While many people flock to Galveston for a beach vacation in southeast Texas, there are other beaches that are just as fun. Beaches are just one of the many things to do in Freeport, TX though.
If you love beautiful natural landscapes, history, and birding then you will absolutely love visiting Freeport and the surrounding Brazosport area.
Brazosport is made up of Lake Jackson, Clute, Freeport, Surfside Beach, and Quintana. You’ll find something special in each town and beautiful outdoor opportunities nearby.
I was able to visit Brazosport in early June and got to experience a good bit of what the area offered.
So if you’ve ever wondered what to do in Freeport then read on to find out!
Disclaimer: This was part of a paid partnership with Visit Brazosport. As always, all opinions are my own. This article may contain affiliate links that I earn a small commission from at no additional cost to you.
7 Things to Do in Freeport, TX
Freeport Historical Museum
Though Freeport is small, it actually has a great Historical Museum located downtown. It doubles as their Visitor Center so stop in before you start exploring.
The museum walks you through the history of Freeport and the Brazosport area. It’s currently being renovated and soon they’ll have an exhibit on the Texas Navy.
There are also replicas of buildings and railways that were in Freeport in the past. I think that was my favorite part!
Pop’s Pizza & Arcade/Barcadia
The pizza here gets rave reviews and they also have retro arcade games. If you have kids then this is a great family spot to try out.
They also have a bar section and pool tables if you’re with adults only! You’ll find great deals here at happy hour.
This is a beautiful wetlands area with a trail that follows the perimeter of the space. You’ll find two different observation decks along the trail so you can see over the cattails and grasses.
This is a great spot for birding so the best times to come are early in the morning or later in the evening when the birds are most active.
It’s right beside a main road and gets very hot in the afternoons in the summer so take that into account.
These wetlands reminded me of the beautiful Soaring Eagle Wetlands which is one of the most popular things to do near Bellefonte, PA.
Gulf Prairie Cemetery
Do you like walking around cemeteries when you travel? It’s neat to see the old gravestones and find out who may be buried there.
This one is beautiful with the old live oaks and Spanish moss. The major draw here is that Stephen F. Austin was originally buried in this cemetery.
For those not from Texas – Stephen Austin is considered the Father of Texas. He’s no longer buried here, but you can still see his original tomb.
Explore More – Kayak Rental
This is one of the things in Freeport, TX you’ll definitely want to do! Explore More offers kayak, paddle board, and jet ski rentals as well as guided kayaking tours.
For jet skis, you’ll have to visit their location in Freeport, but if you want a kayak then they will deliver those for free within Freeport or Surfside Beach city limits.
This is a great way to explore the Brazos River or the Christmas Bay Paddling Trail – just make sure you have the right shoes for kayaking.
Scuba Dive at Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary
This is one of only 15 national marine sanctuaries in the US. If you are a scuba diver then you won’t want to miss visiting Flower Gardens.
You can charter a diving trip out of Freeport that will take you out to the sanctuary which is located 80 – 125 miles off the coast. Note that this is an intermediate to advanced trip.
Fishing charters also visit this area if you would prefer to fish instead.
Charter a Fishing Boat
If you love fishing then Freeport has some of the best offshore fishing charters on the Texas Gulf Coast. Talk to the captains to see what biting right now and what you might catch.
Deep-sea fishing is some of the most fun that you can have if you’re a fisherman. Make sure to take your Dramamine if you get motion sickness.
Things to Do in Lake Jackson, TX
Go Shopping Downtown
Lake Jackson has some super cute shops downtown selling clothing and home goods. Tammie’s Touch, Refresh Boutique, and Junque Rescuers are just a few.
There is some construction currently going on downtown so it’s best to find a parking spot and walk to the boutiques.
Sea Center Texas
Probably one of the coolest things to do in Lake Jackson, TX and it’s completely free though donations are accepted.
The Sea Center Texas is an aquarium, wetlands area, and fish hatchery all in one. Kids love the aquarium but my favorite parts were the Wetlands Trail and fish hatchery tour.
Make your reservation for the fish hatchery tour in advance but it’s free too. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it was super cool and I learned a lot about the life of a fish!
Visit earlier in the morning and you can see all kinds of birds along the Wetlands Trail. There are freshwater and saltwater areas and it’s really a beautiful place right in the middle of Lake Jackson.
Lake Jackson Historical Museum
If you want to learn more about the history of Lake Jackson and the surrounding area then stop in at the Lake Jackson Historical Museum. Admission is free!
You’ll find exhibits about the native Karankawa people, Windecker Eagle plane, wartime industry, and so much more. There are also pop-up exhibits that rotate.
The Alden B. Dow Office Museum and Jackson Plantation Historic Site are also part of the same organization that runs the museum.
Abner Jackson Plantation Site or Varner-Hogg Plantation
Both were involved in sugarcane production so learn about that process as well as how these places fit in to the larger community.
