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"The Beach of My Youth" Galveston by bocmaxima

Galveston Travel Guide: 319 reviews and 702 photos

Texas' Bathtub

In the summers when I was young, we would frequent the beaches at Galveston. We'd drive down from the suburbs and spend roughly the full day at one of the less crowded and alcohol-free "pocket parks" on the western part of the island. We'd swim in the bathtub-like waters, soak in the sun and just enjoy the beach.
In 1997, we spent Christmas here at a beach house. Winter is an interesting time at Galveston because of the stretches of gray, cold days you get and the emptiness of everything, as everyone's left for the season. This left a mark on me though, and there's something very comforting and nostalgic now about Galveston on a cold, gray winter day.

What's Below the Surface

As a kid, I guess the real dangers of the Gulf didn't really enter into my mind. Now I realize that you actually need to watch yourself there.

There are certain times of the year when the beaches are lined with dead jellyfish and Portuguese manowars, both of which are common in this part of the Gulf. Additionally, there is the jellyfish breeding season, when it's best to stay out of the water entirely.
Occasionally, there will also be what's referred to as "red tide," which results in a massive fish kill but is regarded as being safe for people (it affects the respiratory system of the fish). After a red tide, the beach is lined with dead fish and smells terribly. Galveston generally keeps the beaches clean at this time so that tourists aren't too grossed out by it.
Then there are the stingrays. You generally have to shuffle your feet as you walk in the Gulf because there's no way you'll see them, but you want to let them know you're coming because you don't want to step on one. A stingrays barb in your foot will ruin your day, if not your month.

The waters off the Texas coast are murky though, particularly at Galveston, which is perched unfortunately at the head of a busy ship channel, resulting in a high amount of sediment in the water. But, still, it's a beach.

The City

The city of Galveston itself is full of history and an interesting place to spend your time, even off of the beach. There's the Strand, the mansions along Broadway, and the museum memorializing the 1900 hurricane (still the most deadly natural disaster in US history).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Laid-back town, lots to see and do, historical
  • Cons:Dirty water, in Texas
  • In a nutshell:The best beach in the Houston region
  • Last visit to Galveston: Dec 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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