Port of Houston Tour – Tour one of the World’s Busiest Ports… for Free!

Port of Houston Tour
Location: Sam Houston Boat Pavilion
Cost: Free!
The Port of Houston Authority offers FREE boat tours 5 days a week, 11 months a year.  The only thing required is a reservation and a valid ID.

We had this tour on our Summer Bucket List, but it turns out that everyone else did as well.  No reservations were available over the summer, so we booked a spot in October.  As long as space is available and you reserve a spot 24 hours in advance, you can take a free tour of one of the busiest ports in the world.

Find the schedule HERE.

Port of Houston Dock
I had it in my head that the Port of Houston was a long drive from Downtown Houston. In reality, the tour begins inside the 610 loop and is only about 20 minutes from Downtown.

Port of Houston Tour Boat
We took the Saturday 10:00am tour. Following THESE directions,  we made it to Sam Houston Gate 8 at 9:30am.  Here we showed our drivers licenses and drove back to the pavilion.

There was a huge parking lot and plenty of room for the 100 tour boat passengers.  The pavilion was very nice with clean bathrooms.  It was so nice with the brick construction, benches and water view, that I hope it gets used for lots of parties and not just us tour go-ers.

Port of Houston View
At 10:00am, we boarded the 95 foot M/V Sam Houston for our 90 minute cruise along the Houston Ship Channel.  While we were at land, everyone was inside enjoying the air conditioning, free coffee and clean seating area.  As we pulled away, we were allowed to go outside and enjoy the views.

Outside you stand at the front of the boat or take a seat in the back.  Or walk laps like my kids did.

As we passed the cargo vessels and refineries, the tour guide would announce what we were seeing.  The speakers are not very loud, but if stand in the right spot, you can learn a lot about the Houston Ship Channel.

Brooke and James
After 45 minutes, the boat turns around at the beverage counter is opened.  Each passenger can grab one free soda.

On the boat we just saw a few crew members who were pleasant but not outgoing.  If you asked them, they could tell you a lot about the Port of Houston.  If we had paid for the tour, I’d have expected them to volunteer the information.  For free, I was very pleased with the experience!

Port of Houston Kids
The kids had a lot of fun walking around the boat and watching the water, ships and cranes.  They also thought the bathrooms in the basement were pretty awesome.  (And really, they were clean and had running water, so I also think they were awesome.)  The seating areas were also very clean and it was okay for Baby James to be-bop around, so overall, it was a great experience.

Afterwards we made the short drive to The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation making it the perfect Saturday morning.

We recommend you take the tour!  To reserve a spot, go HERE or call 713-670-2416.

(And in case you are concerned, I asked the crew and was told that taking pictures was okay!)


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