Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Beachable Reaches: 5 Perennial Gulf Coast Go-tos

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge CURTESY OF SOUTH PADRE ISLAND CVB

As Texans, we’re pretty used to having our own everything here (except perhaps for a sane state government). It allows us to continue mythologizing ourselves into true rugged individuals, the only state that really has it all. Mountains? Check out the Chisos or the Davis. Forests? Dig the Davy Crockett National Forest or the Big Thicket National Preserve or pretty much everything north and east of Houston. Lakes and rivers? Too numerous to mention. Plus, our state park game is on point – we’ve got Big Bend, a national park in the southwest that’s bigger than Rhode Island for cryin’ out loud. Even the deserts are gorgeous here (shout out to Marfa, reppin’ the Chihuahuan).

One thing Texas has that not every state can claim is a coastline. And not just any coastline; one that’s 367 miles long and boasts temperate waters and mild surfs. Here in the city, as a rainy and comparatively cool late-spring/early-summer transitions into the full onslaught of the sun’s fury, it’s not a bit odd that we find ourselves daydreaming of that coastline with increasing frequency. If, like us, you’re considering making a break for the Texas coast this season, here are our top five, sure-thing destinations (listed in order from north to south, so you can calibrate for desired length of trek). With any of these five, though they may not sate your obscurity-obsessed hipster side, you can set your sails with peace of mind, knowing that you’re getting the quintessential Texas beach experience. 

Galveston

Galveston Island, along with Galveston Bay and environs, is just a quick hour away from Houston, making it perhaps the least rural of the five coastal destinations covered here. Still, Galveston boasts more than 30 miles of open (and mildly trashed on occasion) beaches, though most will require a small entrance/parking fee. Especially for those with kids, Galveston has the added bonus of its own Schlitterbahn Waterpark, a merciful option if you tire of cleaning up mountains of mucky sand after beach trips. A favorite attraction, perhaps the attraction in Galveston, is the Seawall, topped with an impressive 10.3-mile sidewalk that runs adjacent to Seawall Boulevard, a shopping, sightseeing, walking and biking hub.

What/where to eat/drink: The Seawall features many options in terms of bars and restaurants, including longtime favorite The Spot, for burgers and seafood, and Miller’s Seawall Grill, for a more specifically coastal vibe and fare. What’s nearby: Satisfy your rustic/natural desires with less than an hour’s drive to Brazoria National Wildlife Reserve for wildlife watching, hiking, hunting, fishing and a chance at some sweet photography.  

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