Located on the Texas Gulf Coast, Sea Rim State Park is one of the lesser-known state parks in Texas. Conveniently located 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. The park actually gets its name from the point where the ocean and salt marsh meet that is known as the "sea rim."
The park features over 4,000 acres of majestic marshlands as well as breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can easily spot alligators, river otters, coyotes, clams, and crabs along the shoreline and throughout the marsh.
Because of the destruction caused by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and then Hurricane Ike in 2008, all of the facilities at Sea Rim State Park are brand new. The spacious RV park has a number of pull-through sites and the restrooms, showers, and other amenities are just as spacious and modern. There’s not much traffic on the way in or way out of the park, and there are many things to do in Sea Rim State Park. Fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking are just a few of the many activities awaiting RV visitors at Sea Rim State Park.
There are not very many places where visitors can go from one of the largest cities in the country to one of the most isolated parts of the nation in less than an hour. Sea Rim State Park is located just outside of Port Arthur, Texas. This area of the state is mostly protected land and forms one connected wildlife refuge, so RVers must take a roundabout way to get to Sea Rim State Park.
Once inside of the park, guests will find that Sea Rim State Park is divided into four areas. The West and East Primitive Camping Areas flank the much larger Day Use Area. These three locations 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. The nearest town is Sabine Pass, and it is extremely small and rural. Guests will want to be sure that they stock up on supplies while they are in Port Arthur.
There is ample RV parking in both the Day Use Area and the Marsh Unit.
Sea Rim State park offers guests a camping experience unlike any other by offering them the option of camping on a floating primitive campground. Located in the middle of the park's marshes, this campground is a large wooden structure spanning 13 feet by 20 feet. More adventurous guests can bring their own shallow canoe or kayak and paddle out to the wooden campsite for a night of camping on the water. Be aware that no fires that produce ash are allowed on this unique campsite. Pets are also not allowed. The campsite can accommodate up to four people comfortably. Guests should also make sure that they bring a bucket and bag for disposing waste with the appropriate enzymes for neutralizing human waste. These can be purchased in the park store if needed.
The Piping Plover Camping Loop has a total of 15 sites located right next to the beach and a boardwalk across the dunes. All of the sites are flat, wide, and many of them are paved. Most of the campsites are loop sites so guests can easily pull through rather than having to back their RV in. Each campsite has a 30- or 50-amp electrical hookup, water hookups, outdoor grill, picnic table, and lantern post. All of the sites are also pet friendly, and one campsite is designed to be ADA-accessible. 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. Guests should be aware that this campground is located in an area with little to no trees, so the campsites are not shaded.
Sea Rim State Park offers campers the rare chance to camp with their RV or tent right on the beach. For campers who want to be close to the water, there are 75 primitive campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis that are located right on the shore of the Gulf. There are two campground areas available: one on the east beach and one on the west beach. While there are no hookups or amenities offered at these sites, the view and experience of beachside camping definitely make up for it.
The scenery is truly breathtaking with miles of ocean ahead and tall marsh grasses behind. Guests are allowed to make a ground fire for cooking and boiling water. Pets are welcome to join their owners 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.
Campers who want a break from the RV may be interested in reserving the park cabin. Sea Rim State Park has one cabin available as an alternate camping option for guests. The cabin can accommodate up to six people and is ADA-accessible. It comes with basic furnishings and kitchen appliances. The cabin also has Wi-fi, electricity, and is equipped with air conditioning. Be aware that pets are not allowed in the cabin.
The park has two saltwater fishing areas that can be found in the West and East Camping Areas. Anglers do not need a state license to shore fish at a Texas State Park; however, a license is required if they plan to venture out into the marshes to fish. Shore-fishers can expect to catch mackerels, kingfish, and sea trout well in the spring and summer, and it is even possible to reel in a small shark or two in the summer. At the marsh, most people catch lots of catfish and crappie all year long and the bass usually bite in the late spring and summer.
Guests can experience a trail unlike any other by hiking the Gambusia Marsh Boardwalk. This boardwalk loops through the coastal marshes and at some points it can seem like the dense Phragmite cane is going to overwhelm the wooden boardwalk. However, just keep walking and enjoy the up-close look at this delicate ecosystem. Part of the boardwalk goes over sand, and part goes over marshland. This balance preserves wildlife habitats and also protects against storm surges. Signs along the way lead visitors on a self-guided tour of the marsh, explaining and teaching about the marsh and the many different plants and animals that make it their home.
RVers may swim all along the Gulf coastline portion of Sea Rim State Park, but use caution as there is no lifeguard on duty. Swimmers will need to especially watch out for riptides and undercurrents that could pull them 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 powerful sunshine also heats up the sand rather quickly, so it is recommended that guests wear shoes or flip-flops when on shore.
Sea Rim State Park offers over 10 miles of marsh trails where guests can experience the natural wonder of the Gulf while riding on horseback. However, the most majestic place for guests to ride is on the beach. Guests can trot along on horseback while taking in the gorgeous sight of the ocean and listening to the serene crashing of the waves. Guests who intend to bring their horses along should be aware that there are no corrals or pens provided, so they will need to bring their own portable structures or ropes for tethering their horse to the trailer.
Sea Rim State Park borders the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area, and the Big Thicket National Reserve. All of this protected land provides a comfortable home for many animals including bobcats, foxes, coyotes, alligators, and all sorts of waterfowl that can commonly be spotted throughout the park. Visitors to the park will have the opportunity to observe this wide variety of animals in their natural habitats by taking a hike through the Gambusia Marsh Boardwalk or picnicking on the shore.
When packing for an RV trip, don’t forget to bring along the kayak or canoe. The boat launches at Sea Rim State Park are at Fence Lake in the Marsh Unit. There are three paddling trails rated as easy, moderate, and advanced difficulty levels for people who want to explore the marshes. Less adventurous visitors can stick to the lakes. Visitors should be extra cautious while in the marsh area and watch out for alligators. Be sure to review the park's safety tips about alligators before going out on the water.