Posted by Jody on April 29, 2013
Quintana Beach County Park
My family and I recently enjoyed another lovely day trip to Quintana Beach County Park, one of our absolute favorite Texas coastal recreation areas. This 51-acre natural beachfront playground is the ultimate dog-friendly family choice in the Lone Star State. Located in Freeport, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a wonderfully scenic and a relatively quick (1 ½ hour) drive south of Houston. Quintana Beach County Park is a much more laid back alternative to the city and beaches of Galveston, which have all of the hustle and bustle you would expect from a typical seaside tourist mecca.
Quintana Beach County Park on the Upper Gulf Coast of Texas
You can feel free to bring Spot along for your day at the beach. At Quintana Beach County Park our tail-wagging companions are welcome.
“Pet Safety on the Beach” as posted at Quintana Beach County Park:
- If the sand is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Keep fresh water available for your dog, drinking salt water will make him sick.
- Use pet-friendly sunscreen on short hair, ears and nose.
- Provide shade for your dog to rest.
~All very good safety tips~ Please remember that pets need to be restrained (at this beach) at all times and, of course, picking up after Spot is a must!
Quintana Beach County Park, Texas
A while back we published a post on the many reasons to visit this lovely beach park: Quintana Beach County Park on the Texas Gulf Coast – So Many Reasons to Visit. The list includes camp sites (tents, RVs, and vacation cabins), picnic tables, modern restrooms and showers, kayaking, surfing, beachcombing, fishing… and the list goes on. Being dog-friendly simply adds one more great reason for families to plan the perfect fun-filled trip to Quintana Beach County Park!
Do you have a favorite dog-friendly beach? Please share it with us. We’d love to know!
Here are a few more helpful links:
Quintana Beach County Park
Cesar’s Tips for Your Dog’s Day at the Beach
Doggie Heaven! Muir Beach, California
Have a great day at the beach!
Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: beach, dog beach etiquette, dog friendly beach, Quintana Beach County Park, sun safety, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 6 Comments »
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 February 24, 2013
Riprap along the Galveston Seawall and beach, Texas Gulf Coast
I simply love learning about beachy things! Just a few weeks ago, I came across a new-to-me shoreline term: riprap! Riprap, riprap. Isn’t that a fun word to say? Somehow it makes me think of the nick-nack-paddy-wack song.
~So sorry for the Sunday morning earworm! Really, I am!
“What exactly is riprap?” you ask. Also known as rubble, shot rock, rock armour and often spelled rip rap or rip-rap, it’s the permanent cover of rocky material (frequently granite or limestone) used to defend shorelines and shoreline structures against erosion. On the Texas Gulf Coast you can find riprap protecting seawalls, jetties, and bridge supports. It’s designed so that the rocks absorb, deflect, and/or dissipate the impact energy of waves (think tropical storms and hurricanes). The spaces between the stones are useful in trapping and slowing the flow of water, thereby reducing its ability to wash away coastal soil and structures. Alternative rock at its best!
Riprap along the Quintana Jetty (Quintana Beach County Park in the background), Texas Gulf Coast
A closer look at the Quintana Jetty riprap
♫ With a rip-rap-paddy-wack
Waves against the stone
This old gal came strolling home! ♫
Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Weekend's Rock | Tagged: beach, Galveston Island Seawall beaches, Quintana Beach County Park, Quintana Texas jetty, Riprap, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 17 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 2, 2013
Evening Shadows at the Shore
“I could never stay long enough on the shore. The tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought, and the shells and pebbles and the seaweed with tiny living creatures attached to it never lost their fascination for me.”
~Helen Keller, The Story of My Life
Travel Theme: Shadows
Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, beach photography, shadows, Texas Gulf Coast beach, Travel Theme | 4 Comments »
Posted by Jody on January 26, 2013
The Galveston Seawall
Every beach has a history!
On September 8, 1900, Galveston (Texas) suffered a devastating blow from a powerful hurricane. The storm surge washed over the entire island, knocking buildings off their foundations and taking the lives of thousands of Galveston’s citizens.
Galveston Seawall, Galveston Island, Texas
On September 7, 1901, in an attempt to prevent future storms from causing such massive destruction and catastrophic loss of life, the Texas State Legislature approved an act providing for the construction of a seawall for Galveston’s Gulf of Mexico coastline. The initial 3.3 mile long segment of the new Galveston Seawall was completed on July 29, 1904. Standing approximately 17 feet high, the concrete barrier was engineered to be 5 feet wide on the top and 16 feet wide at its base. The outer face of the Seawall was curved to carry waves upwards. Riprap was deposited along the base of the Seawall facing the Gulf Of Mexico in order to disrupt wave action and prevent the wall’s foundation from being undercut.
After the Seawall was completed, dredged sand and slush from the seabed were pumped into the city of Galveston to raise the ground by as much as 17 feet above its previous elevation! Isn’t that amazing?
Galveston Seawall and Seawall Beach, Galveston Island, Texas
In 1977, the Galveston Seawall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, the Galveston Seawall and the regrading of the City of Galveston were jointly named a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Today, the pedestrian friendly, mural-painted Galveston Seawall runs for 10.4 miles along Galveston Island’s beautiful, sandy Gulf Coast beaches. It’s a lovely place to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beachy views!
