Best Seaside Store (2007)

Gulf Coast Market

If there is a hub in Crystal Beach, the long, narrow strip of often ramshackle beach houses, tumbledown seafood restaurants and dive bars along the Bolivar Peninsula's Highway 87, the Gulf Coast Market is it. Known locally simply as "the Big Store," this gas station/supermarket/bait camp/hardware store/book­shop/souvenir emporium is as close to big box retail as anything gets in this stuck-in-the-'70s-and-proud-of-it town. (And ahoy thar! They also offer an entire array of pirate-themed booty in the souvenir section.) Nowhere else in this "sleepy little drinking village with a serious fishing problem" can you tank up, wire cash, deck yourself out in a pirate do-rag and stock up on those Gulf Coast staples – beer, bait and crab boil. Just look for the big gray castle rising out of the sandy prairie.


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