Posted by Jody on April 9, 2013
Surfside Jetty County Park, Texas
Surfside Jetty County Park is the perfect day-trip destination on the Texas Gulf Coast! Two of my top reasons for heading to this particular family friendly beach park are 1) the ample paved parking available right up close to the beach and 2) the well maintained permanent restrooms (both are very hard to come by on this part of the upper Texas Gulf Coast). The park offers so much more, though: a grassy lawn for flying kites and a play area for the kids to romp, covered picnic tables, a sandy beach, and a .6 mile long jetty jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico that’s just right for a leisurely stroll.
Surfside Jetty County Park on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast
The Surfside Jetty was packed with folks fishing from its protective riprap on the sunny spring day we visited, but there was always room for us to pass.
Surfside Jetty, Texas
The adjacent sandy beach is a wonderful place to beachcomb for seashells. According to the Village of Surfside Beach website, “600 known shell species found among our 27 miles of sandy beaches of Brazoria County.”
It’s also the perfect place for children of all ages to build sand castles, watch the surfers, and swim or splash in the water. *Note: No lifeguards are stationed at Surfside’s beaches.*
Beaches Full of Treasures at Surfside, Texas
Lots of families came much better prepared than we were – with camping tents, shade shelters, furnishings of all sorts, well-stocked coolers, and enough packaged food to stock a couple of small convenience stores… I do believe I’ve heard these super organized, ultra-ready people referred to as “beach contractors.” Next time, and there will definitely be a next time, we’ll come better outfitted (with own big top and plenty of provisions) to sit back, relax, and spend the whole day having fun on the sand and shore.
Beach Contractors at Surfside, Texas
Here’s a peek at some of the beach treasures we found at Surfside Jetty County Park beach!
Surfside Beach Treasures
~Oysters, Scallops, Cockles, and Ark Shells!
Have a great day at the beach!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: beach, Brazoria County Texas beach, Surfside Beach Texas, Surfside Jetty County Park, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 14 Comments »
Posted by Jody on April 2, 2013
Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)
“I am very fond of the oyster shell. It is humble and awkward and ugly. It is slate-colored and unsymmetrical. Its form is not primarily beautiful but functional. I make fun of its knobbiness. Sometimes I resent its burdens and excrescences. But its tireless adaptability and tenacity draw my astonished admiration and sometimes even my tears. And it is comfortable in its familiarity, its homeliness, like old garden gloves when have molded themselves perfectly to the shape of the hand. I do not like to put it down. I will not want to leave it.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
I simply love beachcombing for oyster shells – the knobbier, the better! Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast beaches are often loaded with these one-of-a-kind beach treasures.
Here are a few interesting Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) tidbits:
Oysters are more than a seafood delicacy! They help the environment in the following ways:
Filtering (adult oysters filter up to 2.5 gallons of water per hour, improving water quality in the process)
Providing habitat (oysters build reefs, which provide habitat for fish, shrimp, crabs, and other animals)
Controlling erosion (oyster reefs are natural breakwaters that protect shorelines) Source: SC.gov
Other names: American Oyster, Atlantic Oyster, Common Oyster, Virginia Oyster
Eastern Oysters are plentiful in shallow saltwater bays, lagoons, and estuaries, in depths from 8 to 25 feet – with water temperatures between 28 and 90 degrees F. They are native to the Atlantic shores and Gulf of Mexico coast of North America from Canada to Mexico.
Eastern Oysters range in color from a very light cream or tan to greyish/brown and from grey to black.
The Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is the official state shell of both Virginia and Mississippi.
Louisiana’s state gemstone is the cabochon (shaped and polished as opposed to faceted) cut gemstone, made from the Crassostrea virginica! Check it out: Louisiana’s State Gemstone.
~~~ Happy beachcombing! ~~~
Helpful links: Texas Parks and Wildlife, Maryland.gov
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, beach, beachcombing, Crassostrea virginica, Eastern Oyster, oyster shells, seashells | 9 Comments »
Posted by Jody on March 3, 2013
Where the rubber meets the sand…
Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana
Seeing vehicles driving on the sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico is nothing out of the ordinary. Long-Dun Beach in Cameron Parish is a fine example of a rustic beach (no facilities) on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast where beach goers happily drive right onto the sandy shoreline and proceed to pick the perfect parking spot for a day brimming with sun and fun at the beach. These drivable coastlines are treated as byways and standard rules of the road apply.
