15 Best Things to Do in Liberty County, TX

Liberty County, TX
freedomnaruk / shutterstock.com

Liberty County is located around 53 miles from Downtown Houston.

The county’s land area is 1,176 square miles, with 18 square miles covered by water.

The Trinity River bisects the county from its northern border forming the San Jacinto - Polk County line through the east fork of the San Jacinto River, flowing through Cleveland and emptying into Galveston Bay.

It was originally created as a municipality in Mexico in 1837 until it was organized as a county in 1837 and named after the American ideal of liberty.

It currently has 13 cities (including the county seat Liberty City), a single town, two census-designated places, and 13 unincorporated communities.

Almost half of the county is considered prime farmlands, but it also delved into the oil business in the mid-1990s.

Here are the best things to do in Liberty County, Texas:

See the Different Ecosystems within the Big Thicket National Preserve

The grounds of Big Thicket National Preserve
jesmo5 / Shutterstock.com

The Big Thicket National Preserve is a nature preserve spread across seven southeast Texas counties.

It is a heavily forested area of mixed pine and hardwood in Southeast Texas.

There have been multiple attempts in defining the boundaries of the region, with the latest being a 1972 botanical study suggesting that the area covers over 2,000,000 acres of land area.

The grounds of Big Thicket National Preserve
Matthew R McClure / Shutterstock.com

It’s globally recognized as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO because of its complex mix of different ecosystems in a relatively small area.

It’s remarkable for the unusually high diversity of plant species, thanks to the different soil types present in the area.

Big Thicket is part of the larger Piney Woods ecoregion, covering a unique mix of uplands, sandy lands, savannas, slope forests, floodplains, bay galls, flats, cypress slough, and mixed-grass prairies.

Boardwalk at Big Thicket National Preserve
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

Feast on Mouthwatering Burgers at Jax Hamburgers

If you’re craving some juicy hamburgers, you must stop by Jax Hamburgers.

Located on Main Street in Liberty, the family-owned and operated burger joint has been serving burgers, fries, and shakes since 2010.

The restaurant prides itself in serving meaty patties made of a special blend of ground beef, which you can’t find elsewhere.

The patties are served in homemade sourdough burger buns that are soft and slightly sweet, perfectly complementing the smokey flavor of the beef.

Some of the best-sellers are the Jax Cheeseburger, Texas Burger, and the meat-free Shroom Burger.

Order some Onion Rings or Chili Cheese Fries and a glass of Strawberry Milkshake on the side for the complete Jax Hamburgers experience.

Learn about Texas’ History at the Cleveland Historical Museum

Located on East Boothe Street in Cleveland is the Cleveland Historical Museum.

Run by the Cleveland Historical Society, the museum is housed in the old City Hall building, showcasing photos and relics depicting the rich history of the city.

The museum was established as part of the 1960s government program “Record, Appreciate, Mark and Preserve Texas History” (RAMPS) by then-Texas Governor John Conally.

The Cleveland Historical Museum has an ancient collection depicting the beginnings of Texas.

The exhibits include The Land – Home of Giant Mastodons, Civil War Life and the War Years, Native Americans and Pioneers, the Development and Social Life of Cleveland County, and the Texas Timber Industry.

The Cleveland Historical Museum also offers specialized educational programs for those interested in learning more about the ancient beauty and history of Liberty County.

Shop Local Goods at Liberty Faux Real Trade Days

Located in the Trinity Valley Exposition on Wallisville Road, the Liberty Faux Real Trade Days is a craft show and flea market where you can shop some unique finds.

The market has over 300 vendors scattered in a covered pavilion and 60 acres of open space for outside vendors.

Find handcrafted items, fresh produce, clothes, furniture, and home décor.

There are food stalls serving freshly cooked homemade dishes as well as meal mixes, jams, jellies, pickles, and dips that you can take home.

The Liberty Faux Real Trade Days is open one weekend a month, with themes like Fairytale Characters, Heroes & Villains, Christmas in July, and Blast from the Past Decades making shopping more interesting.

Admission and parking are free and it’s open rain or shine.

Read Specialty Books at the Geraldine D. Humphreys Cultural Center

Located on Sam Houston Street in Liberty is the Geraldine D. Humphreys Cultural Center.

