After July 15, fans of Galveston Island State Park will have to find another stretch of beach to plant their beach umbrellas in. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will close the beach side of the park for a three-year renovation project. The bay side of the park will still be open.
TPWD made the announcement in late April. Our family visited the park over Easter weekend. Galveston Island SP is probably one of my favorite state parks to visit. The weekend we went, the weather was perfect and the water had warmed up a bit so we could get in.
Galveston Island is located off the Texas Coast in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s probably the most popular beach vacation for Houstonians. At least that’s how it was for my family growing up. What I like about the state park is that there are usually less crowds than other parts of the island. The beach is nice and clean, there are outdoor shower facilities for people to rinse off as well as a nice picnic area.
But that’s just a small part of what makes Galveston Island SP so special. The park actually consists of two ecosystems. One is the beach side. The other half of the park (which is accessed across the street), is the bay side of the park. There, visitors can walk on boardwalks and study marsh wildlife. There are also paddle trails, though the park doesn’t rent kayaks or canoes, you’ll have to bring your own. It’s great place for bird and other wildlife watching.
The weekend we went, we got a chance to attend a beach exploration program with park naturalists. The naturalists talked a little bit about the wildlife found on the beach. We then went searching for wildlife and found ghost crabs, shrimp and little fish.
After the ranger program, we spent the rest of the time at the park enjoying the beach. The kids played in the sand and water, looked for pretty seashells and enjoyed a light lunch.
We’ve explored the bay side of the park several times before, but this time, we opted to just enjoy the beach side of the park.
There are also a number of campsites at the park, both on the beach and bay side. Most of the sites were damaged during Hurricane Ike in 2008, but volunteers and park staff worked hard to repair these sites.
With Memorial Weekend coming up, and the the impending closure of the beach side of the park, I would encourage others to visit Galveston Island State Park.