Merely a short ferry ride northward from Galveston, Texas lies the natural splendor of Crystal Beach and the Bolivar Peninsula. Enjoy an unforgettable getaway by booking a stay at one of many gorgeous Crystal Beach vacation rentals. Explore miles of sandy and rocky beaches, as well as the expansive Anahuac Wildlife Refuge just to the north. When you need a break from nature, explore the peninsula’s attractions or make a short trip to Galveston to experience all that the quaint city has to offer. For an even greater change of pace, the countless cultural and dining amenities of Houston—a mere 90-minute drive away—are worth a visit. That said, here are several must-visit points of attractions in and around the peninsula.
1. Crystal Beach
Unwind with your family with a vacation rental right on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Lengthy beaches make it easy to find a solitary spot for your family to splash in the waves and enjoy the summer sun. After a long day at the beach, meander up to one of the restaurants, such as Ocean Grille Restaurant or Tiki Beach Bar and Grill on Highway 87 for dinner.
2. Crystal Beach
If spending your entire vacation lounging at the beach, isn’t your family’s style, consider a vacation rental away from the beach. The Bolivar Peninsula is fairly narrow, so you’re never truly far from the ocean, but the inland area of Crystal Beach provides quick access to Highway 87, as well as boat ramps along the protected waterway separating the peninsula from Goat Island. For a break from the ocean, check out Fun Spot Waterslide, which offers thrills for your entire family, or enjoys a waterfront view while dining at Stingaree Restaurant.
3. Southwest Bolivar Peninsula
Southwest of Crystal Beach the Bolivar Peninsula reaches an end. Thankfully, that just means you’re near the ferry to Galveston, so you can pop over to the city for an afternoon and be back at your rental to watch the sunset from your porch. The south end of the peninsula also boasts an old lighthouse built in 1872 that makes a great backdrop for family vacation pictures. While waiting for the ferry, grab some local seafood at Joe’s Bait and Crabs.
4. Northeast Bolivar Peninsula
Northeast of Crystal Beach, you’ll find large vacation rental homes ideal for bringing along the extended family for a beach holiday. The peninsula narrows in this area, so you can explore both sides of the strip. The bird watchers in your family can spot seabirds, as well as feathered friends at home in marshes and one of the many small lakes. There’s a little more privacy here, but you’re still just minutes from the restaurants and shops in Crystal Beach.
If your vacation plans include exploring Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, consider staying Caplen, which lies where the peninsula connects to the mainland. The refuge is home to a wide range of birds, as well as miles of meandering bayous that are home to alligators and other large wildlife. If you don’t feel like cooking dinner at your vacation home, stroll over to Fantasea BBQ and Grill for some good Southern barbecue.
Just a short ferry ride south of the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston bursts with activities for the entire family. Tour the bay by boat with Galveston Harbor Tours, or soak up some local history at the Galveston Railroad Museum or Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. Enjoy a carnival-like atmosphere at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, which features games and rides. While exploring downtown, don’t forget to snap a picture with one of the Moody Gardens pyramids as a backdrop. Then head inside the gardens to enjoy a day of family fun at the aquarium, IMAX theater, white sand beach, and rainforest. The city offers dining and shopping opportunities to appeal to every member of your family, while rental options run from beach front homes to minimalist rooms with city views.
7. Jamaica Beach
Jamaica Beach is on the south side of Galveston and features a long rocky beach ideal for sunset strolls. Satiate your kids need for water fun at the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, which has slides, endless rivers, water coasters, and a wave pool. The adults in your group can slip away for a quick round at the Moody Gardens Golf Course.
A few minutes north of Galveston, the town of Kemah offers vacation rentals on the shores of Trinity Bay ranging from condo rooms to homes. Take the family to the Kemah Boardwalk for a day of roller coasters, treats, and games.
9. Anahuac – Double Bayou
Settle in on the north shore of Trinity Bay with a vacation rental near Anahuac or Double Bayou. In addition to the bay, the area provides quick access to Anahuac Lake. The area is ideal for family’s looking for a private place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature. It’s an ideal spot for day trips to the beaches of the Bolivar Peninsula, the boardwalk fun of Kemah, and the city adventures of Houston, all of which are within an hour’s drive.
10. Port Arthur
About an hour north of Crystal Beach, Port Arthur makes an ideal gateway to exploring the McFaddin and Sabine National Wildlife Refuges. The small city sits on the border of Texas and Louisiana, ideal for nature-inspired families that want to explore the bayous of both states. Dine on some of the local Cajun cuisines, then explore the Museum of the Gulf Coast or the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park to learn about the area’s past. For a change of pace visit the Buu Mon Buddhist Temple, or enjoy a family game at the MaxBowl bowling alley.