A man in a cowboy hat leans against a metal sign reading "OLD TOWN SPRING"

© Todd White Stills and Motion

About 20 miles north of downtown Houston, Spring is a charming suburban area with a remarkable history and culture. While not an official town but instead a “census designated place,” the unincorporated Spring area has a population that tops 60,000 and plenty to attract visitors for one great day trip.

Old Town Spring

Spring’s history dates to the 1800s when it was established as a trading post on nearby Spring Creek. Today, the small buildings in Old Town Spring are occupied by mom-and-pop businesses selling everything from crazy hats (The Hat People) to handmade bath salts (Connie’s Bath Shack). If you want to travel the world, check out Goodwoods British Market or The Little Dutch Girl for authentic food and gifts. And if you’re hungry, look no further than Trilogy Brew, a coffee shop housed inside a former grocery store, or Wunsche Bros Café and Saloon, which occupies the old hotel and saloon.


Corkscrew BBQ

If the line wrapping around the building doesn’t give you an indication of how good the barbecue is, then the sweet smoke filling the air certainly will. This joint lives up to the hype with the Texas trinity of smoked meats—moist brisket, crisp sausages, and succulent ribs. I dare you to try and save room for the homemade cobbler of the day.

National Museum of Funeral History

Morbid yet fascinating, this museum displays hundreds of artifacts showcasing how we honor and mourn our loved ones. The hearse collection will fascinate car aficionados, while the custom antique caskets might give you some ideas of how to plan your own ride into the afterlife. The largest exhibit takes a deep dive into the traditions of a pope’s funeral, known as the most elaborate final farewell in the world.


TGR Exotics Wildlife Park

Encounter exotic wildlife in the suburbs on the grounds of this 10-acre park. Pigs, llamas, and goats roam the park, and guided tours introduce visitors to porcupines, monkeys, and a hyena. What really makes this place special are its firsthand encounters that put visitors inside the cage. If you’ve never fed mango to a two-toed sloth while it steals your hat, then you’re missing out.


Inspire Rock Climbing Gym and 5.Ate Café

This indoor climbing gym boasts more than 18,000 square feet of climbing, including 40-foot walls that can put any bouldering expert to the test. After trying your hand on the wall, head to the café serving up one of the best burgers in Spring on a fresh-made English muffin. Even if you’re only eating, the climbing walls make for great dinner entertainment.


So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path, I hope to see you on the road.

Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper® travel show on PBS. To view the Spring episode visit thedaytripper.com.
Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @chettripper.

From the February 2022 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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