Houston, Texas, is a city with a rich history that has a massive influence on the state and country as a whole. While it's certainly impressive and fun to explore, it's nice to get out of town every now and then, even if it's just for a weekend. Fortunately, all you need is a car to reach some of the best destinations nearby. Here are the top 10 destinations for road trips from Houston.

1. Journey to the island of Galveston

Driving time from Houston: 1 hour

Distance from Houston: 50 miles

The island of Galveston was developed as a resort town, so you can enjoy luxury attractions and fun adventures when your road trip from Houston takes you here. Pleasure Pier is especially popular, with its delicious seafood restaurants, arcades, and even an amusement park with thrilling coasters and other rides.

2. Find fun in the sun at Lake Travis

Driving time from Houston: 2.5 hours

Distance from Houston: 170 miles

If you're looking for outdoor fun, you won't have to look past Lake Travis. This Hill Country destination features a massive lake suitable for swimming, fishing, boating, rafting, and just about any other kind of aquatic activity you can imagine. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can even go scuba diving with the necessary equipment conveniently available by the lake.

3. Journey to San Antonio for River City adventure

Driving time from Houston: 3 hours

Distance from Houston: 190 miles

In San Antonio, you can enjoy a more urban experience in a city packed full of culture and adventure. The shopping and dining opportunities are particularly impressive, but you can enjoy the River Walk as well. Adding notable outdoor fun to the city, the River Walk lets you explore San Antonio from a different perspective as you cruise along the river that cuts through downtown.

4. Stroll the vibrant streets of Fredericksburg

Driving time from Houston: 3.5 hours

Distance from Houston: 230 miles

When you visit Fredericksburg on a road trip from Houston, you can enjoy a wide variety of activities simply by strolling through town. You can stop in a refined art gallery or enjoy a fine dining restaurant. Similarly, you can venture out toward the outskirts to see a collection of wineries and orchards to explore in addition to scenic drives showing off the breathtaking landscapes.

5. Experience the German heritage of New Braunfels

Driving time from Houston: 2.5 hours

Distance from Houston: 170 miles

Head west on your road trip from Houston, and you can find yourself in the town of New Braunfels. This town was founded nearly two centuries ago by German migrants, and that culture still shines through today. This can be seen in the oldest bakery and oldest dance hall in the state, as well as with the iconic Wurstfest, which is an annual festival dedicated to sausage.

6. Find family-friendly fun on South Padre Island

Driving time from Houston: 5.5 hours

Distance from Houston: 370 miles

On South Padre Island, you'll find endless fun for the whole family. This beachfront resort community features miles of sandy beaches along with numerous water parks that kids are sure to love. You can even bring your pet to many parts of the area, so you can really bring the whole family along on your road trip from Houston.

7. Embrace the night with a road trip to New Orleans

Driving time from Houston: 5 hours

Distance from Houston: 340 miles

The city of New Orleans is known around the world for its unique Cajun culture and bustling nightlife. The fun never ends here, so a road trip from Houston to New Orleans can leave you free to explore the iconic French Quarter where you'll find incredible restaurants serving Cajun food, as well as pubs and bars offering an extensive selection of drinks.

8. Explore the coast from Port Aransas

Driving time from Houston: 3.5 hours

Distance from Houston: 200 miles

If you're looking for family-friendly fun at the beach, Port Aransas can certainly provide. The beachfront is 18 miles long, and every stretch of it is remarkably well-maintained and suitable for the whole family. It's also home to the only links-style golf course in Texas, so you can relax in an entirely different way if you need a break from the beach.

9. Experience quintessential Texas in Brazoria County

Driving time from Houston: 30 minutes

Distance from Houston: 40 miles

Brazoria County is known as the place where Texas began, as it was home to the first capital of the Republic of Texas. You can explore this history yourself at numerous historical sites and museums. You'll also find plenty of recreation with several parks and 23 miles of sandy beaches where you can enjoy swimming and fishing, or you can go shopping at the local stores.

10. Soak up the sun in Gulf Shores

Driving time from Houston: 8 hours

Distance from Houston: 520 miles

When you visit Gulf Shores in Alabama, you can enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty that extends all the way from its shoreline to the Appalachian Mountains. The beaches are made from fine quartz grains that give their sands a uniquely white appearance that's almost like sugar. Meanwhile, the water shines an alluring turquoise hue that will leave you wanting to come back for more to enjoy the calm waves.