Beaches at High Island
High Island is named for the large salt dome under the area, giving a little boost to the elevation. High Island East and High Island West beaches sit on either side of the salt dome at 38 feet above sea level, the third highest point along the Gulf of Mexico. The highest point is 43 feet above sea level, and is located on Mcgloins Bluff in Ingleside-On-The-Bay, Texas.
The beaches of High Island are remote and quiet, some are nearly inaccessible by car, and are surrounded by oil pump jacks and oak trees. Nearby Crystal Beach offers more services and is a family oriented and more populated beach. Crystal Beach stretches 7 miles across the Bolivar Peninsula.
On the beach, visitors can go for a run in the sand, swim off the coast, or go surfing in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearby, visitors can see one of four bird sanctuaries managed by the Houston Audubon Society or enjoy the wildlife refuge for a nature walk. High Island, with its heavily wooded areas, is a natural refuge for migrating birds journeying their way across the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatán Peninsula up to their northern summer homes in the United States and Canada. The birds must navigate hundreds of miles over water in order to find refuge and food as they fly northward.
Smith Oaks Sanctuary, the largest of the bird sanctuaries on High Island, covers 143 acres. Visitors can see egrets, herons and roseate spoonbills while walking under 100-year-old oak trees. The Anahuac Wildlife Refuge also has several walking trails. The refuge is a layover stop for migrating birds and at times visitors can see as many as 80,000 geese stopping by on their way south. The refuge is also home to 27 species of ducks, including green-winged teals, shovelers, northern pintails, and gadwalls.
For travelers with an RV, the High Island RV Park has RV pull-in sites with sewer hookups. The RV park also has tent camping sites as well as restrooms with showers, a laundry facility, and free WiFi. Nature’s Best RV Park in Gilchrist is another favorite for RV and tent camping. Besides some Bed & Breakfast and house rental options, there are also a number of hotels and motels in Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, and Winnie.