Find bay-side hidden gems, nature, museums & more things to do in Clear Lake & the Bay Area

Courtesy of Space Center Houston

Discover more than 40 of our picks—including parks, fishing spots, museums, family attractions, breweries and shopping—for the best things to do in and around Clear Lake and the Bay Area.

Clear Lake and the Bay Area is teeming with opportunities to get outdoors and get your feet wet, with nature preserves and parks alongside several natural and man-made bodies of water. The Bay Area is also home to major Houston-area attractions like Space Center Houston and Lone Star Flight Museum.

This stretch along the coast encompasses several sprawling areas typically contained by Interstate-45 to the west and Galveston Bay to the east. Here, you’ll find towns like Dickinson, Kemah, Seabrook, League City and Webster along with Clear Lake.

We’ve gathered many of the wonderful year-round things to do in and around Clear Lake and the Bay Area for families, couples, solo travelers and anyone looking for great ways to spend a daytrip (or longer) from Houston.

Things to Do in Clear Lake & Bay Area

Courtesy of Armand Bayou Nature Center

Things to Do Outdoors in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Armand Bayou Nature Center – One of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the nation, this 2,500-acre nature center features natural wetlands, forest, prairie and marsh habitats along with hundreds of animal species (including resident bison) and thousands of native plants. A premier birding destination in the Houston area, Armand Bayou is also great for families and those after hiking and paddle trails in the region. Click here for more information.
  • Challenger Seven Memorial Park – In memory of the seven astronauts that lost their lives in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, this memorial park features about 100 acres of Audubon Society-sanctioned park space, a bird sanctuary, nature trails, fishing ponds and more. Click here for more information.
  • Dr. Ned & Fay Dudney Nature Center – In League City, this 148-acre park is home to migrant birds such as great blue herons, ibises and whooping cranes; mammals like deer, bobcats, coyote and raccoons; and a wide variety of flora and fauna. Click here for more information.
  • Hester Garden Park – A former nursery in Seabrook, the Hester Garden Park is a great stop along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, offering observation platforms surrounded by native plant life, towering trees and buzzing wildlife like birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Click here for more information.
  • Seabrook Wildlife Refuge and Park – This natural refuge preserves 40 acres of undeveloped park space which is home to egrets, herons and woodland birds, as well as turtles, alligators, deer and swamp rabbits. Click here for more information.
Courtesy of Captain Kidd Sailing Schooner

On-The-Water Activities in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Boardwalk Fantasea Yacht Charters – Out of Kemah, these yacht charters send visitors onto the waters of Houston and Galveston Bay for sightseeing, dinner voyages, party cruises and other events. Click here for more information.
  • Captain Kidd Sailing Schooner – Hop aboard a 55-foot tall schooner that calls back to the 19th century of sailing the open seas. Schedules vary throughout the year, but visitors can take to the water off Seabrook for two-hour sails that offer a chance at catching stunning sunsets or dolphins leaping from the water. Click here for more information.
  • Houston Party Boats – If you’re planning an event or celebration, these party boat charters out of League City offer flexible packages for dinners, dancing and drifting across the waters of Nassau Bay, Clear Lake and the surrounding area. Click here for more information.
  • Pinky’s Kayak Rentals – Just down the road from Seabrook, this rental shop will get you geared up to paddle through the nearby Taylor Lake or kayak through Armand Bayou Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness Preserve. Pinky’s also offers guided tours, including its popular couples and Texas Wine Tasting tours. Click here for more information.
  • South Coast Sailing Adventures – From Kemah, this sailing charter service can meet many of your adventure needs. Take to the water for cruising and fishing trips, learn how to sail with the South Coast sailing school, or enjoy their on-the-water take on bed-and-breakfast. Click here for more information.
  • Star Fleet Yachts – This entertainment cruise service takes visitors to the waters of Clear Lake and Galveston Bay with public cruises on offer, including special events like Murder Mystery Dinners. Click here for more information.
Pine Gully Park | Courtesy of the City of Seabrook

