Houston Neighborhood: Kemah – The Gateway to the Bay

Kemah, aptly known as the Gateway to the Bay, is a unique and fun city located along the west side of Galveston Bay and is a huge attraction for many visitors who plan to spend a few days in Houston or Galveston. This bayside community is only a 25-minute drive south of Houston and 25-minutes north of Galveston, so the options are pretty limitless.

If you’re looking for a quaint and local coffee shop to start your day, head over to Art of Coffee, which is a local favorite for many.

Since Kemah is prominently located on the Bay, you’ll likely want to take advantage of being on the water. You’re in luck as there are a number of boating outlets that will take you out on various vessels (dinner cruises, jet skis, etc.), or you can rent one for the whole family and set out on your own adventure (a pontoon boat is a nice choice for this, as long as you’re familiar with boating and docking).

Of course you can’t go to Kemah without visiting the famed Kemah Boardwalk, which Forbes recently named a Top 10 Texas attraction. Every year the Kemah Boardwalk gets more and more popular and a weekend hot spot thanks to new restaurants and boutique shops opening up, not to mention the kid-friendly nature of all the rides and amusements. The Kemah Boardwalk isn’t just the perfect day or night for the family, it makes for a romantic evening whether you’re celebrating your upcoming Super Bowl win (fingers crossed) or just a weekend away.

For dining options at the Boardwalk, there are quite a few. If you can’t decide on steak or seafood (or maybe you opt for both) check out Landry’s Seafood, which provides a fun-filled dining experience for all ages and gives you a taste of the true Gulf Coast flavor. Cadillac Bar is another action-packed spot for those craving authentic Tex-Mex cuisine with a lively vibe and a great happy hour selection. Or if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience on the Boardwalk, you can’t go wrong with Aquarium, which will surely please the well traveled. There are other options along the Boardwalk for pizza and light bites as well.

Throughout the year, the Kemah Boardwalk boasts tons of live music and other fun activities. Check out this calendar of events to help plan your visit and take full advantage of all it has to offer.

Although it’s not on the Boardwalk, a local’s favorite hangout spot and watering hole is Outriggers, which has great seafood, a bunch of specialty drinks and almost always some sort of LIVE music at the downstairs bar/area. It’s not a chain, so it’s a great spot for people watching and to get a good semi-island vibe with the locals.

If you decide to truly submerge yourself in the Kemah area during your visit, you’ll likely enjoy the accommodations (and of course the close proximity) you’ll find by staying overnight at the Boardwalk Inn, which is the only hotel located on the Kemah Boardwalk. The boutique, waterfront hotel keeps you right in the middle of all the action and you won’t have to worry about driving or finding parking. The property only has 52 guest rooms, so if you’re planning to lay your head here one of the nights you’re in town, be sure to book early.

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