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Be one with nature, take in striking views and get some heart-healthy exercise by exploring Galveston’s parks and nature preserves.
From exploring the flora and fauna at the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve to experiencing the trails and activities at the Galveston Island State Park, there's something in Galveston for every nature enthusiast.
Nature lovers and history buffs alike will enjoy a visit to Seawolf Park, whose namesake is a United States Navy submarine that American Navy forces mistakenly sunk during World War II. Located on Pelican Island, the park features a fishing pier, scenic picnic areas, and a playground. In addition, the park is home to several World War I and World War II relics: the USS Cavalia (a submarine), the USS Stewart (a Navy ship), and the S.S. Selma (an oil tanker.)
East End Lagoon Nature Park & Preserve (EEL) on Boddeker Road spans almost 700 acres and functions as a stunning escape from the outside world. The park is a great spot for birding, since many species nest and migrate through the area. EEL is also home to many species of wildflowers, insects, reptiles, and amphibians, making it an ideal destination for any and all nature photographers. Other available activities include walking or jogging on the nature trail, kayaking, fishing on the lagoon, and exploring the reef on the lagoon’s beach side.
Take Stewart Road, checking ponds on both sides for waders and waterfowl. Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, and Northern Shoveler are common in winter. Turn on Eckert Drive into Lafitte’s Cove and park in the Nature Center parking lot. Check the ponds on the other side of the road for Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Wilson’s Snipe, and shorebirds. In winter, Bufflehead and Redhead may be seen. Cross back to the boardwalk, quietly checking for Sora and the occasional Glossy Ibis in the pond on the right.
Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve, located at 13117 Settegast Road, operates with the goal of promoting both the awareness and preservation of coastal margins and their natural wildlife. Bird watchers will appreciate the Edward & Helen Oppenheimer Bird Observatory, and anyone who loves being out on the water should book a guided eco-art kayak adventure. If you’re interested in giving back, Artist Boat has a variety of volunteer opportunities that are suitable for all ages and time frames.
Galveston Island State Park is located on the west end of the island at 14901 FM3005, and its size and location allows visitors to explore both Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Bring comfortable shoes and take in the scenery by walking or jogging, or get out on the water by kayaking, surfing or fishing. Campsites are available and picnicking is encouraged.
Bird watchers will love observing local species on one of the available birdwalks, and photographers can practice their skills and capture some instagram-worthy views.