6 Things to Do in The Woodlands this Summer
Go off the beaten path as you explore a lush pine forest, watch birds soar overhead while you kayak on a scenic lake and dine as the sun sets. These are the kinds of experiences to plan your summer around. The best part? You don’t have to take an epic road trip to have it all. Located just north of Houston, The Woodlands, Texas has all this and more, creating the perfect getaway for nature lovers, shoppers, foodies, or those looking to try a little bit of everything. Read on to see how you can make this summer amazing when you visit The Woodlands.
The Woodlands may be best known for its fantastic shopping and dining, but there’s another attraction here that you shouldn’t overlook: the outdoors. Listen to hooting owls as you hike winding trails shaded by towering pine trees at The George Mitchell Nature Preserve. A true natural oasis, you won’t hear anything but swaying trees and chirping birds as you traverse the five miles of natural-surface trails. Among the preserve’s pathways is the three-mile Flintridge Bike Trail, a twisting single-track loop that offers a fun way to take in all of the verdant beauty.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to get outdoors in The Woodlands. Check out the fish and relax in the shade of bamboo trees at The Koi Pond on The Woodlands Waterway, then order a drink and something delicious at one of several waterside restaurants. You can also see The Waterway when you catch a free ride on The Woodlands Town Center Trolley, which offers stops at many of The Woodlands’ top spots.
Not enough for you? Bike or jog on more than 160 miles of trails that wind throughout The Woodlands, then soak up the sun at Northshore Park, which hosts free concerts on Sunday evenings from late spring to early fall.
KAYAK LAKE WOODLANDS
It’s not summer without some time on the water, and there’s nowhere better to go for that than Lake Woodlands. Rent a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard from the Riva Row Boat House or Lakes Edge Boat House. Paddle along as you admire the massive mansions and lush pine trees that surround the lake. Watch as herons and egrets wade along the banks and groups of ducks fly overhead. Keep a keen eye out and you may even see one of the bald eagles that call The Woodlands home, as well as a 35-foot-long serpent statue placed at the lake’s southern edge. Don’t worry; it doesn’t bite.
ENJOY AN EVENING STROLL ON MARKET STREET
Once the sun sets, find your way to Market Street. Stroll along brightly lit sidewalks in front of old-fashioned storefronts as you browse such upscale shops as Madewell, Sur La Table and Lululemon. When your appetite lets you know it’s time to eat, take your pick from mouthwatering barbecue, jambalaya and other Cajun and Creole fare, sushi or just about anything else you’re craving. Follow your dinner with a glass of wine at the cozy Crú Food & Wine Bar or a coffee from Starbucks, then catch the latest Hollywood blockbuster at Cinemark or people-watch in Market Street’s Central Park. With its vintage charm and wealth of places to shop and dine, Market Street is perfect for romantic summer date nights.
INDULGE IN SOME SERIOUSLY GOOD FOOD
Juicy hamburgers, house-made pastas, sweet and savory crepes and smashed and rolled ice cream. This is just a taste of what’s on the menu in The Woodlands. Take your pick from more than 150 restaurants, ranging from casual to fine dining, that serve foods from around the world. Treat yourself to succulent beef and chicken roasted over an open flame at Fogo de Chão. Visit The Goose’s Acre for the authentic Irish ambience and waterfront dining. End your day with a pint or two of craft beer at Local Pour, or head to Crú Food & Wine Bar for your choice of 30 wines by the glass, plus 300 bottles from around the world. From the open-air dining spots along The Waterway and in Hughes Landing to Market Street and Creekside Park, there are plenty of fantastic places to sink your teeth into something delicious.
SHOP LIKE YOU MEAN IT
If you’re in need of some retail therapy, The Woodlands is the place to be. After all, Southern Living Magazine called The Woodlands “One of America’s Best Shopping Destinations.” With more than 11 million square feet of big-brand department stores, independent boutiques and everything in between, it’s easy to see why.
The heart of The Woodlands’ shopping scene is The Woodlands Mall, a sprawling haven for shoppers where you’ll find countless stores, great restaurants and even an Escape The Room. For high-end shopping, find your way to Market Street. Browse shops like Tory Burch, Tiffany & Co. and the locally-owned Philanthropy as you soak up the small-town charm. The Pinecroft Center Area also has department stores and sporting goods shops, just in case you needed to gear up before getting outdoors.
Whether you’re looking for the basics, something fashionable to impress your friends or you’re simply window shopping, you’ll find far more than you can imagine in The Woodlands.
EXPERIENCE THE PINEY WOODS IN A NEW WAY
Feel a refreshing summer breeze as you traverse an outdoor aerial adventure course. Texas TreeVentures offers a challenge by choice option with 72 different elements for climbers to use. From climbing across a rope wall to taking a leap and repelling down to the forest floor, you set the tone for your adventure. The well-trained and certified staff on the course will be there to encourage and assist along the way.
Whether you love to get outdoors, shop as if it’s a sport, check out the best and brightest bands in town or all of the above, The Woodlands should be your go-to destination this summer.