Top 10 Houston Area Hikes to Take with the Family This Summer

A child on a hiking trail in the woods.

My Houston-based mamas, hear me out on this one.

We all know that in Houston we run for air-conditioned heaven right about the second week of May until towards the end of October. It gets unbearably hot in these parts, and these gigantic dinosaur-sized mosquitoes invade our neck of the woods. We moms in particular do not feel like toting along all the apparatus needed to keep our families comfortable and off the complain train. But there are some local hikes that provide a great opportunity to get out for an early morning or early evening jaunt to see our drop dead beautiful region and fill our lungs with fresh air.

Considered in our selection of our top 10 hikes were ::

  • Cleanliness {trash regularly collected, no shady characters generally hanging about, typically no graffiti}
  • Family friendly amenities {developed trails with handrails, picnic tables, clean restrooms}
  • Shade {because…Houston’s 100% humidity and 100+ degrees temps}
  • Educational
  • Nearby amenities {restaurants, grocery stores, and service stations}

As always, be sure to exercise caution when hiking with littles. Make sure you are well-hydrated, wear sunscreen and mosquito repellent, and avoid the hottest times of day. See our list of recommended items to bring along with you on your #HMBhike. Be sure to tag us and use the #HMBhike hashtag and let us know which hikes you enjoy most around Houston!

1. Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary

Hours:: 7 am – 7 pm, Open until 9 pm in summer

The Houston Audubon Society maintains 18 acres in the middle of West Houston where a woman named Edith Moore once lived in her log cabin among the flora, fauna, birds, and rumbling Rummel Creek. It was so beautiful and serene that she wanted it preserved, so she donated this precious land for all to enjoy! The impeccably maintained park has great walking trails, excellent explanatory and informational signage, a pond where frogs and fish are plentiful, and so much more. Don’t miss this Houston gem.

Two children touching a spotted pelt at a table with various natural objects.

2. Buffalo Bayou Trail / Downtown Bayou Cisterns

Hours:: Park – Open daily, lighted areas: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm; other areas: dawn to dusk

Lost Lake Visitor Center & Restrooms – Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Restroom Hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Cisterns- Thursdays and Fridays every half hour from 1-5:30pm; Saturdays and Sundays every half hour from 11am-5:30pm

Wow – what a treasure right in the middle of our fantastic city. Since it has succumbed to several major floods, the park has been refreshed a few times now. It is maintained impeccably well and has consistently heavy foot and bicycle traffic at peak times, so prepare yourself. But the sights to be seen are numerous! The 160 acre park boasts beautiful gardens and native landscaping, hike and bike trails, paddle craft and bike rentals, a skate park, an expansive dog park, a creative nature play area for littles, the Waugh bridge bat colony, picnic areas, and a fantastic cafe, The Kitchen at the Dunlavy, with stunning views. Research ahead of time to hit the landmarks and amenities most interesting to you. The paved paths are stroller friendly for the youngest hikers!

3. Terry Hershey Hike and Bike Trail

Hours: 7 am – 10 pm

This West Houston park is over 490 acres of bayou, trails, playgrounds, and Houston’s finest views of nature in action. There 12.2 miles of both paved and non-paved trails for exploring by bike or foot. There are kayak and boat entrances to the bayou {beware of bayou lurking things such as lligators}. You can find numerous picnic and shady spots to rest when your or your family’s feet have had enough.

A stream in the woods.

4. Memorial Park & Houston Arboretum

Hours: Memorial Park – 6 am – 11 pm | Arboretum – 7 am – dusk; Building & Office 9 am – 5 pm

Most people know of these central Houston landmarks right off Memorial Drive, but what I didn’t know was the amazing amount of programs and events these venues offer…many of them FREE! You can get active at Memorial Park on the running loop, cycling on paved paths or trail paths, croquet, golf and indoor swimming. For your family hike there are over 30 miles of well maintained trails to explore!

Or you an hop on over to the Arboretum and explore 155 acres of this fantastic nature sanctuary and trails. The programming and calendar offerings are the best in Houston. The Tyke Hikes for children 18 months to 3 years is a Houston Moms Blog Contributor favorite! From adult night walks to programs for your youngest kiddo, the Arboretum offers exceptional events to explore Houston’s natural landscape and animal and insect life. Want to continue the nature learning expedition? Visit their top-notch Discovery Room and Nature Shop in air-conditioned bliss.

Two smiling children hugging each other on a trail.

