10+ Best Things to Do in The Woodlands near Houston

Nasreen Stump Avatar

Planning a trip to the Houston area for business or pleasure? Expand that adventure out to The Woodlands which is a quick 20-minute drive from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). There is no shortage of things to do including unforgettable outdoor experiences and a super children’s museum in The Woodlands so let’s dive in!

1. Take in live music at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

2005 Lake Robbins Drive The Woodlands, TX 77380

Yes, it’s a concert venue but it’s a special concert venue. This outdoor amphitheater has great acoustics but keep in mind that weather can impact performances. The Pavilion is run by a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, The Center for The Performing Arts at The Woodlands.

They bring a wide variety of artists to The Woodlands and offer free seating at every show. That’s right- lawn and mezzanine seating is always free.

Things to Know Before You Go to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

  • Arrive early to secure a good spot.
  • You can bring a blanket to sit on to most shows unless the event itself restricts them. If you’d like a chair you can rent one at the facility.
  • Always check the specific event’s information. Some allow outside food. Some have restrictions. There are numerous food and drink vendors on site as well.
  • Bag size rules are STRICTLY enforced. They will measure. You can have a clear bag that is 12” by 12” or smaller. If you don’t have a clear bag you can bring a handheld clutch that is 4.5” by 6.5” or smaller.
  • There are four free parking lots a short walk away. The area can get hectic so you may want to utilize rideshares or pay for parking in the garage behind The Pavilion. Accessible parking is located in this cashless garage.

With extremely creative shows by the Houston Symphony Orchestra (Blast off into Space and Hocus Pocus) and the family-friendly Conroe student performance Holly Jolly Jingle, you will never run out of fun things to do in the Woodlands.

2. Engage young minds at The Woodlands Children’s Museum.

4775 West Panther Creek Drive The Woodlands, TX 77381

The Woodland Children’s Museum is a great spot for families with young kiddos. The interactive exhibits and educational programs are geared toward the younger crowd. With play areas set up to look like cafes and a playhouse, an ocean-themed area for those under 2, a dig pit, and giant foam blocks to build with kids will love it here.

Things to Know Before You Go to The Woodlands Children’s Museum

  • Check their event calendar before visiting. They often have special offerings that are included in the price of admission. There are also some days that toddler meetups are offered so you may want to avoid those dates if you’re visiting with slightly older kids.
  • The museum has limited space. It can get crowded, especially on weekends. No matter what day you choose to visit arriving early is recommended!
  • Admission tickets are timed for entry. We highly recommend buying them in advance.
  • Many sites recommend purchasing a membership to save money but at a cost of $8, you’d have to visit more than 4 times per person to break even. Choose what works for your family.
  • The museum is extremely safety conscious. Your party should plan to arrive at the same time to enter. Adults visiting the museum without a child will be asked to leave ID at the front desk for the duration of your visit.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The museum has a Splish-Splash water play area. If your kids are anything like mine bringing a change of clothes or at least an extra shirt isn’t a bad idea!

3. Find your zen at the George Mitchell Nature Preserve.

2801 Technology Forest Boulevard The Woodlands, TX 77381

Remember when we mentioned before that the Woodlands had a huge emphasis on green space and parks? The George Mitchell Nature Preserve spans 1800 acres and includes 3 miles of biking trails and a 2-mile hiking loop. Feeling really motivated? Multiple trails connect to each other. This means that you can explore almost 14 miles on the combined Spring Creek Nature Trail.

Things to Know Before You Go to the George Mitchell Nature Preserve

  • Pack in, pack out. Keep the preserve clean for others by bringing a bag for your trash and carrying it all out with you.
  • If it has rained recently be sure to check trail conditions before heading out. Trails can close due to flooding and erosion.
  • Texas gets hot. It seems like an obvious statement but don’t forget to bring plenty of water, food, and sunscreen. On hot days dress appropriately and wear a hat.
  • Even during cooler seasons, bugs can be abundant. We keep bug coil bracelets in our hiking pack. They’re individually wrapped so you can easily pack them until they’re needed.
  • Trails don’t have facilities so use the restroom before heading out! In a pinch on the trail? Hiking pee bags are a lifesaver.
  • Trails are marked. Stay on the trails.

