In the mood for some honest-to-goodness family fun, free of screens and stress? Conroe, Texas is the place to be. Home to Lake Conroe, numerous parks and trails, festivals, and even elephants, this charming town north of Houston delivers smiles a 'plenty. From the airborne thrill of Jet Skiing over the water, to jugglers and acrobats at the country's largest Renaissance festival, Conroe creates unforgettable family memories.


Lake Conroe

pontoon boat on lake conroePhoto courtesy of Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe | Houston

From paddleboarding to fishing, to just plain catching rays, Lake Conroe is a spectacular family attraction. The glistening 22,000-acre lake offers an endless variety of water activities. Year-round fishing is a favorite, thanks to the lake’s abundance of catfish, bass, and crappie. Head out in your own boat, or hire a guide from outfitters like FishDude, Catfish Killer, and Conroe Fishing Adventures. You can also drop your line from a fishing pier in Lake Conroe Park or W. Goodrich Jones State Forest.

Feel like a swim? Pack your towel, sunscreen, and a picnic lunch and spend a day at the shore, Lone Star-style! Two public access points, Lake Conroe Park and Scott’s Ridge Swim Area, make it easy to cool off in the lake’s refreshing waters.

Keep the fun going by renting a Jet Ski from Jet Ski Lake Conroe. Take the bar with you on the lake with Cruisin’ Tikis. Yep, you and your friends or family can actually ride a floating tiki bar—complete with a thatch roof—across Lake Conroe to a destination of your choosing! How about an evening of old school riverboat luxury? The serene Southern Empress Cruise offers passengers a relaxing journey complete with dinner, music, dancing, and incredible views.


Sam Houston National Forest

hiker back sam houston national forest

Calling all nature lovers! Stunning Sam Houston National Forest is a paradise for those craving an escape from life’s hustle and bustle. Enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, and birding in this pristine, 163,037-acre forest, home to the iconic 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail. Numerous recreation areas within the forest mean you can personalize your experience. Spend the day strolling through the piney woods, then pitch your tent in one of the designated camping areas. Bring your binoculars and spot more native and migratory birds than you can count. Pack a picnic and enjoy gentle breezes and birdsongs as you munch your lunch amid scenic beauty. Along with loblolly pines and other stately native trees, Sam Houston National Forest includes creeks, rivers, lakes, and streams that deliver both serenity and a place for kids to be kids. It won’t take long before you feel your stress levels drop in this true Texas paradise.


W. Goodrich Jones State Forest

Goodrich Jones State Forest

Known for birding and hiking, family-friendly W. Goodrich Jones State Forest is a spectacular place to connect with nature. More than 80,000 visitors spend time in this unique demonstration forest each year thanks to its educational amenities. Learn about the plants of Texas in the Native Plant and Grass Nursery demonstration area. Stroll through the Wildscape and Pollinator Garden and spot butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, honeybees, and hummingbirds. Speaking of birds, the forest is also home to a Red-cockaded Woodpecker management area where you’re sure to hear the cackle and call of this iconic creature. Into geocaching? The forest has plenty of caches to find. Enjoy horseback riding, hiking and biking on 15 miles of trails and pathways. Two small lakes offer limited fishing and are terrific places to enjoy a picnic lunch.


Texas Renaissance Festival

Texas Renaissance FestivalPhoto courtesy of Texas Renaissance Festival

Hark! There goes a jester performing magic tricks, and the fairy godmother spreading hope throughout her village. Such sights are commonplace at the Texas Renaissance Festival, the largest and most acclaimed Renaissance festival in the United States. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event, which transports attendees to an era of chivalry, poetry, merriment, and splendor. More than 500,000 visitors come out for the multi-weekend festival, held this year between October 12th and December 1st. Stroll through more than 400 merchants to find clothing, jewelry, crafts, and souvenirs. Experience live clowns, jugglers, acrobats, and musicians performing on 21 stages and throughout the festival grounds. Try your luck at games of chance or take a spin on a carnival ride. Sink your teeth into delectable local cuisine, carnival fare, and Renaissance-themed foods. Dozens of food vendors serve everything from street tacos to turkey legs. Arrive in costume or enjoy being an observer. It’s all here at the one-of-a-kind, family-friendly Texas Renaissance Festival.


East Texas Elephant Experience

elephant kick linePhoto courtesy of East Texas Elephant Experience

Few animals are more compelling than the floppy-eared African elephant, and one of the few places you can spot this amazing creature in the United States is the East Texas Elephant Experience. Run by a multi-generational family of passionate elephant conservationists, the organization welcomes tour groups of 35 or fewer to its lush grounds. Meet beloved pachyderms, Paige, Krissy, and Jeanie, each one orphaned and brought to the U.S. after their mothers were poached for ivory. Watch them roam, splash in ponds and interact with each other, their handlers, and visitors. Observe other animals that live in the park, too, including Dromedary Camels, pygmy goats, and a resident Grant’s Zebra appropriately named Mr. Z. As you observe the elephants roaming their land, learn about their global plight and what can be done to help save them. A designated time during the tour allows guests to even take pictures with these magnificent creatures.

Charming Conroe is the perfect place for an adventure-filled getaway. The area offers plenty of family-friendly accommodations, including lakefront cabins, commercial hotels, RV parks, resorts, and pet-friendly lodging. Visit Conroe and plan your trip today!