Galveston / Galveston Bay, Houston
Drive down 288 until you can't go anymore, through Freeport,TX there is a lovely spot of raw ocean beach. The road ends and while you drive out onto the sand it almost looks like you are driving straight into the ocean for a moment. Park and have fun away from all the tourists! Our kids have a blast here-hardly anyone around and who knew you could drive right up next to the ocean. There was a semi cab parked next to us. I have been to every ocean in the US and have never seen this, but on the other hand it is not crowded with people here and the water is warm even in October. It was fun.
If this is not your style you can drive up Seawall Blvd towards Galveston-there is plenty of places there to see the ocean and get your feet wet. It is actually a quiet ride and you get to look at all those houses on stilts on the way too.
Beaches are not resort style-don't expect this and you won't be disappointed. Warm Water, Sand,a nice breeze, and a long pier = fun.
There's a country song that goes:
I still hear your sea winds blowin'
I still see her dark eyes glowin'
She was twenty-one
When I left Galveston"- Glen Campbell
(bet you didn't know I'm a country song geek)
Anyway, this is a great place to check out. It's somewhat a resort, with pretty beaches and 19th century mansions.
Galveston is registered in the register of National Historic Places..
Plenty of resteraunts (food is great in Houston btw), shops and galleries.
Streets are lit by Gas Lamps. If you like watching old western movies or read books reffering to that era you'll love the settings here.
i went to Galveston in January, and found it extremely pleasant, even hot during the day. It's best to stay for the sunset, because the drabness of the city dissapears and all you can see are colors and lights reflecting off the ocean.
Check out my Galveston travelogue with more photographs:
Galveston waters are not "all that". You will pay over 5.00 to do a beach, so instead, you can pay 7.00 for a manmade beach/water for yourself or your family. http://www.moodygardens.com/attractions.html Hit "Palm Beach" link. It's clear fresh water surrounding by sand with sunbathing lounges for the adults. Bathrooms are clean/well maintained. Free parking and next to food and other activities... the Aquarium that has penguins, etc... Butterfly exhibit, 3D fim-rides, more. For kids, Yellow Submarine and Octopus Slide. Inside the Sub, kids will find loads of action-they'll work the periscope, divehorn, control panels, water gun and more. Soft padded foam surfaces. Specially adapted for wheelchair access. It's easy to get to by exiting earlier and signs will guide you. I go here myself when I want to get away from pools in Houston. Tip: if going to do other acitivities, do them before doing water activities.. plenty of sand and has sand volleyball area as well. Other food places are on the seawall a mile away: mapquest it.
Texas City dike is a great place to walk, bicycle or fish along Galveston Bay. It extends 5 miles into the Bay, it is huge! You get great views on Galveton Bay ship traffic, including the monster-size tankers, and on the raffineries of Texas City which make a amazing industrial landscape! There is also a natural preserve of wetlands along Texas City shore, which attracts plenty of birds.
About 40 miles (64 km) Southeast of Houston
From downtown Houston, take I-45 South, exit FM 1764 and go left to Texas City. Cross Bay Street to Texas City Dike Road.
Morgan's Point is a small promontary on Galveston Bay located where Buffalo Bayou (at this stage the Ship Channel) enters Galveston Bay, on the Southern side of the channel. It is actually pretty high (for Houston!) above Galveston Bay shoreline with a certain and noticeable drop towards the shore! This location allows for the area to be relatively windy and less hot in the summer than most places in Houston. Morgan's point proper is actually a nice place to look at huge tankers passing by, and is popular for fishing.
It was chosen at the beginning of the XXth century by wealthy Houstonian to build their fancy summer houses. There are still a few of these to be seen along Galveston Bay, just South of Morgan's Point, on Bay Ridge Road:
311 Bay Ridge Rd: 1928, built by John F. Staub
431 bay Ridge Rd:1928, built by Joseph Finger
515 Bay Ridge Rd: 1928, built by Alfred C. Finn (this picture), servants quarter on the other side of the road.
[Info from the book "Houston Architectural guide" by the American Institute Architects, Houston]
Bay Ridge road is a nice place to bicycle or walk as traffic is rare.
Galveston, Texas is only about 45 minutes south/southwest of Houston. I always enjoy getting to a coast when I have an opportunity. While Galveston beaches can't be considered spectacular, they are beaches and provide a nice complement to a visit to Houston. I would add, though, that once upon a time (before Houston ever became a major oil processing center) these beaches probably were just as spectacular as any in the world! Just something to think about...