Long-Dun Beach is a lovely stretch of sand located along the 180 mile long Creole Nature Trail in far southwestern Louisiana. With 26 miles of blissful beachcombing heaven to choose from, the natural beaches of the Creole Nature Trail are perfect for finding driftwood, whelks, oysters, angel wings, and moon snails. With a little luck, you may even find a sea bean or two!
These colorful beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.
Enjoy the ride and have a great day at the beach!
This week’s Travel Theme topic is “Roads.”
More about the Creole Nature Trail and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast beaches:
A Wealth of Wildlife on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast: The Creole Nature Trail
Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, Long-Dun Beach Louisiana, Louisiana Gulf Coast beachcombing, Louisiana's Creole Nature Trail, roads, Travel Theme | 9 Comments »
Posted by Jody on February 7, 2013
Surfside Beach, Texas
The Village of Surfside Beach, Texas, is a little bitty seaside hamlet located on the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing, birding, picnicking and kayaking are just a few of the choices beachgoers have when they visit the shores of this little coastal community.
This stretch of sandy beach on the Texas Coastal Bend is already well known for its wonderful shelling. In fact, according to Surfside’s website, there are 600 known shell species that can be found along the 27 miles of Brazoria County’s beaches. Our family searched and searched for those hundreds of types of seashells and did find many a fine specimen, but, sadly, quite a few had been broken to bits by the trucks and cars that are allowed on so much of this section of Texas’s coastal beaches.
Surfside Beach, Texas
Never fear, though! All is certainly not lost. (It never is on a day at the beach!) In my book, Surfside Beach is one of the absolute best strands that I’ve ever come across for collecting sea glass!
Beach Treasures from Surfside Beach, Texas Gulf Coast
Greens and blues, pinks and browns, lettered and patterned and smooth; all types of glass in every stage of sea-tumbledness can be found on the sands of Surfside Beach. I won’t share how I think the wave-worn beach glass originates, but I will site rule #11 from the village’s Beach Rules web page, which states: “NO GLASS CONTAINERS ON THE BEACH” (all caps). *This is a great place to caution you to wear shoes on this stretch of shoreline.* The vehicle traffic that easily crushes those 600 species of seashells also breaks glass into pieces which can result in some very sharp edges. Discrimination is the key. It can be very hard for kids of all ages to resist picking every beautiful, glittering, colorful beach treasure they see, so little ones need to be closely supervised here!
Evening Picnic at Surfside Beach, Texas
Before or after you’ve filled up your buckets and bags with sea glass and shells, you may want visit Surfside Beach’s Jetty Park which runs along the Freeport Jetties. It has picnic areas, restrooms, a playground and fantastic views of the gulf and ship channel. You can walk the jetty, fish from the rocks, or simply settle in and watch the huge container ships come and go through the jetty channel.
Surfside Beach is located in Brazoria County, 15 minutes southeast of Lake Jackson, Texas where TX-332 meets TX-257 (Bluewater Highway).
Have a great day at the beach!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, Brazoria County Texas beach, collecting sea glass, Surfside Beach Texas, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 18 Comments »
Posted by Jody on February 5, 2013
Common Fig (Ficus communis)
“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world… if you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
~Bill Gates, Microsoft Co-founder
Related post: This Common Fig Doesn’t Grow on Trees
WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique
Posted in Seashells, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, Common Fig, Ficus communis, postaday, unique, Weekly Photo Challenge | 8 Comments »
Posted by Jody on February 4, 2013
Ambergris (photo by Peter Kaminski from Wikimedia Commons)
We’ve made some wonderful acquaintances here at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches. Recently, one of our favorite blogging friends, Wingclipped, at The Coastal Path shared a link with us that was quite intriguing! It seems that a Mr. Ken Wilman and his curious canine companion Madge were walking along a Lancashire beach in the North of England one day when they happened across a very smelly beach treasure on the sand. After a bit of google searching, Mr. Wilman discovered that their rock-like “floating gold” might be worth over $136,000 USD!
