One of the rites of passage through childhood adventures is the road trip. Before the kids go back to school in August, make sure to try out one — or all five — of these great excursions near Houston. While some are just a short jaunt down the road and some a bit longer, all of these day trips near Houston are sure to be great fun for the family. See a bit of history, play on some of the world’s biggest and best water slides and see the Gulf Coast all within a day’s journey from home. You won’t want to miss out on any of these day trips before the summer ends!
Schlitterbahn Waterpark
400 N. Liberty Ave.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
(830) 625-2351

This Texas favorite is one of the biggest waterparks in the world. The park is divided into multiple areas full of slides, pools, lazy rivers and so much more water fun for the whole family. Don’t miss their featured uphill water coaster the Master Blaster! Only a couple of hours west of Houston, New Braunfels is close enough to make a day trip out of your water park adventure, or plan to spend one night and make it a weekend excursion — you won’t be able to ride everything in one day! Don’t forget the sunscreen and pack a picnic lunch, Schlitterbahn allows you to bring in outside food.

Moody Gardens
1 Hope Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77554
(800) 582-4653

When you drive across the bridge to Galveston Island, one of the first things you can easily see is a few pyramid-shaped buildings. These are Moody Gardens, a celebration of wildlife, nature and a way of making learning fun. One of the pyramids hosts an aquarium inside, where you can learn about some of the animals that live in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond — you may even see some penguins! Another is built like a greenhouse and holds a rainforest inside. Cool off from the afternoon heat outside with a 3D movie. There’s something fun and exotic for everyone here!

The Alamo
300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 225-1391

Perhaps the most iconic building in Texas, the Alamo is just off the Riverwalk area in San Antonio and is open to the public for viewing. A small exhibit inside tells the story of the battle that occurred at the mission and of the soldiers and others who lost their lives here. A self-guided tour of the grounds will take you through some lovely gardens to the tree that is growing at a very tilted angle; legend has that it was struck by a cannonball during the fight. Head across the street and down to river level for some lunch and shopping before you head back home.

Related:  America’s Top 5 Must-Visit Aquariums

Battleship Texas
3523 Independence Parkway
La Porte, TX 77571
(281) 479-2431

The only surviving battleship that fought in both World War I and World War II, the U.S.S. Texas is the oldest battleship afloat in the U.S. It was built in 1914 and became a museum ship after retirement in 1948. Visitors can tour the ship and learn what life on a naval battleship is like. You can choose to tour the ship yourself, or as part of a group with a guide to tell you about the different parts of the ship and its history. Bring a picnic lunch or snack and eat on the historic San Jacinto Battleground just next door, a significant part of Texas history as well.

Oil Ranch
23501 Macedonia Rd.
Hockley, TX 77447
(281) 859-1616

Head out to Hockley to see what it’s like to live on a ranch! You can take a hayride, visit the petting zoo, watch a dairy barn in action and much more! For the more adventurous, try out the paintball fields or go fishing in Lake Buenas Noches. This extensive venue has something for everyone, and even hosts family reunions and birthday parties! If you visit before Sept. 30, you can cool off with their swimming areas.

Related: 5 Ways Kids Can Help Around The House In Summer

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at