4. Get high at Texas Treeventures.

Pretend you’re a spider monkey at Texas Treeventures. It’s the perfect add-on if you’ll already be at the George Mitchell Nature Preserve. Texas Treeventures is right next door, at the recreation center at Rob Fleming Park. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

Towering over the park at three stories tall, the aerial adventure park has close to 100 challenging elements. One of the things we love about this course is that it isn’t “linear”. You don’t have to go through every element and you won’t tie up the flow if you need to duck out of something. Pick and choose what you can handle.

What to Know Before You Go To Texas Treeventures

  • The course has strict rules about age and weight, including adult-to-kid ratios. They will not be flexible on any of them. Safety is important.
  • All conditions must be met. Minimum age is 6, minimum weight is 44 lbs. If your 6-year-old weighs 41 lbs they will not be allowed on the course. Participants are weighed and the rules are strictly adhered to.
  • Kids 15 and under require an adult. Ratios are 1:1 for ages 6-8, 1:2 for ages 9-12, and 1:4 for ages 13-15. This means that if you are traveling with a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old you need 2 adults to do the course. Under 70” must have an adult monitor to do the transfers. This means if you have a 68” 17 year old there will still need to be an adult.
  • Maximum weight is 275 lbs.
  • General admission covers 3 hours of course time. The 3 hours include time spent fitting and training.
  • Wear closed-toe, closed-heel shoes.
  • Long hair must be pulled back.

5. Visit The Woodlands Waterway.

200 Waterway Avenue The Woodlands, TX 77380

The Woodlands Waterway is to the city and the Riverwalk is to San Antonio. Tons of The Woodlands attractions are located along the scenic waterway which runs from The Woodlands Mall to Lake Woodlands. Let’s run through some of the most popular attractions that you can visit along the waterway.

Waterway Square

You might think you’ve stumbled onto Disney property at The Woodland’s Waterway Square. There’s a focus on family fun here. This is because the Fountains at Waterway Square have their own water, music, and light show. On weekdays you can catch the show every 15 minutes from 12p to 2p and 6p to 11p. On weekends it happens every 15 minutes from 12p through 11p.

The songs are themed and planned in advance.

There is also a splash pad for the little kids at Waterway Square. Perfect for those hot summer days!

Take the Trolley

Make sure you take a spin on the free Waterway Trolley Service. It’s a great way to get between different attractions or to get off your feet for a bit.

Dine in a waterfront restaurant

With loads of choices for your meals, the Woodlands Waterway is a great spot to meet friends. The options include Mexican, Italian, pub fare, and more.

Explore Town Green Park

Town Green Park is a four-acre green space along The Woodlands Waterway. It’s home to several festivals, the town fireworks, the Veterans’ Memorial Monument, many sculptures, art benches, a children’s amphitheater, and a literary labyrinth featuring Aesop’s Fable characters.

Check for Events

Check The Woodlands Waterway website for event schedules. The Waterway often hosts live music, art installations, and seasonal festivals. Planning your visit around these events can enhance your experience.

6. Shop until you drop at The Woodlands Mall.

1201 Lake Woodlands Drive The Woodlands, TX 77380

Shopping malls on things to do list can feel like fillers but there is one main reason The Woodlands Mall makes this list. They have swan paddle boats. Go to the mall and rent one. You can rent these by the half-hour and prowl the waters from the Mall Ring Turning Basin to the Waterway. While you can reach the edge of Lake Robbins, these swan boats do not connect to Lake Woodlands.

You can also shop at a wide range of stores and choose from many dining options at The Woodlands Mall.

Things to Know Before Heading to The Woodlands Mall

  • The mall is large and parking completely surrounds it. Check out the map view to see where the most convenient spot to park is that matches up with your shopping plans.
  • Swan boat rentals are located downstairs between P.F. Chang’s, North Italia, and The Cheesecake Factory. They are rented by the half-hour. Swan boat rentals are only available on weekends so we recommend making an advance reservation.  