The 23,000-square-foot cultural center houses the Liberty Municipal Library, a history gallery, and the 150-seat Humphreys-Burson Theater.

It was named after its major benefactor Geraldine Davis Humphreys, who founded the Humphreys Foundation with the mission of championing education, history, and culture in the city.

The Liberty Municipal Library has a collection of more than 60,000 books, magazines, eBooks, and audiobooks, including specialty books for hobbyists like quilting and bird-watching.

There’s also an extensive genealogy section where researchers and curious cats can trace the roots of their ancestors.

The Humphreys-Burson Theater occasionally hosts concerts and local musical productions.

Explore the Trails of the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge

Birds at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge
William L. Farr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Farm to Market Road in Liberty, the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge is a 30,000-acre nature preserve established in 1994.

Originally just measuring 4,400 acres, the wildlife refuge has seen considerable growth in the following years since its establishment.

As part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge protects a network of bottomland hardwood forests along the Trinity River where important wildlife can be found.

The refuge is home to numerous species of wildlife, including alligator gar, alligator snapping turtles, Rafinesque’s big-eared bats, swallow-tailed kites, Swainson’s warbler, and bald eagle.

It has approximately 37 miles of primitive trails that will take you through lush forests filled with various oaks, bald cypress trees, American sycamore, river cane, and more.

Discover the History of Southeast Texas Counties at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center

Located on Farm to Market Road 1011 in Liberty is the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center.

Owned and operated by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the 17,600-square-foot complex houses publications, manuscripts, and important documents depicting the history of 10 Southeast Texas counties.

The facility contains three historical houses and the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church that have been relocated.

The Greek revival-style Jean and Price Daniel House, originally built in the 1850s, houses the library and the archives.

The fully restored Gillard-Duncan House is available for tours, while the Victorian-style Norman House features Victorian-era fashion, housekeeping and food processing equipment, and personal items from the Norman family.

Archives and displays in the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center showcase the development in the region through artifacts, photographs, documents, and even the journals of Jean Lafitte.

Observe Deer and Birds at The Preserve of Texas

Located on Cypress Lakes Circle in Cleveland is The Preserve of Texas.

The 2,000-acre waterfront reserve offers scenic views and a one-of-a-kind nature experience.

The Preserve of Texas offers vacation rental and permanent housing to those who want to be in a natural setting.

There are tiny trailer-type homes available for recreation, camping, or seasonal use.

The development also has facilities for RV homes for those who want to make it their home base.

The best part is wild deer and rare birds frequent the site, so it’s the perfect home away from home for nature lovers.

The small community also has five fishing lakes, 1.2 miles of white sand beach, over 40 miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails, and four swimming pools.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Simply Country

Located on North Highway 146 in Liberty is Simply Country Café.

The family-friendly restaurant is known for its sandwiches, which include the fan-favorite Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich and the Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich, both served with a side of French Fries, Tator Tots, or Chips.

Their pies are also famous among locals, so don’t forget to order a slice of their Lemon Meringue Pie, Pecan Pie, or Fresh Blueberry Pie.

You can also order them in mini versions by the dozen.

If the pies aren’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, Simply Country Café also has peach, blackberry, or blueberry cobblers fresh out of the oven.

Have Breakfast at Liberty Café

Located on Main Street in Liberty is Liberty Café.

The family-style restaurant is known for its breakfast menu, which includes crowd favorites like Chicken Fried Steak, a nice selection of omelets, sandwiches, and pancakes.

Have a big breakfast before heading out for a full day of adventure and order their signature Big Combo Breakfast Platter.

This includes three eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, two buttermilk pancakes, and a choice of a crispy hashbrown, red potatoes, fresh fruits, country potatoes, or grits.

If you’re looking for a healthier choice, Liberty Café has the Chicken Bacon Avocado Club with three pieces of toasted white bread, crispy bacon strips, and some mashed avocados.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Ride a Wooden Roller Coaster at Kemah Boardwalk

Wooden rollercoaster at Kemah Boardwalk
Brian Gallegos / Shutterstock.com

Just a 33-minute drive from Mont Belvieu is the Kemah Boardwalk on Kipp Avenue in Kemah.

