The early 2000s were not a good time to visit Sea Rim State Park, which is on the Texas Gulf Coast not far from the Greater Houston area. In 2005, Hurricane Rita tore through the vicinity. In 2008, Sea Rim State Park was about two weeks away from reopening when Hurricane Ike struck. Then, everything went back to square one.
The good news in all this is that all the facilities at Sea Rim State Park are now brand new. The spacious RV park has a number of pull-through sites. And, the restrooms, showers, and other amenities are all very nice.
So, this park is a great place to take your rig for the weekend. The RV facilities are nice, there’s not much traffic on the way in or way out, and there are lots of things to do. As with most Texas Gulf Coast state parks, fishing, swimming, and boating are probably on the agenda. There are some nearby attractions as well, in addition to one of the coolest hiking trails in the state.
Sea Rim State Park features over 4,000 acres of majestic marshlands and offers breathtaking views of the Gulf. The park actually gets its name from "sea rim," which refers to the point where the ocean and salt marsh meet. Nestled right next to the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge and the Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge, this state park is a great place to experience swamp life and habitats. You can easily spot alligators, river otters, coyotes, clams, and crabs. So grab those binoculars and pile the family in the rig to soak in the unique landscape at Sea Rim State Park.
RV Rentals in Sea Rim State Park
Transportation in Sea Rim State Park
There are not very many places where you can go from one of the largest cities in the country to one of the most isolated parts of the country in about an hour. But this part of the Texas Gulf Coast is one such area.
This area of the state is basically one big wildlife refuge. So RVers must take a roundabout way to Sea Rim State Park. But just plug the coordinates into your GPS device, and you should be fine.
Once you arrive, Sea Rim State Park is divided into four areas. West and East Primitive Camping Areas flank the much larger Day Use Area. These three places are on the Gulf Coast side of Highway 87. The Marsh Unit, which contains the boat launches, is on the north side of Highway 87. There is ample RV parking in both the Day Use Area and the Marsh Unit.
Sabine Pass is the nearest town, and it is not much of a town. If you want to stock up with RV and camping supplies, it’s best to do so before you leave Port Arthur.
Campgrounds and parking in Sea Rim State Park
Campsites in Sea Rim State Park
Pioneer Plover Camp Loop
The Pioneer Plover Camp Loop offers 15 sites next to the beach and a boardwalk across the dunes. All the sites are flat and wide and most of them are loop sites. Each spot has a 30 or 50-amp electrical hookup, water line, outdoor grill, picnic table, and lantern post. Restrooms and showers are located on the dune boardwalk and near park headquarters. An RV dump station is located across Highway 87 in the Marsh Unit. Pets are welcome to join you at your campsite. Most campsites are paved and some can accommodate RVs or trailers up to 115 feet long.
Primitive Beach Campsites
Sea Rim State Park offers the rare chance to camp with your RV or tent right on the beach. There are 75 primitive campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis that are located right on the shore of the Gulf or next to the marsh. While there are no hookups or amenities offered at these sites, the view and experience of beachside camping well make up for it. The scenery is truly breathtaking with miles of ocean ahead of you and tall marsh grasses behind you. You are allowed to make a ground fire for cooking and boiling water. Pets are welcome to join you at the beach campsites. Restrooms and showers are located on the dune boardwalk and near park headquarters. An RV dump station is located across Highway 87 in the Marsh Unit.
Seasonal activities in Sea Rim State Park
The two saltwater fishing areas are in the West and East Camping Areas. You do not need a state license to shore fish at a Texas State Park. Freshwater boat fishing is available at the Marsh Unit. Shore anglers should use a 20-foot line and either topwater or soft plastic lures. Mackerels, kingfish, and sea trout usually bite well in the spring and summer. You might reel in a small shark or two in the summer. At the marsh, most people catch lots of catfish and crappie all year long. The bass usually bite in the late spring and summer.
Hiking the Gambusia Marsh Boardwalk
This is a cool hiking boardwalk which loops through the coastal marshes. At some points, the dense Phragmite cane almost overwhelms the wooden boardwalk, but just keep walking. Part of the boardwalk goes over sand, and part goes over marshland. Signs along the way explain how this balance preserves wildlife habitats and also protects against storm surges. In the end, nature is all about balance, and that balance is incredibly delicate under the Gambusia Marsh Boardwalk.
RVers may swim all along the Gulf coastline portion of Sea Rim State Park. But use caution, as there is no lifeguard on duty. Watch out for riptides and undercurrents away from the shoreline. Closer to shore, be sure and wear lots of sunscreen, especially during warmer months. Sunlight is a lot more intense here than in other parts of the country. That sunlight also heats up the sand, so wear shoes or flip-flops when you’re on shore.
When you pack for your RV trip don’t forget to add your kayak or canoe. The boat launches are at Fence Lake in the Marsh Unit. There are three paddling trails (easy, moderate, and advanced) for people who want to explore the marshes. Or, you can stick to the lakes. As mentioned, lake fishing is pretty good most of the year, but you will need a fishing license. If you are in the marsh area, watch out for alligators. We are not messing around.
Birding and Wildlife Viewing
The eastern edge of the Gambusia Marsh Boardwalk may be the best place for wildlife viewing. The footing is usually pretty secure, but watch your step when you leave the Boardwalk, especially in the dense reeds. In addition to alligators, which are pretty cool as long as you stay about thirty feet away, visitors may also see a diverse array of creatures, including mink, muskrat, raccoon, rabbit, river otter, opossum, and coyote. On the sandy parts of the shore, watch for pale ghost crabs. Most of the marsh birds are migratory birds, but there are some native ducks and geese. Around the lakes, look for great blue, little blue, Louisiana, green, black-crowned and yellow-crowned night herons, roseate spoonbills, as well as common, snowy, and cattle egrets.
You can even go horseback riding at this beautiful escape. Sea Rim State Park offers over 10 miles of marsh trails where you can experience the natural wonder of the Gulf while riding on horseback. However, the most majestic place to take your horse is on the beach. You can coast on horseback as you take in the gorgeous sight of the ocean and listen to the serene crashing of the waves. That is an unforgettable way to spend an RV vacation.