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Houston tours and excursions

Houston tours

Boat tours

The Sam Houston Boat Tour is a spectacular trip through one of the world’s busiest ports. The free, leisurely 90-minute trip cruises along the Houston Ship Channel. Embarking at the port’s Sam Houston Pavilion, the boat passes massive cargo boats and the port’s Turning Basin Terminal. Reservations must be made in advance and passengers must present photo ID before boarding the boat.

Tel: (713) 670 2416.

Culinary tours

Houston has a large number of restaurants and a great way to find some of the best is to join the monthly culinary tours and go to ‘where the chefs eat’. Each month there is a different theme highlighting the diversity of the restaurants in the city. There are tastings at each stop and complimentary local beverages. These tours are very popular and restricted in group size so booking is a necessity.

Tel: (713) 437 5275/5206.

Walking tours

Houston is not an ideal city to walk around, but visitors who are interested in the architecture and culture of the city can join one of the monthly Sunday walking tours which are offered by the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. The tours vary each month, so keen walkers should telephone for details and departure point information. Discover Houston Tours also offers a variety of walking tours in downtown, the Tunnel System and a ghost walk. Reservations are required.

Tel: (713) 216 5000 ; (713) 222 9255.

Bus tours

Houston Tours has a year-round city sightseeing tour. A minimum of three passengers is required for certain trips. The tour passes through downtown, the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center and includes the Water Wall, the Galleria and River Oaks area. Houston Tours also operates a tour to the Space Center Houston and Galveston. Pick-up for tours is from all major hotels in downtown, Galleria and Medical Center areas.

Tel: (713) 988 5900.

Excursions from Houston

George Ranch

Located 30 minutes southwest of downtown Houston, this is a 23,000 acre working ranch where costumed presenters bring the ranch alive. Visits include 1830s and 1860s homesteads, an 1890s mansion, and a 1930s ranch house. In addition there is a chuck wagon, a working blacksmith and visitors can watch cowboys at work. There are occasional special events including the re-enactment of the struggle for independence and Christmas round the campfire with the cowboys.

10215 FM762, Richmond.

Tel: (281) 343 0218.

Kemah Boardwalk

This excursion is only a 45-minute drive from downtown (south along I-45 and Tex-518) and overlooking Galveston Bay, Kemah is a popular full-day trip due to its waterfront shops, restaurants and amusement rides including the Boardwalk Bullet rollercoaster and Century Wheel. The Boardwalk Beast is a 25-minute thrill ride out into Galveston Bay where the crew guarantee you will get wet. Be aware that the queues are long at weekends and in school holidays. Nearby, the Old Seabrook Historic District is a charming village with shop-lined streets, outdoor markets and seasonal festivals.

215 Kipp Avenue, Kemah 77565.

Tel: (877) 285 3624.

Galveston Island

Located 80km (50 miles) southeast of Houston (along I-45) on the Gulf of Mexico, this island is rich in history. The grand avenues and quiet lanes of the East End and Silk Stocking Historic Districts are home to some extravagant residences built by the wealthy merchants. The Strand has Victorian shops, art galleries and museums.

Across the island, Moody Gardens houses an aquarium representing the oceans of the world, a tropical rainforest and 3D and 4D theatres, as well as a film theatre with wrap-around screens giving the sensation of being in the film. The nearby Lone Star Flight Museum houses an extensive collection of restored aircraft.

Galveston Island Visitors Centre, Seawall Boulevard.

Tel: (409) 797 5145.

San Jacinto Battleground Historical Complex

Approximately 32km (20 miles) east of Houston, (along Tex-225 and Tex-134), is the spot that marks the battleground where Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836. The battle is re-enacted every year in April.

The complex houses the San Jacinto Monument, which is a 174m (570ft) obelisk that towers over the surrounding area – there is an observation deck for visitors to enjoy the views. At the base of the monument is the San Jacinto Museum of History. Of particular interest is the Battleship Texas, commissioned in 1914, which saw action at Normandy and Okinawa.

One Monument Circle, La Porte.

Tel: (281) 479 2421.