Galveston County and the Bolivar Peninsula – the part of Southeast Texas that United Country Real Estate | Texas Beaches Realty calls home – holds a lot of appeal, and for an interesting mix of reasons.
There’s Galveston’s (the city’s) place as a leader in Texas’ history with its many “firsts.” Then there’s the county’s horse culture, as big here as anywhere else statewide. And let’s not forget the beautiful beaches — perfect for vacationers as well as ideal spots to retire.
Let’s take a closer look at why this area along Texas’ Gulf Coast is such a draw for residents and visitors alike.
Crystal Beach, Galveston and surrounding areas in Southeast Texas have been blessed with a booming economy, enriching culture and incomparable scenery for centuries. These stunning locations along Texas’ Gulf Coast have long attracted people from all over.
Once, on the same shores where today we enjoy fishing and beach recreation, pirates and explorers made their mark. The Karankawa tribe inhabited this land for centuries until it was later settled by the Spanish. In 1786, a Spanish surveyor arrived and named the island Galveston after his governor, Bernardo de Galvez. Later, French pirates used the area as a base; it’s rumored their treasure is still buried here.
The San Jacinto Monument and Museum just off Burnet Bay is a major part of history, as it marks a battle for Texan independence. It addresses key events in a timeline from 1821, to Texas becoming a Republic in 1837, and later joining the United States in 1845.
During this time, Galveston was incorporated in 1839 and soon became the most active port west of New Orleans and the largest city in Texas. Galveston was known as a “city of firsts,” boasting the state’s first post office, opera house, hospital, golf course and more. Centuries-old structures such as the Ashbel Smith Building and St. Mary Cathedral Basilica still stand today against the city skyline.
As the Gulf of Mexico and the many bays create the unique landscape of Texas’ Bolivar Peninsula, you’ll find some great beaches here. Whether strolling under the sun, dipping your toes into the sand and surf, or taking on more adventurous activities, these beaches are ideal for all kinds of outdoor fun.
The 150-acre Bolivar Beach Club in Crystal Beach is the hot spot for everything from daily events, to holiday celebrations and concerts, games and recreation, and more. There’s even a deluxe RV resort on site. Make sure to check out the nearby Bolivar Lighthouse, one-of-a-kind, historic and a must-see.
A scenic ferry ride from Port Bolivar to Galveston Island is a fantastic way to appreciate the views of the bay. Once in Galveston, the beach options seem endless. East Beach is popular with adults and has a party vibe, while Stewart Beach is more about calm waters, families and volleyball courts. Babe’s Beach features its historic seawall, and good shops and restaurants nearby. And the similarly-named Pocket Park 1 and Pocket Park 2 beaches are less touristy, more serene, and in spots you can park right in the sand.
If you’re an angler, one of the best locations for flounder, black drum and redfish is at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island. But there are so many other great fishing spots, from shore, off a pier or out in deep water. Waterfowl hunters and wildlife enthusiasts will want to see the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, 37,000 acres of marshes, forest and lots of trails.
Birding is a big deal across Galveston County, with places such as Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary, and the Horseshoe Marsh and Bolivar Flats sanctuaries standing out. But if you want the variety of swimming, fishing, hiking, paddling and more … it’s all happening at Galveston Island State Park.
With all the dazzling beaches and scenic skyline, it’s no surprise tourists from around the world find themselves attracted to Southeast Texas. But it’s not entirely about the beaches. The region has plenty of other sights and adventures to explore.
One of Galveston’s most noteworthy attractions is Moody Gardens, with eye-opening pyramids that house a rainforest exhibit and impressive aquarium. The iconic destination also offers theatres, a luxury spa and a golf course. Head 25 miles north to the Kemah Boardwalk for more family fun, with restaurants, rides and other amusements. You can even feed the stingrays!
For those who love the water but not so much the beach, consider the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Grab a season pass or visit for the day, riding heart-pounding slides or taking it easy at the heated pool with swim-up bar.
Finally, while water sports and beach goers make up a significant part of the culture here, the love of horses and equine activities cannot be overlooked. You’ll notice horse boarding facilities, stables offering horseback riding adventures, and various equestrian events throughout Crystal Beach, Galveston and surrounding Texas towns. The Bayview Equestrian Center is one popular place that offers all this and more, including horse sales.
Sources: GalvestonCountyTx.gov; DiscoverBolivar.com; TourTexas.com; Galveston.com; CrytalBeach.com; SanJacinto-Museum.org; Fws.gov; Tpwd.Texas.gov; BayviewEquestrian.com; MoodyGardens.com; BolivarBeachClub.com; En.Wikipedia.org