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Reopening Texas Coastal Destinations: Which Beach Towns You Can Explore

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After Governor Abbott announced easing of COVID-19 Quarantine restrictions for the state, hard-hit tourism destinations on Texas Gulf Coast are slowly reopening.

Galveston Island announced the reopening of inside or patio dining for some of their popular restaurants in time for Mother’s Day on May 10. Many others, though, opted to stay with their take-out and delivery options for a while longer.

One of our favorite seafood restaurants in Galveston, Fisherman’s Wharf, has reopened their large dining room while continuing takeout and delivery services. The restaurant offers a great view of the ship channel, with the historic Elyssa docked just outside.

Popular Galveston Restaurants

Reopening Texas Coastal Destinations: Which Beach Towns to Explore

Photo: Holt

They serve a wonderful old-fashioned shrimp salad made with remoulade that I often order, while my husband loves their captain’s platter of fried seafood. Service is always friendly and efficient there.

Other local favorites like The Mosquito Café, especially popular for their extensive shaded patio seating and their great weekend brunch menu, opened for socially distanced service. The family pet is always welcome on their patio and even given their own bowl of water.

Galveston seawall restaurant, Jimmy’s on the Pier is known for their inviting views of the gulf where diners can watch the sunrise at breakfast or sunset in the evening. Their food is also good, but they are especially popular during happy hour with their spacious outdoor deck seating.

Sadly, so many quarantine-crazed, sun-craving tourists (and probably some locals) flocked to Galveston beaches at their reopening, some entrances to the beach had to be closed off for vehicles to try to slow overcrowding and encourage “social distancing.”

Reopening Rockport-Fulton

Reopening Texas Coastal Destinations: Which Beach Towns to Explore

Photo: Rockport-Fulton Chamber

The community of Rockport-Fulton Beach and Port Aransas Bay is also slowly welcoming tourists back into their midst. Chamber of Commerce Chairman Blake McDavid convened a COVID Economic Recovery Task Force through ZOOM meetings. “We found that businesses and organizations want to do this safely and responsibly, but at the same time be efficient. It was amazing to see the camaraderie on the virtual call of people helping people,” said McDavid. “This is so important. Our visitor experience has to be intact as well as the health and safety of our community.”

Hummerbird Celebration

Reopening Texas Coastal Destinations: Which Beach Towns to Explore

Photo: Rockport-Fulton Chamber

Several special events that are beloved by tourists to this beautiful coastal area are planned this fall. The 32nd Annual Hummerbird Celebration is September 17-20, 2020. This year’s event features 75+ vendors, interesting speakers, and nature-inspired field trips on land and sea.

The Celebration is designed for bird watchers and nature lovers alike. A contest for t-shirt design runs through May 15. For more information, visit rockport-fulton.org/.

46th Annual Seafair Returns

Reopening Texas Coastal Destinations: Which Beach Towns to Explore

Photo: Rockport-Fulton Chamber

The 46th Annual Seafair, another popular three-day festival, is scheduled for October 9-11 in Rockport-Fulton Beach. Illustrating the charm of the Texas Coast, Seafair is planned with families in mind. The festival features an old-fashioned parade, water sports competitions, car show, kid’s tent, and the wildly popular crab races.

Arts and crafts vendors, plus gumbo, chili, dessert, and salsa cook-offs are on the menu. Expert speakers provide education about the Gulf Coast, and live entertainment includes dance and music events. Previous headliners like Shania Twain, Mark Chesnutt, Restless Heart, Shenandoah, and Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel have appeared at Seafair. Festival organizers are holding an art contest for designs to decorate the 2020 Seafair T-shirts and other marketing materials.

“It’s always really amazing to see how our artists – young and young-at-heart – capture the sights and feels of living on the Gulf Coast,” said Diane Probst, President and CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

Deadline for submissions is July 6, with winners announced July 22 by the Rockport- Fulton Chamber of Commerce offices. For information, visit rockport-fulton.org/.