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.
- Monday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Tuesday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Wednesday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Thursday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Friday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Saturday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Sunday: 7:00AM – 10:00PM
- Named One of the “Top 5 Best Gulf Coast Beaches”
- Tours & Field Trips Offered
- Fishing Clinics
- Beach Camping
$5 per person. Advance day pass reservations are required – reserve them online or by calling (512) 389-8900.
Part of the Great Texas Birding Trail, this is UTC 070. The bay section of the park offers the most birding opportunities, as well as the fewest visitors. Turn west off park road at Interpretive Trail Rd., and park near the observation tower. The nature trail is worth walking, and the trees across the road should be checked for migrants. The marshes that border the bay abound with ibis, herons, egrets, gulls, and terns. White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers have nested in the park, and Black Rails often call in the dead of night. A wait until sunset will be rewarded with the sight of Barn Owls beginning their grassland patrols.
Galveston Island State Park Paddling Trail
As the name implies the trail is found in waters that surround Galveston Island State Park. Because most of trails are protected by breakwater, the water is normally calm and makes for excellent paddling. Paddlers can choose from three different trails that vary in length from 2.6 to 4.8 miles.
There are three different put-in/take-out points in the park for the three different trails.
- The 2.6-mile Dana Cove (Lake Como) trail begins at the end of the main park road and continues through the seagrass beds that have recolonized behind constructed geo-textile breakwaters.
- The 4.8-mile Oak Bayou Trail is accessed along the main park road and also highlights the terrace restoration area, as well as areas of natural high marsh.
- The 2.8-mile Jenkins Bayou trail begins at the western end of Clapper Rail Road and takes paddlers along the bayou and out to the marsh restoration terrace field.
The park does not rent kayaks or canoes. You must bring your own. Artist Boat offers regularly scheduled kayak adventures at the park.
Rangers lead programs on the plants and animals of Galveston Island, and host art programs, star parties, paddling tours and more. Check the calendar below for upcoming events.
Barrier islands like Galveston move and change constantly with the action of waves, wind and tides. Beaches protect the mainland from storms, while the lagoons, bay and salt marshes provide crucial habitat for the life cycles of many ocean species.
As transition zones between land and ocean, barrier islands support a mosaic of coastal habitats, including beaches, prairies and wetlands. These habitats host a surprising variety of wildlife.
Raccoons, armadillos and marsh rabbits roam in the park. An occasional alligator may be spotted. Anglers enjoy beach or surf fishing for spotted seatrout, sandtrout, redfish, black drum, croaker and flounder.
RV Sites & Camping
RV parking and campsites are available on the bayside, 1.5 miles from the beach. Amenities include picnic tables, water, restrooms with showers and 50/30=amp hookups for RVs.