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Old 03-11-2013, 01:55 PM
 
43 posts, read 207,678 times
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Hi All,

Still doing preliminary research to find the perfect spot for my family. We're in the Pacific Northwest and are very ready for some warmth and sunshine. Seabrook, Tx would appear at a glance to meet some of our criteria, wondered if some locals could comment.

Criteria:

1. Safe/ low-crime
2. Good schools/ good family town
3. Close to sailing and nautical heritage
4. Reasonably warm and sunny
5. Better cost of living than PNW
6. Good business climate, as we own our own business.

A couple of specific questions about Seabrook:

A. Does it feel like a small town, or more like a busy Houston suburb?
B. Are there "bad" neighborhoods (as related to crime)?
C. Is there a "downtown" with shops and restaurants?


Thanks for any feedback!

Last edited by kidseven; 03-11-2013 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:30 PM
 
Location: League City
3,482 posts, read 6,754,410 times
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We live a few miles away in League City. The only thing I would worry about in Seabrook is flooding, and that depends on where you live in Seabrook. It's a good area. Boating is not a problem - skim this: http://www.vacationfun.com/ebrochure...ure/print.html The schools are some of the better schools in the metro. There is no real 'bad' part of town in the whole Clear Lake area (which encompasses Seabrook) - the worst areas are older apt complexes (some do have a reputation) but nothing like what you can find in the city of Houston. That may change years from now, but relative to the city, this whole area is lower crime. You still need to lock your doors, but it's pretty laid back.

Most of Seabrook feels suburban (new suburban development + highway 146 can get a lot of traffic), but it is pleasant as a whole. There is one residential area near the water where there is a sprinkling of B&B's, shops, and a restaurant or two. Also near this is the Seabrook waterfront district which sits directly opposite from the tourist trap Kemah Boardwalk. I haven't been there in a few years, but the Seabrook side used to have several fresh fish markets and a few local restaurants whereas the Kemah side had lots of tourist shops and chain restaurants. All in all it's a pleasant area.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Clear Lake Area
2,076 posts, read 3,960,965 times
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I live in Seabrook (been here almost 5 years), so I'll try and answer these:

A. Does it feel like a small town, or more like a busy Houston suburb?

Yes and no. Seabrook has some small town feel with regards to some of the programs and events the city puts on. However, as you drive around the Clear Lake Area, you don't really get the impression of distinct towns, rather they all feel like one big suburb.

B. Are there "bad" neighborhoods (as related to crime)?

Not really. There are some apartment areas around Nasa Pkwy and Repsdorph that aren't the greatest (but what apartments are?), but I wouldn't call them high crime. Seabrook is divided by 146, on the east near the water is "old" Seabrook... mostly smaller, older homes. On the west is "new" Seabrook with newer homes... everything from $150k's up to a $1 mil +.

C. Is there a "downtown" with shops and restaurants?

No downtown area, but the Kemah boardwalk is just over the bridge with plenty of unique shops that may have the feel you're looking for.

Overall, Seabrook is a great family town. Good schools, friendly neighborhoods, near the water.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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Thanks Daniel and Lost for the great feedback. Obviously we need to come see the area for ourselves eventually.

Are you aware of any smaller towns a little further from the city that meet many of the same criteria? We don't need to be near a city, but we don't want to be in the middle of nowhere either, in terms of culture, schools, etc. And we definitely need to be close to the water and sailing.

Sounds like Seabrook or Kemah could work, but maybe it's more suburban then we'd prefer.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
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I lived in Kemah for some time and loved it. Just over the big bridge was Seabrook where you can find any kind of food restaurant your little heart desires. I loved Seabrook too. Under the big bridge on both sides are all the fresh seafood markets where it's brought in each morning for market. I read there are more boats registered in Seabrook then any other city in the world. From top of that big bridge you won't doubt that claim.

Kemah Boardwalk is indeed a tourist trap like others said but it's something fun to do if you have all those kids. Everything is expensive there but you can do a budget day being careful.

You didn't say where you'll be working. If it's downtown then be prepared for well over an hour commute to take a 15 minute drive. You don't want to do it. If you're working close by then I can think of very few places I'd rather live. I miss that area a lot.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:42 PM
 
Location: League City
3,482 posts, read 6,754,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidseven View Post
Thanks Daniel and Lost for the great feedback. Obviously we need to come see the area for ourselves eventually.

