While getting lost in the hustle and bustle of city life, sometimes we forget that there are some stunning locations suitable around Houston for outdoor activities, such as paddle boarding and other watersports.
Houston has some excellent activity centers and outdoor areas, but when it comes to paddleboarding, you may wonder where is the best place to go in the city.
Having many avid paddleboarders in my family, I happen to know some of the most stunning spots in Houston where you can enjoy paddleboarding without having to travel too far from the city.
Hot Spots for Paddleboarding Near Houston City
I have put together this guide using my personal experiences to tell you about some of the best locations for paddle boarding in Houston.
I have looked at everything they have to offer when it comes to prices, destinations, other activities, restaurants, and much more. So the next time you want to head out on the paddle board, you will have all the information you need right here, in one place.
I have also given you some insight into what times they open and what times of year are best to get the most out of each place, making sure you don’t miss a thing.
So, let’s get paddling through my top picks for the most stunning locations for paddle boarding in Houston.
1. Armand Bayou Nature Center
|Location||8500 Bay Area Boulevard, Pasadena, TX 77507|
|Distance From City Center||22 miles (26 minutes drive)|
|Other Facilities||Bison viewing, walking trails, kayak tours, pontoon boat cruises, paint by nature, photography workshop.|
Armand Bayou is an excellent spot for all things outdoors. Suppose you’re looking for a day out and some beautiful scenery to enjoy paddle boarding in Houston but also want to expand your activities to other areas. In that case, this is the perfect destination for you.
The waterways at Armand Bayou are stunning and vast, spanning out of the nature center up to Clear Lake.
If you’re a lover of wildlife like myself, then you will really appreciate the variety of species living in the wilderness around the nature center. However, paddle boarders may want to keep their eye out for certain species that could undoubtedly ruin their day, such as the 10ft alligators that like to dwell in the shallows.
Other activities are abundant if you want to stay on drylands, such as a paint-by-nature workshop, which involves taking a short stroll and taking in the scenery before moving indoors to paint with a helpful instructor.
Other activities include kayaking, boat cruises, bird watching, bat hikes, firefly hikes, and photography workshops.
The park is open Wednesday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm (last entry to the park is at 4:00 pm. They are closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Entry prices for the center are as follows:
Age 4 – 12: $4.00
Age 13 – 59: $6.00
Over the 60s and students – $4.00
Under 3s: Free
If you choose to visit Armand Bayou, I suggest visiting between June and August if you want to enjoy the outdoor experiences.
This is the peak time to see the golden silk orb-weavers webs, which span along the boardwalk and are a true spectacle. However, if, like me, you fear spiders, then you may try and visit during fall, winter, or spring instead.
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2. Buffalo Bayou
|Location:||1019 Commerce Street, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77002|
|Distance From City Center:||1 Mile (less than 5 minutes drive)|
|Other Facilities:||Bike your, bird watching, yoga classes, boat tours, fishing, picnic areas, water bottle refill stations, play area, and public art.|
Founded in 1986, Buffalo Bayou is probably the first place that comes to every Houstoner’s mind when they think of an outdoor activity center. That is because it’s the most popular one in Houston and is only a four- or five-minute drive from the city center.
It’s a huge park covering over ten miles of land and has everything you can possibly want regarding outdoor fun.
This massive green space is a stunning location for paddle boarding, surrounded by acres of woodland and beautiful scenery, which is also great for hiking.
If you’re traveling with the whole family, and someone in your group doesn’t want to take part in paddle boarding, then you needn’t worry. There is so much to do here that you will be spoilt for choice.
I recommend taking a picnic, heading down early, and spending the day here. But the best idea is to plan your activities before you arrive so that you can make the most of your time.
Buffalo Bayou is open daily from 6:00 am – 11:00 pm, but I suggest that if you have a few activities in mind, such as tours and rentals, check their website first, as some of the events have varied opening times and prices.
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3. The Woodlands
|Location:||9595 Six Pines Dr. Ste 1100, Spring 77380|
|Distance From City Center:||30 miles (30 minutes drive)|
|Other Facilities:||Restaurants, nightlife, shopping, water recreation, lake, woodlands, golf, museums, wine and food events, live music, festivals, and art gallery.|
The Woodlands, Texas, is a top spot for any outdoor experience and many other events that will keep the whole family entertained from morning till night. There is so much to do here that I always think it’s worth staying overnight and making the most of two days at the park.
They are massive on hospitality here, so there are plenty of facilities to make staying for a weekend a breeze. There are 14 hotels within the resort, all just a ten-minute drive from the main Woodlands center.
On top of that, there is an abundance of bars, restaurants, and breakfast and lunch spots, which include everything from pizza to Chinese, seafood to Mexican, and plenty more.
