America’s fourth largest city, Houston is industrious, sprawling, and very much alive. A stone’s throw from the birthplace of the Lone Star Republic, the wheels of Houston’s economy may be greased with oil money, but the hearts and minds of its people are focused on a proud heritage of freedom and innovation that began with drawing a line in the sand and was followed by digging for buried treasure and reaching for the stars. A visit to Houston immerses you in engaging and inspiring science, culture, art and industry. But it’s still Texas, so the folks here have an equal reverence for their barbecue joints, taquerias and Armadillo Palaces.
HOUSTON HOT SPOTS
- Armadillo Palace — This is the consummate Texas roadhouse, complete with toe-tappin’ live music and authentic Lone Star comfort food, including some of the best pecan pie you will ever eat. You can also pick up some wonderfully tacky Texas souvenirs. Located at 5015 Kirby Dr., Houston.
- Goode Company BBQ — Back in 1977, founder Jim Goode was enjoying some Texas barbecue and struck up a conversation with the restaurant’s owner. Before he finished lunch, Jim made a deal to buy the joint; and a few days later, a Texas culinary institution was born. The original Goode Company BBQ is still housed at 5015 Kirby Dr., Houston, with additional locations at 8911 Katy Freeway and 20102 Northwest Freeway.
- JPMorgan Chase Tower — Designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, this skyscraper soars 75 stories high. Shoot up the express elevator 60 floors to the Sky Lobby observation deck for the best view of the city, then head back down to access Houston’s air-conditioned underground tunnel system. Located at 600 Travis St., Houston.
- Menil Collection — Admire surrealist works, frescoes, drawings and sculptures in a series of interior galleries and outdoor courtyards stretching several blocks. Pick up a tour map inside the museum at 1533 Sul Ross St., Houston.
- Museum of Natural Science — Explore geology, anthropology, chemistry and earth science displays at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Highlights include the Cockrell Butterfly Center and the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals. Located at 5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — The MFAH houses an impressive collection of impressionist, modern and ceramic art. Take the tunnel from one building to the next for an incredible light show. Located at 1001 Bissonnet St., Houston.
- The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation — A local favorite for Tex-Mex food, Ninfa’s offers excellent tacos al carbon with a lip-smacking green sauce. Ask for a table in the back. Located at 2704 Navigation Blvd.
- San Jacinto Museum of History — Located at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, this museum and its towering monument celebrate Texas’ successful war for independence. The battle lasted all of 20 minutes, but changed the course of history forever. Ascend the tower, tour the battleground and museum, and leave with a little piece of Texas pride. Located at One Monument Circle (3523 Independence Parkway S., formerly Battleground Road), La Porte TX 77571.
- Battleship Texas State Historic Site — The only surviving U.S. Naval ship to serve in both World Wars, the Battleship TEXAS was commissioned in 1914 and later retrofitted with updated communications and anti-aircraft tech for World War II. “Man” the guns and climb to the top of the lookout towers. But watch your step! Located at 3523 Independence Parkway S., La Porte, TX 77571.
- Space Center Houston — This out-of-this-world edutainment complex connects visitors with the final frontier. See the shuttle, take the NASA tram tour and discover the space program through some 250 different exhibits, shows and programs. Located at 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston.
- Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park — This architectural fountain (formerly known as the “Williams Waterwall”) is considered by many to be the ultimate Houston photo op. Impressive during the day, the waterwall is positively magical when lit up at night. Located at 2800 S. Post Oak Blvd., Houston. Park at the Galleria and walk a few blocks. Then head back to the mall for some shopping, dining or ice-skating.
GETTING TO HOUSTON
Houston is located in southeast Texas at the intersection of I-10 (East/West) and I-45 (North/South). Two concentric beltways surround the metro area, I-610 and the Texas 8 Beltway (Sam Houston Tollway).
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
If you plan to visit the Space Center, Aquarium and local museums, save some cash with the Houston City Pass.
Traffic often alternates between a glacial pace and NASCAR speeds during morning and afternoon drive times. Travel during late morning or early afternoon if you can.
RV PARKS NEAR HOUSTON
Lake View RV Resort
Houston’s Lake View RV Resort boasts top-notch amenities such as a swimming pool, fishing lake, hot tub, game room and business center. Guests appreciate the lakefront sites, concrete pads, clean restrooms in this gated park.
- Full hookups: water, sewer and electric (50-amp)
- Wi-Fi and cable TV
- Pull-through sites with room for big rigs
- Family-friendly and pet-friendly; no tents
Located at 11991 S. Main St., Houston, TX 77035.
Traders Village Houston RV Park
Hidden just off the freeway behind a huge flea market, Traders Village RV Park tends to be quiet during the week but noisy on weekends. Concrete pads make for level parking. Enjoy the flea market and carnival rides on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Full hookups: water, sewer and electric (50-amp)
- Wi-Fi; no cable TV
- Back-in and pull-through sites with room for big rigs
- Family-friendly and pet-friendly; tents permitted
Located at 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., Houston, TX 77041.
Source: Adam Porter, RV adventurer