhood Downtown horizon Architecture condominium panorama tower

Discovery Green

Location, location, location. That’s the biggest advantage for Discovery Green, Houston’s compact downtown park that’s tucked between the George R. Brown Convention Center and several shops and restaurants.

Open since 2008, this space packs an impressive selection of activities into just 12 acres. Find a putting green, a recreational lake, bandstands, two dog runs, a children’s playground area, revolving art installations and a jogging trail. There’s even an ice rink during the colder months, as well as more than 300 special events like concerts, film screenings and festivals held throughout the year.

Houston Outdoors + Adventure Texas Trip Ideas metropolitan area skyline City daytime cityscape sky urban area skyscraper reflection water River metropolis tree bank Downtown tower block cloud water resources horizon landscape grass

More from Marriott Traveler:

Read the original story: Ditch Highways for Hiking Trails and Hit Houston’s Great Outdoors by Meredith Bethune, who is a regular contributor to Marriott Traveler



All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Jetsetter may earn an affiliate commission.