Whatever size room you receive, all guest rooms come outfitted with Marriott's signature "Revive" bed, which is (hopefully) the closest you'll ever experience to falling asleep inside a wedding cake. "Revive" mattresses are thicker than normal ones and have a plush topper for added comfort, along with a down comforter, extra pillows, and 300-thread-count sheets. It'll be a welcome respite after a day of sampling the many activities within convenient distance from the Marriott: shopping at Greenspoint Mall, loudly suggesting that racehorses run faster at the Sam Houston Race Park, or just swimming in the hotel's indoor pool. You'll also enjoy amenities such as an on-site fitness center, in-room coffee and tea, and gorgeous views of the Houston skyline in all its colors (Houston has more than half of the colors on the ROYGBIV spectrum).
George Ranch Historical Park, only half an hour southwest of Houston, is more than a representation of Texas history—it’s the hundred-year story of a ranching family who lived their lives on the park’s very soil. The attractions tell their story, beginning with the Jones Stock Farm—a cattle operation circa 1830—where interpreters demonstrate old-fashioned skills amidst a traditional dog-trot log cabin. The Ryon Prairie Home unveils an 1860s image of a Texas Ranch home in the golden age of the cattle drive, and the Davis Mansion contains artifacts from Victorian-era Texas enjoyed by the wealthiest citizens of the 1890s. The final site, the George Ranch Complex, demonstrates ranching life as it happened in the 1930s, including barn structures and daily cattle demonstrations. Guides show off each building and era with historic tours, demonstrations, and living history exhibits such as a working blacksmith shop.
The park’s directors breathe life back into this history with interactive events, as well. They also schedule an array of yearly events such as military reenactments, and holiday-themed history lessons.
After retiring from his upholstering job at the Southern Pacific Railroad, John Milkovisch spent his free time building structures around his house and drinking beers with his wife Mary. But when he ran out of space for building, he decided to use up his extra beer cans to create a shiny siding for his structures and his house. He began in 1968, and within 20 years he had completely covered his property with an estimated 50,000 aluminum and glass cans. The result was both fashionable and functional, with swaying garlands tinkling in the breeze, strings of cans adding a luster to all surfaces of the house, and the protective weight of the cans even helping cut the house’s energy costs. But you can’t have a house this striking and not get noticed. So pretty soon people began making trips to see this can-covered house, and in 2007, it was moved into the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Now guests can peer inside the house and examine the structures without getting chased by the owner's beer can-covered dog. The house’s guided tours also feature a documentary that covers the history of the project since its inception forty years ago.
The ghastly guides of Ghost Tours Texas lead groups of foolhardy interlopers on story-filled journeys past the spectrally inhabited landmarks of Galveston and Houston Heights. On the Galveston tour, a knowledgeable leader takes parties through the Silk Stocking District to visit the 1858 Ashton Villa mansion, whose second floor is occupied by the phantom “Miss Betty” Brown, and whose basement is occupied by a man who years ago forgot how to work a doorknob. The guide also divulges tales told from eyewitness accounts.
The Houston Heights tour winds through the area's historical and opulent homes, exploring such mysteries as the story of the Dean Correl murders and the children who are said to still haunt the alleyways of Houston Heights. Guides weave tales of ghostly possessions and evil voodoo dolls peppered with real-life testimonies from local residents.
Bayou Shuttle Service transports runners, surfers, cyclists, and adventurers toting rented kayaks and canoes to nearby trails and beaches for guided tours and lessons or DIY excitement. Experienced guides lead history-packed kayak tours such as the Houston Skyline Tour, which floats past panoramic views of towering skyscrapers, or the Adventures Tour, which increases heart rates with rushing rapids and an elevation drop more thrilling than jumping down the laundry chute at grandma's house. During all-day surfing lessons, students hop aboard shuttles from downtown Houston to Surfside Beach, where instructors teach nascent surfers to stand up and surf the waves. Bayou Shuttle Service also offers overnight surf trips, where pupils can sit beside campfires under the stars and tell scary stories about crab ghosts.