-By Ashley Donde
When you live in a metropolitan area of over six million people, “getting away from it all” can prove to be a tricky feat. But, hidden in Houston’s backyard there are secluded treasures—tucked away from the skyscrapers and concrete—beckoning you to enjoy a moment of respite from the daily hustle. You don’t need to plan a wallet-busting tropical vacation to enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway.
League City has everything you need to experience a memorable vacation, without boarding a plane.
Speaking of tropical vacations, League City is home to a subtropical climate, providing the verdant beauty visitors and residents have come to love and appreciate. I’m one of those admirers, and recently enjoyed a staycation of my own with my husband and two kids, exploring what I like to refer to as the “secret gardens” of League City. This town, exploding with Texas charm, is dotted with gorgeous parks and creeks, teeming with exotic wildlife. If you’re intrigued, read on, and discover how you can have a soul-cleansing staycation of your own.
MY LEAGUE CITY STAYCATION ITINERARY
First Stop: Dr. Ned and Fay Dudney Clear Creek Nature Center
We arrived at the nature center in the morning, excited to begin some much-needed family time. What struck me first was the smell of the air. Blooming spring flowers perfumed the breeze, inviting us to explore. As we wandered through the park, I loved the feeling of being enveloped by the towering, moss-draped trees. It’s a magical experience as the sounds of the city fade away, and bird songs fill your ears. We saw at least 6 cardinals, several great egrets, pelicans, squirrels, spider webs, and tons of colorful flowers. With binoculars, we took turns looking out along the creek and through the forest, seeing what wildlife we could find. Depending on your luck, you may spot a deer, or maybe an armadillo waddling along.
Second Stop: Rustic Oaks Fishing Pond
The next leg of our adventure was a fishing expedition. There are plenty of fishing holes to choose from, but in keeping with the theme of “getting away,” we thought the pond at Rustic Oaks Park (tucked back behind a forest of trees) was the perfect secluded location to cast our lines. This small lake has a mystical, swampy feel, with lily pads decorating the surface, and trees growing up out of the water. While we fished, the kids enjoyed watching a variety of birds wade the waters, searching for food. We even spotted a heron fly off with a fish still squirming in its beak. Texas Parks and Wildlife stocks the pond with catfish, bass, trout, and sunfish—so if you’re patient, you have a good shot at catching something.
Third Stop: Countryside Park
After a successful and peaceful fishing excursion, we took a short drive over to Countryside Park. This park isn’t really a “hidden” gem, because it’s clearly visible from the side of the road. But, what isn’t as well known are the walking paths that wind alongside the creek, through forests of mossy trees and tropical plants. You never know what you may find while exploring these trails. This time my kids discovered a pair of caterpillars inching along, and happily studied them like two budding scientists. It’s common to spot turtles sunning along the shore of the creek, and other wildlife inhabiting the area. If you’re really in the mood for adventure, bring your kayaks and paddle down the Clear Creek Paddle Trail. There’s a kayak launch at the park, with easy access.
There’s no better way to connect with yourself and your family than exploring nature, away from the stress and noise of daily life. League City’s secret gardens provide secluded getaways that will give you a much-needed nature break, and have you reveling in the beauty of simplicity.