5. Hermann Park’s Gardens

Hours: Japanese Gardens – March 1 – October 31: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m

McGovern Centennial Gardens & Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion – 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (March 9 to May 25), 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (May 26 to Sept. 3)

The Japanese Gardens in Hermann Park have been around since 1992 and feature a teahouse and winding paths to explore lush gardens. These serene and peaceful paths wind through impeccably maintained gardens and coy ponds and water features. If you want a relaxing hike on wide paths that bring a bit of serenity to your day, check this one out!

The McGovern Centennial Gardens are more buzzing than the Japanese Gardens with picnics, a big open grass area for play, and of course a well-known trek up the circular walk to The Mount. You can hike beautiful paths through the Tudor Family Pine Hill Walk or Hawkins Sculpture Walk. The Family Garden is an edible, interactive garden, designed to showcase vegetables, herbs, fruit, citrus, and berries that can be grown successfully in the Houston area. Children of all abilities are invited to participate in cultivating these beds, and to experience the touch, the scents, the colors, and the taste of fresh vegetables and herbs. Every Friday at 10 am they offer a special free event for the kids in the Family Garden.

A park with groves of trees near a city.

6. Lake Houston Wilderness Park

Hours:: Nature Center – 9 am – 4 pm

North of Houston about 30 minutes, the Lake Houston Wilderness Park offers over 4,600 acres to explore. There are 20 miles of hike and bike trails, kayaking on tree-lined creeks, and horseback riding on 13 miles of equestrian trails. {Bring your own bikes, watercraft, and horses}. This is also the only City of Houston Park that offers overnight camping, if that’s of interest. Cabins and campsites are available for rental – some being lakeside!

The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Nature Center offers displays of forest and wetland habitats, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates, and a mural depicting the life cycle of butterflies.

7. Challenger Memorial Seven Park in Webster

Hours:: 7AM – 9PM {Summer}

This beautiful memorial park east of Houston in Webster offers 100 acres of serenity and reflection. It also offers a history lesson in commemoration of the seven crew members of the Challenger shuttle who lost their lives. The Audubon Society also has a designated bird sanctuary within the park. The park also has elevated observation platforms to view wetland wildlife.

8. Cullinan Park Conservancy

Cullinan Park is over 750 acres in Sugar Land and offers forested nature trails, two lakes and two other waterways that run through the Park help provide a valuable respite for humans and wildlife alike. The amenities are a little more simple here for a quick family hike.

9. Discovery Nature Center in Bellaire

Hours:: Park – 5 am – 9:30 pm; Nature Center – Tuesday – Friday (closed Monday) 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Discovery Rooms – Tuesday – Friday (closed Monday) Noon – 5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

If you are looking for all the amenities and a family-friendly hike into nature, this is top of the list. The Russ Pitman Nature Park offers 4 acres of outdoor learning and exploration. The Nature Play Area and Discovery Rooms have programs and events for every age level. There are picnic areas, a fun Nature Play area with an extra large sandbox, and a pond. Clean restrooms and an air-conditioned respite in the Nature Center are also available!

10. Kleb Woods Nature Center

Hours:: 8 am – 5 pm

Head up North for a fun day of hiking and exploring nature at Kleb Woods in Tomball / Hockley area. The 130 acres of park land and 1.13 miles of trails will provide a full day of discovery. There are well maintained trails that allow for strollers. There is a pavilion and nature center with public restrooms. Be sure to check out the Kleb home and farmstead – a unique piece of history. They also offer great free events such as The Hummingbird Festival and Bluegrass Jam every 4th Saturday of the month.

Eight children sitting on a dock and using nets in the water.

Super Cool Hiking Day Trips

Galveston State Park

Bastrop State Park

Brazos Bend State Park

Things to Bring With You on Your Hike

The Non-Negotiables

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Mosquito repellent {all natural and heavy duty }
  3. Band-aids / First Aid Kit

The Good to Have

  1. Cooling rags
  2. Cooler backpack for lunch and snacks
  3. Don’t want to tote a backpack? Try this hiking waist pack {also known as an extra cool fanny pack in some circles}
  4. Picnic mat
  5. Sun hats for the kids {with ponytail hole}
  6. Rain ponchos
  7. Energy bars

Good for Baby / Toddlers

  1. Baby hiking backpack carrier
  2. Have a gaggle of kids? Try a children’s walking rope.

Serious Hikers / Day Hikes

  1. Cooling hiking socks
  2. Heavy duty hiking backpack
  3. Hydration bladder {kid version}

What did we miss? Any great Houston Area hikes in your neighborhood? Sound off below!

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Top 10 Houston Area Hikes To Take With The Family This Summer. A photograph of Two smiling children hugging each other on a trail. Logo: Houston Moms Blog.



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