Highlands is a census-designated place (CDP) located along the Union Pacific Railroad, north of Interstate 10, and west of Farm to Market Road 2100 in an industrialized area of unincorporated Harris County, Texas, United States. The population was 7,089 at the 2000 census. Highlands is the hometown of T.J. Ford, Robert Francois, Justin Smith, Billy Gross, Brandon Sweeney, Robert Dixon, Kamran Majeed, Keely Walker, Tommy Morris, Corey Gibson, Rex Meadows, Laura Wright, Zach Brackin, Sean Matula, and Jonathan Abston.
The community was named Highlands because the east bank of the San Jacinto River, where Highlands is located, has a higher elevation than the west bank of the river. By 1908 Highlands became a station on the Beaumont, Sour Lake and Western Railway. A post office opened in 1929. Highlands incorporated in 1930; its charter was voided, leaving Highlands as unincorporated again. In the 1930s Highlands had 20 businesses and its population decreased from 350 to 200. The 1936 Harris County highway map indicated two churches, a factory, a school, and a sawmill in Highlands. Highlands housed military members and war plant personnel during World War II. By 1948 Highlands had 3,000 residents and 75 businesses. In the 1950s local business decreased and the population decreased to 2,723. A 1956 attempt for Highlands to incorporate did not pass. In the 1960s Highlands had a canning sales company and an industrial chemical company. In the early 1960s Highlands had 4,336 residents and 82 businesses. In 1965 W. O. Hutson built the Double Trouble Youth Rodeo Arena. In the early 1970s Highlands had 3,462 residents and 66 businesses. By 1977 Highlands had 5,000 residents; in 1989 Highlands reported the same population. In 1990 Highlands had an estimated population of 6,632.
Highlands is located at 29°49?0?N 95°3?34?W / 29.816667°N 95.05944°W / 29.816667; -95.05944 (29.816803, -95.059362).