Are you aware of any smaller towns a little further from the city that meet many of the same criteria? We don't need to be near a city, but we don't want to be in the middle of nowhere either, in terms of culture, schools, etc. And we definitely need to be close to the water and sailing.

Sounds like Seabrook or Kemah could work, but maybe it's more suburban then we'd prefer.
Friendswood meets all your criteria but doesn't really have a downtown district like you seek. Most of it really feels like a small town. And there is a strong sense of community. My better half is part of the friendswood chamber of commerce and they purposefully limit growth in favor of local business whereas League City is exploding. It's probably a15-20 minute drive to the boating areas of Clear Lake and Kemah.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:16 AM
 
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I´ve lived in both places in PNW and Seabrook.

If I were you I would not live in Seabrook, it is just south of a chain of chemical plants that always have emergency emissions and could care less about the people living around there until the Feds get involved. I´m a commercial fisherman and that area is notorious for being a bit more sludgy and contaminated than just a further south in Kemah. That entire coastal area north of Kemah is a cancer cluster and the state regs do all they can to cover it up. The waterways DO NOT compare to PNW. people around the area don´t know any better.

For your other questions

Seabrook-Clear Lake feels like a busy suburb, it´s not small town at all. The traffic can get incredibly bad and Houston drivers are some of the worst.

The schools in that area are also sub-par for being in clear lake, and the school district as a whole is hurting for money thanks to state shortfalls. Clear lake just finished a massive new education village construction project, go figure.

There are better teachers and more public school dollars for teachers in surrounding areas. The bottom line in that entire area if it wasn´t for all the decent parents around picking up the slack, the schools would be low performers. There are going to be a lot of people with heads in their sand about it because of NASA and the money around there, but it isn´t that great to someone who has been elsewhere.

If you want a small town pace, try Galveston and send your kids to private school or Friendswood. Be aware the Public Schools up there do not compare to the schools down here in their current state. Galveston does have a downtown area.

As someone mentioned, Friendswood sounds like a better fit and is a short commute to the water. The schools are also better than Clear Lake. I´ve hired students from both districts during summers and it is my experience that Friendswood kids seem to be more well-rounded and knowledgeable.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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Galveston isnt exactly a desirable place to live. It's okay to visit but living there is sketchy.

Last edited by texas7; 03-12-2013 at 12:28 PM..
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:29 AM
 
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Thanks everyone.

Baddoctor,

I appreciate your feedback. I saw a little bit of that—the chemical plants and industrialization of the coast—on my last trip to Texas. In some ways it seems like what we're looking for doesn't exist in Texas (or many other places for that matter). I have felt like Galveston fits our aesthetic better than other places I've researched, but people come down on it pretty hard in terms of crime and grime—and the statistics don't help much. Hard to leave this nearly crime-free town we live in now to go somewhere that's at all sketchy.

The other spot we're researching is the North Carolina coast. In many ways it seems like a much better fit, but having been born and raised out west, NC feels like a long way from home and I worry that it would be a bigger culture shock than Texas.

Appreciate the comments and suggestions.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Wexford PA / Clear Lake TX
8,271 posts, read 27,430,230 times
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Maybe look a bit further up in Clear Lake City on the edge of the Houston city limits, namely the neighborhoods zoned to Clear Lake HS. It's one of the top rated schools in the Houston area, pretty close to Friendswood HS in rank. Traffic isn't going to be nearly as bad as it can be in Seabrook/Kemah, and most of the time there isn't really any. Not compared to deeper into Houston anyway. And you're still close to the water but not too close. You didn't mention a budget.

Seabrook itself is a good place to eat and drink between NASA and Kemah but I wouldn't live there. Chemical plants are too close for comfort, but at least the prevailing wind blows things northward. I know they expanded Hwy 146- haven't been out there in a year to see what it did to the upper-middle neighborhoods nearby. Also from El Jardin to (esp) Bacliff has a bit of a klannish/outlaw element and IIRC those kids are going to that new school complex baddoctor mentioned. Used to be Seabrook was zoned to Clear Lake HS, so IMO that's a huge step down for them.

I think you'll have to set a budget (considering tax & expensive insurances) and make a visit. In this region everything organically grew so there are a lot of very different areas that sit side by side.
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