The Best Camping Near Galveston Island State Park, Texas

The Best Camping Near Galveston Island State Park, Texas

Get the ideal mix of land and sea when you go camping near Galveston Island State Park! From the hiking routes to the paddling trails, every activity option comes with a healthy dose of fresh air and lovely views.

Galveston Island State Park, Texas
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About Camping Near Galveston Island State Park

Nature photographers, beach lovers, and anglers all find abundance while camping near Galveston Island State Park. Catch a glimpse of various bird species or take a dip in the gulf. You can even fish from shore without a license! For a change of pace, head into Galveston to experience Moody Gardens firsthand.

Top Campgrounds Near Galveston Island State Park, Texas

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Galveston Island State Park Camping FAQs

While Houston is by far the most populous city in Texas, its neighbor Galveston is a hot spot for warm-weather activities. Located right on the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston Island State Park makes it hard not to find a beautiful waterfront view when you’re in the area.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Go Camping Near Galveston Island State Park?

While you get a weather pattern quite similar to the rest of the Houston metro area, Galveston is mildly more moderate. Houston actually gets a touch colder, but the highs in Galveston tend to be a few degrees cooler during the warm season and just the same, if not a touch warmer, during the cool season. Still, like Houston, you want to avoid summer if possible.

Galveston Island State Park is the place to be if you have to do a summer trip. For travelers who have the luxury of traveling in the off-season, waiting until spring or fall is really the ideal way to visit the Gulf Coast section of Texas. Spring temperatures hover in the upper 60s and mid-70s throughout most of the season, though they ramp up towards 90 by late May. Still, as long as you plan around spring break, this is the season to visit the Galveston area in general.

Fall offers many of the same perks as spring, though it is a touch warmer for the most part. Fall temperatures start around the mid-80s and drop down to the low 70s at the end of the season. Overnight temperatures are modest, going from the mid-70s to roughly 60 degrees. Really, the major difference between spring and fall is just a few-degree swing in temperature. While there are wildflowers in the area during spring, there are better places to see the blooms.

Winter temperatures are pretty moderate, so snowbirds can park their RVs here for the season and enjoy daytime temperatures around 60 and overnights around 50. Because of this, there are plenty of campgrounds that will cater to late-season and winter travelers.

Tips for Camping Near Galveston Island State Park

Mosquitoes Are Incredibly Friendly Here

It feels like mosquitoes never take an off-day in this section of Texas. This is especially true if you’re here during the warmer months (and most months here are the warmer months). Of course, as long as you’re prepared with your bug spray, mosquitoes don’t have to slow you down.

Yes, Galveston Does Have Snakes

Like most of Texas, there are snakes here. Will you see one? It’s unlikely. Snakes really aren’t interested in hanging out with you, much preferring to hide out from humans. Still, there are snakes here, and some of them are venomous. The odds that you get bitten by one are incredibly low and fatal snake bites, even in Texas, are very rare.

Don’t worry too much about snakes because you almost certainly won’t see them. However, it never hurts to be prepared for an emergency. Should you (or someone else) get bitten, seek medical treatment immediately. No, that commercial snake bite kit you keep in your car will not help you, and you should probably throw it away.

Strongly Consider Camping During the Shoulder Seasons

If you only have summer free to travel, you’ll still have a great time visiting Galveston Island State Park. However, if you can travel in spring or fall, it’s really worth waiting until then. The crowds are at their peak during the summer, and so are the heat and humidity. You can stay cool during the summer being on the waterfront, of course, but the shoulder seasons are more comfortable and less crowded.

What Are the Top Outdoor Activities Near Galveston Island State Park?

Galveston Island State Park is perfect for anyone who loves the water. Since you’re right on the coast, swimming, fishing, and paddling are great choices for anyone who enjoys water sports. Though this park is right on the Gulf, there are still a number of great trails for hiking and mountain biking should you want to stay on land. The park has about four total miles of trails, and there are several nearby state and federal wildlife areas with even more hiking options.

The Best Camping Near Galveston Island State Park

St. Ives RV Resort

For the traveler who wants to see both Houston and Galveston, it’s hard to beat the location of St. Ives RV Resort. The park has great proximity to both, though it is slightly closer to Galveston, meaning you can get to the state park that much more quickly. If a slow day is in the cards for you, the resort has its own hiking trails, lazy river, and swimming pool, so you don’t have to leave the campground to spend quality time outdoors.

Jetstream NASA

While you can’t stay at the space center itself, as cool as that would be, this is the next best thing. This family-friendly campground also offers great proximity to both Houston and Galveston, with the added bonus of being right near the NASA Space Center. Amenities here are ideal for travelers spending an extended trip in south Texas, as the park has a spacious clubhouse, a relaxing pool, and a convenient laundry setup.

