Houston is an unforgettable city in the Lone Star State that charms visitors with its impressive ambiance and rich cultural experiences. After exploring the city, you'll undoubtedly crave more, just like the many people who return to Houston multiple times, discovering new adventures with each visit.
What makes Houston even more enticing is its proximity to other captivating cities and attractions, making the best weekend getaways from Houston easy to get to and back from. Whether you're drawn to the vibrant streets of New Orleans and the energy of Bourbon Street or prefer to lose yourself in the stunning landscapes of Texas Hill Country, there's an unprecedented experience awaiting every traveler.
Quick Answer Guide: Best Weekend Getaways From Houston
Best Day Trips From Houston
- Best for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers- Needville
- Best for fishing and water enthusiasts- Tiki Island
- Best for fans of amusement parks and fun - Kemah
Best Road Trips From Houston
- Best for wine tasting and history buffs - Fredericksburg
- Best for history enthusiasts and those seeking family fun - Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Best for history buffs - Johnson City
Best Weekend Trips From Houston
- Best for those seeking exciting adventure and culture - New Orleans, Louisiana
- Best for iconic architecture and deep-dish pizza - Chicago, Illinois
- Best for country music and vibrant nightlife - Nashville, Tennessee
Best Day Trips From Houston
If you're looking for a way to have a quick little vacation that still allows you to sleep in your own bed at night, then check out these three of the best day trips from Houstons that are all within a few hours driving distance.
These three Texas locales won't empty your gas tank (or energy reserves) but will still provide fresh adventures for you to explore.
- Perfect for: Nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers
- Highlights of Needville:
- Scenic hiking and biking trails through diverse ecosystems
- Abundant wildlife, including alligators, birds, and deer
- Fishing and boating opportunities in serene lakes and creeks
Things to Do in Needville
Needville is truly a Nature Lover's Paradise. There are so many things to do while visiting Needville that you should be sure you have enough time truly experience all that the city has to offer. One destination that you should check out is the historic Brazos Bend State Park.
You can choose to engulf yourself in one of the many trails. There are over 37 miles of trails to choose from.
If the many trails don't excite you, you can fish or spend time at the George Observatory, a part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. If you plan to visit the Observatory, purchase a park day pass.
If you want to visit some of the other parks besides the Observatory, you can purchase a Texas State Parks Pass that will allow you to visit over 89 state parks.
How to Get to Needville
This is one of the easiest getaways that is right in the Houston area. You can take State Highway 288 South, approximately 40 miles to Needville from Houston Airport. The drive usually takes around one hour, depending on traffic conditions.
Where to Stay in Needville
Needville has many Airbnbs to choose from, but we offer this newly built cabin in the woods. This place is quiet and great to relax and enjoy nature like a true Texan. You can enjoy the frogs in the evenings or use the immaculate kitchen to cook home-cooked meals. If you don't feel like cooking, you can enjoy the 80 acres most guests use for fishing, hiking, relaxing, horseback riding, and sleeping.
If you would prefer a hotel, we suggest Home2 Suites by Hilton. Home2 Suites is located in Houston, near Needville, and a quick drive to local attractions. It offers excellent dining, free parking, Wi-Fi, a digital key, a fitness center, and a short commute to Brazos Bend State Park.
2. Tiki Island
- Perfect for: Fishing and water enthusiasts
- Highlights of Tiki Island:
- Only 36 minutes away from the airport
- Accessible by car
- Diverse selection of shops and water activities
- Within walking distance of various attractions
Things to Do in Tiki Island
Located in the Galveston area along the Gulf of Mexico, Tiki Island is a paradise for water enthusiasts and a haven for fishermen. The options are limitless, with saltwater fishing, jet skiing, and kayaking opportunities. You can also take a walk to one of the nearby boutiques or stop by a brewery and enjoy a beverage before delving into the many water activities that Tiki Island has in store for you.
To change scenery, drive to Moody Gardens and Pleasure Pier, approximately 15 minutes apart. Moody Gardens is where you'll discover a captivating botanical garden, a grand aquarium, and a mesmerizing rainforest pyramid, offering an educational and entertaining experience for all ages. If you're seeking more adventure, head to Pleasure Pier, an amusement park straddled over the Gulf of Mexico, featuring rides and entertaining games that will leave you with lasting memories. Bicycle rentals are an easy way to see more of the island without having to drive.
