Galveston Island is a diverse and exciting beach community on the Texas Gulf Coast. For visitors hoping to discover Galveston on foot, walking paths, trails and tours offer a myriad of ways to explore. Whether it's nature walks, beach strolls or downtown tours, there is an established walking path in Galveston for all ages and abilities.
Galveston's 32 miles of walkable beach provide ample opportunities for a stroll in the sand, seashell collecting and people-watching. The 8-mile Galveston Seawall is an easy place to begin. Visitors can park anywhere along the seawall and start a walk. The paved sidewalk is an easy, flat walk, and with stairways to the sand every block or two, walkers may choose to head down to the water and up again several times during their journey. Bicycles and pedal-powered carriages are available for rent from shops and stands along the road. Between 30th Street and the large intersection at 61st Street, there is plenty of shore to explore. Stewart Beach is a city beach park with ample walking along the firm Gulf Coast sand. It's open seasonally, beginning in March and ending in October, with some variation to accommodate warm weather. Rental chairs and a snack bar offer visitors a rest after walking the length of the beach.
Galveston has several national historic sites to explore. The San Jacinto Battleground marks the place where the Battle of San Jacinto was fought, winning Texas its independence from Mexico in 1836. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site has a 2.5-mile interpretive walking path for visitors. A short walking path at the battleground brings walkers through the grounds of a native-habitat restoration project. The Marsh Restoration and Boardwalk path covers native prairie, tidal marsh and bottomland forest, giving walkers a sense of what the upper Texas coast looked like during the time of the battle.
Coastal birds make the freshwater ponds of Galveston a seasonal home, and keen birders will find no shortage of walking paths to view these feathered residents. Galveston Island State Park has paths that wind through the marshes, making use of planked boardwalk trails so visitors can walk in comfort and not disturb the fragile aquatic landscape. The short Duck Lake Trail will take an average walker about 30 minutes. With the trailhead located at the park's welcome center, and interpretive signage along the path, Duck Lake Trail is a good place to start exploring the wildlife of the area. Other Galveston Island State Park trails of particular interest to birders include the Caracara Trail and Egret Loop. North of Galveston at Sea Rim State Park in Sabine Pass, migratory birds visit during every season, making this park's walking paths a year-round birding adventure. For birds and other wetland wildlife, the Gambusia Nature Trail takes walkers along a plank boardwalk through the marshland without getting their feet wet.
Historic City Walks
Galveston has overcome several natural disasters and economic setbacks, as well as enjoying thriving times. Walking paths through some of the city's historic districts and urban landmarks are an excellent way to get to know this fascinating town. Self-guided walking tours of the Strand Historic District will weave through the city's old streets, passing by quirky shops, an eclectic selection of restaurants and art exhibits. Start at the corner of 25th Street and Strand, by the Galveston Island Railroad Museum. Wander up and back, taking in the sights. Guided walking tours of the historic sections of Galveston are offered by the Galveston Historical Foundation, including Hurricane Ike recovery displays and the city's unique Tree Sculpture displays.
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