Cedar Cove RV Resort

You’ll have views of the upper portion of Galveston Bay, all while being right near the state park when you stay at Cedar Cove RV Resort. Anglers should choose this stay for its proximity to the great fishing that this section of the state is known for. Cedar Cove RV Resort is a mainstay in this area, established in 1952, and shows no signs of stopping. With an ideal location near the well-loved Thompsons Fish Camp, there’s no better place to be if fishing is in the plans.

The Palapa RV Beach Resort

While there are so many beautiful campgrounds in the Galveston area, the Palapa RV Beach Resort makes a strong case for top honors. There’s no better campground for watching the sunset over the ocean than this one.

When you’re ready to head out, it’ll take you just minutes to be on your way, as the central location of the resort means you have the freedom to head anywhere quickly and easily. When you head back for the night, be sure to enjoy the relaxing pool and beachfront access.

Are There National Parks Near Galveston Island State Park?

There aren’t any National Park Service (NPS) sites within a short drive from Galveston. That being said, there are several federally run pieces of land where you can see south Texas wildlife and enjoy great hiking trails.

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

(1 hour)

Run by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge preserves the ecological diversity of local coastal wildlife. The refuge has well over 500 different species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and flying insects, making it a great place for photography and wildlife watching. There are a couple of short trails here, but the most exciting activity here is the 7.5-mile driving or bicycling tour that takes you throughout the refuge.

San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge

(1 hour and 20 minutes)

Also run by the FWS, the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge conserves nearly 50,000 acres of the Texas coast. There’s no fee to enter the refuge here, so anyone in the area should stop by, even for just an hour. Short-term visitors should enjoy the self-guided auto tour, though visitors who have a day to spare can hike several of the park’s numerous trails.

Sam Houston National Forest

(2 hours)

This United States Forest Service site is easily the most loved of the four national forests in Texas. Sam Houston is a great spot for hiking, camping, and nature watching in general. If you want to get off the beaten path and avoid some of the crowds, heading into Sam Houston National Forest is the way to do it.

Which State Parks Are Near Galveston Island State Park?

Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center

(1 hour and 15 minutes)

Just 15 minutes from the heart of Houston, this state park offers something unique: the Environmental Learning Center. While there are plenty of ways to get outside and stay active at Sheldon Lake State Park, the Environmental Learning Center is the place to be for inquiring young minds to learn about the outdoor environment all around them.

Brazos Bend State Park

(1.5 hours)

This park spans nearly 5,000 acres and is quite a popular getaway for locals coming from Houston and Galveston. Still, Brazos Bend State Park is one of the prettiest outdoor spots in the Gulf Coast section of the state. The park is teeming with wildlife if you hold still long enough to find them. Brazos Bend is a must-see day trip for anyone visiting Galveston Island State Park.

Stephen F. Austin State Park

(2 hours)

Stephen F. Austin State Park sits at the bottom of the Brazos River, though that location has moved over the years. Visitors can actually see where the Brazos river bank used to be roughly a century ago and compare it to today. After you see that, be sure to enjoy the nature trails that wind throughout the hardwood forests preserved here.

What Are the Top Attractions Near Galveston Island State Park?

Moody Gardens

This spot is a collection of pyramids, all with their own ecological theme. From the rainforest to the depths of the ocean, there’s an exciting Moody Gardens exhibit all families should see. This is a resort-level spot here, as you can book a hotel room, play golf, go to the spa, and dine, all on-site!

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

This pier combines a good open-air stroll with a small theme park, engaging all visitors. This isn’t so much an average pier as it is an amusement park, though. You’ll need a pass to gain access; though there are so many offerings, it’s easy to spend hours at the pier.

Galveston Children’s Museum

Maybe Moody Gardens was a lot. That’s fair. The Galveston Children’s Museum is sure to engage young family members, but there are no hotel rooms to book. This exciting mansion of a museum has themed rooms full of interactive exhibits alongside a rotating list of equally exciting events.

Where Is Some of the Best Food Near Galveston Island State Park?

Allen’s Restaurant

You don’t have to travel extensively to know that those hole-in-the-wall spots that don’t advertise much usually serve up the best food. In fact, you may not have to leave your home city to know that’s true, but traveling sure does prove it’s not a fluke. Allen’s Restaurant is one such example. Serving up easily the best soul food in Galveston, there are flocks of repeat customers, proving you’re in the right place when you walk in.


Gaido’s is an institution well over a century old. Opened in 1911, this seafood restaurant has beautiful views to complement its upscale dining experience. While we aren’t talking Michelin stars here, it’s still a spot best saved for a nice dinner.

The Spot

Yep, it’s just called The Spot. The Spot doesn’t need a lot of marketing or fancy advertising because its food speaks for itself. With a long list of comfort foods, this dining hall-style spot has five venues in location, so whether you want a drink or a full meal, you can find it at The Spot.

Galveston is one of the most relaxing outdoor destinations in Texas, and Galveston Island State Park is the crown jewel of this region. While it’s a big state and Galveston may be out of the way, every minute spent getting there is worth it, and you can thank me later.

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