Visiting Bishop's Palace is a real treat if you'd prefer a slower pace and would like to spend some time sightseeing. The mansion was built initially for Colonel Walter Gresham, a prominent attorney and politician in Texas. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston later acquired it, and it served as the residence of the Bishop for many years. Today, it is open to the public and operates as a museum that allows visitors to step back in time and learn about the families lives and the historical context of Galveston's past.
Regardless of your chosen activities, Tiki Island promises an unforgettable experience.
How to Get to Tiki Island
Tiki Island, an enchanting destination, is conveniently situated just a 36-minute drive from Houston's William Hobby Airport. Start your journey by heading east on Airport Boulevard and taking the I-45 South ramp towards exit four. Upon exiting, turn left and continue until you reach Hawaii Drive, which will lead you directly onto the island.
Where to Stay in Tiki Island
You'll find several attractive options during your visit to Tiki Island. However, we highly recommend this Airbnb, which offers an incredible island view, a boat deck/slip, and a prime fishing location for you and your guests. It provides the perfect setting to unwind and enjoy your stay.
Additionally, consider Courtyard Galveston Island, a hotel that offers an oceanfront experience and a wide range of amenities that will surpass your expectations.
- Perfect for: Fans of amusement parks and fun
- Highlights of Kemah:
- Attractions within walking distance
- Just a 30-minute drive from the airport
- Abundance of rides and amusement
- Suitable for couples, families, and groups
Things to Do in Kemah
Kemah Boardwalk is a haven of excitement for all guests. Enjoy a romantic stroll along the sea wall and a savory meal at one of the charming restaurants lining the boardwalk. Imagine the charm of Santa Monica Pier combined with a small-town atmosphere, Six Flags thrills, and a waterpark. Kemah offers a captivating mix of amusement rides, entertainment, and a lively boardwalk experience akin to a bayfront Riverwalk.
If you prefer to take advantage of the water in Kemah, you should visit the Kemah Marina. You can watch boats sail by, enjoy the sea breeze, and catch some gorgeous sunsets over the bay. The marina is truly a must-see!
The Kemah Lighthouse District is undoubtedly a destination to visit while in Kemah. You'll surely fall in love with this area because it accommodates everyone's tastes. There are trendy boutiques, art showrooms, and exceptional cafés. It's a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts while enjoying an afternoon walk.
If you want to unwind, Clear Lake Park is your place! You can enjoy picnic zones, playgrounds, and fishing harbors. It's an ideal location for family gatherings and enjoying the area's natural beauty.
While Kemah has many waterfront restaurants, rides, games, and exhibits, it's conveniently located near other popular attractions, such as the renowned NASA Johnson Space Center.
To make the most of your visit to Houston, we recommend getting a Houston City Pass, which grants you savings on admission to the top attractions in the city. Whether you're seeking food, rides, events, or unforgettable moments, Kemah has something for everyone.
How to Get to Kemah
If you're coming from Houston's William Hobby Airport, you'll be glad to know that Kemah is only a short 30-minute drive away. Take I-45 South and exit at Nasa Road 1. From there, turn onto Bradford Avenue and continue to 215 Kipp Avenue in Kemah, Texas, to reach your destination.
Where to Stay in Kemah
We highly recommend the "Galloping Seahorse" Vrbo, situated not far from the NASA Space Center, 6 miles from the Houston Space Center, and centrally positioned in the heart of Kemah. It provides the perfect base for your stay, ensuring convenience and easy access to all the attractions.
Additionally, consider the Boardwalk Inn, the only hotel located directly on Kemah Boardwalk. Talk about convenience! In addition to the boardwalk's attractions and entertainment, the hotel hosts a calendar of events during your stay, ensuring there's always something to keep you entertained. The Boardwalk Inn guarantees a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Best Road Trips From Houston
If you enjoy the scenic route and prefer a road trip, here are some destinations worth considering. These getaway road trips from Houston are within a 5-hour drive, allowing you to enjoy a memorable road trip.
