Japanese Garden at Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Location: Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Fort Worth (817-871-7686); fwbg.org

Winding paths meander through seven and a half acres of serene gardens, where quiet pavilions and ponds full of Japanese koi call you to relax and contemplate. The roar of nearby Interstate 30 will become the hum of the universe after half an hour here. It is best to go in the fall when the leaves are turning or in the winter when there’s a dusting of snow.

San Antonio Mission Trail

Location: 6701 San Jose Drive, San Antonio (210-932-1001); nps.gov/saan

This thirteen-mile route (you can also bike or drive) begins at the Alamo and follows the river south, stopping at each of the other four Spanish frontier missions. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the history of Texas.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Location: 4501 Woodway Dr, Houston (713-681-8433); houstonarboretum.org

Five miles of trails travel through woods and meadows. But the best thing about the Arboretum is the kids’ programs: Children get down and dirty with nature.