Pick your panoramic view: The Gulf of Mexico from a beautiful island beach? Sparkling Lake Conroe from a relaxing porch swing? The twinkling lights of the United States' fourth largest city from an intimate, downtown restaurant?
The Houston area has just about everything there is to like about the Lone Star State.
Just south of Houston lies beautiful and historic Galveston Island, which has recovered quite nicely from Hurricane Ike (arguably its hardest thrashing since the deadly storm of 1900). A Galveston vacation allows you to spend your days touring lovely historic homes, exploring the description-defying, 242-acre Moody Gardens, riding the tubes at the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Water Park, or enjoying a walk along a quiet, white-sand Gulf beach.
Some of the best golf courses in the Southwest can be found in the Houston area and, in particular, around Lake Conroe, where stately trees and rolling greens blend in with the lake's dramatic coastline. About 15 miles to the west is historic Montgomery, where strolls along Main Street take you back to a simpler time.
The big city of Houston has so much to offer: fine dining, world-class museums, professional sports venues, NASA's Johnson Space Center, the San Jacinto Historical Site, Memorial Park... the list goes on and on. And, with average monthly temperatures never getting below the 50s, the Bayou City can be comfortably explored year-round.
Tiny Boxwood's Cafe (Houston). Located on the beautiful grounds of the Thompson and Hanson Nursery in preppy River Oaks, Tiny Boxwood's delights lunch crowds with fantastic soups, salads and sandwiches. The Houston Chronicle even named it the best lunch spot of 2008.
Benno's on the Beach (Galveston). Call it a hole-in-the-wall, a dive, or a mom-and-pop, if you want. But also call it good eating. Cajun shrimp and garlic butter crab are just two of the things that patrons rave about.
Hit the ice (Houston). Yes, it's South Texas. But it's always cold at the Galleria ice rink, where you can strap on the skates and take a few laps no matter how hot is outside.
Play the course (Lake Conroe). Play where wooded terrain borders crystal blue waters. The Walden course's signature hole juts out onto Lake Conroe for incredible water views. But every hole here, and at Bentwater's three courses across the lake, is a golfer's delight.
Walk the beach (Galveston). Many Endless Vacation Rentals resorts are located on or near wonderful white-sand beaches. Other large public beaches, such as Stewart Beach, offer children's playgrounds, and plenty of sand and surf to spread out a beach towel and enjoy your day.
Cruise the Caribbean. Some visitors with extra time choose to spend a week at an Endless Vacation Rentals property, then hop a cruise ship for an entirely new adventure. Several ships use Galveston as their home base for exploring Mexico and the Caribbean.
Moody Gardens (Galveston). This tropical family destination offers many great ways to spend your day, from a 10-story Rainforest Pyramid complete with birds, plants and tropical fish to a 12-story Aquarium Pyramid showcasing four oceans of the world.
Children's Museum of Houston. Founded in 1980 by parents with a goal to promote fun learning, the CMH now serves more kids per square foot than any children's museum in the United States. Exhibits include the Invention Convention, the Matter Factory, Motion Commotion - and so much more.
NASA (Houston). Tram tours take you behind the scenes at Johnson Space Center, where you may get to see Mission Control, the new Saturn V Complex - or astronauts in training.
Bering's (Houston). Part department store, part hardware store, part stationary store, Bering's has been a Texas staple for 70 years. You're bound to find something uniquely Texan here.
Lone Star First Saturday (Montgomery). Located at the corner of FM 149 and College Street, this retro Farmer's Market celebrates all things homemade and homegrown on the first Saturday of every month.