Worth a Trip: Bolivar Peninsula

After arriving by ferry from Galveston, the drive north along this windswept peninsula passes through areas that were hard hit by Hurricane Ike in 2008. There are no real sights to see, but if you're looking for an ain't-nothin'-fancy, local beach getaway that's a world apart from Galveston, Crystal Beach has numerous vacation rentals and two laid-back, island-style bar-restaurants.

TX 87 continues 30 miles north to High Island, a birdwatcher's delight. The scrubby forests of this area serve as a stopping point for fall and spring migratory birds. When inclement weather hits, waylaid fly-overs may fill the trees with the birdsong of thousands. The Houston Audobon Society runs four small sanctuaries here, with detailed site maps online and at each site. The Boy Scout Woods is one of the most well-regarded, for its wooded trail, ponds and observation tower.

Northeast of High Island, the TX 87 coastal road is closed. To reach Sabine Pass and Port Arthur, you have to cut inland at Hwy 124.