The 60-acre Gulf Coast theme park sits on the coasts of Galveston Bay and Clear Lake, giving you scenic views while enjoying the rides.

Opened in 1998, the park features the Boardwalk Bullet, a 96-foot-tall, 3,236-foot-long wooden roller coaster considered to be one of the most compact roller coasters in the world.

People on Kemah Boardwalk's rollercoaster
JSvideos / Shutterstock.com

It has 42 track crossovers, which are sure to make you sweat bullets.

There’s also the Boardwalk Beast, which will take you on a 25-minute thrill ride on Galveston Bay, with speeds reaching up to 40mph.

Kids will enjoy Kemah Boardwalk’s Stingray Reef & Rainforest Exhibit, where they can touch and feed live stingrays and journey through a rainforest exhibit.

Rides at Kemah Boardwalk
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Watch Alligator Feeding Shows at Gator Country

A 16-minute drive from Nome is the Gator Country wildlife rescue center in Beaumont.

The sanctuary houses over 450 American Alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles that they receive from rescues or donations from other institutions.

Gator Country works with the local government to be the only sanctuary for nuisance alligators caught within the state.

Ninety percent of the animals in the shelter have either been rescued, surrendered, or given up by previous owners for a more comfortable habitat.

Watch alligators eat and have a hands-on experience during an educational show where you can hold and take pictures with the animals.

See over 6,000 Animals at the Houston Zoo

Flamingos at Houston Zoo
All Stock Photos / Shutterstock.com

Thirty-seven minutes from Mont Belvieu is the Houston Zoo, which is located on Hermann Park Drive in Houston.

The 55-acre park features over 6,000 animals from more than 600 species from all over the world.

First opened in 1922, Houston Zoo is divided into ecosystems that feature animals from more than 27 countries.

Giraffe at Houston Zoo
Holly Jahangiri / Shutterstock.com

At the African Forest, you’ll see Grant’s zebra, Red River hog, white rhinoceros, chimpanzees, and western lowland gorillas.

The McNair Asian Elephant Habitat features a 7,000-square-foot custom-built barn that houses bull elephants.

The zoo also has a large collection of rare bird species, including the green-winged macaw, Congo peafowl, and the Mariana fruit dove.

Cheetah at Houston Zoo
Shaffaq Abbasi / Shutterstock.com

Try Creole Cooking at Brennan's of Houston

Thirty-four minutes away from Mont Belvieu is Brennan's of Houston on Smith Street in Houston.

The restaurant serves classic Creole dishes, including turtle soup, oysters, and more.

Opened in 1967, it’s a sister restaurant of the world-famous Commander's Palace in New Orleans.

Brennan’s prides itself in creating proudly Texas Creole dishes using fresh local ingredients.

Some of the must-tries include Brennan’s Gumbo Du Jour, Pecan Crusted Gulf Fish, and the Frog Legs Meunière.

Brennan’s also has a great selection of wines and seasonal and New Orleans-style cocktails.

Simulate Travelling in Space at the NASA Johnson Space Center

Exterior of NASA Johnson Space Center
Tricia Daniel / Shutterstock.com

No visit to Texas is complete without dropping by the NASA Johnson Space Center.

Located on East NASA Parkway in Houston, it’s approximately a 36-minute drive from Mont Belvieu.

The 250,000-square-foot facility is the home of Mission Control and astronaut training and features more than 400 space artifacts, including the Apollo 17, Gemini 5, and Mercury 9 space capsules.

Interior of NASA Johnson Space Center
Oleg Anisimov / Shutterstock.com

There are VR simulators that will take you on a virtual spacewalk aboard the International Space Station, with stunning views from low-earth orbit.

The NASA Johnson Space Center also has motion simulators equipped with a powerful hydraulic and theater system that mimics what it feels like to travel in space.

Astronauts in NASA Johnson Space Center
amadeustx / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Liberty County may not have the glitz of its neighboring counties, but it has its own rustic charm.

From historical sites to vast nature preserves and well-loved local eateries, it has maintained its small-town vibe despite rapid commercialization.

Try these best things to do in Liberty County, Texas and be captivated by its unique beauty.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.