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BELLAIRE • MEMORIAL • RIVER OAKS • TANGLEWOOD • WEST UNIVERSITY

Quick Trips from Houston

Grace Goddard
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Sometimes living in the center of a big, busy city, it might be easy to forget just how close we are to relaxation. With Houston’s ideal location, in under three hours you can get to beaches, hiking, wildlife, and charming small towns. If you’re ever bored this summer, or just want to escape Houston for the day or weekend, consider giving these destinations a visit.

Brazos Bend State Park: 30-45 minutes

For those who really want to experience nature, there’s no better place than Brazos Bend State Park. My dad and West University resident Roger Goddard adds that the park is, “a great place for the whole family and a very quick trip.” Not only is this park close to Houston, it’s also inexpensive to visit. Adult admission is $7 and children 12 and under are free. Brazos Bend State Park includes 37 miles of trails for hiking and biking, in addition to tons of wildlife. You can spend your day observing birds, alligators and fish. On a clear day, you can even stargaze at night. 

Graham Brem, Sullivan Brem,

Graham and Sullivan Brem on Galveston Beach. (Photo: Grace Goddard) 

Galveston: 1 hour 

The cool Galveston waters and sea breeze will help you cool down during the heat of summer. Not only does Galveston offer 32 miles of Gulf beaches, but an array of attractions, restaurants and history to explore. Galveston has something to offer everyone. If you’re looking for cool aquatic exhibits, visit Moody Gardens, for a blend of carnival games and rides head on down to Pleasure Pier; if you’re a thrill-seeker, Schlitterbahn waterpark will be perfect. Galveston Island also has a rich history and great food to experience on The Strand. Graham Brem, West University resident and rising sophomore at Georgia Tech University, has a beach home in Galveston and said, “What’s not to love? The drive is easy, the sky is clear, and there’s so much to enjoy.” 
    
Brenham/Round Top: 1 and a half hours  

Will Goddard, Grace Goddard,

Will (pictured, age 9) and Grace Goddard (pictured, age 7) outside of the Blue Bell Creameries factory. (Photo: Lynne Goddard) 

These small towns are just 20 minutes from each other, so visiting both would give you lots to do. Brenham is home to Texas’ favorite ice cream: Blue Bell. The creamery does tours of their facility and sells their ice cream. If you aren’t too full after eating all that ice cream, head on down to Truth Barbeque. In 2017 this barbeque joint was named one of the 10 best in Texas by Texas Monthly. If you still are hungry, Round Top has just what you need: Royers Round Top Café. Royers is known for their decadent pies and crispy fried chicken. Not only do Brenham and Roundtop have great food, they have a multitude of small shops perfect for antiquing, festivals and art. River Oaks resident and rising sophomore at Texas A&M University Lily Ward shares, “I love looking around the little shops. The local store owners are always so friendly and helpful.” 

Austin: 2 and a half hours 

Avery Somma, Gracie Turkewitz, Maya Shamiir,

(Pictured, from left) Avery Somma, Gracie Turkewitz and Maya Shamiir enjoying a picnic at Zilker Park. (Photo: Luisa Koitzsch)

There is so much to do in Austin. Start off your day by learning about Texas’ rich history at the Bullock Museum and the Capitol building. Cool off from the hot Texas summer in Barton Springs Municipal Pool, which usually sits at only 72 degrees. Just a short walk from Barton Springs is Zilker Park, perfect for a picnic and some dog-watching. If you’re looking to go for a hike, head to Barton Creek Greenbelt. Once you’ve gotten your nature fill, go down to South Congress for great shopping and eating. Anna St. Denis, a rising sophomore at The University of Texas and a Bellaire resident said, “South Congress embodies the lively spirit of Austin.” What better way to finish your day in the live music capital of the world than by listening to live music at The Contintental Club or The Mohawk

New Braunfels: 2 hours and 45 minutes 

New Braunfels is the longest distance on this list, but the trip is worth it. Enjoy paddle boating, mini golf or a scenic picnic at Landa Park. This 51-acre park dates back to the late 1800s and has something for everyone to do. Downtown New Braunfels has a great mix of historic buildings, museums and shops to peruse. If you want to take in even more history, visit Gruene Historic District. If you’re lucky, you may get to hear some live music at Gruene Hall. Natural Bridge Caverns is also a great place to explore the town – this time underground. Tubing along the Comal River is a great option for those trying to cool down. This water comes from the Edwards Aquifer and is around 70 degrees. Or kick up your feet and relax at Stars and Stripes Drive-In-Theatre, one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the country. 

All of these destinations offer something unique depending on what you’re looking for. With so many fun options for a quick getaway, you can’t go wrong.   

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