When it comes to making a splash and beating the Texas heat, Houston doesn’t hold back. From serene lakeside retreats to adrenaline-pumping water sports, this city’s aquatic offerings are as diverse as its cultural tapestry.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker searching for the next adrenaline high or just someone looking to cool off on a sunny day, Houston has a whole list of activities you can enjoy in the water.
So, grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a sense of adventure, as we introduce you to all the fun water sports in Houston.
Cast a Line
Image Source: Galveston Bay Estuary Website
Address: Galveston Bay, Texas City TX 77590, United States of America
Hours: Every Day – Up until early afternoon
Pricing: Free except for some licenses and fees
To start your fishing escapade, consider exploring iconic spots such as Lake Houston, Sheldon Lake State Park, or the expansive Galveston Bay. Each of these locales presents a unique fishing experience.
Lake Houston is renowned for its bass fishing. Meanwhile, Sheldon Lake State Park offers excellent catfish catches, and its serene surroundings make it an ideal family-friendly destination.
If you’re in the mood for something different, Galveston Bay is a treasure trove of angling diversity. Here, you can cast your line for speckled trout and redfish.
For a successful fishing trip, make sure to come prepared with the essentials like fishing gear, an assortment of bait, and a comfy folding chair. Don’t forget to look up the fishing licenses and fees you’ll need which varies from location to location.
Catch Some Waves
Image Source: Galveston Website
Address: 2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
While Texas might not immediately come to mind as a surfing destination, it offers a unique charm for wave enthusiasts. Houston’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico means that you can enjoy the thrill of surfing and windsurfing right here in the Lone Star State.
For those looking to catch some waves, Galveston’s beaches are your go-to spots. While not known for colossal surf, they come alive during hurricane season, providing decent waves for riders of all levels. Our favorite spot is near the Pleasure Pier.
Windsurfing aficionados, on the other hand, will find fun in the gentle breezes that sweep across Clear Lake. This picturesque spot not only provides excellent windsurfing conditions but also stunning views of the surrounding area.
To make the most of your surfing adventure, always keep an eye on the weather and tides. Timing your surf sessions to coincide with optimal conditions will ensure that you catch the best waves and enjoy a memorable ride.
Experience Jet Surfing
Image Source: Jet Surf Academy Website
Address: 3222 E NASA Pkwy, Seabrook, TX 77586, United States
Phone Number: +1 281 538 7873
Hours: Every Day – 8 am to 7 pm
Pricing: $139 for an hour; $249 for 2 hours; $449 for 4 hours
For thrill-seeking surfers craving an adrenaline rush, jet surfing should be on your next must try list. This is perfect for those periods of time when there are no waves in the bodies of water in and around Houston.
Jet surfing combines the excitement of surfing with the thrill of motorized water sports. It’s identical to traditional surging except you zip across the lake on a sleek and powerful jet powered surfboard.
Don’t worry, if you’ve never tried jet surfing before. Jet Surf, one of the few companies that offer this experience, has expert instructors ready to guide you through the basics (and advanced techniques if you’re up for it).
Since it’s a relatively more dangerous sport, keep in mind that only kids above 13 can participate and they also have a weight limit of 265 pounds for safety reasons.
Explore Scuba Diving
Image Source: Gigglin’ Marlin Divers Website
Address: 4502 Almeda Rd Suite B, Houston, TX 77004, United States
Phone Number: +1 281 445 3483
Hours: 10 am to 7 pm
Pricing: $15 to $100
For those with a passion for exploring underwater worlds, Houston has some surprising scuba diving opportunities in its lakes, gulfs, rivers, and quarries.
Lake 288 is one of the best places to go scuba diving. The springfed waters are filtered by limestone that allows for one of the highest visibility in the state. You’ll get to clearly see all of the aquatic plants and animals that call the lake home.
Clear Lake and the Blue Lagoon are two other prominent freshwater diving spots near Houston. These hidden gems offer clear waters, with the latter featuring a small sunken boat and underwater sculptures.
