Galveston Island State Park

With so much to do at Galveston Island State Park—swimming, fishing, bird watching, hiking, paddling, and more—there’s an activity for every type of nature lover.

Galveston Island State Park is the region's go-to destination for nature lovers. It also offers a wide range of family-friendly activities.

a wooden walkway crosses a body of water at the Galveston Island State Park in Galveston Texas
Galveston Island State Park

Improvements to the park include a new park headquarters building, two new restrooms and renovations to an existing restroom, new roads, 95 new campsites, two new changing areas and rinse-off showers, 20 new shade shelters in the day-use area, and more!

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What to Do at Galveston Island State Park

1. Beach Camping

RV lovers and camping fans will flock to the park to enjoy an overnight stay at one of 95 campsites. Galveston Island State Park is the ONLY place you can camp ON the beach in Galveston.

2. Fishing

Fish for flounder, sand trout, redfish, croaker, black drum, and other species in the bay area or beachside. No fishing license is required for state parks, so anyone can come fish. Visitors also have access to a fish cleaning station for convenience.

3. Birding

Galveston Island State Park's ecosystems provide a range of habitats and attract numerous bird species to observe, so novice and experienced birders won't want to miss this park. Grab your binoculars and a birding checklist from the Park’s website and start exploring! You can see clapper rails, egrets, a variety of hawks, red-winged blackbirds, or the mighty great blue heron in the park.

4. Hiking & Biking

The Park has four miles of trails for hiking and biking, with varying difficulties and distances. Make a rest stop at the observation towers or photo blinds along the way to take in the beautiful wildlife and scenery. Easy trails to explore are:

  • Caracara Trail
  • Prairie Trail
  • Clapper Rail Loop
  • Egret Loop
  • Freshwater Pond Loop
  • Duck Lake Trail (the shortest one that’s also loaded with information on the area).
  • The Heron’s Walk trail takes you down the bayous through marshes and salt flats and is a roost for many wading birds.
  • For a downloadable map of all the park's trails, please click here.

5. Paddling

Bring your canoe or kayak (the park does not offer rentals) and enjoy one of the Galveston Island State Park Paddling Trails. The water on the trails is usually calm, which is great for paddling, along with fishing out on the water.

  • Paddle on wide expanses of open water on the Dana Cove Trail (2.8 miles)
  • Get close-up views of shorebirds on the Jenkins Bayou Trail (2.9 miles)
  • Hit the more challenging Oak Bayou Trail (4.2 miles) and paddle among secluded bayous, open coves, and seagrass beds.

6. Wildlife Viewing

Galveston Island State Park, located on the western part of the Island, protects 2,000 acres of the upper Gulf Coast barrier island ecosystem. Visitors may spot raccoons, armadillos, marsh rabbits, birds, and more in the park’s prairies, wetlands, and beaches.

Children who spend time in nature are healthier, happier, and smarter. They will also become the future stewards of our wild lands and beautiful spaces.

Texas State Parks

Need even more ideas on how to spend the day at Galveston Island State Park?

Give geocaching a try! This modern-day treasure hunt provides lots of outdoor fun, as you search for hidden objects. Geocaches range from small objects (like a pencil) to large ones (a water bottle) that are often camouflaged, but not buried.

Kids can become a Junior Ranger and discover the Park loaded with their free Junior Explorer Pack available at the park. They’ll learn more about the nature around them and complete tasks to earn badges.

Lend a helping hand and become a park volunteer. There are different roles available, such as acting as an Interpretive Volunteer to help with school groups, guided hikes, and kayaking programs.

Other Galveston Beaches