By James Waterson
Climb to the canopy of a scenic pine forest. Take in a breathtaking view of a colorful sunset as you swim in a rooftop pool. Float along a lazy river or pilot an enormous swan boat down a picturesque waterway. If this sounds like the start of a great summer, find yourself in The Woodlands. Perhaps best known for its world-class shopping, this bustling destination just north of Houston is full of spectacular and surprising outdoor adventures. Discover a few of the ways you can soak up the sun in The Woodlands below.
Swing & Climb Among Towering Pines
Step on swinging platforms dozens of feet above terra firma as you ascend to the top of the one-of-a-kind obstacle course at Texas TreeVentures. One of the newest attractions in The Woodlands, Texas TreeVentures offers three tiers of aerial adventure among the 1,800 acres of majestic pine trees at Rob Fleming Park. Swing and climb your way through 70 challenging and thrilling obstacles that will test your balance and agility, including a kayak that you balance on as you pull yourself from one platform to another. Each obstacle features safety lines that you’ll clip your harness into, so don’t worry about falling if you miss a step.
Fun for all ages, Texas TreeVentures delivers a Texas-sized serving of adventure that you won’t find anywhere else in the Houston area.
Play on the Water
In most places, spending some time out on a lake can take you all day. Not so in The Woodlands, where the sprawling Lake Woodlands is just minutes away from the town’s hottest spots. One of the easiest ways to get out on the water is along The Woodlands Waterway. Be the captain of your very own swan boat and paddle past towering hotels, lively restaurants, and under the arches of brick bridges.
For some more time on the water, rent a kayak or paddleboard from the Riva Row Boat House. Watch out for herons, egrets, and even the occasional turtle or two as you meander along the winding waterway out to Lake Woodlands. Take your time as you explore the coves and paddle along its shores, all while relaxing in the abundant summer sun. Make sure to find your way to the southern end of the lake, where a 35-foot-long steel serpent lurks in the still waters near the shoreline.
Lakes Edge Boat House in Hughes Landing has kayak and paddleboard rentals as well. Enjoy some time out on the water, then cool off with a refreshing pint of beer and some lunch at one of the restaurants that are just steps away.
Catch a Show at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
There’s nothing quite like a breezy Texas summer evening accompanied by the tunes of your favorite band. This is exactly what you’ll get at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, an iconic outdoor music venue that hosts performers from around the world. Get your tickets for seats under the canopy in front of the stage or for general admission on the grassy hill under the stars. Pair a pint of Texas craft beer and some tasty eats before settling in for the show. The Pavilion is hosting many big names this summer, including Hootie & The Blowfish (June 14), “Weird Al” Yankovic (June 15), and Third Eye Blind (July 27).
Check out the full schedule of upcoming shows and get your tickets here.
Looking for more live music? Listen to local performers do their thing during Concerts in the Park at Northshore Park and Rock the Row at Hughes Landing, free outdoor shows held on Sunday and Thursday nights throughout the summer.
Float a Lazy River & Roast Your Own S’mores
When the heat of the Texas summer sets in, the pool is one of the best places you can be, and the set up at The Woodlands Resort takes the idea of poolside lounging to the next level. Float on an inner tube along a 1,005-foot-long lazy river, soar down the water slides in a 30-foot-tall tower, and savor the feeling of warm sunshine and cool water in the lagoon-style relaxation pool. Hang out here long enough and you’ll feel like you’re in your very own waterpark. Once the sun sets, follow the aromas of roasted marshmallows to the fire pit, where you (and your kids) can roast up smores. Not a bad way to end the day, if you ask us.
Of course, The Woodlands Resort has other things you can do away from the pool. Rent a bicycle and explore trails that weave throughout town or rent a kayak and admire all the longleaf and loblolly pines that line the shores of Lake Harrison. If you’re the type to bring your golf clubs with you, play the two courses that have made The Woodlands Resort one of Golf Digest’s Top 75 Best Golf Resorts in America. Settle in to your well-appointed guest room and you’ll feel well rested for another day of adventure in The Woodlands.
Relax in a Rooftop Pool
Cool and clear waters lit by shining white lights, a sky painted pink and orange by a setting sun, and the sensation of being high above it all. If this sounds like a relaxing way to spend a summer evening, you’re in luck. The Woodlands is home to two hotels with rooftop infinity pools. Unwind in the pool at the Embassy Suites by Hilton as you admire a sweeping view of Lake Woodlands or kick your feet up in the poolside cabanas at The Westin at the Woodlands. Get to the pool in time for a sunset and you’ve got everything you need for a evening swim.
Want to go for a run? The Westin at the Woodlands provides easy access to more than 220 miles of urban running and biking trails. Run on the tree-shaded trails and you’ll likely see blue jays, cardinals, squirrels, and other critters as you tack on the mileage. If don’t want to run alone, work up a sweat with The Westin’s own Running Concierge, who leads early morning runs Tuesday through Thursday. Jogging in The Woodlands is one of the best ways to see the city, and you’ll burn a few calories too.
Whether you’re looking to relax by the pool or get outdoors, The Woodlands is full of exciting ways you can beat the heat. Discover everything else this north Houston town has to offer and plan your visit here.
About the Author: James Waterson is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing about the many great places in the state of Texas, he’s planning his next epic adventure in the Lone Star State.