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Houston Outdoor Recreational Activities

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Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States. So, visitors are often surprised to find so many outdoor recreational opportunities when they visit the Bayou City. Being a coastal town that is also surrounded by bayous, rivers and fresh water lakes, Houston offers plenty of outdoor activities, such as canoeing, nature watching, hiking, jogging, birding, golfing, fishing and more.

1. Play a Round of Golf

Houston is the state's largest city in both size and geographic area. Because Houston covers such a large area, it straddles several different types of terrain. This environmental diversity is reflected in the cities golf courses, many of which incorporate the natural setting in their layouts. A variety of wooded areas, creeks, bayous, lakes, flatlands, rolling hills and more are part of Houston's top public golf courses. Whether it is downtown Houston or the city's north, south, east or west sides, there is always a great course close by when in Houston. And, when you're looking for a different challenge from your regular course, you can always find it be heading to opposite side of town.

2. Hike, Canoe or Bird Watch at Armand Bayou

Although it's hard to believe, it's possible to have a wonderful experience in the natural world right in the middle of the nation's fourth largest city. Both the Armand Bayou Nature Center and Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offer Houston area residents and visitors an opportunity to spend time outdoors while visiting Texas' largest city. Hiking, birding, and canoeing are some of the outdoor recreational activities available. Guided boat tours are also available at the Armand Bayou Nature Center.

3. Run a Marathon

What started as a humble race with just over 100 runners has blossomed into the largest single sporting event in Houston. The Houston Marathon features nearly 18,000 participants annually, making it one of the largest running events in the country.

4. Go Freshwater Fishing

Texas has a vast amount of rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. Within these waters live an amazing number of freshwater fish species which give Texas a high quality and diverse freshwater fishery. A surprisingly high number of these water bodies are located in and around major Texas cities. Houston is no exception. Sheldon Reservoir, located within Sheldon Lake State Park on the city's north size, is a great example. On the southwest side of Houston, anglers can take advantage of several small lakes and ponds within Brazos Bend State Park. And, just a short drive north of the city lies Lake Conroe, home to great fishing for black bass, crappie, catfish and more.

5. Go Saltwater Fishing

People often forget Houston is a coastal city. Saltwater fishing is available to Houston area residents and visitors beginning just outside the city within the brackish portion of Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel and Trinity River. All along the I45 corridor between Houston and Galveston, anglers have several access points to the sprawling Galveston Bay complex.

6. Take a Nature Walk within the Houston Nature Center

In a city that has more than its share of concrete, the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offers a glimpse of Houston's original lush habitat. Kids will love to romp along the five miles of trails, splash in the mud, and spot critters along the way.

7. Go Birding

If you happen to find yourself in Houston, you certainly don’t want to miss taking in the nearby Clear Lake Loop, which is one of the most unique on the Upper Coast portion of the trail. Anchored by the impressive 2,500-acre Armand Bayou Nature Center, the Clear Lake Loop allows birders to view species in a variety of habitat, from coastal wetlands to hardwood forests – all within the shadow of fourth largest city in the nation.

8. Tour the San Jacinto Battlefield

The Battle of the Alamo is undoubtedly the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution. However, the Battle of San Jacinto was the decisive battle which gave the Texans their independence from Mexico. Today, the San Jacinto Battlefield State Historical Park is home to the San Jacinto Monument and San Jacinto Museum of History, both of which are open to the public.
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