The Jackson Plantation is an archaeological site where you’ll see ruins of the plantation but you can tour the house at Varner-Hogg.
Entrance to the Jackson Plantation Site is based on donations and there is a small fee to tour the Varner-Hogg Plantation site.
Dow Centennial Bottomlands
Located at A.A. McLean Park, you’ll find another popular birding spot in Lake Jackson. When you first pull into the park you’ll see the recreation center and ball fields on either side of the parking lot.
Head to the back of the parking lot and behind the tennis courts you’ll see a paved pathway. Follow that pathway over a bridge to the Dow Centennial Bottomlands.
The paved path follows the Brazos River though you can’t really see it through the trees. It’s a nice, peaceful spot that is well-trafficked so if you’re by yourself this is a good option.
More Things to Do Near Freeport, TX
Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge
For hikes, wildlife viewing, photography, or just immersing yourself in nature, head to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.
Get there early – within 30 minutes of sunrise if possible – or go just before sunset. You won’t believe the number of birds, gators, and other animals you’ll see.
Stop at the Discovery Center where there is a boardwalk that takes you out over the marshland. You could sit here for hours and enjoy the sunrise and all the animal activity.
At the information booth, you can pick up a pamphlet with information for the auto tour. Make your way around the driving loop to see freshwater and saltwater marshes as well as a few ponds.
Bug spray is nonnegotiable – you better have it and wear it. Even then if it’s high season for bugs, you may choose to stay in the comfort of your car.
If you want to hike, I would wear long pants and boots as the trails are more natural than what you find in national or state parks.
This is also one of the best things to do near Alvin, TX.
San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge
All the tips for visiting Brazoria apply to San Bernard – wear bug spray, long pants & boots for hiking, take the auto tour, and get there either very early or stay late.
You’ll see many of the same types of wildlife here. Lots of birds, gators, feral hogs, snakes, and more. While I didn’t have a pamphlet here for the auto tour, I loved it just the same.
A nice hike is the Bobcat Woods Trail because the beginning of the trail was all boardwalk and then totally paved.
From the parking lot if you enter the trail, then take a left eventually you come out to a gorgeous overlook of a marsh. I’ll be totally honest, I didn’t make it through the whole trail because the bugs were so bad.
If you can hit it on the right day though then I highly recommend it!
Quintana Beach County Park
Now for the beaches of Brazosport! Visiting the nearby beaches is probably one of the most popular things to do in Freeport.
Quintana County Park has some great amenities like covered shelters, bathhouses, and a park office. During peak season – Memorial Day to Labor Day – there is a $5 parking fee.
This is a great beach for families because of all the amenities and there are no cars to worry about out on the beach.
This is also a popular spot for RV camping. Just before you get the county park, you’ll pass the Quintana Bird Sanctuary with an observation tower. It’s worth a stop to get a birds-eye view of the area.
Drive Out on Bryan Beach
Coming from NC, I didn’t realize that you can drive out on Texas beaches in almost any type of car. The sand is hard-packed like a road.
It’s free to drive out here but there are no amenities so make sure to pick up everything you might need while in Freeport.
You can also tent camp out here free of charge. It’s a very popular beach for fishing or groups just hanging out since you can set up on the beach right next to your vehicle.
Spend the Day at Surfside Beach
If you’re looking for more of a beach town, then go check out Surfside Beach. There are a couple of restaurants here and a place for groceries so it’s the perfect place to spend the whole day.
There are tons of vacation rentals here but if you aren’t staying in town then you can park at the Surfside Jetty Park. Watch the ships come in and go fishing if you have a license!
I visited on a Saturday evening and there were people cooking out on the beach and lots of families playing in the water.
Brazosport Museum of Natural Science
Located in Clute, this museum is all about nature and history in the Brazosport area. Exhibits range from fossils to sea shells to historic artifacts and more.
Admission is free but you will have to get a ticket. This is a great rainy day activity or something to do with kids.
Visit the Fort Velasco Replica
Fort Velasco is the location of the first conflict between Texas colonists and the Mexican military that happened before the official war for independence.
The replica is currently under construction but there are some nice trails that you can walk in the area. This trail actually connects with Surfside Jetty Park so it’s a great place to visit while you’re in Surfside Beach.
Drive the Bluewater Highway
The Bluewater Highway is the main road that runs from Surfside Beach all the way out San Luis Beach. You can take the whole thing for a scenic drive or make a stop at any of the public beach accesses.
For anyone interested in birding, make sure to stop at the kayak launch for Drum Lake. This is where you can find Willets in summer and Falcons in winter.
Wrap Up: Things to Do in Freeport, TX
There are so many fun and unique things to do in Freeport, TX and the surrounding area. It’s a great place for beach lovers as well as anyone who loves Texas history.
The natural landscapes are also incredibly special here, especially at the nearby National Wildlife Refuges.
If you’re looking for a laid-back beach vacation near Houston, then this is the perfect option!
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