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Half Day in Houston: Visit an Old Caboose, Play at the Beach & Tour an Old Battleship

Having fun with the family and exploring Houston can be easy!  If you have a few hours, we have ideas on how to spend them with the kids.

In this Half Day in Houston series, find a place to park, play, explore and eat… all in one spot.  Pick what you like or combine with another Half Day post!

Sylvan Beach Park La Porte Walkway
In this adventure, visit an old caboose, play at the beach and tour an old battleship!  Go to Sylvan Beach in La Porte and then the San Jacinto Battleground Historic Site!

For most half day adventures, we park once and walk.  In this one, you will need to move your car, but each location has lots of free parking!  See the map at the bottom of the post.



Old Sylvan Beach Train Depot
1. La Porte Bay Area Heritage Society – 604 Park Drive, La Porte, TX 77571 – 11:00am-4:00pm on Weekends – Free

Make the short drive from Houston to La Porte.  As you approach the Sylvan Beach Park you will see an old caboose and the Heritage Society!

If you visit on a weekday, you can look from the outside.  If it’s a weekend, you can go inside.

Our favorite part is the caboose, which is open and furnished like an old caboose!


Sylvan Beach Park La Porte Digging in Sand
2. Sylvan Beach Park – 8121 N Bay Shore Dr, La Porte, TX 77571 – Free

Within walking distance of the old train depot is Sylvan Beach Park.  There are lots of picnic tables, a large playground, long waterside sidewalk and a small sandy beach!

The swimming area is small, with a rope telling you not to go too far into the bay, but there is just enough room for splashing in the water and digging in the sand… and this is much closer to Houston than the beaches in Galveston!

Swim or dig or play on the playground, and then head back towards Houston to find an old battleship!


Battleship Texas
3. San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site – 3523 Independence Parkway, La Porte, TX 77571 – 9:00am-6:00pm – Free to Visit, Charge for Attractions

Just off 255, the road back to Houston, is the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.  This is where Texan troops surprised the Mexican army and won independence.

You could spend an hour here… or all day.  If this is a half day adventure, chose just one thing to see.  If you have longer, see it all!

Tour the battleship, including climbing way down to the engine room and way up to the bridge.  The stairs are more like ladders, so be prepared!

Tour the San Jacinto Museum of History and go 489 feet up to the monument’s observation floor.  Here you can see Houston, the battle ground and the seaport!

Explore the San Jacinto Battleground or just bring a picnic to enjoy it as you watch giant ships travel down the ship channel!


For this adventure, bring a picnic to enjoy by the beach or at the San Jacinto Park.  If you did not pack your own, stop by the snack carts at both locations!


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