Texans are discovering the waterside Mecca known as the Kemah Boardwalk, a tourism magnet known for its chic restaurants, live music, unique shopping and family fun.
The secret is out! Texans are discovering the unique getaway destination of Kemah, a once-quiet coastal community that has visitors these days dining in delight, swaying to the tunes of great live music, and coming back for more at every chance.
Kemah is a Houston suburb with a population of 3,057 people. Kemah is located in Galveston County and is regarded as one of the best places to live in Texas. Living in Kemah provides residents with a sparse suburban feel, and the majority of residents own their homes. Kemah is home to a large number of young professionals, and the majority of residents are conservative. Kemah’s public schools are highly regarded.
Just 40 miles south of Houston and across the channel from Galveston Island, Kemah is also known for nearby Johnson Space Center. It may seem to make for strange bedfellows, the high-tech, space age sophistication of NASA’s space headquarters and the down-home coastal charm of a Texas waterside community. But the mix of the two worlds has visitors coming back for more.
Central to its popularity is the Kemah Boardwalk, a night-out or weekend destination that has become extremely popular in recent years, especially among the Houston hip crowd.
Dining seems to be the favorite sport on the Boardwalk, with plenty of great eateries from which to choose. Joe’s Crab Shack, Landry’s Seafood House, the Cadillac Mexican Restaurant, The Aquarium, the Crab House, Babin’s, and the Salt Grass Steakhouse are but a few of the apparent favorites.
The actual Boardwalk features shops and entertainment areas for all ages, carnival rides and even a train. Live music is usually featured in the pavilion throughout the day and into the evening. Central to the Boardwalk is the Boardwalk Inn, a full-service hotel that provides the perfect sleep-over spot so you can enjoy both the sunny days and the star-studded evenings the area generally provides.
The Kemah Boardwalk also offers great and unusual shopping at shops like Christmas at Kemah, a store open year round and offering a wide selection of specialty Christmas ornaments, home decor, collectibles, and gifts. A new children’s store, The Toy Crossing, opened recently and plans are underway for a 1940’s themed and upscale lady’s boutique.
A plethora of restaurants are located in the heart of the Kemah Boardwalk. Kemah is home to some of the most well-known restaurant brands, including Landry’s Seafood House, The Cadillac Bar, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Aquarium Restaurant offers guests a great view of our 50,000 gallon aquarium, which is teeming with marine life. The Flying Dutchman, Saltgrass Steakhouse, and Bayside Grill are also located on the Kemah Boardwalk.
One of the most entertaining places to visit if you’re in the Houston area. If you like thrill rides, there are some for you, as well as some for the kids. A nice walk along the water with plenty of food options. Prepare to wait because the lines are insane during peak hours. There is plenty of affordable parking nearby, some of which is even free! If you’re lucky, you’ll also see some street performers.
The Kemah Marina is another reason the community has become so popular, with an array of some of Texas’ most beautiful boats – big boats, cruisers, speed boats, schooners, sloops, yachts and more.
Kemah Jazz Festival
The Kemah Jazz Festival is one of the premiere events held in the community, scheduled this year for September 23-25. The festival is the brainchild of Founder and Festival Director Robert Wilson, UH Downtown Arts and Humanities Faculty Member Director, UHD Civic Music Program. This year’s event will feature a host of great jazz artists including sax legend Bud Shank and trumpet great Randy Brecker.
Other great events each year include the Kemah Christmas and the “Boo on the Boardwalk” all throughout October, culminating in the Boardwalk costume contest on the 22nd and the 29th.
The month of September is not without its special events. In addition to the Jazz Fest, there is the Zydeco Festival on Labor Day weekend, the Caribbean Lua on the Sept. 10-11, and the Kid’s Fall Festival on the 17-19th.
Joe’s Boardwalk Beast
Thrill seekers may want to chance a ride on Joe’s Boardwalk Beast, an adventure speed boat that offers a water ride not quickly forgotten. TIP: Take the ride before you dine!
Getting to Kemah is about as simple as getting to Houston. Follow the directions on the map below and get ready to “stroll the Boardwalk.”
215 Kipp Ave
Kemah, TX 77565
featured image credit : Flickr jimthompson