Gulf Coast Beaches | The Wander Chronicles
Houston can be pretty overwhelming–heck, any city can be overwhelming– and my wander itch was getting stronger, so my friend Josie suggested that we take a mini road trip to find Gulf Coast beaches. It couldn’t have been a better idea, especially since we actually couldn’t find it for a better half of the afternoon, but, of course, like all wander chronicles, getting lost led us to other beautiful places!
This is the second installment of The WANDER CHRONICLES, so if you missed the first, hunting for Mt. Bierstadt’s trailhead in the snow, you can find it here
Frozen Point, Gulf Coast, Texas
Our destination began as Frozen Point, a part of the Gulf coastline that, in 1895, was subjected to 20 inches of snow! Our October day was still in the 90s, so it was difficult to picture a blizzard in this subtropical climate, and maybe our reason for choosing this legendary coastal protrusion–a little heat relief, please?
Turns out, Frozen Point is mainly private land, one of the original cattle-ranching operations in Chambers County, owned by patriarch James Jackson whose 6,000 cattle head were covered in the bizarre snowstorm of 1895. So, while you can drive down the mainly gravel road to Frozen Point, through acres of beautiful prairie and marshes, you can’t actually access the Point itself.
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
So, Josie, Corey and I found ourselves at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, 34,000 acres of protected ancient marshland. After a picnic of sandwiches and beer, we took to exploring some of the trails.
|Josie was smart and brought along some Houston craft beer: Karbach Sympathy for the Lager
These are short, meandering little excursions but bursting with incredible flora and fauna. If you’re a birder, this is the place to be–the refuge is known for its population of rails, a species of marsh bird that’s described as chicken-like. Marsh dinosaurs!
I’d like to return during the winter season because I might catch the snow-geese phenomenon where flocks of up to 80,000 swoop down from the migratory paths to feed in the marshes.
Okay, so after toodling around this refuge, we left in search of the ocean. Where’s the beach? Where’s the sand? Where’s the water? we kept asking, and found ourselves driving a tad northeast to High Island.
High Island | Gulf Coast Beaches
You won’t believe this but High Island gets its name because it’s literally the highest point, at just 32ft above sea level, on the entire Gulf Coast, all the way to the Yucatan! This is definitely a different kind of landmark than the Fourteeners
I’ve experienced in Colorado.
The island is home to only 450 residents–that’s only 100 more people than my graduating high school class!–and is rumored to have been a partying spot for pirates in the early 1800s. Now, it’s a less-traveled, serene spot for sea kayakers, fishermen, and beach loungers.
People drove their vehicles right onto the beach, no parking lot necessary. We hunted for shells and got our feet wet, and hit refresh on our souls.
|Corey showing off her seashell collection, Josie, and I at the edge of Texas.