If you prefer saltwater diving, a short drive to the Gulf of Mexico offers a wider array of underwater wildlife including the occasional curious sea turtle. Try to time your visits during March to October for ideal diving conditions.
Explore the many diving schools within Houston, like the Gigglin’ Marlin Divers, who offer annual passes for $150 to $ 270 which includes training, a certification, and equipment for divers.
Image Source: Buffalo Bayou Partnership Website
Address: 1019 Commerce St, Houston, TX 77002, United States
Phone Number: +1 713-752-0314
Hours: Every Day – 8 am to 5 pm
Pricing: Starts at $55
When it comes to experiencing Houston’s waterways, there’s no better way to connect with nature than through kayaking. This serene and eco-friendly activity allows you to escape the urban hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in nature.
The Buffalo Bayou winds its way through the heart of the city, offering a unique contrast of urban and natural landscapes. Paddling along this waterway, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the city’s skyline in the distance while surrounded by lush wildlife.
The Armand Bayou Nature Center takes you through marshes, forests, and wetlands. As you paddle through these serene waters, you’ll have the chance to spot a wide variety of local wildlife, from alligators to colorful songbirds.
For those eager to capture the scenery and wildlife you encounter along the way, don’t forget to bring a waterproof phone case with a strap if you don’t want the sudden sway of the boat to make you drop your phone into the water.
Hit the Beach
Image Source: Visit Galveston Website
Address: 201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
Phone Number: +1 409 797 5189
Hours: Every Day – 9 am to 6 pm
Pricing: Free except for parking ($12 to $15 per car)
Houston is known for its sizzling and sweltering. And, one of the best ways to beat them is by cooling off in one of the city’s many beaches.
Galveston Island, a mere hour’s drive from Houston, is your golden ticket to a great beach getaway. Galveston boasts an array of beach options. Stewart Beach is a family favorite, where the kids can build sandcastles and play in the gentle surf.
East Beach, with its live music and vibrant atmosphere, offers a lively scene perfect for those seeking entertainment. If you crave a quieter escape, Crystal Beach is just a ferry ride away, where you can stroll along the serene shoreline and collect seashells.
Having a beach picnic is a quintessential part of the experience, consider packing a cooler with your favorite drinks and snacks, and of course a blanket. Sunscreen is your best friend to keep your beach day burn-free.
Join Boat Racing
Image Source: Ultimate Boat Racing Experience Website
Phone Number: +1 702 228 2628
Hours: Upon Reservation
If you’re looking for more extreme fun to enjoy on Houston waters, boat racing might just be your new obsession. The team behind the Ultimate Boat Racing Experience is led by 6 time world champion racer, Chris Reindl across different categories.
Because of his love for powerboat racing, he designed unique versions of the water vehicles that won over 25 championships inside and outside the United States. The powerboats look like underwater rockets, with an enclosed space for only 1 driver.
The company offers these boats for one time rentals or for bulk rentals for families, friends, and events. They have sites in several states and 2 satellite sites in Houston in Lake Conroy and Lake Houston.
Rates for renting the boats usually start at $1500 for a whole day. If you’re friendly enough with the staff, they can be pretty lenient with letting you switch out drivers so a lot of people can try it for just a one day payment.
Paddle on a Canoe
Image Source: Riva Row Boathouse Website
Address: 2101 Riva Row, The Woodlands, TX 77380, United States
Phone Number: +1 281-210-3965
Hours: Every Day – 5 am to 6:30 pm
Pricing: $15 to $30
For those looking for a tranquil and more intimate aquatic adventure, consider grabbing a canoe and heading to Lake Houston or the Buffalo Bayou. These serene waterways are perfect for paddling out into the middle of the water and just taking a breath.
You can also do some bird-watching. Birds of all kinds may make an appearance, from graceful egrets to colorful kingfishers.
One of the best places to paddle on a canoe is on Lake Woodlands through the Riva Row Boathouse where you can rent out canoes, paddle boards, water bikes, and swan boats for a relaxing day on the water.
To maximize the tranquility of these waterways, consider timing your paddle for early morning or late afternoon. This way, you can witness the glow of sunrise or sunset on the water for a peaceful and also beautiful experience.
