Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Harris County, TX

  • Published 2023/04/02

Originally called Harrisburg County, Harris County is the largest county in Texas, incorporated in 1836 and established in 1837.

In 1826, this beautiful territory was named after John Richardson Harris, founder of Harrisburg town on Buffalo Bayou.

Harris County has become an important archeological site, revealing evidence of people who lived there 6,000 years ago.

Many people are fascinated with this county because they can’t forget the barbecues and other foods and see longhorns whose horns extend seven feet.

It’s also the home of the NASA Space Center and the central hub for US space missions.

Many things will make you visit Harris County aside from its historic sites, breathtaking panoramic views, amusement centers, trails, and nature, among others.

According to the United States census data, it is the largest county in Texas.

Don’t wait too long to experience the best things to do in Harris County, Texas.

Have a Wonderful Experience at Discovery Green

Signage of Discovery Green

Mark Taylor Cunningham /

In 2008, the 12-acre Discovery Green opened.

Since then received millions of visitors and hosted hundreds of events every year.

You’ll find several experiences for each family member or see numerous free events and art installations throughout the park.

Try a fun and effortless way to kayak on Kinder Lake with your teens or friends or ride the Model Boat Basin.

Trail lined with sculptures at Discovery Green

LB Houston /

Check out the park’s Signature Experiences and entertainment, such as Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, The Rink: Rolling at Discovery Green, and Bank of America’s Screen on the Green.

Located on McKinney Street in Houston, Discovery Green has much to offer.

Remember to visit the Cooper Industries Water Garden, The Merrill Lynch Co. Pier, and Carruth Lake Lights.

Kinder lake at Discovery Green

Mark Taylor Cunningham /

Spend the Day at Sylvan Beach Park

Sylvan Beach Park is a charming 32-acre park perfect for swimming with a refreshing ocean breeze.

It offers fine sand, no seaweed covering the beach, and smaller waves for safer swimming.

Your kids can spend their time on the playground, or you can fish on the pier all day.

There are clean benches and picnic tables, so don’t forget to bring lunch and snacks for a simple or extravagant family get-together.

Also, watch out for the yearly Festival Crawfish Jam at Sylvan Beach Park in La Porte.

Watch Birds at Baytown Nature Center

Do you want to see several different species of birds and aquatic species?

Located in Baytown, you’ll find the 500-acre peninsula of Baytown Nature Center.

You can join exciting camps, including Wade Into Wetlands Summer Science Camp, Wetlands Winter Camp, and Spring Into Nature Spring Break Camp.

It is a sanctuary for 317 native and neo-tropical migrant birds.

Likewise, it was designated a nationally significant bird area by the American Bird Conservancy.

The city of Baytown operates the center, which used to be a residential subdivision.

Today, it is home to various aquatic species, such as crabs, fish, and shrimp.

Baytown Nature Center has much to offer, including the Myra C. Brown Bird Sanctuary, the Children’s Nature Discovery Area, the Crystal Bay Butterfly Garden, and miles of scenic hiking trails.

Expand Your Knowledge at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Exterior of Houston Museum of Natural Science

All Stock Photos /

If you want a one-stop venue to discover natural sciences, visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Located in Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science consists of five floors of permanent exhibits, space science, paleontology, chemistry, Native American culture, astronomy, and more.

It also accommodates three other venues: Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, and the Burke Baker Planetarium.

Dinosaur skeleton in Houston Museum of Natural Science

K. Nakao /

Visit the Museum’s exhibitions, including King Tut’s Tomb Discovery Experience, Dreher Masterworks, Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, Morian Hall of Paleontology, Hall of Ancient Egypt, and Vintage Texas Wildlife Dioramas.

The Burke Baker Planetarium allows you to travel through the cosmos as high-resolution video technology displays images of stars, solar systems, meteors, planets, and whole galaxies on its domed surface.

Dinosaur exhibit in Houston Museum of Natural Science

K. Nakao /

Appreciate Local Floral and Fauna at Nature Discovery Center

The Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire strives to protect the four-acre nature park with programs that empower locals and visitors to appreciate the beauty and significance of nature.

Visit the Discovery Room and say hi to diverse indoor animals such as guinea pigs, a musk turtle, a hedgehog, a tarantula, snakes, and more.

Drop by Dean Neubek Critter Classroom and find outside animals, including a Dutch rabbit, box turtles, an opossum, and pigeons.

Your kids can play in the Nature Play Area while you can look for great things to buy at the store.

Watch out for the Nature Discovery Center’s yearly events, such as Twilight Gala and Spring Fling.

Bring Your Kids to Old MacDonald’s Farm

Old MacDonald’s Farm in Humble is the best place for kids in Harris County.

They will enjoy the 15-acre farm comprising a petting zoo, train rides, pony rides, and many other exciting activities for the whole family.

Start your farm tour by riding the Old MacDonald’s express, leading you to see other fun activities that await you and your loved ones.

Ride a pony at OK Corral, interact with animals at the Petting Zoo, see different duck species at the Duck Pond, and visit the Indian Village.

Otherwise, just let your kids enjoy the playground equipment.

More great activities await the entire family at the Old MacDonald’s Farm.

Tour Hermann Park

The grounds of Hermann Park

All Stock Photos /

Located in Houston, Hermann Park offers visitors and residents a great variety of entertainment for the entire family.

Named after George Hermann, the park became Houston’s most notably conspicuous public green space.

Hermann Park spans 445 acres with General Sam Houston’s statue that greets visitors.

Visit 80-acre Bayou Parkland, which shelters native plants and wildlife.

