Located between Galveston and Houston, Bay Area Houston is a treasure trove of fun, shopping, history and adventure. Just a short drive north from Galveston Island, the Bay Area – known as the “Boating Capital of Texas” – is close enough to Bolivar Peninsula for a number of great day-trip excursions.
On the trip up I-45 to the Bay Area, you may want to swing in Tanger Outlets for outlet mall shopping with a coastal vibe. And it may seem strange to recommend a truck stop as a destination, but the Buckees in Texas City is well-worth a visit just for the Texas Coast-centric souvenirs, fresh beef jerky alone.
The city of Kemah, named for the Karankawa indian word meaning “wind in my face”, holds plenty of in-your-face fun these days as home to the exciting Kemah Boardwalk. With waterfront amusement park rides, seafood restaurants, shopping and boardwalk attractions, it’s a must-see if you’re visiting the area. Take in a gorgeous sunset off the boardwalk as yachts, party boats and other watercraft cruise in and out of the harbor. Unwind to some great local music in the courtyard while the kids play in the dancing water fountain or browse the quaint coastal shops of the nearby Lighthouse District.
Another one-of-a kind Bay Area attraction is the incredible Space Center Houston - the official visitors center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The center offers a multitude of artifacts and history from our explorations into space, including hands-on exhibits, mission simulations and high-def theatre experiences. There’s even an interactive replica Space Shuttle for you to explore. Take a behind-the-scenes journey on the NASA Tram tour bus to see the historic mission control center and other interesting sites. Be sure to let the kids shoot over to the Space Place and the Martian Matrix for some out-of-this-world fun.
If Texas history is more your interest, you have to visit the San Jacinto Monument and Battlegrounds. It features the world’s tallest war memorial, honoring those who fought for Texas Independence. At 570 feet, the San Jacinto Monument is even taller than the Washington Monument and is one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the United States. Ride the elevator to the top for a breathtaking view of the Houston skyline and the Houston ship channel – one of the nation’s busiest seaports. Explore the U.S.S. Battleship Texas, which played a role in some of the most significant navel battles of the 20th century. Bring a picnic and enjoy lunch at the picnic area overlooking Buffalo Bayou before making the short trip back to your spot in the sun on the Bolivar Peninsula.