Conroe, Texas is a vibrant city located in Montgomery County, just 40 miles north of Houston. It's a major part of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. But Conroe also has a wealth of outdoor recreation and nature right on its borders, surrounded by the Sam Houston National Forest, W. G.
Jones State Forest, and 22,000-acre Lake Conroe. The city's history began with the sawmill industry. In 1881, a Civil War Illinois Calvary captain named Isaac Conroe came to Montgomery County from Houston to establish a sawmill. To move his wood products from town to town, he built a streetcar system with wooden rails to move his wood on the I&GN railroad.
One of the most iconic buildings in Conroe is the Crighton Theater. Constructed in 1934, it was a popular theater until the mid-1960s when public interest shifted to larger screens such as drive-ins. The theater was eventually restored and is now a centerpiece of downtown Conroe and an intimate place to watch a performance during your visit. The Montgomery County Heritage Museum is another must-see destination in Conroe.
Here you can learn about the many artifacts and exhibits explained in this small museum. As you walk outside, you can see iconic objects such as an old Pegasus gas station sign that was displayed in the 1930s at a Mobil gas station and in a 1903 printing press. The William Goodrich Jones State Forest is another prime spot for birdwatching and outdoor recreation. The pine forest covers more than 1,700 acres and is home to more than 250 species of birds, many of which are specific to southern states.
The forest has 14 miles of dirt roads running through it, but visitors can access a mile-long nature trail from the main parking lot next to Farm-to-Market Road. Golfers will love Conroe's two courses: The Conroe Country Club and River Plantation Gold Club. The former is a nine-hole course designed by John Bredimus that opened in 1939 and is still a local favorite today. The latter is an 18-hole golf course designed by Jay Riviere that is open to the public seven days a week.
In addition to playing golf surrounded by century-old oak trees, you can book classes taught by PGA and LGA professionals and stay for lunch at the picturesque steakhouse with views of the course. One of the best places for outdoor recreation and water sports in the entire region is Lake Conroe. This 22,000-acre lake has 157 miles of shoreline and two publicly accessible areas with beaches and amenities such as picnic areas, barbecue grills, and restrooms. Lake Conroe Park is one of the most popular places to visit because it is located on 13 acres of land with a fishing pier and volleyball courts plus a swimming area. Fishing is also popular on Lake Conroe with oversized bass, hybrid striped fish, and catfish all waiting to be caught. As you explore downtown Conroe, be sure to look for the Conroe Legends murals on the sides of one of the buildings to see some of the local residents who have made an international impact on art and entertainment industries. The Cagle Recreation Area is another great spot for camping with 47 sites for full-service motorhomes and two camping circuits with comfortable space.
One of its most impressive features is the Remembered Whispers wind chimes collection which pays homage to 1,102 women who served as female Air Force (WASP) pilots during World War II. Finally, don't miss out on visiting Owen Theater which is nicknamed “Conroe's Little Theater” because of its intimate setting. The venue has capacity for 250 people and is perfect for an evening performance by Players Theater Company which began in 1967 and is still an important part of the Conroe art scene.