So you can make sure you’re fully fueled for your paddle board experience and enjoying a splendid meal afterward.
Alongside the paddle board and other water sports on offer, there is so much stuff to do here, I don’t know where to begin, but personally, I have to recommend the “Texas Treeventures,” which is an excellent outdoor adventure course for people of all ages.
The course lasts for a total of three hours, so definitely one to do if you’re staying for the weekend.
The waterway where the paddle boarding takes place is just stunning, and there is no better spot to enjoy your hobby while taking in the spectacular scenery.
There are two options for paddleboarding, and both are priced slightly differently. The Stand Up Paddle Boarding is $25.00 for an hour’s rental, and the Elliptical Standup Paddle Boarding is $30 per hour.
The park is open seven days a week, but paddle boarding and other water sports are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The rest of the week, they are open from 9: am – 7:00 pm.
Other events and parts of the parks are open at various times, so be sure to give them a call or check out their website before you visit so you can plan your day to the fullest.
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4. Galveston Island State Park
|Location:||14901 FM 3005 Galveston, TX77554|
|Distance From City Center:||58 miles (1-hour drive)|
|Other Facilities:||Boating, fishing, hunting, birding, stargazing, swimming, picnics, caving, horseback riding, camping & lodging, rock climbing.|
Galveston Island State Park is my absolute favorite place for paddle boarding when I am in need of a weekend of refuge and revitalizing. There are all kinds of activities here that can help you to reset your batteries and clear your head of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The paddling trail here is one of the best in the area. It surrounds the park and is protected by a breakwater, which means the water on the course is usually calm, making for an excellent paddleboard experience. There are three trails to choose from, ranging from 2.6 miles to 4.8 miles, so depending on your ability levels, there is something for everyone.
The excellent camping facilities, including some quaint lodges, make it the perfect getaway location. This is a good option, because if you’re traveling from the city center, it is around an hour’s drive, and you’ll get much more out of your trip if you spend the night.
One of my favorite attractions at Galveston State Park is the “Moody Gardens,” which includes a rainforest, some aquarium pyramids, an MG3D Theater experience, a discovery museum, and many other interactive adventures, including the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.
I also highly recommend a dinner cruise on the paddle-wheel boat, where you can enjoy Texan BBQ food while cruising through the waters.
The opening times at Galveston vary depending on the activities you wish to participate in, but the central park and events are open seven days a week.
Entry prices are $12.00 for anyone over the age of twelve. Anyone under twelve can get in at no charge. Once again, activity prices vary, so ensure you check with them before your visit if you want to know exactly how much your trip will cost.
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5. Lake Conroe
|Location:||300 West David St, Conroe, TX 77301|
|Distance From City Center:||52 miles (50 minutes drive)|
|Other Facilities:||Fishing, beach, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, boating, yachting, restaurant, bar, shops, arts, and entertainment.|
Lake Conroe is an exciting destination for all things outdoors. If you’re a bit of a thrill seeker and want something heart-racing to do after a relaxing hour on the paddle board, then why not try your hand at some jet skiing?
This popular escape from the city destination is an excellent spot for families and groups of friends to enjoy any water sport you can think of.
Still, when it comes to paddle boarding, it has some great options, including stand-up paddle boarding down the stunning location of the lake, amongst the trees and tranquility.
If you’re a keen fisherman, you’ll be pleased to hear that the lake is an excellent spot for bass fishing.
You can step back from the activities and settle down by the gorgeous pool while you watch the world go by.
There are over 330 species of birds around the lake, so if bird watching interests you, grab your binoculars and see if you can spot the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker amongst the abundance of others.
There is an excellent selection of restaurants, such as cafes, pubs, grills, Mexicans, sushi, bistros, and others. One of my personal favorites is the Akashi Asian Bistro, where you can get some great dishes like fried rice and salmon tartare.
The opening times of the lake and its activities depend on what you’re there for. The area is open for public access from 9:30 am Tuesday to Sunday and closes at dusk each day, meaning the closing time depends on the time of year you visit.
Admission into the park is only $2.00, which is a great price, as you don’t need to spend anything once there if you don’t wish to. Making for a great value day out, and if you have your own paddle boarding equipment, bonus!
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So whether you’re looking for specialized paddle boarding spots or perhaps wanting a place in Houston to enjoy other outdoor activities as well, hopefully, this guide has helped point you in the direction of some of the most stunning paddleboarding spots in Houston for beginners and the more advanced.
If you have found this helpful, and want to learn more about things to do in and around Houston, then you should have a read of 9 Best Pumpkin Patches in and Around Houston and 10 Best Farmers Markets in Houston for some insightful information.