Wingclipped sent along this video link (which sadly refuses to be dis-embedded from the Sky News website, and therefore can not be directly posted here. Go ahead and click the link below to see the video!).
FYI: What Ken and Madge actually found is a lump of ambergris. According to Merriam-Webster.com ambergris is “a waxy substance found floating in or on the shores of tropical waters, believed to originate in the intestines of the sperm whale, and used in perfumery as a fixative.”
Score one (a really big one) for beachcombers everywhere!
~ Sending along very special thanks to Wingclipped for sharing such a fun beachcombing story. You too can follow the family travels and antics of Wingclipped, his lovely wife, and their energetic twins as they explore the coast of Britain on foot at his blog The Coastal Path. His most recent entry is entitled “40d – Entering Dungeness” (Britain’s only desert and “Europe’s largest stretch of shingle landscape”). This week’s post comes complete with a heartwarming twist!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of Great Britain and Ireland, Monday Miscellaneous, Whales and Dolphins | Tagged: ambergris, beach, beachcombing, floating gold, Lancashire beach, North of England beach | 14 Comments »
Posted by Jody on January 31, 2013
Yaquina Bay, Oregon Coast
Will you be heading to the beaches of North America’s West Coast this year? Beachcombing is one of the greatest pleasures for seashore enthusiasts, and the West Coast is well known for delighting us with a bounty of beautiful beach treasures! From driftwood to Giant Rock Scallops and sand dollars to polished agates, Mother Nature uses time, tides, and currents to provide us with the most fascinating finds.
Beachcombers in Hawaii, and from California to Alaska, might also expect to find an increased amount of ocean debris washed onto beaches over the next few years. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), due to the massive 9.0 Japanese earthquake and devastating tsunami of March, 2011, tsunami caused marine debris is already arriving on our Pacific shores. (Check out NOAA’s Tsunami Debris Sighting map.)
NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to our natural resources and coastal communities.
There is no reason to avoid beaches. Radiation experts believe it is highly unlikely any debris is radioactive, and the debris is not in a mass. Beachgoers may notice an increase in debris near-shore or on the coast, adding to the marine debris that washes up every day. The public should continue to visit and enjoy our coasts—and help keep them clean.
Tsunami Debris Watch sign posted at Yaquina Bay, Oregon
Ocean Conservancy has a wonderful website which includes an abundance of interesting and informative topics having to do with the expected arrival of tsunami debris. Subjects include:
Get straight answers to the facts and myths of tsunami debris and what we can do to help.
How can you tell tsunami debris from regular ocean trash? Our scientist has the answers.
Learn about the most common items that have been washing onto beaches in large numbers.
We always try to encourage our fellow beachcombers and shore dreamers to “know before you go!”
Tsunami Debris: Find it. Bag it. Leave it. Now we know!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Coast Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach, beach sign, beachcombing, Japanese tsunami debris, marine debris, Ocean Conservancy | 7 Comments »
Posted by Jody on January 24, 2013
Today I've decided to share an oldie but a goodie. These Rayed Cones are some of my favorite beach treasures!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, cone snail seashells, cone snails in medicine, Conidae, Conus radiatus, Rayed Cone Snails, toxic sea snails | 4 Comments »
Posted by Jody on January 18, 2013
I just received a note from Tonya who was lucky enough to be on the beaches of the Outer Banks of North Carolina last weekend. She found this very interesting looking beach treasure at Hatteras and tells me: “It was on the beach along with some other odd looking shells I never have seen.”
Tonya’s Beach Treasure from Hatteras, North Carolina
Let’s have some fun!
Can anyone identify this peculiar looking beach find for Tonya? Thank you for playing along!
Be sure to check out some of the other responses in the comment section below!
Posted in Atlantic Coast Beaches, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, Outer Banks beaches, Outer Banks North Carolina, seashells | 22 Comments »