Relax While River Tubing
Image Source: Texas Tubes Website
Address: 250 Meusebach Street, New Braunfels, TX 78130, United States.
Phone Number: +1 830 626 9900
Hours: Every Day – 10 am to 4 pm
Pricing: $25 for a tube
If you equate fun with friends like we do, then river tubing is a great activity for you and your crew while basking under the Texan sun. Texas Tubes offers the chance for guests to leisurely float down a serene river.
A short drive from Houston, this company offers a day of relaxation and fun at the
Comal River. The experience is simple yet sublime. You and your group hop into inflatable tubes, and the river does the rest.
As you drift along the gentle currents, you can soak up the surroundings while the soothing sound of water creates a Zen-like atmosphere.
Make sure to only bring the essentials as you will have to leave your belongings with the staff while you go river tubing. Since the river currents are unpredictable, it isn’t advisable for you to bring your phone if you don’t want to lose it to the waves.
Ride a Yacht
Image Source: Houston Party Boats Website
Address: 2500 South Shore Blvd, League City, TX 77573, United States
Phone Number: +1 281 334 3400
Hours: Upon Reservation
Pricing: $200 for a 3 hour cruise
For a taste of the high life and a touch of luxury, consider indulging in a yacht experience on Clear Lake or Galveston Bay. Numerous charter companies in the area offer a range of options to cater to your desires.
They cater to everything from romantic sunset cruises that set the mood for a special evening to all-day excursions that maximize your time under the sun and on the water.
As you step aboard your private yacht, you’ll be welcomed with meals and drinks. Imagine sailing past sights like the sparkling cityscapes and scenic shores while sipping on chilled champagne and nibbling on gourmet food.
To make the most of your yacht adventure, keep an eye out for special deals on group charters on their websites or in yacht groups on social media. Sharing this luxury experience with friends or family can be both cost-effective and immensely enjoyable.
Sail the Seas
Image Source: South Coast Sailing Adventures Website
Address: 507 Bradford Avenue Kemah, TX 77565, United States
Phone Number: +1 281 334-4606
Hours: Every Day 9 am to 5 pm
Pricing: $160 for 3 hours
If the call of the sea beckons you and you want to play out the dream of being a sailor in less complicated times with the wind, sailing lessons in Galveston Bay are your gateway to nautical adventures.
South Coast Sailing Adventures is one of the front runners in providing sailing lessons and services in the city. With them, you can learn the art of navigating the open waters, trimming the sails, and commanding your own vessel.
The thrill of controlling a sailboat requires patience and lots of practice. But, if you enjoy the learning process, every lesson and experience on the water brings you closer to mastering the craft.
Avail of their package that allows you to sleep in their boat for a bed and breakfast experience.
Seek Thrills on a Jet Ski
Image Source: Kemah Jet Ski Rentals Website
Address: 1300 Rollingbrook, Kemah, Texas, 77565, United States
Phone Number: +1 281-425-5887
Hours: Every Day – 7 am to 8 pm
Pricing: $150 to $500 from an hour to full day rentals
Kemah, a mere hop from the heart of the city, offers the perfect setting for a jet ski ride. Renting a jet ski here is a breeze, with various outlets lining the waterfront. Kemah Jet Ski Rentals is one of the more long standing ones, with safety guaranteed.
What makes jet skiing in Kemah so special is not just the speed but also the scenery. You’ll discover hidden coves where birds like herons gather.
Throughout the year, there’s a chance to spot dolphins if you venture deep enough into the ocean, but sightings are less rare in colder months. So, make sure to time your visits during the summer!
To ensure you’re comfortable and protected from the sun, consider wearing a rash guard or wetsuit. Plus, wearing a wetsuit also prevents any chaffing from your legs rubbing onto the seat of the jetski!
