Our family just returned from a vacation to Crystal Beach, on Texas' Bolivar Peninsula- have you been there? It's a laid-back community with more of a lake-town feel than a vacation hot spot. While you're there, you'll soon notice the locals equal the tourists, and while all the stores carry the obligatory sunscreen and floaties, home-owned businesses far outweigh souvenier shops.
Our Texas Flamingo ;)
This is the third year our family has visited Crystal Beach as a group. We've had such a good time splashing in the water all day, and then heading, exhausted, back to the beach house together.
Admittedly, our gulf coast can be more like waves in a mud puddle than a Caribbean lagoon, but Texans love our beaches, just the same. Salt air and the sounds of the ocean are beautiful, everywhere, and Texas beaches are no exception.
Shell beds are a great place to search for sea glass
The Bolivar Peninsula is known for excellent Sea Glass and Shark's teeth hunting, and we get a little carried away every year searching for them. It's amazing how many beautiful pieces of glass we've come home with each year. Shark's teeth have been fairly elusive to us, so far, but we're not giving up. :) Also, kids will enjoy the hermit crabs along the beach- too cute!
Any trip to the coast should involve good seafood, and the Bolivar Peninsula offers so many good choices. Watch boats pass while you dine at both the Stingaree and Steve's Landing. You'll love the fresh decor at Steve's Landing (try the shrimp tacos!) The Stingaree is an old favorite that has a well-deserved reputation for good seafood. My family loves their fish.
View of the barges from restaurant deck
Oceans Grill sits on the main road in a new shopping center in town, and quickly became a family favorite, too. Besides their seafood, we took advantage of their pizza takeout on more than one occasion. They also have a nice gift shop and close proximity to the local visitor's center and a handy dollar store.
Cars are allowed on the beach here with a permit. Most of the beach houses ( we've used Re/Max and Swedes for our rentals) seem to be in easy walking distance to the water. We like to rent a golf cart from Texas Custom Carts to make quick trips back and forth to the house a little easier.
One more favorite: if you go, be sure to stop at The Big Store. Besides being the go-to spot for groceries, it's just pretty amazing and entertaining. Be sure to get a coconut popsicle in the check-out line.