Houston has great food, great people, and great attractions. Sometimes though, it's great to get out of the city and see everything that Texas has to offer.

There is so much to do all across our state. Given its immense size—nobody said Texans like small things, after all—a lot of things just aren't practical to see if you just have one day to spare. All of the places on this list are just a spontaneous day trip away. You don't even to pack!

And the best part, you can make it home in time to grab a bite at Bosscat Kitchen + Libations.

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Get super muddy in Natural Bridge Caverns

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Time from Houston: 3 hours

Descend up to 180 feet into one of the largest caverns in all of Texas. There are plenty of tour options that leave throughout the day. Amazingly enough, despite its immense size, the Natural Bridge Caverns weren't discovered until the 1960s.

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Go ziplining at Wimberley Zipline Adventures

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

The views are incredible as you soar through the sky on ten different ziplines. You will see canyons and meadows as you zip along at speeds of up to 30 mph. If this is your first time, the friendly staff will teach you everything you need to know to enjoy your day.

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Soak up nature in Shangri La

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Time from Houston:  1 hour and 40 minutes

Feel like spending your afternoon surrounded by flowers? The Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center has over 300 species of plants. Many of the gardens were damaged by hurricanes and there has been an amazing effort to return the gardens to their former state.

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Get wet and wild at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

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Time from Houston:  1 hour

You can beat the heat year round at this indoor and outdoor water park. There's plenty of water slides, a pool with swim-up bar, and even a lazy river if you just want to chill. You and your friends can even rent a cabana for the day if you're feeling posh.

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Grab some authentic Cajun food

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

What's the best way to learn about food? Eating it, of course. Louisiana has some great cuisine (I know, I know Texas BBQ is better) and Lafayette is within driving distance. Even better, there is a company that offers "food tours" so you can experience all of the flavors of Louisiana.

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Raise your adrenaline on a historic pier

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Time from Houston:  1 hour

Experience a boardwalk pier and a slice of classic Americana at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. There's plenty of rides and games on this pier that stretches out into the gulf coast. Don't leave without winning your SO a cute prize. When you're done, head to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for peel n' eat shrimp.

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Walk and shop along the water

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

Who doesn't love San Antonio? A definite highlight of the city is the San Antonio River Walk. All along this walk are cute boutiques and chic restaurants. Hell, you can even take a river taxi.

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Take a scenic bike ride

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Time from Houston: 1 hour and 30 minutes

There's plenty of reasons to head to Galveston. If you're feeling fit, one of the best places to go biking is along the Galveston Seawall. At 10 miles, it's a good length for just about any intensity level.


Relax on a quiet beach

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Time from Houston: just over 1 hour

Southside Beach is a great stretch almost due south from Houston. Unlike a lot of other areas, it isn't as built up and full of tourists.


Get scared in Port Arthur

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Time from Houston:  1 hour and 30 minutes

Boo! Take a spooky journey on the Port Arthur Ghost Tour to see scary places and hear some scary and mysterious yarns from your tour guide. Explore by the city by lantern light...if you dare!

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Purposely have terrible service (??????)

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

Dick's Last Resort is, uh, interesting to say the least. If you've never heard of this chain of restaurants, their whole deal is that their staff is obnoxious, rude, and terrible. Yup, be prepared to be served by a whole squad of Regina Georges. The staff as also known to make you wear funny hats that have mean things written on them.

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Find inner peace at Beaumont Botanical Gardens

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Time from Houston:  1 hour

It's no wonder that so many people come here for professional photography shoots. From weddings to baby announcements, Instagram is full of people capturing some of their most important memories here. Don't miss the lily pond full of Koi.

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See a movie in 4D

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Time from Houston: 1 hour

Moody Gardens in nearby Galveston has an Imax theater and a Virtual Reality Theater. Not only are the movies in 3D, but the theater has wind machines, scent technology, and something called "leg ticklers."

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Ask yourself many questions at this museum of oddities

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

It's really hard to describe The Museum of the Weird. It's like the fourth season of American Horror Story minus the horror. Originally just a gift shop, this strange place gradually evolved into a museum that tries to capture the carnival and oddities culture of the American past.

