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Old 21-10-2009, 11:02   #16
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Ugly meaning not pretty. Galveston Bay and Clear Lake are both clean enough to swim in. Most of the marinas are NOT. Protection would be encouraged.

We've spent 1 summer in Clear Lake (Kemah) and 2 in Corpus Christi. This summer was brutal everywhere in Texas. The one thing I can say about CC is that the wind makes a HUGE difference. There is something about this part of the coast. Corpus Christi is considered the windiest city in the US - it is a windsurfer's paradise.

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Old 21-10-2009, 11:18   #17
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The further East you go the Mud -ier it is. Basically a very muddy shallow bottom as you go West of the Mississippi. The shallow water and the continental shelf extend further offshore at the Texas-Louisiana border than anywhere else in the country.

There is a National Marine Sanctuary on top of a Salt Dome slightly over 100 miles offshore from the Galveston area that has the northernmost coral reefs in the Northern Hemisphere. I have actually dove there with over 300 foot visibility underwater. You just need to get offshore the see the clear water.

Welcome to the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

The further South and West you go the clearer the water is at the beach. Swimming isn't so much an issue as its just muddy.

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Old 21-10-2009, 11:18   #18
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Well, if you need some DIY "hard" time, I can recommend House Of Boats in Rockport. They have a work yard and a storage yard. The prices are the best I've seen.
"Behind every great man there is a woman, rolling her eyes."
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Old 21-10-2009, 17:09   #19
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Other areas on the Northern Gulf Coast that meet your criteria (great sailing, reasonable prices, etc.) include Panama City and Pensacola. Both offer protected bay sailing, EZ access to the Gulf for more adventure, lots of great anchorages, reasonable marinas, friendly people, etc. Choctawhatchee Bay (Destin/Fort Walton) is also a great cruising area, but if your mast height is over 48 feet you will be limited as to where you can go due to the bridges over Destin Pass and at Fort Walton.
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Old 23-10-2009, 10:07   #20
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Matagorda Bay

I have my boat at the city marina in Port Lavaca on Matagorda Bay (there's also a marina on the bay at Palacios as mentioned previously). Matagorda Bay is beautiful, the water is clean/swimmable, and it is fairly remote with less development and ship traffic. You see a few large ships in the channel but other than that just some fishing boats and maybe a few pleasure boats.
There are many nice anchorages in some of the offshooting bays and bayous, or behind the barrier island in the prevailing winds...dolphins, birdwatching, beautiful sunsets. However, shallow draft is really necessary to fully enjoy this part of the Texas Coast.
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Old 23-10-2009, 15:10   #21
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What is the possibility of us getting a slip in Port Lavaca in the future? We draw 6'4", and we're 14.5' in beam... I've called and left messages, but no return calls.
Bill Streep
San Antonio/Port Aransas, TX
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Old 11-04-2013, 20:39   #22
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

It blows like a banshee in corpus christi
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:58   #23
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Originally Posted by kd5bvq View Post
It blows like a banshee in corpus christi
Yes, great for day sailing!

Used to keep a boat in Corpus years ago...enjoyed it there...easy walk downtown for dinner.
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Old 15-04-2013, 13:49   #24
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Texas cruising is best in my opinion over in the Corpus Christi area- It is MUCH cleaner and nicer than Kemah, where the water is brown and muddy and not really acceptable for any form of swimming as you cannot see more that 4 inches in front of your hands, and you can pick up flesh eating bacteria in the summer (speaking from experience, I was in Kemah for 3 years and my father nearly lost his foot to a bacterial infection from the water). Galveston is horribly hot and humid in the summers, whereas in Port A and Corpus the wind keeps things a little more manageable- and its not quite as humid, but hey this is still Texas and its still hot!
the downer I don't like about Corpus Christi is the lack of grocery stores, or shops in walking distance. Port A, and Rockport is much better for provisioning, but not by much. We're in Rockport right now, and its a nice little port and artsy town with a grocery store only a mile from the marina, and a walmart and Ace Hardware with plenty of marine items only two miles away (with a sidewalk to get there- living in Kemah without a car it was tough to go anywhere without getting run over). As for the people- this is the friendliest place in the whole area.
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Old 25-05-2013, 05:59   #25
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Check out Active Captain for information about possible anchorages, plusses and minuses. Very helpful.

Shell Island is one of the best anchorages off the I.C.W. I've ever used. 29 59.7 N 93 46.29 W

Orange, Texas can be a quiet stop with historical interest and friendly people. Bring bicycles, no matter where you are going in Texas! No public transportation in Orange. A protected anchorage is at 30 05.24 N 93 43.50 If you are here and a hurricane is approaching my boat survived Rita in '05 tied to trees bow & stern with bow/stern anchors set. 30 06.64 N 93 43.24 W

Stingaree Marina in the ICW from Galveston has limited space to tie up but is possible. Has restaurant. Wind is likely to paste your boat to the dock until after dark. Morning departure before wind comes up best. N29 28.23 N 94 36.36 W

Lots more...