- Perfect for: Wine tasting and history buffs
- Highlights of Fredericksburg:
- Historic parks and attractions
- Nestled in the Texas Hill Country
- Quick 57-minute plane ride away
- Abundant wineries and canoeing
Things to Do in Fredericksburg
Situated amidst the scenic Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg exudes natural beauty with its rolling hills. As part of a region encompassing many charming towns, Fredericksburg stands out for its renowned wineries and plentiful outdoor recreational opportunities as well as its historic district.
If you'd like to spend some time in nature, you should check out Wildseed Farms. Wildseed Farms is the most extensive operating wildflower farm in the United States. You should visit between March and October, when it's a blooming season, to be captivated by the collection of wildflowers. Many visitors take some of the flowers home as seeds or souvenirs since this is an experience you'll never want to forget.
Another outdoor opportunity that we believe you'll enjoy is exploring Peach Orchards. Like Wildseed Farms, you should visit during the blooming season. Depending on the season, you can pick peaches at the area's countless orchards while enjoying the freshest and juiciest peaches during the trip.
Outdoor enthusiasts will treasure hiking to the top of Enchanted Rock, a massive pink granite dome that offers spectacular panoramic views of the Hill Country. The park also provides opportunities for rock climbing, birdwatching, and stargazing.
If you have an appreciation for history and a love for nature, Fredericksburg is the perfect destination for you.
How to Get to Fredericksburg
To reach Fredericksburg from Houston, the fastest option is by flying. However, for those seeking a scenic journey, the town can be reached by car in under four hours.
Where to Stay in Fredericksburg
We recommend considering the Ace of Hearts Vrbo when planning your visit to Fredericksburg. This delightful getaway is near Enchanted Rock, a natural area offering breathtaking views, rock climbing adventures, and camping opportunities.
Additionally, Fredericksburg provides a range of hotels that can serve as a comfortable home away from home. One highly recommended option is the Inn on Barons Creek, providing all the essential amenities for a pleasant stay, including Wi-Fi, free parking, a fitness center, and convenient access to the town's attractions.
5. Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Perfect for: History enthusiasts and those seeking family fun
- Highlights of Lake Charles:
- Rich historical sites
- Family-friendly attractions
- Lovely outdoor spaces
Things to Do in Lake Charles
Lake Charles offers a range of activities suitable for history buffs and groups. Explore the city's historical sites, like one of the many bayous, enjoy family-friendly attractions like the Children's Museum, or enjoy beautiful outdoor spaces like Prien Lake Park.
Mardi Gras, a beloved tradition in Louisiana, holds a special place in the heart of Lake Charles. Visitors can submerge themselves in the cultural significance of this festive celebration at the Museum of Imperial Calcasieu as part of the festivities. The museum offers a captivating experience, showcasing intricate costumes, captivating floats, and vibrant pageantry that embodies the spirit of Mardi Gras, making it a cherished and unforgettable experience for all who visit.
If you'd prefer some outdoor excursions, you can travel along the Creole Nature Trail, also known as the Louisiana Outback. This scenic byway takes you through marshes, wildlife sanctuaries, and swamps, offering excellent wildlife viewing and birding opportunities.
Whether you're interested in delving into the past or indulging in recreational activities, Lake Charles has something for everyone.
How to Get to Lake Charles
To reach Lake Charles, Louisiana, from Houston, take I-10 East and continue until you reach your destination. The drive typically takes 2 hours and 30 minutes, providing an easy and accessible weekend getaway.
Where to Stay in Lake Charles
Consider the charming Lake Charles Airbnb when planning your stay. This cozy accommodation provides a comfortable and convenient base for your weekend getaway. Located near popular attractions and equipped with all the amenities you need, it ensures a pleasant stay for you and your family.
Alternatively, the Golden Nugget Lake Charles is a highly recommended hotel option. Its luxurious amenities, including a casino, spa, and multiple dining options, offer a memorable and indulgent experience.
6. Johnson City
- Perfect for: History buffs
- Highlights of Johnson City:
- Rich historical sites
- Family-friendly attractions
- Plenty of wineries, vineyards, and distilleries
Things to Do in Johnson City
Johnson City has a variety of activities suitable for history enthusiasts and families. Explore the town's historical sites, including the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, where you learn about the life and presidency of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In addition to the Zoo and Science Mill, you can indulge in wine and spirits at Garrison Brothers Distillery. Whiskey lovers appreciate this place because you can tour their facility, learn how their bourbon is made, and enjoy samples of their handcrafted spirits.