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Taste some wine

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Time from Houston: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Head north to Bryan with your squad to the fabulous Messina Hof Winery. They also have two other Texas wineries—one in Fredericksburg and one in Grapevine. Think that's a coincidence?

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Wonder at the Cathedral of Junk

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

There are plenty of reasons to head to Austin. But one of the stranger ones is to see the Cathedral of Junk. You could easily drive past this suburban house without knowing the one-of-a-kind wonder that is hidden from street view. The owner estimates that his Cathedral creation is made from 60 tons of junk.


Jump into the Jacob's Well

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Time from Houston:  3 hours

This popular swimming spot is an Instagrammer's dream. The waters make for great swimming everywhere but what attracts people from all over Texas is the submerged entrance to an underwater cave. Careful though, the underwater caves descend for over a 100 feet. Don't go diving unless you are a professional.


Eat all the ice cream and see how it's made

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Time from Houston: 1 hour

The Bell Blue Creamery not only makes some amazing ice cream, in Brenham you can take a tour and see how they make this tasty treat. Some of their cooler flavors include Southern Blackberry Cobbler, Moo-llennium Crunch, and Banana Pudding.

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Go tubing

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Time from Houston: 3 hours

This is practically a Texas must-do. New Braunfels is a great spot to grab a tube and get on the water. There are plenty of companies that operate around here. Comal Tubes' float last about two hours.

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Learn about your history

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Time from Houston: 30 minutes

Everyone should make the trip to the San Jacinto Monument and its museum. Not only is it worth it for the view from the observatory, it's worth it to remember this important part of Texas and American history. The battle of San Jacinto was the determining battle in the fight for Texas independence. It lasted only 18 minutes and there were less than ten American casualties.

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See more American history aboard a real battleship

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Experience an important part of American history aboard the USS Texas. Built in 1912, the ship was used in both world wars. It's the oldest battleship that is now a museum. You can see the ship on your own or as part of a tour.

Time from Houston: 30 minutes

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Take your picture in front of America's biggest fire hydrant

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Time from Houston: 1 hour

Yup. Everything is bigger (better) in Texas. Beaumont has the country's biggest fire hydrant. Just outside of the Fire Museum of Texas, according to the museum's website, it's the "hottest spot in town!"

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Catch a shark or just about anything

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Time from Houston: 1 hour

The fishing pier in Galveston is an easy way to spend however long you wanna fish. Don't need to worry about a boat or finding that perfect, untouched spot. The quarter-mile pier has space for everyone. Just bring your rod and get to it.

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Gaze all around inside painted churches

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Time from Houston: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Fayette Country is well-known as the home to beautifully painted churches. The easiest way to see all of them is to take a tour and see all four—St. Mary's Catholic Church in High Hill, St. John the Baptist Church in Ammannsville, Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Dubina,St. Mary's Church in Praha.


Go shopping in a cute little town

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Time from Houston: 30 minutes

With over 150 shops, there's plenty to buy at Old Town Spring in Spring, Texas. Clothes, jewelry, purses, you name it. There's also plenty of places to eat.

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See some grape stomping

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Time from Houston: 1 hour

The Pleasant Hill Winery in Brenham produces whites, reds, and roses.

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See animals in their natural habitat

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Time from Houston: 1 hour and 30 minutes

The San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see the diverse wildlife that makes Texas their home. Located on the coast, the refuge is home to gators, cats, great blue herons, and wild hogs. Definitely, want to pack your bug spray.

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Cram as fun in a day as possible

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Time from Houston: 1 hour

It's gonna be hard just to stay one day at Moody Gardens so you'll to plan your must-sees before you go. There's three, large pyramids, each with a different theme. There's the Aquarium Pyramid, the Discovery Pyramid, and the Rainforest Pyramid. This place has earned its popularity with tourists.

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See a real plantation

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Time from Houston: just under 1 hour

Just outside of West Columbia to the South of Houston lies the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Park. This historic site was a real plantation that was even owned by former Texas Governor Jim Hogg. A true piece of Texas history.

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See some incredible outdoor sculptures

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Time from Houston: 2 hours and 30 min

Austin is a great city known for its festivals and thriving music scene. It's also the home of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. The garden contains almost 200 sculptures of the American artist Charles Umlauf whose works can also been seen at the Met and the Smithsonian.

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