The Galveston Island State Park was named one of the top 5 "Best Gulf Coast Beaches" by Travel Channel in 2013. The park offers a quiet oasis on the island's West End where visitors can explore the Gulf of Mexico or Galveston Bay. Families can enjoy kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, nature field trips and fishing clinics at no cost. Many activities require advance sign-up. The park also offers beach camping.
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.
The park contains a mosaic of coastal habitats that host a surprising variety of wildlife and are visited by birds from throughout the eastern hemisphere during the spring and fall migration seasons. Wading and shore birds, mottled and mallard ducks, raccoons, armadillos and marsh rabbits are found in the park, which is ideal for wildlife observation and photography. Beach or surf fishing for spotted seatrout, sandtrout, redfish, black drum, croaker and flounder is also popular.
The park features 2,000 acres of upper Gulf Coast barrier island ecosystem. Barrier islands move and change constantly through the action of waves, wind and tides. Because barrier islands serve as transition zones between land and ocean, they support a variety of distinct ecoregions, including beaches, prairies and wetlands. Each supports a diverse array of life. The beaches also protect the mainland from storms, while the lagoons, bay and salt marshes serve crucial functions in the life cycles of many ocean species.
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 5,000 years old and has had an interesting history during the past 500 years. It is generally believed that 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 5,000 to 10,000 people, and prompted the construction of the seawall that protects the northern half of the island.
Kids 12 years & younger: Free
Hours of Operation
Open 7 days a week year-round, except for hurricane watch/warnings. Busy Season: March through October, especially weekends.
Note: Hours may be seasonal and subject to change.