Just about everybody is familiar with the famous mis-quote “Houston, we have a problem!” but I’d like to start this guide by saying we had absolutely no problem falling in love with Space City in the 48 hours we spent there this April. Today I’m sharing our experience.
Houston, if you didn’t know, is at the South East tip of Texas, right on the coast and nearby to Louisiana. This means that there is a beautiful mashup of cultures and cuisines. Cajun influences are abundant in the food, and being coastal, seafood is massive (I suppose you’d expect it to be steak). The climate borders on tropical in a sense too, with palm trees thriving well. We arrived whilst Houston was expecting a bit of a storm, which made it all the more beautiful to see.
Our main draw to Houston was Johnson Space Center. We’re both space geeks, and it felt like a suitably nerdy attraction to launch our roadtrip – so off we trundled. It wasn’t at all what I’d expected – but it was still really cool. With tours of the “rocket garden” we got to see Saturn V fully assembled in the hangar, which blew my mind. Shuttles are obviously big, but I hadn’t bargained for how big.
The best bit, though, was visiting the Apollo Mission Control – I sat in the viewing deck and peered into the room which put people on the moon. I saw CapCom’s telephone, I saw the flight plaque for Gus Grissom and crew, and got to ask a bunch of questions. It was awesome.
That afternoon we tried crawfish in a bayside bar and watched the rich kids play on their speedboats – the view was beautiful, but crawfish are actually the biggest pain in the bum to eat. They’re tasty, but not really worth the hassle.
With full bellies and brains, we had wanted to wind down that evening without sitting in our room (waste of a good holiday!) so we headed out to find something new. We like to play it by ear and luckily for us Houston is set up for just that type of exploraion. Within 30 minutes we had found Armand Bayou National Park and had about an hour left to explore it. It was, as the name suggests, a national park and swampland, so we got to see all kinds of crazy creatures like Gators and Possum and some creepy crawlies – and tons of swamp canaries. Super relaxing!
Of course relaxing is good, but sometimes thrill seeking is on the agenda, and we were lucky that our hotel was just 3 miles from Kemah Boardwalk, which is a pier fare complex with a few rides, restaurants and shops. It seemed to be a pretty affluent area, and we enjoyed roaming around tasting funnel cake (basically donut mixture cooked in a squiggle) and excitedly planning our drive to New Orleans!
That evening we scoffed shrimp tacos on the deck, again watching the rich kids, and life felt very good indeed.