In our Must Do Neighborhood series, we take look at Houston’s vast array of neighborhoods to bring you five fun, tasty, and enticing reasons you should give each a visit. Originally published in 2016, we are now refreshing, updating, and adding to this series, including new neighborhoods and destinations.
Just 50 or so miles from Downtown Houston, this 21-mile and 20,000-acre lake lies on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River in Montgomery and Walker Counties. With picturesque shores and wooded areas including a portion of the Sam Houston National Forest, the area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. From boating and hiking to sipping suds at game-changing breweries, check out what to do in this awesome defacto ‘hood.
Note: For the purposes of this list, the area around Lake Conroe includes the cities of Conroe, Montgomery, and Willis, plus the Montgomery County portion of the Sam Houston National Forest.
5 Must Do Things Near Lake Conroe
- Hit the lake – From boating and boarding to unwinding at a lakeside bar and grill, you can’t come to the area without partaking in the plethora of activities Lake Conroe has to offer. Rent a paddleboard, take out a boat or jet ski, get some quiet time with a day of fishing, or bring a group of friends and spend a day of fun in the sun on a cycle boat from Cascade Cycleboats. The human-powered party boat features a 25-foot pontoon base and has 10 pedal stations that turn a large aluminum paddle wheel, plus a galley bar in the center to add to the party atmosphere. Those seeking romance can enjoy a sunset Lake Conroe Dinner Cruise. After all that fun on the lake, stroll shops and waterfront restaurants at Water Point Marina. Sam’s Boat is the perfect place to get fresh breezes, cold brews, and platters of fried shrimp and blackened fish.
- Stroll the streets of Historic Downtown Conroe – Step back into the boomtown days as you explore Conroe’s charming downtown, lined with restored century-old buildings, art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes. For antiques, hit Conroe Central Market, which houses an eclectic mix of vintage collectibles from over 50 vendors. Art lovers can seek solace at the Campobella Bronze Fine Art Studio and Gallery and the Gallery at the Madeley Building, home of the Conroe Art League; or catch a riveting production at The Crighton Theatre, a beautiful historic theatre built in 1934. Stop for a Nutella latte and slice of cake at Conroe Coffee or share pies of wood-fired pizza and cheese fries over craft beers at The Red Brick Tavern (one of our picks for Conroe’s best brunch spots).
- Get outdoorsy at Sam Houston National Forest – One of four national forests in Texas, this massive 160,000-acre forest is spread over three counties (Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Walker), with over 47,000 acres in Montgomery County alone. It’s the perfect spot for fishing, bird, and wildlife watching, and biking and camping, but one of the highlights is the award-winning 128-mile Lone Star Hiking trail, which has been dubbed the hiker’s “Jewel of Texas.” It features more than a dozen access points and consists of three major sections, one of which is the 40-mile Lake Conroe portion, lying west of Lake Conroe and beginning near the intersection of FS 219 and FM 149. Click here for a forest map.
- Support local suds at Southern Star Brewing Company and B-52 Brewing Co. –Southern Star, which started production in 2008, makes some of the best brews in town, including Pine Belt Pale Ale, Buried Hatchet Stout, and Bombshell Blonde. In the spring of 2016, it opened its brand new facility on a 13-acre property, which features a beautiful outdoor biergarden and a second story 3,200-square foot taproom overlooking the production side of things. Stop by for Thirsty Thursdays, Friday Pub Nights, Saturday Brewday tours, and Sunday Fundays complete with cheap pints, fun and games, and crawfish (available February through June). Food truck concessions are offered daily. Click here for directions to Southern Star Brewery. B-52 Brewing Company is a little younger (established in 2014), but the innovative brewery has already managed to impress hop heads near and far. The taproom is open Thursday through Sunday, pouring favorites like the crisp and hoppy Saison Hop, coffee-kissed Breakfast Stout, and 3rd Anniversary Wild Ale. Click here for directions to B-52 Brewery.
- Show your Texas pride at the Lone Star Monument and Historical Flag Park – This public outdoor museum showcases Montgomery County as the birthplace of the Lone Star Flag. Get a glimpse of 13 towering historical battle and rally flags that depict those that flew during the Texas fight for independence, with a 14 ft. bronze sculpture known as “The Texian” at the center. The sculpture brandishes a Texas flag, serving as a symbol of a veteran volunteer in the Texas Revolutionary army. Explore the symbolism throughout the park and learn more about the fascinating history of the great Lone Star State. Click here for directions.