I love spending time outside just as much as the next guy, but I’m not always in the mood to trek around in the mountains and hike for miles. Lucky for us, we don’t have to. There are plenty of ways to enjoy nature in Texas with minimal effort. Here are 10 of our top picks.
1. Dallas Arboretum (Dallas)
This is one of the biggest arboretums in the country, and it's right here in Texas. Since it's summer now, there'll be all kinds of vibrant flowers blooming here that will take your breath away. There are various themed areas like a Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, etc. And if you happen to visit in the fall, their pumpkin patch puts any other I've ever seen to shame. Seriously, this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and I highly recommend it for the whole family.
2. Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens (Galveston)
This exhibit is just as educational as it is beautiful. You and the kids will learn a thing or two about the exotic animals such as stunning multi-colored parrots, cute little monkeys, and bats that live here.
3. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (San Antonio)
All you need to enjoy this attraction is your car! Roll the windows down and drive through a 400-acre ranch full of buffalo, giraffes, ostriches...and even lions. You're provided with pellets of food to offer the animals, but be warned - they may stick their heads in your car if you aren't careful!
4. Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center (Orange)
Shangri La is one of the most expansive gardens I've ever been to. You can take a boat tour of the nearby bayou, sit under this pavilion and watch fish splash around in the water, admire the vegetables such as kale and other types of lettuce being naturally grown, and just walk around and enjoy the day. There's even a building with interactive learning for kids (and adults!) that teaches you about all the different animals and plants coexisting in the area.
5. Tyler Rose Gardens (Tyler)
This is the largest rose garden in the United States. It's perfect for a leisurely stroll with the ones you love as you take in the beautiful colors.
6. Houston Zoo (Houston)
There are mixed feelings about zoos, but I think they're a great way to get outside and see majestic animals without having to trek around for miles to see them in their natural habitat. And this is one of the biggest zoos in the country, so there's plenty of opportunity to see every animal your heart desires.
7. A day at the beach!
Whether you prefer South Padre or Galveston, nothing beats a day with your toes in the sand and the sea breeze blowing your hair back.
8. Water park!
Nothing says summer quite like screaming your way down a thrilling slide before making a big splash in the pool of water below. No matter where you are in Texas, there's a water park nearby for you to have some fun in the sun.
9. River tubing!
You aren't a true Texan until you've floated a river at least once - and luckily, it's an activity that pretty much everyone can do! All you need is an inner tube.
10. Visiting a vineyard
It isn't called Texas Wine Country for no reason! There are tons of vineyards scattered throughout the hill country, most of which are open to the public for touring and wine tasting. Some of them even have outdoor restaurants overlooking the countless rows of plump grapes. A relaxing way to spend a summer evening, for sure.
Have you done any of these things? What other outdoor activities can everyone do in Texas?