Nature Lover Locations One Hour or Less from Houston
If you’re looking to put your feet down in fields of grass and reset your stress levels a bit, there are a TON of places for nature lovers to road trip under one hour from Houston. You don’t have to drive very far from the big city to feel like you’re a world away.
Nature offers a simple remedy for the stresses of modern life – relaxation, fresh air, and constant discovery. It’s simple. Leave the concrete jungles that surround big cities, and let the birds sing to you and wash away your stress. Nature acts as a healing balm for both the mind and the spirit.
Reconnect with the earth beneath your feet and the open sky above – it’s a reprieve from life’s chaos. So grab those hiking boots and let nature calm your soul and give you peace.
Here are a list of nature lover’s destinations that are under a short hours drive from Houston:
Buffalo Bayou Park
Address: 105-B Sabine Street, Houston, TX
Only have a few hours to de-stress? Stay right in the heart of Houston and re-discover your love of nature in the 160 acre green space of Buffalo Bayou Park. You’ll find walking and biking trails, beautiful views of the downtown skyline, beautiful gardens, native landscaping, nature play area, dog park, public art, places to picnic, and even places to kayak and canoe! It’s a great spot for outdoor activities along the bayou.
Address: 6001 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030
Another beautiful area in the heart of Houston, Hermann Park boasts 445 acres of nature loving paradise! This is the perfect place to walk around without leaving the city. It connects with 35 miles of trail systems! From the 290 foot suspension bridge to the railroad tunnel, you wouldn’t believe how many things there are to see!
Take the kids to the Houston Zoo, plan your wedding or special event in the gardens, meet up at the cafe or schedule a rendezvous in the Japanese Gardens – there is definitely something for everyone! There is even a golf course, a sculpture walk and a gift shop!
If that STILL isn’t enough to entice you head to the Reflection pool, view the monuments, check the schedule for the outdoor theater, explore the pioneer log house museum, skip through the urban forest or prairie, or head onto one of the lakes in a pedal boat!
Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center
Address: 20634 Kenswick Dr, Humble, TX 77338
If you love fishing, then the Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is a great place to launch your boat or just throw a line out! You can even swim at the beach to cool off for the day! There are over 8 miles of trails (paved and primitive) that take you through the swamps, Redbud Hill Homestead and Akokisa Indian Village.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch for the kids before they play at the playground or check out the education center!
Lake Houston Wilderness Park
Address: 25840 FM 1485, New Caney, TX
If you’re looking for a quick getaway then you definitely should head about 30 minutes north of Houston to Lake Houston Wilderness Park and go camping. With over 20 miles of trails and almost 5000 acres to explore, this is a fantastic spot for outdoor activities in a natural setting!
A true sportsmen’s paradise – you’ll be able to go mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and even enjoy the horseback riding trails!
Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens
Address: 22306 Aldine Westfield Rd, Humble, TX 77338
If being surrounded by plants and flowers is what calms your heart, the Mercer Arboretum is the place to be. Wind through 180 acres of tropical plants, ferns, gingers, endangered species, bamboo, and plenty of variety of trees. It’s a serene place to just exist in nature with your thoughts.
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Address: 6003 Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77007
The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is surrounded with history – particularly at the home of Ima Hogg which showcases world-class American furnishings, silver, ceramics and paintings. Also on the 14 acres you’ll find the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor & Education Center, including the Kitty King Powell Library & Study Center.
In addition to learning more about it’s history, Bayou Bend also offers stunning gardens, woodlands, and walking trails. It’s a peaceful retreat within the city, showcasing native plants and wildlife.
Sam Houston National Forest
Address: 394 FM 1375 West, New Waverly, TX 77358
If you want to disappear into nature for a bit without going too far from Houston, then the Sam Houston National Forest is one hundred percent the place to be. It’s one of four national forests in Texas and spans over 163,000 acres. You’ll certainly get your workout in over 85 miles of trails!
The forest offers hiking trails, camping sites, hunting, boating and opportunities for birdwatching and fishing. It’s a peaceful retreat away from the city.
Armand Bayou Nature Center
Address: 8500 Bay Area Blvd, Pasadena, TX 77507
The Armand Bayou Nature Center certainly gives you a unique view on wildlife since it’s the only place on this list that has a bison viewing platform AND offers pontoon nature cruises! Pair that with the Children’s Discovery area and learning center and you’ve got a day to unwind for the entire family!
You won’t have a problem birdwatching or viewing wildlife in the 2500 acres of natural wetlands, forest & prairies. It’s a great place to experience the coastal marsh environment.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
Address: 3523 Independence Pkwy, La Porte, TX 77571
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is another fantastic historical area that surrounds you in both nature and history under 30 minutes from Houston! Pack your picnic or grill on-site then head to the museum, monuments, cemetery or battlefield.
Wind through the marsh trails & boardwalk and learn about the local plants and wildlife. It’s a place of historical significance with opportunities for outdoor exploration.
Galveston Island State Park
Address: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554
A favorite of locals and tourists alike, Galveston Island State Park is the perfect place if the sea is calling! You will certainly find your ocean vibe just outside of Houston! Beyond just swimming, fishing, and kayaking, you can also look up ranger programs or search for the world wide treasure hunt – geocaching!
There are even beach wheelchairs you can borrow for those that need help getting down the beach sand to the water! Pack your picnic and your tent then explore the beautiful beaches and nature preserves in Galveston Island State Park. Don’t forget – leave no trace on the hiking trails and bird blinds!
Brazos Bend State Park
Address: 21901 Farm to Market Rd 762, Needville, TX 77461
The last place I wanted to highlight was Brazos Bend State Park! It’s the only location on this list that has an observatory on site! Less than an hour’s drive from Houston, this is a very popular destination to get lost outdoors for nature enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for alligators and a large variety of birds!
I definitely recommend camping out there to take full advantage of their ranger programs, hiking, fishing, geocaching and even riding your horse! PLUS they have an all-terrain wheelchair to borrow for those that need it! Make sure to stop in at their gift shop and support this great park!