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Old 02-07-2013, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Custer, SD
1,582 posts, read 3,109,450 times
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We are coming to visit at the end of May, and I wondered if you could recommend a good, clean beach where my daughter might actually be able to play in the water (and how do we know if we shouldn't - jellyfish are my main concern)? She has never been to the ocean, and the Gulf is going to be her first exposure. She loves to hunt shells and beach glass - we have been to the beach at Lake Michigan many times, but never to the ocean. I am looking at Galveston Island State Park as a possibility - any other suggestions?

Thanks! You guys have been great with suggestions so far!
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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The beaches near Houston/Galveston are abysmal. I sail into the Bay, and we've received notifications to wear protective footwear, so that we would limit our risk of exposing ourselves to flesh eating bacteria.

The beaches in Galveston have also suffered from erosion post-Ike. Beaches near the Seawall are kind of unimpressive, too, but it makes for a decent run since the sand isn't soft and loose. Your daughter should be able to find bits of shell and seaglass.

We have a lot of mud on our ocean floor. If you throw an anchor and then retrieve it, it's encased in this dark slimy sludge. As such, the water reflects this. Occasionally, it may look blue/blue green when you're driving to get to Galveston, but when actually get near the water near te beaches, it's shades of brown and gray. The sea water also smells, and even after I rinsed off my gear and headed back home, the stench of the sea water still lingered in my car.

If you head *far* south (Port Arthur/South Padre Island), it gets a lot better. Pretty water, decent beaches, and some surf.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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We had visitors from Australia and they wanted to see our beach. Knowing what they were used to seeing back home, we were so embarrassed to take them down there. If you have the time, take coconutbutter's advice and go to Padre.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:50 PM
 
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The water is fine....The reason we don't have blue water is due to the Mississippi River and the other rivers in Texas than run into the gulf. Galveston water is fine...wearing protective gear is extreme and not needed. Hundreds of thousands of people if not millions go to the beach here every year...

But yes. South Padres is much better than anywhere else in Texas as far as the beaches go.

With exception of the historical district, Galveston itself is a dump, think of the Jersey Shore...
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:51 PM
 
Location: League City
3,842 posts, read 8,268,773 times
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I kinda agree with the previous 3 to a lesser extent. I wouldn't call them abysmal, but I can certainly see where she is coming from. We live in Galveston county but not on the island. Go to one of the beaches where you have to pay to get in. It's rare, but I've had unpleasant encounters with bums on the free beach. I'm not talking about some dude wanting to chat or to borrow a bit of change.

Do some non-beach stuff too. Just keep alert when driving down Broadway as it's a bit grittier than the mainland. Moody Gardens is lots of fun, but they like to charge $$$ for everything. I haven't been to the new pier with amusement rides, but I hear that is a hit with kids. And there's Schlitterbahn Welcome to Schlitterbahn Galveston | Schlitterbahn Galveston . The Strand District is nice, too, but try to stay within the district itself and don't walk too far past it.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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Here is a map of all of the beaches in Galveston

http://www.galvestonparkboard.org/parks/beachaccess.pdf
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:33 PM
 
1,232 posts, read 1,902,148 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daniepwils View Post
The water is fine....The reason we don't have blue water is due to the Mississippi River and the other rivers in Texas than run into the gulf. Galveston water is fine...wearing protective gear is extreme and not needed. Hundreds of thousands of people if not millions go to the beach here every year...

But yes. South Padres is much better than anywhere else in Texas as far as the beaches go.

With exception of the historical district, Galveston itself is a dump, think of the Jersey Shore...
The Jersey Shore consists of numerous communities, with none really comparable with Galveston - - particulalry the ugly Galveston beaches.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:39 PM
 
164 posts, read 356,927 times
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I don't think wearing shoes are extreme protective gear.
And agreed about the river run off, but we have mud here. Thicky juicy sludge of mud. You can see it swirling and mixing with the water with the currents and wind hitting the water's surface.

I have capsized in my sailboat enough times, and I'm still alive. However, I know what to expect when I go sailing the Bay. For someone who has never been to an ocean and is looking at this experience eagerly for the first time, I can't help but think it will end up in disappointment.

Thousands of people also live in Pasadena, but I personally wouldn't.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:10 PM
 
98 posts, read 310,175 times
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Begin beating dead horse.


I grew up going to Cape Cod and I have spent numerous summers on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts as well as a lot of time around Delmarva beaches. I have relatives who owned a house on Sanibel Island in Florida and we would visit for spring break. I have also spent time around the Ocean Shores area in Washington Sate. Galveston beaches are nothing like the beaches in any of those places. They are affected by the long shore current from the Mississippi and, as others have said, they have a much muddier make up. They are tend to be shallow (if you have ever been to South Beach on Martha's Vineyard you walk out three feet and you are over your head). The water quality is about the same as at every other beach – sometimes it is polluted. It gets very (very) warm in the summer therefore it allows bacteria to grow. Very very rarely that bacteria will kill someone who has a compromised immune system. I suspect that air pollution in Houston causes far more deaths each year, yet people continue to breathe it. Regardless, you will be down in May when such bacteria is less likely to be present.


Galveston has a lot of history. Parts of it are somewhat rundown. It is also industrial. The Texas coast for the most part is a working coast. Assuming where you have been at in Lake Michgan is like the parts of Lake Erie that I have been to, this will not shock you.


End beating dead horse.


Now to answer your question. Go to Stewart beach. The state park is nice, but they don't remove seaweed or clean it. It's probably better for hunting sea shells. Stewart beach has showers. It has lifeguards and chairs you can rent. If there are jelly fish they will put up yellow flags warning you that sea life is present. I would suggest going in the water yourself. You will know if they are around. I have been stung many many times (water skiing in the Chesapeake Bay in particular), and while it is not pleasant it is no worse than a fire ant bite. Honestly, and not to scare you, I am far more afraid of stepping on a stingray. I also wade fish and I have encountered them in Galveston Bay a lot. After you go to the beach check out the Strand District. Take your daughter to La Kings Confectionery for some ice cream.


Also, Galveston is nothing (absolutely nothing) like the Jersey Shore. Also, the Jersey Shore is not a monolithic community; Avalon is not Seaside is not Wildwood.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:23 PM
 
148 posts, read 403,170 times
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If you want to get away from the crowds take the ferry over to the bolivar side, drive about 20 minutes and take any right. You can drive right up to the beach and there are lots of shells over there, even hermit crabs. If it's during the week you have the beach practically to yourself. The beaches in Galveston have actually gotten better since Ike. New sand was brought in so the beaches are alot cleaner. There's places along the seawall where the beaches aren't bad but they can get packed during the summer. The flesh eating bacteria is more of a concern for anyone in the bay where the water is hotter.

Here's a few pics from the Bolivar side:


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