Playgrounds & Parks in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Bay Area Park – Head over to this on-the-water park for some family picnicking along the duck pond or in the Oasis garden, then channel some energy onto the nearby playground structures and sports fields or tennis courts. This public park also provides launch access for paddling that leads into Armand Bayou. Click here for more information.
  • Clear Lake Park & Bay Area Museum – Nearly 60 acres of park space provide families a chance to enjoy lakeside activities, clamber around the playground, take to various sports fields or take in the history of the region at the on-site Bay Area Museum, which features NASA memorabilia along with important archeological finds that belong to the Karankawa and Akokisa Native American tribes. Click here for more information.
  • David Braun Park at Lake Nassau – On the shores of Lake Nassau, this public park features an extensive boardwalk that makes for a great, relaxing fishing spot as you can also take in sailboats and motor boats off in the distance. The area also features playgrounds, sports fields and more. Click here for more information.
  • Frankie Carter Randolph Park – In Friendswood, this public park spans more than 90 acres and hosts families and visitors of all ages and abilities. Here, guests can take advantage of tennis and volleyball courts, multi-purpose athletic fields, a two-mile nature trail, picnic areas, bustling barbecue pavilions and playgrounds. Click here for more information.
  • Pine Gully Park – Among the playgrounds and tree forts in the 52 acres of Pine Gully Park, a 1,000-foot fishing pier lets you drop a line for the day, or take a break and enjoy the 6-mile hiking trail loop. Click here for more information.
Courtesy of Lone Star Flight Museum

Family Attractions & Museums in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Bay Area Raceway – In Dickinson, this family entertainment center boasts a quarter-mile Go-Kart track, an arcade brimming with a wide variety of classic and recent games, and a two-story laser tag arena where teams aim to fend off a zombie invasion. Click here for more information.
  • Kemah Boardwalk – Dine along the waterfront, hop aboard a roller coaster or try your best to take home boardwalk prizes. This popular amusement destination is packed with restaurants, shopping, thrill rides and more in a carnival-like boardwalk atmosphere. Click here for more information.
  • Lone Star Flight Museum – Just blocks from Ellington Airport, this spacious all-things-flight museum gives visitors an up-close look at more than a dozen aircraft that chart evolving designs and uses from World War II Heavy Bombers to Air Force jets and more. The Lone Star Flight Museum also features the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, permanent and traveling gallery exhibitions, and high-flying experiences in their flight simulators. Click here for more information.
  • Main Event Entertainment – Let the kiddos loose at this vast family amusement destination that features bowling, pool tables, laser tag, mini golf and a bustling arcade with a wide variety of games. Perfect for parties of all sizes (kids or adults), Main Event is a popular place to burn some energy or blow off some steam. Click here for more information.
  • San Jacinto Monument – Located on the site of a decisive battle between Sam Houston and General Santa Anna, this towering war memorial stretches into the Texas skies and stands fifteen feet taller than the Washington Monument. Known for its observation deck, the Monument also features galleries of artifacts that span from ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations to Mexico and the Civil War, including artwork, uniforms and weaponry. Click here for more information.
  • Space Center Houston – The expansive NASA campus has etched itself into history, providing Mission Control for the historic Apollo flights, as well the ongoing space missions aboard the International Space Station. Here, visitors can explore an extensive collection of NASA and space exhibits, learn about the history of spaceflight and the courage of astronauts around the world, and take in the gargantuan sights of rockets, including the SpaceX Falcon, Saturn V, and Space Shuttle. The must-see tram tour will also take visitors through the campus, visiting Mission Control, seeing where the astronauts train for their missions and more. Click here for more information.
  • Texas City Museum – This 30,000-square-foot facility helps visitors to explore the heritage of Texas City and the surrounding region with exhibits that highlight Civil War-era artifacts, the 1947 Texas City Disaster, and other culturally significant people and events to the region. The museum also features the Children’s Discovery Room that boasts hands-on activities to help foster curious imaginations. Click here for more information.
Courtesy of Beacon Lakes Golf Course

Golf & Disc Golf in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Bayou Golf Course – On an isolated patch of land along Moses Lake, the 200 acres of gratifying and sometimes challenging golf at Bayou Golf Course is ideal for players of all skill levels. When you take to the tees, be prepared to handle water hazards on 12 holes, nearly two dozen sand traps and the ever-present winds from Galveston Bay. Rates are $33 on weekdays; $39 on weekends and holidays. Click here for more information.
  • Beacon Lakes Golf Course – In League City, this lighted 18-hole golf course offers night time opportunities to hit the fairways, as well as a challenging layout that stretches for more than 6,700 yards. Rates are $22 on weekdays; $26 on Fridays; and $31 on weekends. Click here for more information.
  • Taylor Lake Village Disc Golf Course | Disc Golf – Near Seabrook, this lightly wooded 9-hole course can be found in a community park off NASA Road 1 and features fast and easily navigable play with slight challenges from nearby trees and subtle elevation changes. Click here for more information.
  • TopGolf Webster – The national chain of golf entertainment venues offer driving bays for groups of all sizes to send balls flying, racking up points on accuracy and distance, while enjoying tasty bites and drinks as they swing away. Click here for more information.
Courtesy of Haak Vineyards & Winery

