Houston is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its warm climate and numerous green spaces. Perhaps you’re considering moving to the area or maybe you already live in an apartment in Houston and are looking to explore the city’s outdoor offerings. Either way, this Redfin article is for you. 

We’ve rounded up some of the best outdoor activities that Houston has to offer, so you can easily plan your next adventure. With this knowledge in hand, you can make the most of living in Houston and explore all the exciting outdoor activities the city has to offer.

1. Explore the Buffalo Bayou Park trails on foot or bike

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou Park trails is an essential outdoor activity in Houston. The trails offer stunning views of the downtown skyline and are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter beautiful gardens, public art installations, and even a skate park. For a more adventurous experience, rent a kayak or paddleboard and glide along the bayou. As you meander through the park, keep an eye out for the resident wildlife, including turtles, fish, and even occasional glimpses of alligators. 

2. Visit the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center for a hike or nature walk

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is a lush, 155-acre nature reserve in the heart of Houston. A tranquil oasis of verdant forests, meandering trails, and serene ponds, the arboretum offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. 

The center features a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and bird-watching to nature walks and guided tours. The arboretum is also home to a variety of native wildlife, including deer, turtles, and over 200 species of birds, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers alike. 

3. Take a kayak or paddleboard tour on Buffalo Bayou

Kayaking or paddleboarding on Buffalo Bayou is a fantastic way to explore Houston’s outdoor scenery. As you navigate the calm waters, you’ll be surrounded by the lush greenery of the bayou banks and the city’s skyline in the distance. 

The tour allows you to experience the city from a different perspective and get up close to nature at the same time. You might even spot some local wildlife along the way, such as turtles or birds. The peacefulness of the bayou combined with the city’s hustle and bustle in the background make for a unique and memorable experience. 

4. Picnic at Hermann Park or Memorial Park

A picnic at Hermann Park is an idyllic experience that combines the tranquility of nature with the energy of the city. The sprawling green space, which covers over 400 acres, is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and soak in the beauty of the outdoors. 

The park is home to lush gardens, serene lakes, and towering trees that provide shade and a sense of serenity. Setting up a picnic on one of the park’s grassy knolls, visitors can enjoy a delicious meal while listening to the sound of birds singing and the rustling of leaves in the breeze. And with a variety of attractions nearby, including the Houston Zoo and the Museum of Natural Science, there’s no shortage of things to see and do before or after your picnic.

5. Visit the Houston Zoo to see over 6,000 animals

The Houston Zoo is a must-see attraction for animal lovers of all ages. With over 6,000 animals from 900 species, the zoo offers an incredible opportunity to see a wide variety of animals up close. 

Locals can take a leisurely stroll through the expansive grounds, which are divided into different zones based on animal habitats, such as the African Forest, Kipp Aquarium, and the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat. Each exhibit provides an immersive experience, allowing visitors to feel like they are transported to a different part of the world. 

The zoo also offers several interactive experiences, including the Kipp Aquarium Touch Tank, where visitors can touch and learn about sea creatures, and the Giraffe Feeding Platform, where guests can feed giraffes by hand.

6. Attend an outdoor concert or event at Discovery Green

Attending an outdoor concert or event at Discovery Green is a memorable experience that captures the essence of Houston’s vibrant arts and culture scene. The park’s spacious lawn provides ample room for thousands of concert-goers to spread out and enjoy live music, while the towering skyline of downtown Houston provides a stunning backdrop. 

The park’s central location, in the heart of the city’s business and entertainment district, makes it easily accessible to visitors from all over the region. As the sun sets and the music begins to play, the atmosphere at Discovery Green is electric, with a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation.

7. Go fishing at Lake Houston or Galveston Bay

Fishing at Lake Houston or Galveston Bay is a truly unique experience that offers anglers the chance to catch a wide variety of fish while enjoying the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast. Lake Houston is a sprawling reservoir that’s nestled among rolling hills and shaded by towering trees, offering a serene and picturesque setting for fishing. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, and its tranquil waters are ideal for both novice and experienced anglers.

Galveston Bay, on the other hand, is a massive estuary that stretches over 600 square miles, and it’s known for its diverse and abundant marine life. The bay is home to a wide range of fish species, including redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and snapper, and it’s a popular destination for both recreational and commercial fishing.

8. Take a day trip to Galveston Island and hit the beach

One factor that makes Houston a good place to live is that you’re just a short drive away from the Gulf Coast. Galveston Island is a beautiful destination for a day trip from Houston. Locals can take a leisurely stroll along the Seawall, a 10-mile long promenade that runs along the coast and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Or head over to the Historic Pleasure Pier, an amusement park built on a pier that extends out into the ocean. 

For a more educational experience, stop by the Galveston Island Historic District, where you can learn about the city’s rich history and explore the Victorian architecture that defines this charming area. If you’re looking for some time in the sun, head to one of the island’s beautiful beaches, like Stewart Beach or East Beach, where you can soak up the sun and cool off in the refreshing waters of the Gulf.

9. Take a guided Segway tour through downtown Houston

Exploring the vibrant city of Houston has never been more fun than with a guided Segway tour. Glide through the bustling streets and take in the sights and sounds of this dynamic metropolis on your personal Segway, a two-wheeled electric vehicle. 

Expert guides lead you on a thrilling and informative tour, highlighting the best attractions and hidden gems of the city. Feel the wind in your hair as you effortlessly cruise past towering skyscrapers, lush parks, and historic landmarks. The tours are perfect for all ages and skill levels, with thorough training and safety briefings provided before setting off. 

10. Take a hot air balloon ride over the city

Taking a hot air balloon ride in Houston is an unforgettable experience that offers a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings. Many companies offer hot air balloon rides that typically last between one and two hours, depending on weather conditions. The ride begins with the inflation of the balloon, which is a sight in itself. 

Once airborne, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of Houston’s skyline, nearby forests, and the Gulf Coast. The experience is serene and peaceful, with the only sounds being the occasional burst of flame from the balloon’s burner. Hot air balloon rides are typically offered at sunrise or sunset, when the weather is calmest and the lighting is ideal for capturing stunning photos.

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