One of our favorite activities on the Texas Gulf Coast is hitching a ride on the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry. This family friendly crossing is a wonderful opportunity to spot dolphins and see the huge freighters coming and going from the Port of Houston, the nation’s largest inland port. The laid-back, less than 3 mile trip crosses Galveston Bay in about 20 minutes.
On one of our more recent ferry trips, we discovered a little beach on the Bolivar Peninsula side of the popular crossing, just right for hard-core beachcombers. We couldn’t find its name anywhere, and even the ferry attendant couldn’t tell us the name of this little strand. To this day, we haven’t been able to find any sign of this little stretch of sand on a map. To get there, you simply exit the ferry at the Bolivar Peninsula ferry landing and head to the right of the restroom building and shaded picnic ramadas. There you’ll find a narrow, well worn path through the grass to the bayside beach.
This small, unnamed beach is a great beachcombing find, and if you happen to go at lunchtime, you could easily pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at one of the picnic tables before venturing out to beach-comb. It really is a great way to spend at least part of your day if you are ever in the Galveston Island area.
Here’s the scoop: we would only recommend this beachcombing jaunt to adults and older children. The area is strewn with trash and sharp broken glass (as opposed to wave-worn sea glass, though there was quite a good amount of that, too!). Also, a great many of the shells we found on the narrow beach were occupied by hermit crabs. Whatever age group you fall into, we highly recommend you wear sturdy beach shoes and carefully inspect your seashell finds.
The ferries dock at the far northeast end of Galveston Island. Just follow Seawall Road to 2nd Street, and on to Ferry Road. Park you car at the lot near the ferry landing restrooms and stroll onto the next ferry boat. Believe me, unless you intend to keep going east on Highway 87 on the Bolivar Peninsula, you won’t want to drive on to the boat. The wait to get your car back onto the ferry on the return trip to Galveston Island is often painfully long (we once waited nearly two hours), but there is no line to speak of if you go on foot in either direction. The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry operates as a toll-free 24/7 service of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Enjoy the ride!