cool for the summer
July in Houston means much of the city is either currently on a trip or is just getting back from one. Both the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport are at their busiest in 2023, with summer passenger volume aiming to break a record from 2022.
For those antsy to get out of town, whether it be to experience something new or to just get away from the Texas heat, here are seven destinations around the country with nonstop flights out of Houston from IAH.
We picked locations from nearly every region in the United States (and one international destination) based on flight times, summer weather, variety of activities, and personal experiences.
In the West
If you want to get the farthest distance west from Houston and still remain in the U.S., Portland is the way to go. United Airlines flights go directly from IAH to Portland, and it takes about four and a half hours. The city is predictably more cloudy than Houston, which is a welcome change for those of us who are a bit tired of the constant summer sun. There's plenty to do in the City of Roses, such as visiting one of the many rose gardens, taking a tour of the Oregon Coast, finding a new bookstore or coffee shop, and trying some delicious bites at any of the food carts that can be found all over the city.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you're not too keen on visiting the Pacific Northwest, a flight to New Mexico takes half the time and will keep you closer to Texas. United Airlines runs daily nonstop flights from IAH to Albuquerque. The weather in New Mexico's capital is similar to Houston's, so you'll still need to keep hydrated if you're out and about there. Things to do include riding in a hot air balloon, taking a hike at the Petroglyph National Monument, and shopping for some Southwestern art or Native American goods.
A much more obvious (and another less hot) choice for most Texans is the state capital of Colorado. Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, and United Airlines all have nonstop flights to Denver. Much like Houston, Denver boasts a thriving brewery scene and even celebrates their own Beer Week in September. Outdoor recreational activities abound, such as hiking, biking, and taking a drive to explore Rocky Mountain National Park.
In the South
How about a journey to Music City? A flight on Southwest or United Airlines will get you from Houston to Nashville in two hours. As long as you don't mind the bright pink bachelorette groups that love to run around town, a trip to Tennessee's capital is a great escape from Texas while still keeping some of the Southern charm. Enjoy a night on Broadway at one of the multiple country-themed bars, indulge in some Nashville hot chicken, and don't forget to try a tasting at Ole Smoky Moonshine. When you need a time out from all of the activities, consider visiting Centennial Park to see the Parthenon and take a nap under one of the tall trees.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Now let's hop one state over to the fellow Southern state of North Carolina, another city where both American and United Airlines flies nonstop from Houston. You might not escape the heat, but a good distraction could be what you learn about the history of America on one of the city's historical tours. While you're at it, tour of some haunted, ghost-ridden houses. Charlotte is also home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, if that's up your alley.
In the Northeast
An ongoing trend in this list is the number of nonstop flights to different state capitals. Only one airline flies directly from Houston to Boston: JetBlue. Boston is another hub for American history; the Paul Revere House is on the North End, while the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum are located southeast of downtown. Other must-see places include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Public Market, and the Museum of African American History. As for dining, you can't go wrong with any of the Italian eateries throughout the city, but Bova's holds a special place in our hearts for their pastries and arancini.
Outside the United States
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
We hope your passport is up to date for this one: Vancouver has the coolest temperatures out of every destination on this list, and we are loving the idea of traveling out of the country for the sweetest summer escapes imaginable. United's nonstop flight to Vancouver from Houston is the longest on this list, at nearly five hours. But luckily for the time zone difference, that will only set travelers back by two hours. Take your pick from several outdoor activities, such as whale watching, sightseeing, or walking along the beach or through a park. Canada's biggest aquarium is also located in Vancouver, with plenty of aquatic wildlife to see.