Lake Conroe is an irregular-shaped expanse of clean, fresh water stretching for 21 miles in length. Located less than an hour drive from downtown Houston, the lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with water-based sports and activities that include fishing, boating, swimming and jet skiing. Many vacation rentals on Lake Conroe enjoy enviable waterfront locations, and with a year-round mild climate, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the natural world. The surrounding countryside offers a choice of hiking, biking and nature trails suitable for all the family, and the city of Conroe is a short trip away for cultural activities and shopping.

1. Hop on Board a Paddle Steamer

Turn back time as you climb aboard the Southern Empress. This Mississippi paddle steamer offers regular cruises where you can enjoy good food while gliding across the lake. Be sure to make a reservation for the monthly lunch cruise or weekly weekend dinner cruises, and pack your dancing shoes to join in the entertainment.

2. Go Fishing

Waterfront vacation rentals at Lake Conroe are popular with anglers as you can enjoy the luxury of fishing straight from your private dock or shore. Kick back on the hammock with your favorite paperback while your kids drop a line. Keep a camera close at hand to capture their joyful expressions when they haul in their first crappie of the vacation.

3. Take a Boat out on the Water

If you have your own boat, choose a rental property with its own, or shared, dock and boat lift and you can enjoy sailing away from your front porch. Alternatively, there are several boat rentals around the lake, such as Nauti Dayz Boat Rentals and Einstein’s Ship Store, where you can hire a range of watercraft by the hour, complete with life jackets for all the family.

4. Go Kayaking

While keen kayakers might want to take their own equipment, some waterside rental properties include free use of kayaks. Take advantage of this opportunity to get out onto the lake with the kids. It’s a great way to explore the area and to keep fit at the same time.

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5. Go Swimming

Pack your inflatables for some fun in the sun and watch your kids gain confidence in the clear waters of the lake. Take a picnic to Lake Conroe Park where, for a small entrance fee, you can enjoy the swim area with a sandy beach (kids age 5 and younger have free admission.) The Park also features volleyball play areas, a softball field, and a fishing pier, so there’s something for everyone, though you’ll have to leave Fido behind as dogs are not permitted.

6. Go Hiking

The countryside around Conroe has several trails suitable for varying levels of ability. The Sweetleaf Nature Trail in the W.G. Jones State Forest is a pretty, kid-friendly, 3.4-mile loop trail that includes a rainbow-colored suspension bridge over a river. The George Mitchel Preserve Trail, a few miles farther south, is a more challenging 11.5 mile trail suitable for mountain biking as well as hiking.

7. Enjoy a Good Old-Fashioned Family Fun Park

Have a great day out at the 7-Acre Wood family fun park in Conroe. This quaint park has plenty to keep children of all ages amused. Activities include a mini-golf course, adventure play fort and a petting zoo with donkeys, llamas, goats, chickens, and ducks. If you visit on the weekend, your kids can also take a pony ride.

8. Play a Round of Golf

If the family’s golfing enthusiasts need something more challenging than mini golf, the area around Lake Conroe sports some of the finest golf courses in the Southwest. The April Sound Community with its 27-holes offers membership to non-community members and several courses, including Wedgewood and Texas National, are open to the public.

9. Pet a Wolf

Learn more about these beautiful and frequently misunderstood creatures by meeting with and learning about them at the Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery. Book ahead before visiting and please leave any pets at your vacation home-from-home. Tour options include a guided visit to the sanctuary to meet the wolves, and a “Howl Night” when you can sit around a campfire enjoying snacks and drinks, and hopefully get to hear the resident pack howl.

10. Visit a Farm

Visit Sunshine Farm to meet the animals and see how they live in harmony with their beautiful natural environment. Stroll through 12 acres of gardens full of butterflies and hummingbirds, and learn about growing food naturally on an organic working farm. Call in at the shop for some fresh produce and take back some deliciously scented handmade all-natural soap as gifts.

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