Beaches at High Island, Texas

If you are looking for a road less traveled, High Island along the Gulf of Mexico at the southern end of Texas may be your answer. High Island, on the eastern side of Galveston Bay, is a place with a small population and remote beaches where visitors are free to swim in the Gulf of Mexico or take a nature walk through a bird sanctuary. The community is a nationally famous destination for birdwatchers, especially from April 1 to May 15, and there are four bird sanctuaries in the area operated by the Houston Audubon Society. 

The beaches and surrounding attractions in High Island are open year round and the town offers several accommodations for campers and RVs. (Pictured below: Brown pelican flying above Gulf of Mexico, Bolivar Peninsula, Texas)
Beaches at High Island, Texas

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.




Article Written By Amelia Jenkins

Amelia Jenkins has more than eight years of professional writing experience, covering financial, environmental and travel topics. Her work has appeared on MSN and various other websites and her articles have topped the best-of list for sites like Bankrate and Kipplinger. Jenkins studied English at Tarrant County College.

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