If you are from around the Houston metro area, I am sure that you are like us and have driven down I-45 south to Galveston Island. Either going to the beach, the Strand, a concert at The Grand (Click here), Moody Gardens, or some other place in Galveston. And you or your kids were anxiously waiting to see the water. Right when you get to the Highway 6 exit you can begin to see the Salt Marshes in Hitchcock, Texas. This is also the John O’Quinn Estuary Corridor opening into Galveston Bay.. Since we kayak a lot, we always look out there to see if anyone is paddling a kayak. And of course we say: “We should kayak there someday.”
Well, we finally did go there (Hitchcock and Bayou Vista). And it is a nice place to paddle and fish (if you like to fish). It is pretty fun to paddle through the salt marshes. Although it looks like a confusing maze, there are open water spaces to paddle through. It really is not once you are out there and get your bearings from the surrounding landmarks.
The water in Bayou Vista is not too deep and the water feels about like Galveston Bay or Christmas Bay. The salt grasses help keep the wind down and so does the elevated railroad If you go under the railroad bridge you can get out into the bay. So you are going to run into more wind and choppy water-depending on the wind speeds of course.
Salt Water Marshes are estuaries. These are the areas where fresh water meets salt water. The level of salinity varies according to how close you are to the salt water source. The fish, plant life and animal life there is a little different than you may find in fresh or salt water. But it is a busy place. Estuaries are really important in the ecosystem of our coastal area so enjoy them and take care of them.
There are 2 places to launch your kayak from. One is Louis Bait Camp – which by the way has amazing burgers! I think the launch fee is $5. The other place is a new business just getting going. Bayou Paddle Monkey (Click here). Devon is the owner and she has big plans for kayak events, fishing tournaments, parties and she has kayak and SUP rentals. Devon showed us/ paddled with us around Bayou Vista. We had a great time and we wish her business success!
Bayou Vista is actually a city with it’s own city council. It is a community of homes built on the water and each have access to canals. It’s fun to paddle the canals. Especially if you want to get out of the wind for a while.
Right after that is Bayou Vista, Tiki Island and then the Causeway Bridge to Galveston Island. The first time that we tried kayaking, we had a Groupon deal with paddled with Mike from Beachtown Tours (click here). We paddled just west of the Causeway bridge to South Deer Island. The day was beautiful, the water was very clear and we saw lots of fish, birds and sea rays. That is when we said, we have to do this. A lot! So we have. Mike is great to talk with as you paddle. He too is a teacher!
We look forward to going back again. But watch out for traffic on I-45 South and North. There is always a clog from something. Even if Transtar says it is ok. I think that we are going to take Highway 6 to and from on our next trip.