Bacliff is a census-designated place (CDP) in north central Galveston County, Texas, United States, 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Galveston. The population was 6,962 at the 2000 census. Bacliff, originally called Clifton-by-the-Sea, began as a seaside resort town. Bacliff morphed into a fishing community, finding hardship, gang violence, and an increase of sex offenders and felons when the shrimping industry declined. The community never incorporated, with many failed incorporation attempts made. The Bacliff CDP has one elementary school and several parks and boat ramps.
Bacliff first opened in 1910 as a seaside summer weekend resort called "Clifton-by-the-Sea." Hurricanes, Galveston's recovery after the Hurricane of 1900, and rapid transportation diminished Clifton-by-the-Sea's popularity. Clifton-by-the-Sea had 50 residents and two businesses in 1933 and 100 residents and four businesses from 1940 to 1949. During the late 1940s or early 1950s the community became "Bacliff."
Cheap housing and the shrimping industry sustained Bacliff, and at that time there was no pollution in the water and less shore erosion compared to the amount of erosion in the 2000s. "Gator" Miller, publisher of small newspapers such as the monthly magazine Seabreeze and the entertainment magazine Night Moves, said that in the 1950s the The Galveston Daily News bought a large parcel of land and awarded free lots to subscribers; people who canceled subscriptions lost their homesites, which were given to other subscribers. Miller said that this resulted in confused titles and a lack of large business; Miller said that a retailer would not wish to buy land in Bacliff and then discover that an individual claimed a title to the land. In 1961, when the post office opened, both names ("Bacliff" and "Clifton-by-the-Sea") were still used to refer to the community, which had 1,707 residents and 25 businesses during that year. In 1966 this increased to 1,782 residents and 17 businesses.