Splash Around at a WaterPark
Image Source: Pirates Bay WaterPark Website
Address: 5300 E Rd, Baytown, TX 77521, United States
Phone Number: +1 281-422-1150
- May: Saturday and Sunday – 11 am to 6 pm
- July: Monday to Thursday – 11 am to 6 pm; Friday to Sunday – 11 am to 7 pm
- First half of August: Monday to Thursday – 1 pm to 6 pm; Friday to Sunday – 11 am to 6 pm
- Mid August to Mid September: 11 am to 6 pm
Houston summers are legendary for their scorching heat, and the ideal remedy for that is a day at one of the many fantastic water parks like Pirates Bay Waterpark, Typhoon Texas, and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown.
They offer everything from wading and Olympic lap pools to exciting slides and wave pools that mimic the ocean’s currents. They also have water playgrounds and kiddie areas for the little ones.
Families can leisurely float down the lazy river, while thrill-seekers line up for the more exciting attractions like the water mat racing and the Ninja obstacle course above water.
If you want a prime spot to set up camp near the most fun attractions, make sure to arrive early. It’s the best way to secure a shaded cabana or lounge chair for maximum relaxation.
Try Wakeboarding and Parasailing
Image Source: Hangar 9 Wakepark Website
Address: 15110 Interstate 45 S, Conroe, TX 77384, United States
Phone Number: +1 936-207-4129
Hours: Saturday and Sunday – 12 pm to 7 pm; Monday, Tuesday, Friday – 4 pm to 7 pm
Pricing: $40 for 2 hours; $55 for all day pass
On Lake Conroe, nestled just north of Houston, Hangar 9 is a great place for those looking to try something new and exciting in the water. This wake park has services for both seasoned wake boarders and those who are just starting to learn to love it.
They have expert instructors on hand to guide you through the ins and outs as you try to balance on the board while the speed boat pulls you along at controlled speeds.
Once you get the hang of it, they’ll slowly increase the speed to let you feel the full effect of the activity. The waves created by the boat add an extra challenge!
Getting there can be a little tricky. From Houston, the I-45 North will lead you past the Woodlands area. Exit at FM 1488, you’ll reach an overpass where the road starts to curve right. You’ll eventually reach an access road that will take you to the park.
Visit an Aquarium
Image Source: Downtown Aquarium Houston Website
Address: 410 Bagby St, Memorial Dr., Houston, TX 77002, United States
Contact Number: +1 713-223-3474
- Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 am – 8:30 pm
- Friday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Pricing: $23.99 to $25.99
For a more relaxed aquatic adventure, you might want to consider embarking on a journey into the depths of marine life at the Downtown Aquarium in Houston, where you’ll find yourself immersed in an underwater world teeming with marine life.
You can see exotic fish, sea turtles, and even white tigers. You can even interact with them up close and personally through the feed tanks and touch tanks, like the one for stingrays,
One of the highlights of this adventure is the chance to dine with the fish. The restaurant boasts an incredible underwater dining area where you can enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by the serene beauty of the aquatic world.
For an extra layer of wonder, time your visit to coincide with feeding sessions that usually take place just before noon. Seeing the staff swim beside the fish as they swarm the food is an enchanting show that adds depth to your aquarium adventure.
Zoom on a Speedboat
Image Source: Kemah Boardwalk Website
Address: 215 Kipp Ave, Kemah, TX 77565, United States
Phone Number: +1 281-535-8100
- Monday to Thursday – 12 am to 8 pm
- Friday – 12 pm to 10 pm
- Saturday and Sunday – 11 am to 11 pm
Pricing: $20 to $25
The Kemah Boardwalk is mostly known for its rides and games, but one of the other attractions that is popular among both locals to the area and tourists from all around is the Boardwalk Beast. This 25 minute speed boat ride takes you into Galveston Bay.
As you board the Beast, as the frequent riders lovingly call it, you’ll be greeted by the sea breeze and the lively tunes of the music on board. Riders are advised to hold on tight as the boat can accelerate at speeds of up to 40 mph.
The guides on board point out some of the landmarks that are visible from the boat, explain some of the marine life that call the bay home, and give you tips on how to enjoy your time at Kemah to the max.
Try to time your ride for sunset or late afternoon when the sun is on its way down. It casts a golden hue with red and pinks on the water that adds a whole new level of enjoyment to the entire experience.