Watching the ships roll in to Galveston Bay at Fort Travis Seashore Park
Fort Travis Seashore Park, a 15-minute ferry ride from Galveston, looks kind of out of place with its green mounds on the relatively flat tip of the Bolivar Peninsula. Then you realize the grassy knolls were bunkers and gun placements used during the world wars.
As the gateway to Galveston Harbor, Bolivar Point has attracted settlers since 1815, when the point was named for Simón Bolívar, the liberator of Latin America. The site entered Texas history books when Jane Long, an acquaintance of pirate Jean Lafitte, gave birth to a daughter there in 1821. Long was bestowed with the honorary title "Mother of Texas" for giving birth to the first Anglo baby in Texas, which probably isn't true.
The first federal fort at the site began in 1898 and lasted until 1949. The massive guns installed during World War II have been removed, leaving camouflaged bunkers flanked by empty round concrete pads.
Fort Travis Seashore Park is a pleasant place with a constant breeze, a playground, lots of open space, and ghosts of soldiers past. It's fun spending a few lazy hours under a picnic shelter, watching the giant ships cross the horizon on their way to the Houston Ship Channel. Galveston County rents cabanas and tent-camping spots in the park. Access to the 27 miles of beach begins about two miles up the peninsula. For information or to make reservations, call 409/934-8100 or go to www.crystalbeach.com.
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