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Going Coastal

Though it’s located just a stone’s throw from one of the state’s biggest cities (Houston), Kemah has kept a pretty low profile. Named for an Indian word meaning “wind in my face,” it does more than live up to that moniker. In addition to the endless family entertainment you’ll discover, you’ll find it to be quite breezy … but would you expect any different from a bay town? 

If you’re coming to Kemah in December, you’re in for a treat. On the 11th, scoot on down to the boardwalk to catch the 49th Annual Christmas Boat Parade. Starting at 6 p.m., over 100 boats, all themed and decorated with twinkling lights, will pass in front of the boardwalk to celebrate the season. Pick your favorites, or see who can come up with the best boat name. At 7 p.m. you can kick back to the sweet sounds of Collaboration. Admission to the event is free.

The boat show is enough to entertain for one night, but you can always come back to the boardwalk for thrills (and slight chills—it is, after all, December). This area features 11

of your favorite restaurants, such as Cadillac Bar, The Flying Dutchman and Aquarium. At Aquarium, the little ones (and even you) can get spooked by the stingray exhibit for $5.99 per person. And of course, no boardwalk is complete without rides—though it may be best to do these before you dig into a big feast. There’s plenty to choose from for all thrill levels with rides such as a miniature Ferris wheel, wooden roller coaster, double-decker carousel, gondola wheel and more. Park opens at 11 a.m. weekdays and 10:30 a.m. weekends. An all-day ride pass is $19.99 for folks 48 inches and up, $16.99 for little tykes.

After all the spinning, flipping and twisting, it’ll feel really nice to kick your feet up—or maybe you’ll skip that and drop your head straight to the pillow. Check in to the Heron House Coastal Cottage, a 1920s converted bay house where you can choose from three charming suites or a private cottage. Suites cost $99-$159, and the cottage will run you $199-$250.

When you leave Kemah, you’ll wonder how this quaint gem of a town stayed under the radar for so long. But in the end, you’ll be able to say “I came, I saw, I spun.” And you’ll be glad you did.