Texas is usually known for barbecue, longhorn cows and western wear. Even though Texas has a long coastline, I don’t think people think a lot about the coastal region. People fly to California, Florida and Hawaii for the beaches, right? Not Texas!
There are several great beaches in Texas where the Gulf of Mexico crashes onto soft sand. I’m sure there are small ones I have yet to discover, but the most popular ones in Texas are South Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Galveston Island. The closest one to Dallas/Fort Worth is Galveston, so we thought we’d make a three day trip to visit. While I lived in Houston briefly “back in the day,” this was the first time James (or the children) saw the Texas coast.
We spent the morning surveying Galveston and it is a great city with a pretty unique feel. Since we try to visit state parks whenever we can, I thwarted the children’s attempts to swim in the city so we could spend the afternoon on the western side of the island in Galveston Island State Park. This was a really great call! While the beaches on the east side of the island had the typical beach-in-the-city feel, the west side was quiet and did not have an urban feel.
Galveston Island State Park has two distinct environments within its borders. The northern part of the park is bayou and marshes, while the southern part is a beautiful natural beach. We visited during the week in May, and except for a couple of school groups on a field trip we saw very few people in the park. There are camp sites and RV hookups on the bay side of the park, and there are even “premium” campsites on the beach. I think I’d pick the beach. While I didn’t experience mosquitoes during my visit, the marshes looked like they could be a place they would love to live and raise their pesky babies. There’s nothing worse than being attacked by mosquitoes while you camp.
If you are headed to a Texas beach, I have no reservation suggesting Galveston Island State Park. There’s a great picnic area, so bring your lunch. Don’t forget water and lots of sunscreen! I applied two layers and still burned. It is the curse of having pale skin!
You might notice that Luke is sporting a life jacket. Don’t worry! The life jacket was not a necessity – and we aren’t crazy helicopter parents. It is just that Luke has always been nervous around the ocean and the waves stress him out. He loves to swim, so we thought we’d give the life jacket a try. Having it on seemed to relax him, and he was excited to run out into the waves with James close at hand. I call that a success!
Texas Park and Wildlife website – Galveston Island State Park