///charles rismyhr md

Playa El Jardin

June 23, 2024

I have been wanting to find the nearest servicable beach to downtown Houston, close to where I live. Part of the benefits of living in Houston is coastal access, but there is a lot of bad rap about the quality of the beaches near the city. My criteria for for a servicable beach is really generous - real sand, undulating water (even if slight), and a clear view offshore to remind you you are at the door of a great sea.

After perusing on google maps, I found playa El Jardin just north of Kemah. Now, this is in fact a coastline that faces toward Galveston Island. Nonetheless, from the pictures I saw, the distance is to Galveston is so great that you seem to peer out to the open ocean. I woke up with the intention to set out at 6:30 or so, spend time there and possibly jump in, and return before the ladies rouse, which is usually around 8:30.

The route is more or less straighforward, but I will say it is one of the most industrial areas I have ever seen in the whole world. The towering refinery smokestacks, pipes, petroleum storage tanks, containers, seemed to go on forever like a Sonic The Hedgehog game or a scene from Mad Max.

You eventually arrive at a lovely and sleepy appearing but green neighborhood with old bungalows and palms, and past that, the parking lot for the beach. The trip took around 35 minutes, door to sand.


view of the shower

The beach is short and you can walk from end to end in 5 minutes probably. There was plenty of space at that hour, but I can imagine it gets crowded with the people of the town close by on a busy summer day. The north side of the beach is cut off by rocks and rubble, the other end is grasses. The sand is a fine silt bordering on being mud, so it is firm where it is drier. I found it comfortable to walk on.

I decided to jump in - the sun was already high enough to offer itself for warmth, and the water temperature I found to be ideal. The water is a deep green and clear only to about half a foot. Its shallow a good ways out and there were young children taking advantage of that.


El Jardin is a great basic beach that scratched the itch I had to take advantage of the fact that Houston has a coast. Next time, I'll be testing out Sylvan beach which appears to be even closer.