7. Spend the day at or on Lake Woodlands.

2101 Riva Row, The Woodlands, TX 77380

Why wouldn’t a planned community have a planned lake? This 200-acre lake features a 22-acre island and is eight feet deep. The size and depth of Lake Woodlands make it a fantastic lake to go boating on. You can paddle to Northshore Park or along The Woodlands Waterway from Lake Woodlands.

What to Know Before You Go to Lake Woodlands

  • Motorized boats are not permitted
  • You can kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. The Riva Row Boat House and Lakes Edge Boat House provide rentals to the public.
  • Make sure you reserve online ahead of your trip. Rentals are frequently sold out on weekends and holidays.
  • Rentals available include single kayaks ($20/hr), tandem kayaks ($25/hr), standup paddleboards ($25/hr) and waterbikes ($30/hr). Boats are $5 per additional hour (waterbikes are only available for up to 4 hours).
  • Lake Woodlands is large. Make sure you understand the layout and think about your route before you cast off, especially if you have time you need to be back by.
  • Post-adventure you can head to the Hughes Landing area for shopping, dining, or amazing sunset views over the lake.

8. Robert Fleming Park and Aquatic Center

6055 Creekside Forest Drive The Woodlands, TX 77389

Enjoy a water park, playgrounds, hiking trails, BBQ pits, a dog park, and fishing at this family-friendly park. The Robert Fleming Park and the Robert Fleming Aquatic Center are open to both residents and visitors of The Woodlands. If you’re looking for a park with more sports options like a volleyball court or disc golf course head to Bear Branch. The aquatic center features a water slide, splash pad, and lazy river. Hours vary based on the day of the week and season but can always be found on the posted pool schedule.

Things to Know Before You Visit Robert Fleming Park and Aquatic Center

  • There is seating and some shade but I’d recommend bringing hats with you to avoid sunburns.
  • If it is summer or it’s hot get there early! Lines get long and it gets crowded in the summer months.
  • You can purchase a few items on-site but it’s better to pack everything you’ll need like snacks, towels, swim diapers, and sunscreen.
  • Speaking of diapers rules about swim diapers and diaper changes are very strictly enforced here. Bring a changing pad and know that diaper changes are allowed on the pool deck.
  • Pricing is based on height. There is one price for those 48” and taller and a lower price for those under 48”. You can find all prices and pass options on The Woodlands Township website.
  • Coolers are welcome but no glass or alcohol is allowed.

Read More: Best Sunscreen for Babies and Kids

9. The Woodlands Art League

25136 Grogans Park Drive The Woodlands, TX 77380

Explore local art exhibits, attend art classes, and support local artists while you’re visiting the Greater Houston area. The Woodlands Art League functions in several different ways.

They exhibit local works in an art gallery space at the South County Community Center (2235 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands, TX 77380). Workshops and art classes are offered at affordable prices for a variety of skill levels. You can find upcoming events on their calendar.

10. Market Street

9595 Six Pines Drive The Woodlands, TX 77380

Market Street is an open-air upscale area for shopping and dining that resembles Main Street. There is a central outdoor lawn area that hosts live music and events. Be sure to check the entertainment calendar before visiting.

Things to Know Before You Go to Market Street

  • Valet parking is available between Mastro’s Ocean Club and La Madeleine off of the Six Pines Drive entrance.
  • There are 7 parking garages on every side of the complex. Take a look at the store directory before visiting to find the closest one to the stores you plan to visit.
  • Many of the stores are mid- to high-end. You aren’t going to find discount shopping here.
  • Several of the restaurants offer late afternoon/early evening Happy Hour Specials.
  • Want to stay in the middle of it all? Book a stay at the Hyatt Centric.

The Woodlands FAQs

  • The Woodlands spans two counties. The majority is in Montgomery County with a small portion in Harris County.
  • As a planned community it started with two villages, Grogan’s Mill and Cochran’s Crossing, on the site of the former Grogan-Cochran Mill.
  • The Woodlands now has eight villages.
  • With over 150 parks, residents of The Woodlands are all within a 10-minute walk of a park.
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!
Read full bio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *