Best Things to Do in Baytown Texas, a Fun Detour Near Houston

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Things to Do in Baytown Texas can include checking out the 34 foot tall Texas star
The San Jacinto Monument is topped with a 220-ton, 34 foot tall Texas star. Photo credit: Dan Thibodoux, Getty Image via Canva

Located just under 30 miles east of Houston off of I-10, Baytown sits on Galveston Bay at the mouth of the San Jacinto River. It is bordered on three sides by water. Often thought of as a mostly industrial city, there are actually tons of things to do in Baytown including getting out in nature, visiting art galleries, and exploring historic sites.

Getting around Baytown can involve some creative routing. With all of the surrounding water, you’ll utilize bridges and ferries to navigate Baytown, including the Fred Hartman Bridge which is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Texas. You’ll also need to be aware of busy traffic times as refinery workers go in for shifts and get off to head home.

Things to Do in Baytown Texas can include checking out the San Jacinto Monument
If you can’t make it check out the San Jacinto Monument in person you can check out their live webcam to see the view from the top! Photo credit: San Jacinto Monument Webcam

San Jacinto Monument

One Monument Circle La Porte, TX 77571

Just 20 minutes outside of Houston sits the San Jacinto Monument and Battlefield. A popular school field trip site for Lone Star State students, the grounds are home to the San Jacinto Museum of History. Visitors learn about the Battle of San Jacinto which was the final battle before the Republic of Texas was established. It’s amazing to see everything dedicated to this battle, which was only 18 minutes long!

What to Know Before You Visit the San Jacinto Museum and Battlefield

  • At just under 570 feet tall it is the largest masonry tower in the world (!) and is made of Texas limestone. Everything is bigger in Texas so it dwarfs the Washington Monument by 12+ feet.
  • San Jacinto Day, falling on April 21st, inspires celebrations and events around the state.
  • Due to extremely forward-thinking veterans, precise locations are pinpointed on the battlegrounds. In 1894, veterans of the battle visited the site placing pipes to mark important areas. These were later replaced with granite markers.
  • Do some birdwatching on a restored boardwalk to spot ospreys, pelicans, or even an otter!
  • Allow the day. There is more than enough to keep you busy and you can picnic on the grounds. The Texas Forever!! Film alone is 35 minutes long.
  • An elevator will take your group to the top of the monument for an unrivaled view of the surrounding area.

Ticket costs include museum admission to Texas Forever!!, the special exhibit, the Observation Floor, and the Texas History Gallery. Adult tickets cost $14, children 11 and under are $6. Special $10 tickets are available for senior citizens, veterans, and military. Admission fees must be paid by cash or check but credit cards can be used in the museum store. You’ll save money (and can pay by credit card) by purchasing a Groupon deal.

Note: Looking for the battleship, USS Texas? It has moved from the site to dry dock in Galveston for needed repairs.

Things to Do in Baytown Texas - Port of Houston
Baytown is bordered by the Port of Houston. Photo credit: Art Wager Getty Images Signature/Canva

Lynchburg Ferry

One neat feature of the San Jacinto Monument area is the Lynchburg Ferry. This ferry connects Crosby-Lynchburg with Independence Parkway South, near the Monument Inn Restaurant. If you’re visiting the San Jacinto Battleground area from the North (think Crosby, Highlands, Barrett) it can be a fun experience that saves time and has historical significance. During the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, thousands of Texans used the ferry to flee the Mexican advance. You’ll be heading through the Houston Ship Channel on essentially the same route they did, although on newer ferries!

Two ferries run every 5-10 minutes from 430a-815p. Riding the ferry is quick and free. The ferries can fit up to 12 motor vehicles on board but also transport bikes and pedestrians. Their Facebook page posts operational updates as needed.

Read More: 14+ Fun Things to Do in Sugar Land, Texas

Pirates Bay Water Park

5300 E Road Baytown, TX 77521

Pirates Bay Waterpark is run by the City of Baytown Parks and Recreation Department. It’s the perfect size for families. The water slides range in thrill level but all are geared towards those who are 42” and 48” or taller. You can also check out your ninja abilities on the NinjaCross courses. A lazy river and a wave pool are perfect for visitors of all ages, while two playscapes keep the littlest kids busy.

Families can easily spend a day here or choose to combine it with another fun thing to do in Baytown Texas.

Read More: Beat the Heat: Here’s Where to Get Wet in Texas!

Baytown Nature Center

6213 Bayway Drive Baytown, TX 77520

The Baytown Nature Center is a must on your list of things to do in Baytown Texas. This 500-acre park is located on a peninsula surrounded by three bays: Burnet, Scott, and Crystal. This stop on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail acts as a sanctuary for hundreds of bird and animal species. With over seven miles of hiking trails, you’ll keep everyone busy. It’s open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The admission fee of $4 (adults 13+) or $1 (kids 5-12 and seniors 65+) is a great value.

Things to Do at the Baytown Nature Center

You can easily spend the entire day at the Baytown Nature Center. There is plenty to do including:

  • Hiking on over seven miles of trails
  • Bird watching along the shore and trails
  • Picnicking on the grounds
  • Fishing
  • Visiting the Butterfly Garden
  • Exploring the Children’s Nature Discovery Area
  • Launching your kayak to check out the bays

How the Baytown Nature Center Started

One of the best parts of the Baytown Nature Center is the story behind it. A portion of its 500 acres used to be a residential neighborhood called Brownwood. Hurricane after hurricane left the Gulf Coast devastated and entire sections of land sank 10-15 feet. The City of Baytown created a plan to buy out homeowners. That left the land vacant. Using fines from a chemical company that was court-required to improve marsh areas, the town was able to cover the cost to create a public park and wildlife sanctuary.

SheBuysTravel Tip: There is a view of the San Jacinto monument from areas of the Nature Center if you want to grab a photo.

Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center

1724 Market Street Baytown, TX

Continue the ecological learning at the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center. The center, located on the banks of Goose Creek, teaches visitors about wetlands and the animals that live in them. The 9,000-square-foot Robert M. Craig Exhibit Hall explores different wetland habitats and creatures. If you want to learn about alligators (safely) visit Gator World, which features young alligators. There is also a room filled with species collected from local wetlands or spook each other with snakes as you learn about native Texas slithery creatures.

Visit Baytown’s Arts, Culture and Entertainment District (ACE)

This artsy area of Baytown is located over 10 blocks downtown between the Lee College Performing Arts Center and the Baytown Little Theater. In this area, you can find the Art Alley, Baytown Sculpture Trail, Baytown Symphony Orchestra, and the Art Center of Baytown. Want to participate in art? Check out the Art League of Baytown to see what hands-on activities are going on during your visit.

Art Alley

124 W Texas Avenue Baytown, TX 77520

Originally known as Umbrella Alley, the umbrellas had to come down after structural concerns. It has now been reinvented as Art Alley. Filled with colorful murals by local artists and a love lock wall, it’s a great spot to visit for vibrant pictures and art immersion.

Baytown Sculpture Trail

The Baytown Sculpture Trail consists of 25 sculptures scattered around the Texas Avenue area. Current sculptures will be in place through March 2024 and then will be replaced with new artwork. During your self-guided tour of the sculptures, you’ll also see tons of murals both large and small.

Go on a scavenger hunt for birds.

This fun birding challenge happens all year long in Baytown. Whether you’re there for a short visit or a longer one it can be fun to participate. Just track the species you see and when you’re up to 50 different species you’re eligible for a medal! Need help identifying birds? Grab a guide!

Yepez Vineyard

12739 Farm to Market Rd 2354 Baytown, TX 77523

Enjoy wine at Yepez Vineyard’s adorable adobe-style tasting room. You can taste 3 wines at no cost with a purchase. Tasting cost is $5 if you do not make a purchase. Yepez Vineyards boasts Blanc Du Bois and Black Spanish grapes, popular varietals grown in Texas.

Visitors can bring their own wine glasses and picnic on the grounds. Well-behaved pets and children are welcome. Pets must be leashed and owners are responsible for cleaning up pet waste.

Currently, the winery is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Check for current hours, events, and live music information on the Yepez Vineyard Facebook page before visiting.

Try out Fishing

With so much water surrounding Baytown, it’s not really a surprise that fishing is super popular! Whether you’re a lifelong fisherman or you’d like to try it for the first time, Baytown can accommodate you. The town maintains a list of local fishing charters and guides that visitors can reach out to ahead of their getaway.

Go on a Historical Marker Hunt

Baytown is filled with historical buildings, historical sites, and of course, historical markers. You can learn about the Bayland Guards, and the Bayland Orphans Home, view the Wooster Common School, and see a former homesite of Sam Houston. Baytown maintains a list of historical markers in Baytown to work off of.

Things to Do in Baytown Texas can include staying overnight in La Porte
Some visitors to Baytown choose to stay overnight in La Porte before crossing the Fred Hartman Bridge. Photo credit: Ususik from Getty Images/Canva

Planning Your Baytown Getaway and Things to Do in Baytown Texas

As you plan your Baytown getaway be sure to check opening times and dates to ensure you don’t show up to a closed site. Check local traffic maps to avoid heavy congestion. Refinery and industrial shifts can cause early morning traffic. Those shifts release earlier in the afternoon than other jobs so be prepared for rush hour to start early.

Baytown has multiple options for hotels. The Hyatt Regency Baytown-Houston’s location near the Convention Center and Fred Hartman Bridge makes it ideal for business travelers. If you’re starting your trip with the San Jacinto Monument, staying in Pasadena the evening before at the Home 2 Suites can be convenient.

The above things to do in Baytown Texas should be a great start to planning your trip. Baytown also has family favorites like laser tag and mini-golf available. What else do you love to do in Baytown? Let us know if we’ve missed any favorites!

Nasreen’s adventures started out as business travel. Working as a territory sales manager she covered 21 states during her tenure, traveling 3-5 nights a week. As she visited new cities and states, she always worked in a quick stop at a unique or iconic site. A travel writing career was born. When her father-in-law’s cancer came back she started writing and consulting full-time around his chemotherapy schedule. Traveling with her firefighter/paramedic husband, kids, friends and solo allows her to cover a variety of situations and topics. Her four kids (19 year old boy, 13 year old girl, 11 year old girl and 7 year old boy) are professionals at the cross country road trip. After 10 years in Texas, their family is back in the Northeast exploring both familiar and new destinations. There she runs her own business providing go-to-market, sales strategy, podcast, and content marketing consulting for websites and B2B businesses. Whenever possible she writes for a variety of publications in the podcast, travel, and business space. Connect with her on LinkedIn to chat about travel, content, sales, and podcasts!
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