Kayaking Galveston’s West Bay from Galveston Island State Park is one of our favorite paddles. Bathrooms, parking lots, kayak lauches are a plus for us. Just across the San Luis Pass is another place we’ve paddled: Christmas Bay (click here for pics and info about Christmas Bay). Galveston bay is located between the island and the mainland; not the Gulf side. The bay is rather shallow around the park area depending upon the tides. It gets deeper out toward the Intercoastal Waterway Channel.
Galveston Island state park is located on the far west end of Galveston island close to San Luis Pass. For weather information on Weather Underground there is a weather station at Pirates Cove that will give you accurate wind, temperature, rain and other information.
The clarity of the water depends on the winds and rain. If the winds are out of the west, the water will be brown from the Brazos River. The bay water will be brown too. If the water is clear, you can see sea rays, fish and other wild life. There are lots of birds, pelicans, sea gulls, spool bills, and more. It is fun to watch them fish especially since a kayak is so quiet. You can get pretty close before they fly off.
Remember that we paddled on the bay side, not the gulf side. Check in at the Galveston Island state park office across the highway first. There are 3 listed kayak launches. All 3 are are shallow sandy entries.
On the east side of the park is a kayak launch, parking lot and a fish cleaning station. You either have to take the short trail to the right. Or walk straight ahead past the sign that you see in the picture. Once in the water you are close to Pirates Bay to the east and the bay is to your north. There are 2 camping areas with nice restroom/shower facilities close by.
The kayak launch in the center of the park is one that we have used twice. There is a picnic area and a parking lot across from a wooden walkway. It is not a long distance to carry your kayak. Park and unload. You will see a little wooden deck/bridge. The launch area is sandy and there is room for several kayaks to launch. This area has no bathrooms only a port o potty. You can paddle right there in an inlet, head out to the bay or paddle through the salt marshes.
The 3rd area is on the west side of the park. There is a large parking lot and a kiosk map. Next to the kiosk is a dirt road. It leads to the kayak launch. There is no parking down by the launch area. Only a place to drop off your kayak and then return to park in the parking lot. This would be a good place to use kayak wheels or a cart and leave your car in the lot. This area puts you into the middle of the marsh.
Galveston Island State Park has a beach on the Gulf Coast and park facilities on the West Galveston Bay side. We paddle in the bay. There is a paddling trail provided by the TPWD but many of the Paddling Trail markers are missing. Probably because of hurricane Ike. We enjoyed paddling there. Keep an eye on the tides. A lot of areas are pretty shallow.
Here is a link to the TPWD Paddling Trails: Click here
Maps and Contact Information
Topographical Satellite Map of the State Park Paddling Trails
4901 FM 3005
Galveston, TX 77554
Latitude: 29.190784 Longitude: -94.95953