If you’re looking for a beach town in Texas where you won’t have to fight the traffic to get to the beach, check out Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula! A small town vibe welcomes you, just minutes from Galveston on the FREE Bolivar ferry, with enough local flavor to remind you this is real Texas.
1. Point Bolivar Lighthouse While you can’t visit the Point Bolivar Lighthouse, because it is privately owned and no longer functional, you can find it and take a few pictures from a distance.
2. Fun Spot Waterslide So, this isn’t Schlitterbahn, but it is a fun, simple way to cool off on a hot summer day! We love it!
3. Drive all 27 miles along the beach on Old Hwy 87 You’ll need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to drive the now abandoned highway, but it’s unpredictable and sometimes you’ll see a big RV boondocking on the sand! It’s long been on our bucket list to make the drive the whole way, where you never know what you might see! There’s great shelling, and it wouldn’t hurt to take a trash bag to do a little beach clean-up either! Be warned, you might see a few nudist further down from High Island, who like to frequent the beach here! Camping on the beach is FREE!
4. Beachcombing Beachcombers on Crystal Beach are often rewarded by finding shells, shark teeth and occasionally arrowheads that have flowed down the rivers.
5. Fishing We love the fishing on Bolivar, both in the surf and off the North Jetty. Wear good shoes on the jettys, because it’s broken in places. Kids will love crabbing along the jettys and in the little tide pools!
6. Yearly Beach Parking Permit If you’re parking on the beach, in either a car, truck or golf cart, it will need to have a Beach Parking Permit. It’s good for a year and expires Dec. 31st. If you rent a golf cart, it should come with a permit. It’s $10 and you can purchase at most of the store and the Chamber of Commerce.
7. Texas Crab Festival The second weekend of May, it’s always a fun time for everyone, with live music, entertainment and tons of food!
8. Fireworks on the beach As long as there isn’t a burn ban, it’s legal to shoot off fireworks on the beach. The city will also do a big show on July 4th and New Year’s Eve. Just be aware, they will shoot them off all night long!
9. Spend an evening at Stingaree Worth the drive from Galveston, it’s our favorite restaurant for miles! Watch for dolphins in the ship’s wakes, and it’s always fun to see the catches that the boats bring in!
10. Camp on the beach Aside from your beach parking permit, it’s FREE to camp on the beach! It’s primitive, with no facilities at all. You won’t find a lot of quiet here on holiday and special event weekends, so be warned, but it’s a long beach!
11. Rent a golf cart Texas Custom Carts offers fun golf cart rentals to drive to the beach and around town!
12. Check out Crystal Beach Cabanas Not located on the beach but one of the little lakes on the peninsula, these cute cabanas are great for families and couples!
13. Ride the Bolivar Ferry The FREE ferry from Galveston to Bolivar is a fun way to spot dolphins playing in the bay! Park your car and just walk on for a quick ride! Here’s a great tip, plan your ferry trip around non-peak times if you’re driving, when waits are less. A sign gives you approximate wait times.
14. Kites and Flags Unlimited, 1815 Hwy 87 Take advantage of the Gulf Breeze and fly a kite!
15. Latitude 29.2 Surf Shop This fun surf shop has t-shirts and beach apparel, as well as beach toys and they rent surf boards!
16. The Ranch Community Golf Course You’ll love this little 9-hole golf course, where it’s BYOB and even your pet is welcome!
17. The Gulf Range A family hangout, they have a fun miniature golf course, games and a grill for a full afternoon or evening of fun!
18. Tour the Fort Travis bunkers during the Jane Long Festival each October Established in 1836 to defend the Galveston port, Fort Travis has housed both soldiers during WW I and WW II, as well as an internment camp for several German prisoners during WW II. The park is open year round.
19. Rent a Beach House While you won’t find a lot of hotels and resorts on Bolivar, there are tons of beautiful beach houses, and more affordable than on other places along the Texas coast! Street’s Retreat is a 4 bedroom, 4 bath home that sleeps 12! Check VRBO for many, many more listings!
20. Get some fish tacos from Hardheads Icehouse and Grill This fun, family-friendly restaurant and bar offers plenty of laid-back beach vibe!
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