Japanese garden at Hermann Park

HOrtiz /

Otherwise, cross the Bill Coats Bridge, a 290-foot contemporary suspension bridge that links the shores of Brays Bayou.

The bridge connects the park to adjacent communities and has a 35-mile trail system, making it safe and convenient for pedestrians and cyclists.

Ride the train at Hermann Park Railroad for a scenic tour or marvel at the contemporary art installations at Art in the Park.

A footbridge at Hermann Park

lunamarina /

Cool Down at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown

Beat the heat at the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown on I-45 in Spring.

Ride a single tube in an open and walled zigzagging watercourse in Bamboo Chutes and land in a three ½-foot-deep pool.

Take a thrilling raft ride at Big Kahuna that torpedoes through a whitewater journey or gyrate and go down the one-of-a-kind funnel-shaped waterslide into a ten-foot pool.

Test your skills and try not to fall off a set of giant lily pads on the Blue Lagoon Activity Pool.

If you can’t do the challenge, you can still enjoy the sun and water as you lie lazily on a tube in the Paradise River.

Spend the day at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown.

Take a Swim at Strawberry Water Park

Are you still searching for a relaxing day experience for the whole family?

Go to Strawberry Water Park in Pasadena, which features play structures, a lap pool, shaded seating, water slides, and a lazy river.

There are also rentable cabanas and large umbrellas, and there are available lifeguards to ensure the safety of swimmers.

You can also hike, bike, or run on the 1.9-km loop paved trail, which takes about 21 minutes to finish when walking.

You can bring your dog to Strawberry Water Park, but you have to keep them on a leash.

Visit the San Jacinto Museum of History

Exterior of San Jacinto Museum of History

tishomir /

Nestled under the San Jacinto Monument is the San Jacinto Museum of History, filled with a massive collection of Texas artifacts, history, and arts.

Located in La Porte, the Museum was established in 1938 to honor those who fought in the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto and to re-envision Texas and Spanish Southwest history.

San Jacinto Monument is a 567-foot-tall war memorial and the world’s tallest, standing 13 feet higher than the Washington Monument.

Steps leading up to San Jacinto Museum of History's entrance

John Roche /

You can take a 500-foot elevator ride to the observation deck at the top of the monument and enjoy a spectacular view of Houston.

On the other hand, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is a 1,300-acre site that preserves the area where Texas claimed its independence in 1836.

The San Jacinto Museum of History is the district’s primary educational center emphasizing Texas, Spain, France, the American West, and Mexican history.

Go on an Outdoor Adventure at Xtreme Off Road Park and Beach

The Xtreme Off Road Park and Beach is in Crosby, spanning 1,600 acres of trails with bounty holes, mud, plenty of water, and sand.

If you’re looking for a different adventure, this off-road park is where you, your family, or your friends can have a thrilling race.

This fantastic park offers many primitive camping sites and RV spots for rent.

Try the rope swing or check out more than the one ½-mile San Jacinto River frontage.

Don’t worry if you become hungry after those extreme activities because Xtreme Off Road Park and Beach has full-time food trucks and vendors.

See Various Plant Species at Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Main building of Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Aldine Westfield Road in Humble, Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a 250-acre public park with free admission.

The park got its name from Thelma and Charles Mercer, who used 14.5 acres of the land for their home and garden.

The flourishing gardens have about 60 systematically cultivated expanses consisting of over 10,000 listed research and display plants indigenous to many parts of the world.

A lake at Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This botanical garden has the biggest collection of native and cultivated plants in the district, including rare camphor daisies, Dogwood trees, orchid trees, and striking pink camellias.

Enjoy a family picnic at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens and spot birds such as cardinals, black-capped chickadees, and pine warblers.

Trail at Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Terrific Escapades at Geronimo Adventure Park

If you want a different adventure in Harris County, it must be Geronimo Adventure Park in Spring.

This incredible park is an aerial park that offers everybody three zipline courses and ground capers.

Try your luck and hit a bullseye at axe-throwing or climb the 24-foot Rock Wall with different difficulty.

Soar across five zip lines and three bridges to a 42-foot platform and choose between a simulated free fall experience or a slow, coordinated rappel drop.

Geronimo Adventure Park has other activities, including the Ninja Obstacle Course, Log Jam Balance Challenge, Lawn Games, and Giant Jenga.

Meet Exotic Animals at the TGR Exotics Wildlife Park

Getting up close and personal with an exotic animal is a rare occasion.

However, at TGR Exotics Wildlife Park, you can meet the most exotic and majestic animals.

See over a hundred animals embodying more than 25 species, which you can see, touch, and learn about.

Passionate animal lovers Troy and Gwen Scott started this incredible park from just several animals, which grew into a collection.

TGR Exotic Wildlife Park is an urban safari where you can see a Bengal tiger, red kangaroos, llamas, camels, and more.

See the Bison at Armand Bayou Nature Center

Silhouette of a tree at Armand Bayou Nature Center

Annine Berg /

When you want to see a herd of majestic bison, head for the Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena, Texas.

The preserve comprises 2,500 acres of forest, natural wetlands, prairies, walking trails, Discovery Loop Boardwalk, and a bison viewing platform.

The guided tour allows you to see bison and visit the farm area, animal exhibits, the bayou, and the prairie.

Don’t miss the Discovery Loop that leads to the Environmental Learning Center, where you’ll see living reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.

A guided outing is the best way to experience Armand Bayou Nature Center.

Waters of Armand Bayou Nature Center

Annine Berg /

Final Thoughts

With all the stress from busy workdays, rewarding yourself with a day or two of vacation in a great place would be helpful.

Celebrate your anniversary or birthday somewhere else for a different atmosphere and experience.

Discover the best things to do in Harris County, Texas.

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