Day Trips: Galveston Island State Park

Enjoy the air show at Galveston Island SP

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Galveston Island State Park outside of Galveston preserves an oasis of nature surrounded by the development that covers much of the island.

Late last year I headed to Galveston hoping to spot the 3- to 4-foot-tall sandhill cranes. The red-capped birds migrate from northern states and winter along the Texas coast from December to February.

Let me say up front that I don't know much about birds. I just admire our feathered friends like I do most any wildlife (except maybe snakes).

After a fruitless day of visiting several birding locations listed at, my wife and I gave up the search. We grabbed supper at Blvd Seafood and headed for our campsite in the state park.

At first glance the park is a nondescript marshland popular with fishermen. The beach side of the park is closed until 2022 as the dunes recover after a battering by storms. As we pulled into the park a little after dark the lights of houses on stilts twinkled almost to the park's fence line. The city about 15 minutes away cast an orange glow on the low clouds.

The next morning the wetlands burst with avian life. A flock of great egrets, with a few snowy egrets, danced, sparred, and preened near the road. At another shallow pond a group of large white birds did synchronized aerial acrobatics before landing, and then repeated the display several more times.

Across the road from the air show, six flat-billed florescent pink roseate spoonbills slowly patroled the shore for their breakfast. The best description is "Wow."

I never saw the out-of-state visitors, but with the assortment of beautiful native birds, I can wait and try again next year.

1,539th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at

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Galveston, Galveston Island State Park, birding, Blvd. Seafood

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