Johnson City is part of the Texas wine country, where wineries are readily available. You can spend some time at local wineries and vineyards, like the Texas Hills Vineyard or the Lewis Wines, tasting regional wines and enjoying scenic vineyard views. Whatever your taste, Johnson City has you covered!
How to Get to Johnson City
To reach Johnson City, you'll exit Houston IAH Airport and travel toward state Highway 71 West. Eventually, you'll head toward US-290 West until you reach East Main Street and Johnson City. Your commute should be around three and a half hours.
Where to Stay in Johnson City
When planning your stay in Johnson City, consider this charming Airbnb option. This accommodation provides a comfortable and convenient base for your weekend getaway. This home is remodeled, and you'll have the entire house and backyard to yourself.
Another recommended option is the Crossroads Inn, which offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Located in the heart of Johnson City, this hotel provides easy access to the town's attractions and amenities. Also, on the property is a nonprofit animal sanctuary. This place is a pet lover's dream.
Best Weekend Trips From Houston
If you're curious about visiting cities near Houston that a short plane journey can conveniently reach, here are several options worth considering.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana
- Perfect for: Those seeking exciting adventure and culture
- Highlights of New Orleans:
- Vibrant French Quarter and iconic Bourbon Street
- Southern hospitality at its finest
- Quick 48-minute plane ride away
- Captivating jazz music scene
Things to Do in New Orleans
In Southern Louisiana, along the gulf coast, New Orleans is renowned for its warm hospitality, charming atmosphere, mouthwatering cuisine, lively Mardi Gras parades, festivals, iconic jazz music, beloved New Orleans Saints football team, and historic French Quarter.
The city offers many unforgettable experiences for the whole family or a romantic getaway for couples. Explore the city on guided tours, savor delicious beignets at Café Du Monde, and visit the Louisiana State Museum.
Experience the local music scene on Frenchmen Street, where you can find live music venues and eclectic bars. Located right outside the French Quarter in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, it is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists looking to experience authentic New Orleans music and culture.
Magazine Street is a 6-mile-long street that runs through several New Orleans neighborhoods. It's one of the city's most popular shopping and dining destinations. Shop and dine along Magazine Street, known for its boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.
If you'd like to take it easy, enjoy a day at Audubon Park, and don't miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Zoo is one of the top zoos in the nation because it is home to over 2,000 animals from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, jaguars, and more!
New Orleans has a distinctive character, making it one of the most remarkable destinations in the United States. Some visitors have compared the ambiance of New Orleans to that of Austin and other eclectic cities, because there is entertainment for all audiences. New Orleans is a one-of-a-kind city that is truly unforgettable!
How to Get to New Orleans
The most efficient way to reach New Orleans, Louisiana is by air, with a flight duration of approximately 50 minutes.
If you prefer driving, however, you can get to the city from Houston in around 5.5 hours by taking Highway U.S. 59 and proceeding on I-10 East toward Beaumont. Follow the signs for New Orleans along the way until you reach your destination in the city.
Where to Stay in New Orleans
When planning your visit to New Orleans, consider staying at a fantastic Airbnb in a conveniently walkable neighborhood. It provides easy access to the Garden District, Canal Street, and the renowned French Quarter. This charming and well-appointed home eagerly awaits you and your family, with the attentive host ensuring that your every need is taken care of.
Furthermore, I recommend the French Market Inn Hotel in the heart of the historic French Quarter. This location draws you near Harrah's New Orleans Casino and Bourbon Street attractions. The hotel not only offers an unbeatable location but also provides exceptional service that is truly unparalleled. The friendly staff goes above and beyond to treat guests like family, guaranteeing an incredible stay that will exceed your expectations.
8. Chicago, Illinois
- Perfect for: Iconic architecture and deep-dish pizza
- Highlights of Chicago:
- Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park
- World-class museums and art galleries
- Cultural diversity and vibrant food scene
- Conveniently accessible by a short plane ride
Things to Do in Chicago
Chicago offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Explore Magnificent Mile, where you'll find a variety of shopping, eateries, and entertainment options. Discover the stunning architecture of Millennium Park and enjoy the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as "The Bean."
