Port of Houston Tour and Ship Channel Tours

Discover the Port of Houston and or the Houston Ship Channel on any of our 6.0-hour tours.  Tours A and B include a boat ride on the Houston Ship Channel.  On Sunday, Tour A is from 12:00 to 6:00 PM.  On Wednesday through Saturday, Tour B is from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  One must arrive at least 30 minutes before the departure time for the boat ride to go through security and check in.  Tours A and B are not available on Monday and Tuesday each week.

The ship is closed periodically for maintenance.


General Information

Tour A

Tour B

Tour C

General Information

Tours A and B should be booked and paid for at least two weeks in advance to better assure the ability to make a reservation.  An exact count with everyone’s name must be provided at the time of reservation.  Everyone must bring and provide official photo identification on the day of the tour.  Backpacks and oversized purses are prohibited on the boat.  Purses are subject to inspection. 

Tour C covers a much broader area with visitations at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal, the Bayport Container Terminal, the Bayport Cruise Ship Terminal in Pasadena, and stops along the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay in multiple cities.  Tour C does not include a boat ride.  It goes through or by 17 cities and all 5 transits over, under, and on the Channel.  It also goes by the Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto Monument at San Jacinto State Park.  Tour C is from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  It is potentially available everyday of the year.

On each tour, you will learn about the Port’s history and its contributions to the present economic life of Houston and the nation.

Each tour takes you:

  • Over the Houston Ship Channel on the Sidney Sherman/I-610 Houston Ship Channel bridge.
  • Under the Houston Ship Channel (if in sedans and vans) in the Washburn Tunnel.
  • Over the Houston Ship Channel on the Sam Houston Tollway.
  • By the refineries of Pasadena.
  • To San Jacinto State Park and by the San Jacinto Battlefield, San Jacinto Monument, and the Battleship Texas.

In addition, Tour C takes you:

  • On the Lynchburg Ferry (if in sedans and vans) crossing the Houston Ship Channel.
  • On the Fred Hartman Bridge that connects La Porte with Baytown.
  • Through the refineries of Baytown and Deer Park. The ExxonMobil Refinery of Baytown is the largest in the United States.
  • To multiple cargo container terminals.
  • To Galveston Bay.
  • Into about 1 dozen more cities along the Houston Ship Channel than Tours A and B.

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Tour A – Sunday 12:00 – 6:00 PM

This tour includes a boat ride on the Houston Ship Channel.  The tour begins by going to the tracks of the oldest railroad line in Texas and seeing the historical marker.  Trains were the primary source for transporting unloaded or pre-loaded freight cargo in the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s.  This is located in Harrisburg, the oldest part of Houston.  The Harris family, as in Harris County, settled the once independent city of Harrisburg circa 1822.  It predates Houston by about 14 years.  We then go to an overlook to potentially view ships coming into and going out of the Port of Houston.  Next, we have lunch at one of the Mexican restaurants close to the dock.  Depending on what one orders, lunch usually costs between $8.00 and $20.00.  The Port of Houston Authority provides the Sam Houston boat for port tours.  We arrive at the Port at 2:00 PM to check in, go through security, and board the boat.  It departs at 2:30 PM and returns at approximately 4:00 PM.  The Port Authority narrated tour lasts about 90 minutes.  After the boat ride we:

  • Drive on the Sidney Sherman Bridge.
  • See the refineries in Pasadena.
  • Drive through the Washburn Tunnel that connects Pasadena to Galena Park.  This is the only tunnel that goes under water in Texas.
  • Drive over the Houston Ship Channel Bridge that is part of the Sam Houston Tollway.
  • We will go through Channelview, La Porte, Deer Park, and Pasadena, also.
  • To San Jacinto State Park and by the San Jacinto Battlefield, San Jacinto Monument, and the Battleship Texas.

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Tour B – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

This tour is almost identical to Tour A.  The differences are the order of events and that lunch is at Brady’s Landing.  Upon departing from downtown Houston, we go to the Port of Houston to be there by 9:30 AM to check in, go through security, and board the boat.  It departs at 10:00 AM and returns at approximately 11:30 AM.  At Brady’s Landing, a restaurant on an island, one can watch ships going into and out of the Port of Houston.  Brady’s Landing has a superb all you can eat buffet that will cost in the range of $18.00 to $25.00.

Port of Houston
The Port of Houston reserves the right to cancel a tour without advanced notice.  Houston Historical Tours has no control over this.   We serve as a conduit for this tour; we provide transportation and narratives, and take you over multiple crossings of the Houston Ship Channel.  If you have your own transportation and only want a boat ride, you can contact the Port of Houston directly to schedule a free tour by going to http://www.portofhouston.com/community-outreach/sam-houston-boat-tour/tour-schedule/ or calling (713) 670-2400.

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Tour C – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

This tour is available everyday.  This Port tour will cover more mileage of the Port and more cities.  We will take you on the Fred Hartman Bridge leading from La Porte to Baytown over the Ship Channel.  This yellow painted cable-stayed bridge is one of the most distinctive bridges in all of Texas.  We will also travel to the Barbours Cut Container Terminal, the Bayport Container Terminal, the Bayport Cruise Terminal, and to Galveston Bay.  Beginning in 1956, most freight has been delivered in containers so that it can be taken by truck across America by land instead of by rail.  We will drive through Channelview, La Porte, Deer Park, Baytown, Morgan’s Point, El Jardin del Mar, Shoreacres, Pasadena, Seabrook, Kemah, and El Lago, in addition to Houston.  Lunch is at Monument Inn, close to the San Jacinto Monument and the banks of the Houston Ship Channel.  The price of lunch is generally between $10.00 and $25.00.  You will have great views of ships going in and out of the Houston Ship Channel at lunch and at several sites on the tour.

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Houston Ship Channel Railroad Brady's Landing at the Houston Ship Channel Another View of the Ship Cnannel