Staycation: Sea Rim, a haven in our back yard

Published 10:43 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

SEA RIM STATE PARK — Sometimes the best things are in your own back yard.

Take a look at Sea Rim State Park, just 10 miles west of Sabine Pass.

Sea Rim has bounced back from past hurricanes and evolved into a park offering everything from camping, picnicking and swimming to fishing, canoeing, bird watching and more.

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Plus there are bi-monthly events as well as annual celebrations in which the whole family can take part.

On a recent bright, sunny weekday Chris and Sarah Screws of Vidor watched as their children Haleigh, Ryan and Dylan splashed in the surf.

The family was staying in the rental cabin across the street from the park and enjoying every minute of their stay.

“The cabin is really nice. It’s super peaceful,” Sarah Screws said of Sea Rim’s cabin, adding that the cabin features a screened in back porch with a picnic table. “It has tons of room though it looks small on the outside. I would definitely use the cabin again and I’ll reserve it for the next trip before we leave.”

Glenda Rutherford, office manager, said there’s a lot to do at Sea Rim.

A red winged blackbird straddles fence posts near the boardwalk at Sea Rim State Park.
Marty Meaux/The News

There are 15 water/electric sites for recreational vehicles and 5.2 miles of beach for primitive camping. The day use area features grills and picnic areas and there is a nature trail that is three-fourths of a mile long.

Early this week the nature trail was bone dry and ponds were scarce of water due to lack of rain.

The ponds were created by Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008. Water churning the currents created these ponds,” Rutherford said. “The tidal surge with Ike was at 19 feet high which is to the bottom of the rental cabin across the street.”

An alligator munches on a crab in one of the ponds at Sea Rim State Park.
Mary Meaux/The News

The ponds are usually filled with brackish water, a mix of fresh and salt water, and are really good crabbing areas, she said.

The beach entrance is situated where visitors can park and cross a boardwalk and open air showers allow beach goers a chance to rinse off the sand.

Or if you choose to, you can drive onto the beach and park in another area.

There are restroom facilities as well as cold-water only showers in the park. Sea Rim once sported hot and cold showers but past hurricanes laid waste to those facilities as well as to sewer infrastructure.

The Marsh Unit

Sea Rim is not just about beach and sand. Visitors can see the delicate marsh ecosystem up close and personal on Park Road 69 on the right side of the road not far from Sea Rim’s main entrance.

Sea Rim State Park’s Marsh Unit has access to the marsh area and paddling trails.
Mary Meaux/The News

There are two-, five- and 10-mile kayaking trails and the park rents kayaks and canoes.

“One of the most interesting things we have here is the floating raft (campsite),” she said. “The first campers to use it were a father-son team and they absolutely loved it.”

The floating raft campsite is accessible by canoe/kayak only. It’s big enough for a four-person tent, is high enough out of the water so alligators won’t bother you, and has a privacy area for nature’s calls. Just bring a bucket and liner, which are sold at the office. Of course, no campfires are allowed on the floating raft.

Family activities

Sea Rim hosts two monthly activities; shore fishing clinic on the second Saturday of the month and Crabbing 101 on the fourth Saturday of the month, Rutherford said.

“And we also host Adopt-a-Beach twice a year; April and September, and a kids fishing event in August to teach kids how to fish,” she said. “Last year Harvey caused us to push it back a few months but the year before that we had 450 kids here.”

Then there are the hot dogs and donations of fishing poles and T-shirts as well.

Sea Rim also hosts a Very Marshy Christmas in December where Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by airboat. Rutherford also finds time to conduct fun activities such as Make a Kite, Fly a Kite and a nighttime gator walk.

“We walk the nature trail and look for creepy crawlies,” she said.

Sear Rim also hosts a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day where visitors kike the nature trail and the beach.

“Then we serve black-eyed peas and cornbread made by the staff,” she said. “This year we also had cabbage.”

History — courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The state of Texas bought the land for the park from the Planet Oil and Mineral Corp. and Horizon Sales Corp. in 1972. Sea Rim State Park opened to the public in 1977.

Any site on the coast can be in the path of a hurricane. Sea Rim has taken two recent hits.

First, Hurricane Rita ravaged the park in 2005. In September 2008, the park was two weeks away from reopening when Hurricane Ike arrived.

After massive cleanup, the park opened on a limited basis in 2010. Visitors had to bring their own water and use portable toilets and a self-pay station.

In June 2014, park staff unveiled new facilities, including a camping loop and cabin, an elevated dune boardwalk, and a walk-in day-use area. More park improvements are planned.


Sea Rim State Park

19335 S. Texas 87, Sabine Pass


Entrance fees:

  • Adults 13 and older — $3 per person
  • Texas Parklands Passport, senior partial fee — $2 for the pass holder
  • Children 12 and younger — free

Camping fees: (entrance fees still apply)

  • Two vehicles and eight people are allowed per campsite
  • Primitive beach camping — $10 per night
  • Water and electric sites No. 1-15 — $20 per night
  • Floating raft — $15 per night
  • Cabin rental — $95 per night with $50 refundable cleaning deposit
  • Six-person occupancy limit
  • Full-size kitchen and bath
  • Air-conditioning and heat
  • Screened-in porch
  • Barbecue pit
  • Check-out time is 11 a.m.

Kayak and canoe rentals — $15 per hour