Kemah, TX

The town of Kemah may be small, but it’s just one tiny piece of the massive establishment that is Houston, and part of the Houston subset known as “Bay Area Houston”, consisting of Kemah, Clear Lake, La Porte, League City, Nassau Bay, Seabrook, and Webster.  In truth, it’s very difficult to visit one without visiting the others. And why would you want to? As this area is packed with Daytripper goodness.

The largest attraction in the area is by far Space Center Houston, which is the official visitor’s center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Since the 1960’s this spot has been the brain center for space travel, overseeing the Apollo missions to the moon all the way up to the current trips to the International Space Station. You could literally spend all day here between the historic museum, space games, ISS demonstrations, mission control tours, training facility tours, and eating astro-ice-cream.  But one thing you definitely don’t want to miss is walking beside the Saturn IV rocket which is identical to the ones that took humans to the moon. TIP: you don’t have to buy a ticket to the Space Center to see the rocket, just ask for the NASA side gate that allows admittance to “Rocket Park.”  Another incredible museum in the area is the Butler Longhorn Museum, which tells the story of how this ranching family saved the Texas Longhorn from becoming just another bull. Hook Em.

Your trip to space, will undoubtedly bring you back hungry, and Bay Area Houston has some of the best food on earth. For an amazing sandwich, take the astronaut’s lead and head to Hoagie Ranch, which is a favorite amongst the space walkers.  I recommend everything!  For a delicious burger look no further than Tookie’s, and don’t miss out on their famous Pelican Eggs. But being so close to Galveston Bay, you can’t miss the seafood.  My favorite, laid-back, waterfront shrimp-spot is Bubba’s Shrimp Palace in nearby San Leon. There are few better ways to spend the evening than watching the sunset over the Bay from Bubba’s beach while chomping on a full platter of all-you-can-eat shrimp.

To experience the natural side of the Bay, I recommend a visit to the Armand Bayou Nature Center, which boasts being one of the largest urban wilderness areas in the United States.  Since being protected, the wildlife and plant life of Armand Bayou have exploded. This includes the gator population. So swimming isn’t such a good idea, but taking a canoe or kayak trip around the bayou is. I recommend a guided pontoon ride and “Breakfast on the Bayou” with resident naturist Mark Kramer.  Another option is to take grab a tour from Pinky’s Watersports in Clear Lake. They can answer any questions and will do all the hard work.

And as the sunsets on your incredible day, follow the lights to the Kemah Boardwalk. This entertainment/amusement/dining/good-time spot is full of energy. And whether you’re riding the carousel, braving the roller coaster, listening to live music, or eating at one of the many restaurants, this place is sure to please. Don’t miss the Friday fireworks.