Crystal Beach is a family oriented beach community on Gulf Coast of Texas, 45 miles south of Houston. Situated on the Bolivar Peninsula of Texas, between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is accessed by ferry from Galveston Island.
Most popular as a resort destination in the summer, the mild gulf climate makes it comfortable all year round. Crystal Beach and neighboring towns offer all the vacation amenities one needs. Fresh seafood abounds, that you can cook at home or enjoy in one of the many restaurants. And should you tire of the beach, the golf course is excellent.
The Bolivar Peninsular, of which Crystal Beach is a part, is 27 miles long, with beach access, marshes, mud flats and a variety of sea and bird life readily accessible.
Bolivar Peninsula, named for Simón Bolívar (1783-1830), the South American hero, is a “barrier island” stretching twenty-seven miles along the Texas Gulf Coast in a northeasterly direction to form eastern Galveston County.
At its widest point between Crystal Beach and Caplen, the peninsula is three miles wide. At its narrowest point—where Rollover Pass divides the community of Gilchrist—the peninsula is a quarter of a mile wide.
Water separates the peninsula from Galveston Island by a distance of less than three miles. The sheltered Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which extends the length of the peninsula on the north side, is used primarily for transporting freight; at Bolivar Roads, it forms a water passageway that serves as the marine entrance from the Gulf of Mexico to Galveston Bay.
The Bolivar portion of the waterway belongs to the Galveston District and is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Bolivar Peninsula is accessible by land from the Texas mainland only through southern Chambers County.
Towns on the peninsula, in addition to Crystal Beach (the only incorporated community), Caplen, and Gilchrist, include Port Bolivar and High Island; independent school districts serving the peninsula include Galveston and High Island.
Toll-free ferries are operated by the Texas transportation system every 20 minutes between Galveston and Port Bolivar.
Galveston Island to Port Bolivar
The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry is the bridge between two segments of State Highway 87. South of IH-10, State Highway 87 s the only highway around Galveston Bay. The free ferry service provided by TxDOT is the only way motorists can cross the waterway between Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island.
The ferry service is critical to the residents of Bolivar Peninsula when a hurricane threatens. The ferries are the primary means of evacuation through Galveston to the causeway and the mainland. Ferries continue crossing the channel until high winds and tides make their mission unsafe. The boats are then secured in their moorings at the Galveston landing facility.
The 2.7 mile trip takes approximately 18 minutes to cross one of the busiest waterways in the world. Through the Bolivar Roads Channel flows the commerce of the Port of Houston, the nations largest inland port, as well as other Galveston and Trinity Bay communities. Approximately 7,000 ships visit the Port of Houston each year.
The ferry operation consists of five boats, each of which can carry approximately 70 vehicles, 500 passengers and six crewmembers. Each ferry is capable of carrying eight 18-wheel trucks weighing 80,000 pounds each. All of the boats are double-ended with a pilothouse on each end, and the Captain changes from one pilothouse to the other to go in the opposite direction
Alternate Route to avoid the Ferry thru Baytown and Winnie:
Take IH 10 east thru Baytown and to Winnie, Texas. At Winnie, turn south on Hwy 124. Head south on 124 to the beach. Turn right, (going west) for about 14 miles thru Gilchrist to Crystal Beach. You will be entering Crystal Beach at Singing Sands subdivision and on the right of the highway is the new water storage tank.