Popular for off-shore and surf fishing; Texas fishing license required
Inviting waters for safe swimming; be mindful of conditions as there are no lifeguards on duty
Leashed pets are welcome year-round
Swimming, Fishing, Seacombing, Relaxing
Free to visit
Parking on the beach; parking pass for the year is $5 if purchased in January or February and $10 if purchased during any other month
Port Aransas Beach
Boca Chica Beach
Crystal Beach is a beach community on the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. The beach itself is one of the most relaxing beaches in Texas. Meanwhile, the town has various activities to enjoy.
This guide will share all things Crystal Beach, including its history, attractions, what the beach is like, and more. It's easy to enjoy a vacation here with so much to see and do. No wonder it's known as one of Texas' best hidden gems!
The 15-minute ferry ride from the mainland is well worth it. Once you arrive, you'll find over 7 miles of white sands, blue waters, and beautiful views that offer an unmatched peaceful beach getaway!
Crystal Beach was settled around 1902. At the time, its name was Patton Beach, which was also a railroad station.
By the 1940s, the railroad station was gone, and the community renamed itself 'Crystal Beach.'' It became an incorporated town in the 1970s, but this status went back and forth for two decades.
In 1990, the town was incorporated within Galveston county and still remains that way. Crystal Beach was home to one bank, hotel, and supermarket many years ago. Most of Bolivar Peninsula's real estate agencies were also in the area.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike swept through and left the town in devastation. Since then, the locals have come together to rebuild their town.
Today, Crystal Beach is a thriving area of locals who enjoy welcoming travelers, especially those that love bird watching. Most people thank Crystal Beach's quiet atmosphere for its large, diverse species of birds. The beach town has also recently become a hub for delicious restaurants with some of the best food in the area.
How to Get There
You'll take the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry to get to this beautiful beach. The ride is free of charge and offers scenic views, including sightings of dolphins and other ships. It takes about 20 minutes from the terminal located at the east end of Galveston to the Port Bolivar side ferry landing.
You can leave your car at the landing or take what it on the ferry. Crystal Beach is about 11 miles northeast when you arrive on the Bolivar Peninsula.
Where to Stay
We recommend spending at least a night in the area, if not longer! And, there are many charming accommodations around Crystal Beach. The town is a real estate hub, making it easy to find a vacation rental to fit your needs. There are also opportunities for camping.
If you're interested in camping, Beachside and Lazy Pelican offer RV sites. You can also drive on the beach and vehicle or tent camp anywhere along the coast of the Bolivar Peninsula. If you go this route, you'll need to secure the yearly parking permit for a small fee at The Big Store.
There are many activities to do when visiting Crystal Beach, but the area is most known for its local wildlife and beautiful beaches. Whether you're visiting solo, with friends, or with family, there's something for everyone!
Of course, the Gulf Coast shore itself is the main attraction. Enjoy this pristine beach with family, friends, or alone. There's something for everyone!
Crystal Beach is the perfect getaway for beachgoers who are looking to relax. You can also enjoy swimming, fishing, hunting for seashells, and even renting golf carts to ride along the shore. For a real treat, stick around for a beautiful sunset!
Camping is another popular activity on the beach because there's so much space, and you can also drive on the sand.
Crystal Beach Community Golf
Take a break from the ocean and take a short drive to the golf course. Enjoy playing a full eighteen holes or a quick nine while soaking in the sunshine.
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
If you're interested in taking a day trip from Crystal Beach during your trip, we highly recommend checking out Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. It's about 35 miles away and well worth a visit. It's a great place to hang out with local flora and animals.
At the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, you can go fishing, boating, birding, and biking. And, be sure you have your camera ready!
Point Bolivar Lighthouse
About 10 miles southeast of Crystal Beach is the historic Point Bolivar Lighthouse. It's a great photo op and has a unique history. We recommend visiting it when you arrive on the Bolivar Peninsula or right before you leave since it's a quick stop.
If you're a foodie, you're in luck! Crystal Beach has some of the best restaurants for Bolivar Peninsula guests. Enjoy fresh seafood and other local far.
Here are some of our favorite restaurants in the area:
- Stingaree Restaurant: laidback seafood restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating
- Steve's Landing Restaurant: casual beachfront spot with seafood and steak
- Jose's Cantina: delicious Mexican food and live music
One of the most exciting activities for anyone on Crystal Beach (including kids!) is the annual Texas Crab Festival. Enjoy a Crab Gumbo Cook-Off, carnival rides, coastal arts and crafts, and the certified Texas Crab Festival 5K run.
It typically runs the first weekend of May. Check dates here.