Galveston Seawall & Grade Raise – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official Video]:
Additional reference: The 1900 Storm
Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach, Galveston Island Seawall beaches, Galveston Island Texas beaches, Galveston Seawall, history, Texas Gulf Coast beach, Travel Theme, walls | 17 Comments »
Posted by Jody on January 16, 2013
Happy Birthday, Sweetie!
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
~Dr. Seuss, “Happy Birthday to You!”
Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, beach photography, Happy Birthday, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 14 Comments »
Posted by Jody on September 21, 2012
View from the Galveston – Port Bolivar Ferry
One of our favorite activities on the Texas Gulf Coast is hitching a ride on the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry. This family friendly crossing is a wonderful opportunity to spot dolphins and see the huge freighters coming and going from the Port of Houston, the nation’s largest inland port. The laid-back, less than 3 mile trip crosses Galveston Bay in about 20 minutes.
Beach with no name on the Bolivar Peninsula, Texas Gulf Coast.
On one of our more recent ferry trips, we discovered a little beach on the Bolivar Peninsula side of the popular crossing, just right for hard-core beachcombers. We couldn’t find its name anywhere, and even the ferry attendant couldn’t tell us the name of this little strand. To this day, we haven’t been able to find any sign of this little stretch of sand on a map. To get there, you simply exit the ferry at the Bolivar Peninsula ferry landing and head to the right of the restroom building and shaded picnic ramadas. There you’ll find a narrow, well worn path through the grass to the bayside beach.
Restrooms and picnic shelters near the Bolivar Peninsula ferry landing.
This small, unnamed beach is a great beachcombing find, and if you happen to go at lunchtime, you could easily pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at one of the picnic tables before venturing out to beach-comb. It really is a great way to spend at least part of your day if you are ever in the Galveston Island area.
Beach with no name.
Here’s the scoop: we would only recommend this beachcombing jaunt to adults and older children. The area is strewn with trash and sharp broken glass (as opposed to wave-worn sea glass, though there was quite a good amount of that, too!). Also, a great many of the shells we found on the narrow beach were occupied by hermit crabs. Whatever age group you fall into, we highly recommend you wear sturdy beach shoes and carefully inspect your seashell finds.
Beach treasures collected on the no-name beach.
The ferries dock at the far northeast end of Galveston Island. Just follow Seawall Road to 2nd Street, and on to Ferry Road. Park you car at the lot near the ferry landing restrooms and stroll onto the next ferry boat. Believe me, unless you intend to keep going east on Highway 87 on the Bolivar Peninsula, you won’t want to drive on to the boat. The wait to get your car back onto the ferry on the return trip to Galveston Island is often painfully long (we once waited nearly two hours), but there is no line to speak of if you go on foot in either direction. The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry operates as a toll-free 24/7 service of the Texas Department of Transportation.
View of the ferry from the beach path.
Enjoy the ride!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Friday Finds, Seashells | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, Bolivar Peninsula Texas, Galveston -Port Bolivar Ferry, seashell collecting on Texas beaches, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 4 Comments »
Posted by Jody on June 17, 2012
Kite Flying on Bryan Beach, Texas
“Every father should remember that one day his son will
follow his example instead of his advice.”
~ Charles F. Kettering, American Engineer and Inventor
Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, Bryan Beach Texas, Father's Day, Texas Gulf Coast beach | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jody on June 6, 2012
Great Blue Heron on the Texas Gulf Coast
Great Blue Heron, Preparing for Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight
Greg, the kids, and I have had the pleasure of seeing Great Blue Herons in many different settings. It’s no wonder, since they are found throughout North America. Their range extends from Alaska to Florida, into the Caribbean and Mexico, and even farther south to northern South America. Found on saltwater coastlines, freshwater lake shores, riverbanks and creeksides, the Great Blue Heron has a diet consisting primarily of fish. Mice, lizards, insects, frogs and turtles are also on the menu.
The largest of the North American herons, Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) are wading birds, some standing up to 4½ feet tall. They strike quite a dignified pose, with their long legs, graceful necks, blade-like bills, and subtle blue gray plumage. They have a definite, bold black stripe above their eyes that extends to the back of their heads.
When in flight, they reveal two tones on the upper side of their wings, dark flight feathers with light coloring forward. Their wingspread can measure 6½ feet! In flight, their necks curl into an s-curve and their feet stick straight out behind their bodies. What a majestic sight they are!
The above photo series of a stately heron was taken from the west jetty at Quintana Beach County Park, on the upper Texas Gulf Coast. I imagine this beautiful Great Blue Heron was hoping for fish, just like the many tackle-toting visitors to the jetty!
Quintana Jetty, Quintana Beach County Park, Texas Gulf Coast
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has lots of information on the Great Blue Heron. Their website has audio recordings of the different calls, as well as a live webcam of Great Blue Herons nesting, giving us a wonderful opportunity to get even more up close and personal with these regal birds.
~ Happy beach birding! ~
Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: Ardea herodias, Brazoria County Texas beach, Great Blue Heron, Quintana Beach County Park, Quintana Texas jetty, Texas birding beach, Texas Gulf Coast beach | 3 Comments »