Setting: Seabrook hugs the western shore of Galveston Bay just southeast of Houston. Clear Lake borders the city to the south.
Attractions: Water everywhere; the city has 11 miles of waterfront on Galveston Bay and Clear Lake. Strict zoning has preserved the character of residential neighborhoods. The school system ranks among the state's best. The city contains 10 parks totaling more than 100 acres, connected by hiking/biking trails. Subtropical weather means average high temperatures of 61 in January and 93 in July.
Drawbacks: The nearest major shopping mall is about 20 minutes away. Chemical plants and other industrial facilities crowd the town's northern border. Hurricane season lasts from June through November.
Housing Options: Away from the waterfront, mostly suburban one-story brick houses. Most houses are new; Clear Lake Forest and El Lago, which date from the mid- to late 1960s and early 1970s, are considered "older communities."
Your Next-door Neighbors: Rocket scientists; doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who commute to Houston (about 45 minutes away); engineers and blue-collar workers employed at plants in La Porte and Pasadena; fishermen. Population: approximately 7,000.
What It Costs Small (1,400- to 1,700-square-foot) houses in Miramar start in the $70,000 range. Nicer, newer inland subdivisions run from $90,000 to $160,000-plus. Houses in Lake Cove run from $180,000 to nearly $400,000 for homes on canals connected to Clear Lake. Galveston Bay waterfront residences go for $300,000 up to more than $1 million.
Where You'd Spend Free Time: Boating; watching sailboat regattas on Clear Lake; fishing; birding; exploring the amenities of Houston; visiting the family attractions of the Kemah Boardwalk.