What to do in Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park, in Galveston County, is in the City of Galveston on the west end of Galveston Island. It is a 2,013.1 acre site that was acquired in 1969 from private owners under the State Parks Bond Program and was opened in 1975.

Galveston Island is believed to be approximately 5000 years old and has had an interesting history during the past 500 years. It is generally believed Cabeza de Vaca and his crew were shipwrecked here in 1520 and eventually made their way from the island to colonies in Mexico. The LaFitte brothers, fleeing the prosecution of pirates in the United States, established a government here in 1817, with visions of creating a "Manhattan on the Gulf." Commerce did thrive here, but major storms in 1867, 1871, 1875, and 1886 greatly slowed progress. The great storm of 1900 devastated the island, killing 5000 to 10,000 people, and prompted the construction of the seawall which protects the northern half of the island.

Dunes Renewal Project: September 10, 1998, Tropical Storm Frances destroyed the sand dunes at Galveston Island State Park. The dunes serve as the only protection that the park has for its facilities. A project was implemented to rebuild the dunes through the use of Christmas trees.

The park is open 7 days a week year-round, except for hurricane watch/warnings.

Facilities include screened shelters; campsites with water and electricity (premium sites are available); campsites with water and electricity in a group trailer area with a pavilion; restrooms with showers; outdoor showers; picnic sites; a fish-cleaning shelter; an interpretive center; a self-guiding nature/interpretive trail; a Texas State Park Store.; 4 miles of multi-use trails for hiking and mountain bike riding; a .25-mile nature/interpretive trail; and a two-lane, concrete boat ramp located at Pirates Cove adjacent to the park.

Wading and shore birds, mottled and mallard ducks, raccoons, armadillos, and marsh rabbits can be found in the park for observation and photography. Beach or surf fishing for spotted seatrout, sandtrout, redfish, black drum, croaker, and flounder are also available.

Nearby attractions in Galveston include Moody Gardens (with the Rainforest Pyramid, I-Max Theater, Palm Beach, etc.); numerous historical homes; the Railroad Museum; the Strand Historical District, where the Tall Ship Elissa (an 1877 sailing vessel) is moored; the Seaport Museum; and the Galveston County Museum. Space Center Houston is also nearby, as are the San Jacinto Historical Complex including the San Jacinto Battleground, the San Jacinto Monument, and the Battleship TEXAS. Brazos Bend State Park, Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historical Park and Brazoria County Access Point (San Luis County Park operated by Brazoria County) are within two hours.

Camping and entrance fees vary. For reservations, call 512/389-8900. Current conditions including fire bans and water levels can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.

The park offers camping, birdwatching, nature study, hiking, mountain bike riding, fishing, and unsupervised beach swimming. For summer play schedules for the Mary Moody Northen Amphitheater, please call 409/737-1744. Additionally, educational tours of the flora and fauna of the beach and bay areas of the park are given by appointment only. Contact the park to make arrangements.

Galveston Island State Park is situated within the Gulf Coast region of Texas. The park can be reached from Interstate 45 by exiting right onto 61st Street and traveling south on 61st Street to its intersection with Seawall Boulevard and then right (west) on Seawall (FM 3005) 10 miles to the park entrance.

Galveston Island State Park is located at an elevation of 1 feet. Temperatures within the park range from an average January of 46.2 degrees and a July average of 85.9 degrees. The First/last freeze is November 20/March 11. Current weather conditions can vary from day to day. For more details, call the park or Park Information at 1-800-792-1112.

14901 FM 3005
Galveston, TX 77554

Phone: 409/737-1222

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