Stay away from Lake Charles, La. Just saying.
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Old 25-05-2013, 08:07   #26
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Been sailing the Texas coast for over 20 years but my favorite directions follow as such. As you come out of Port Aransas marina. Don't turn right or left. Go straight until you pass a lighthouse on the left. On the right will be a cove. Good anchorage here with the water up to 28 ft deep. Bow anchor close up to the island with your nose to the wind and just for insurance set a stern anchor in case the wind dies and the tide swings. Take your dink to shore and its a mile walk to the Gulf side. No footprints in the sand and sand dollars by the bucket full. When you come back to the boat, that evening will be filled with the noises of dolphins clicking while their hunting. On the charts it is called Lydia Ann channel and San Jose Island. Part of the ICW and a good little R&R anchorage. One of many on the Texas Coast. Lots of barrier islands here. Sail open water or protected water. I have my boat in Kemah and mainly sail in the Galveston Bay region, but had my boat in Corpus Christi for 3 years. Boaties in this part of the world are loads of fun and always have a good yarn or two. That's my 2 bits worth. Now someone elses turn.
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Old 25-05-2013, 10:06   #27
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Kemah/Clear Lake is hands down the best place on the Texas coast if you are doing any kind of real refit. The availability of supplies, yards, various chandleries, riggers, sail makers, etc, etc is second to none. Slip fees are very reasonable to and there are tons of cafes, restaurants and bars within easy walking distance.

That said, the sailing here is boring. Not a whole lot of anchorages of note but plenty of commercial traffic to avoid.I refuse to swim when I can't see what I am swimming with so that's right out.

Since we are refitting, we are in the perfect place. If I just wanted to day sail with maybe a night or two in an anchorage, also perfect. If wanted to live a shore and keep the boat for weekend excursions, our set up is about perfect. Extended cruising exploring? Not so much.

So it all depends on what your needs/wants are.
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Old 25-05-2013, 11:27   #28
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

For a shallow draft boat,<4', Texas has more places to drop the anchor that Carter has liver pills. With the majority having only wildlife for company. They are all along the icw and the connecting bays.

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
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Old 26-08-2013, 21:55   #29
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Matagorda Bay is my favorite place right now to explore, the history there is unbelieve-able.

Galveston Bay-Trinity Bay is great for just sailing around, but Double Bayou (east side of Trinity Bay) is beautiful and serene. Woosie Bay near of HYC has some huge old homes.

Old Trinity River channel to Anahuac has been dredged but have not felt the pull to explore.

I need to be able to plug in at night with the dogs, so on Matagorda Bay I can explore and still make it back to marinas by dark.

Corpus Christi Bay has some great places to explore as well, but the winds sure do pick up there.
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Old 22-12-2017, 10:55   #30
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Re: Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
If you are choosing:

Galveston Bay area is GREAT for things you need. It has everything. Sailing is OK, and as mentioned, there are several decent anchorages (another is Double Bayou). However, the water is... ugly. Lots to do, lots of places to visit. If we were closer, we'd probably be there.

In the Corpus Christi, Port Aransas area, the water is MUCH cleaner - not pristine, but good. Port A is really good. As noted, the wind blows ALL of the time. I mean ALL. It's regularly 20-30kts. Port A is a sleepy town, on the Gulf. The city marina is decent, and if you don't draw too much, Island Moorings is nice. This is primarily a fishing port - the marinas are full of offshore boats. Town is typical a tourist town that you might find in Florida.

Corpus Christi is a decent sized city - around 300,000. The City Marina is right downtown - and reasonably priced. It's 13 miles from CC to Port A. Corpus Christi Bay is wide open, 15 feet deep, and 12 miles across. Good weekend trips are Port A, Ingleside (a great anchorage) is about 2 hours away, Shamrock Cove, Naval Air Station CC (if you join the Navy League and register with NAS through BYC, you can use the anchorage and the O Club and pool). However, the grocery store is a few miles away, and West Marine and Blue Water are about 15 minutes away.

There are 2 yacht clubs in CC, Corpus Christi Yacht Club (quite exclusive) and Bay Yacht Club - very informal. Downtown dining is a walk away. Marina is clean enough to swim in.
My wife and I are in our mid 50's and actively sail our Catalina 250 in Nebraska. We want to fly to Texas on a scouting trip to discover/learn where we might sail in the future. It will be a weekend trip - fly in Friday out Sunday - so no sailing; just looking around. Where should we go??

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gulf coast, texas

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