Immerse yourself in the city's renowned museums, such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum. Remember to indulge in the city's signature deep-dish pizza for a delicious culinary experience.
One of the most noteworthy places to visit while in Chicago is the Navy Pier. Navy Pier was built as a municipal pier but was transformed into a bustling entertainment complex drawing millions of visitors annually. Navy Pier offers live performances, restaurants, rides, attractions, fireworks, and boat cruises.
Chicago offers many options, so it can be difficult choosing only a few things to do; so we recommend saving time and money by purchasing a city pass.
How to Get to Chicago
The most efficient way to reach Chicago, Illinois is by air, with a flight duration of approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
If you prefer driving, however, you can reach Chicago in around 13 hours by taking I-55 North and continuing on I-57 North. Follow the signs for Chicago along the way until you reach your destination in the city.
Where to Stay in Chicago
When planning your visit to Chicago, consider staying at a fantastic Vrbo in an incredible neighborhood. It provides easy access to popular areas and ensures a comfortable stay for you and your guests, with the attentive host catering to your needs. Staying here will enhance your experience of exploring the wonders of Chicago, especially since it's 1 mile from Wrigley. The hosts at this property are flexible and offer late check-ins and outs.
Additionally, I recommend the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Chicago. This historic hotel offers stylish accommodations, and you can walk to popular attractions such as Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. The hotel provides exceptional service and amenities, ensuring a memorable stay in the city.
9. Nashville, Tennessee
- Perfect for: Country music and vibrant nightlife
- Highlights of Nashville:
- Bars on Broadway
- Country music history and museums
- Exquisite culinary scene
Things to Do in Nashville
Nashville, the heart of country music, offers fascinating destinations that promise an unforgettable experience. As you delve into the city's energetic atmosphere, explore the iconic honky-tonk bars on Broadway, a street renowned for its electrifying live music scene. Here, the air resonates with the melodies of talented local musicians, creating an authentic Nashville nightlife experience. Be prepared to tap your feet and dance along to the soulful tunes as you discover the essence of Tennessee's musical heritage.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-visit destination for music enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Step back in time as you delve into the fascinating exhibits that showcase the lives and legacies of country music's greatest stars. From Hank Williams to Dolly Parton, this museum provides a comprehensive journey through the evolution of country music, preserving its rich history for generations to come. Submerge yourself in the stories behind the iconic artists, instruments, and cultural influences that shaped the genre into what it is today.
To witness live performances in a venue steeped in history, head to the legendary Ryman Auditorium. Known as the "Mother Church of Country Music," this iconic venue has hosted countless legendary acts and remains a revered stage for artists across various genres. Prepare to be captivated by the intimate and awe-inspiring atmosphere, which has earned the auditorium its well-deserved reputation as one of the most iconic music venues in the world.
Beyond the music, Nashville is known for its exquisite culinary scene around authentic Southern cuisine. Indulge your taste buds with mouthwatering dishes such as hot chicken, slow-cooked bbq, and homestyle comfort foods. Nashville's food scene caters to every palate. As you savor each bite, you'll also encounter the city's renowned hospitality, where locals are more than happy to converse and share their love for their city.
Whether you're a music fan, a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a taste of Southern charm, Nashville promises an enriching experience that will leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the city's remarkable cultural heritage.
How to Get to Nashville
To reach Nashville, Tennessee from Houston, the most efficient way is by air, with a flight duration of approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
If you prefer driving, however, you can reach Nashville in around 12 hours by taking I-45 North and continuing on I-40 East. Follow the signs for Nashville along the way until you reach your destination in the city.
Where to Stay in Nashville
When planning your visit to Nashville, consider staying at a wonderful Vrbo in a prime location. Staying at this Vrbo means you enjoy luxury. These townhomes are stylish and a quick walk to food, parks, and play.
Additionally, I recommend the Omni Nashville Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Nashville. This luxurious hotel offers stylish accommodations and is within walking distance of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This hotel provides unique room features and accommodations to ensure a comfortable stay in Music City!
If you are looking for weekend trips from Houston, you're in luck because of Houston's busy airport and proximity to other cities. Plus, it's location on the Gulf Coast means it is easy to drive a short distance or take a short flight and get to somewhere totally different.