Breweries & Wineries in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Clear Creek Winery & Vineyard – In the heart of Kemah, this winery and resort provides tastings of more than a dozen bottles in white, red, sweet, dessert varieties and more. Tours and tastings are available via reservation. Click here for more information.
  • DUO Winery & Cider Company – From Dickinson, the wines and ciders of this family-owned local company can be found in bars and restaurants throughout the Houston area, though their winery makes for a great place to lounge and sip on traditional European wine varieties. Check out their calendar for winery events and live entertainment. Click here for more information.
  • Galveston Bay Beer Company – Whether you’re a half-pint into the smooth malty sweetness of the Bull Shark Scottish Ale or picking up strong aromas of the Watermelon Wheat, this Dickinson brewery is serving up delicious, complex flavors to quench your thirst while giving you an enjoyable place to have a pint in their taproom. Click here for more information.
  • Haak Vineyards & Winery – In Santa Fe, this family-owned business has grown from a gift of grapevines in 1969 to an award-winning winery that draws from more than three acres of vines and serves up tastings at their 25,000-square-foot winery. Keep an eye on their active events calendar for live music, dinners and more. Click here for more information.
  • Railean Rum Distillers – Known as Texas’ first rum distillery, this bay-side operation in San Leon offers tours and tastings of their range of spirits, including vodka, white and dark rum, agave spirits and whiskey varieties. Stop by the on-site Buccaneer Bar and order up drinks from their cocktail menu to get a finer taste of the distillery’s offerings. Click here for more information.
Banh Mi from Nobi’s Public House | Courtesy of Nobi’s Public House

Dining & Restaurants in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Gilhooley’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar | Seafood – Get your fix at this Dickinson spot serving up fresh-shucked, slightly sweet oysters, shrimp, boudin and other seafood dishes with indoor and outdoor seating available for locals and visitors alike. This restaurant is for ages 18 and up. Click here for more information.
  • Kemah Boardwalk – This family attraction destination offers up a unique boardwalk carnival atmosphere among its many shops, games, and popular restaurants, including several Landry’s offerings, The Flying Dutchman, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and more. Click here for more information.
  • Nobi’s Public House | Vietnamese, Beer – Get your fill on craft brews and Vietnamese-fusion cuisine at this Webster hot spot serving banh mi, vermicelli, noodles and more alongside dozens of local, national and international beer offerings with the option to grab a growler to go. Click here for more information.
  • T-Bone Tom’s | American – In Kemah, this ’60s meat market-turned-restaurant draws flocks of locals and tourists looking to dine on Texas-sized portions of comfort classics like chicken fried steak, spicy blackened catfish and barbeque. Click here for more information.
  • Tookie’s | Burgers – Across four decades, this Seabrook staple along Highway 146 attracts hungry visitors ready for their super sized burgers and sides that are known to leave stomachs stuffed. Click here for more information.

Click here for more dining and restaurant options in the Bay Area.

Courtesy of Kemah Boardwalk

Shopping in Clear Lake & Bay Area

  • Boutique Shopping in the Bay Area – Browse the latest women’s trends, jewelry, accessories, shoes and more at fashionable boutiques found across the Bay Area, including Ivory Boutique, Brave Boutique and The Salted Hippie in League City, as well as Lex & Mae in Kemah.
  • Kemah Boardwalk – While the carnival-like atmosphere and fresh seafood dining is a big draw at the Kemah Boardwalk, guests can also take to shopping in one of several specialty shops and kiosks found throughout the area. Grab a souvenir, check out stylish threads, hit up Build-A-Bear for a new cuddle buddy, or satisfy your sweet tooth with the staggering number of treats found at The Candy Box.
  • Mall & Outlet Shopping – If you’re looking for efficient ways to spend an afternoon browsing the latest trends and goods, the Bay Area has two mega-shopping experiences to check out. With nearly 200 stores at your disposal, Baybrook Mall in Friendswood remains one of the premier shopping destinations in the Southeast Houston area, while the Tanger Outlets in Texas City offer an outdoor shopping environment and a chance to check out deep discounts and clearance items from some of the world’s largest brands.
Courtesy of Armand Bayou Nature Center

Social Distancing & COVID-19

Businesses and organizations in Houston have opened under modified protocols, following guidelines administered by local health officials, the State of Texas and CDC. At this time, guidance from experts urges people to continue wearing face masks when in public spaces, practice social distancing of at least six feet, limit your touching of surfaces and frequently use hand sanitizer or soap and water to keep your hands clean.

Although vaccines have been approved and distribution has begun, supplies are still limited. Health officials have severely cautioned that it will take until late spring 2021 before the U.S. might be able to expect a level of herd immunity. In the meantime, masks are strongly advised to help curb the increasing spread of COVID-19 this winter.

Before heading out, take time to familiarize with your destination’s requirements or restrictions at this moment, and be sure to contact them ahead of time with any questions or concerns.

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