While we’ve endured enough rain and flooding in the past month to make it feel like hurricane season has come and gone, we’re only a week into summer. Still, summer will be gone before we know it. Do you have any trips planned yet?
If not, and you want to keep vacation costs down, consider one of these regional weekend getaways near Houston.
Beaumont is a place to appreciate art, history, architecture, and design. Its museums, including the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, and Texas Energy Museum, are some of the most impressive and deeply endowed in the state. Scores of opulent mansions, built by oil millionaires during an earlier era, can be seen throughout the city.
Zydeco music and authentic cajun food contribute to the cultural richness, and let you know that good ol’ Louisiana isn’t far away. If you want to bring your pet on a weekend adventure in Beaumont, less than an hour and a half from downtown Houston, the Residence Inn Beaumont welcomes four-legged guests.
Big Thicket National Preserve
Home to 10 distinct ecosystems, Big Thicket National Preserve is a melting pot of plant and animal life. Forty miles of hiking trails weave through 83,000 acres of biodiverse East Texas landscape. Big Thicket offers wilderness boat rides on the Neches River, beautiful grounds for camping, and some of the best bird watching in the state.
A wonderfully preserved nature refuge just south of Freeport, the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge in Brazoria is undeveloped and devoid of most signs of modern life. Freshwater lakes, salt marshes, and thriving forest make up the landscape, which can be explored by foot, boat, or car.
Bryan – College Station
The charming town of Bryan, just 10 minutes north of College Station, is the perfect place for a low-key, step-back-in-time sort of weekend. Bryan is compact and entirely walkable, meaning you can park your car when you arrive on Friday evening and not drive again until you take off on Sunday. Antiques and independent boutiques fill many of Bryan’s street-level historic shopfronts. Great restaurants constitute much of the rest.
To get the most out of a weekend, visit the first weekend of the month. The town holds a First Friday celebration every month, with free events, live music, and food trucks. If you want a change from Bryan’s demure charm, head to Aggieland for a quintessential college town experience.
Gruene – New Braunfels
Just shy of three hours west of AMLI Uptown lies the perfect country getaway destination. Rustic charm and beautiful natural landscape marry to make Gruene a relaxing, laid-back place where time stands still. Historic cottages, built in days of prosperity and beautifully restored, make up the bulk of lodging options. The presence of multiple rivers nearby means great tubing opportunities, New Braunfels’ raison d’etre in the mind of most Houstonians.
Just an hour north of Houston, Huntsville is another college town that offers plenty to do for a weekend getaway. The presence of Sam Houston State University gives Huntsville a college-town feel, and the vast Sam Houston National Forest nearby creates a natural buffer between Huntsville and the sprawling metropolis of Houston. Those interested in art and architecture are drawn to Dan Phillips’ unique houses and the sculpture collection at the David Adickes Foundation museum. It’s a great place to celebrate Texas Independence Day on March 2 and the Fourth of July.
A half hour beyond Beaumont, right on the border with Louisiana, Orange is another weekend getaway destination rich in history and culture. The W.H. Stark House, Lutcher Theater, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, and Stark Museum of Art constitute one of the most unique and impressive points of interest in Texas. In addition to world class culture, Orange has an irresistible small-town charm.
Adventurous types, history buffs, and really anyone can find satisfaction with the shopping, dining, entertainment, and activities in these great weekend getaway destinations. What are you waiting for? Start making plans for your next getaway from Houston today!
Do you have a favorite weekend getaway near Houston? Let us know where it is and why it’s your favorite in the comments.
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