We left Sea Rim State Park excited for showers — we were headed just a couple hours down the beach towards Galveston Island State Park, which promised nicer facilities and increased sunshine. The trip down the coast provided us with another first: Franklin’s first ride on a ferry!
We took the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry to the island. The breezes were balmy and we enjoyed running around the ship checking out the views.
When we arrived at our campsite, the first order of business was getting a little work done. Screen glare makes it tough to work on the computer in the sunshine, so I camped out in the back of the car, while Ryan hammed around:
He also got little work done on the truck: he used Reflectrix to cut out our custom window covers for privacy and insulation. He taped together some notebook paper to make patterns, then taped them to the Reflectrix and cut them out. They fit great, and have worked awesome for us ever since! They block drafts and give us an added feeling of security in the back of the Tahoe.
After a couple hours of working and projecting, we were ready to explore! Galveston Island State Park has two campsite zones: one beach front and one bay side. We were on the bay side, and our campground was surrounded by a lovely marsh full of trails. First we went for a walk through the marsh. It was sunny and quiet and other than a lot of birds, we didn’t see another creature.
By the time we finished our bird watching, the sun was beginning to set. With daylight dwindling, we made the quick drive to the other side of the park to take a peek at the beach. It was also deserted, except for a solitary fisherman.
Back at the campground, we had a blazing campfire, then settled into bed. Little did we know we were doomed for a night of misery.
So when you’re car camping, it’s important to crack a few windows to keep condensation from building up inside the car. (This is terrible for your car headliner and, presumably, your sleep quality.) Well, I don’t exaggerate when I say the car literally filled with bugs. At one point I had my head tucked down in the sleeping bag and I could hear a swarm of mosquitoes circling my head, buzzing madly. We spent the whole night hovering between dozing and slapping at mosquitoes.
The plan for our second day in Galveston was to spend the morning exploring the town, then work in the afternoon. We were tired from our sleepless night, but this early in the trip, our adventurous spirits were undaunted and we were determined to enjoy ourselves.
Galveston has some incredible architecture, and we started off our tour by parking and exploring the town on foot to be able to really get a feel for it.
The homes were beautiful, but the town seemed strangely deserted. It was a weekday morning, but we saw almost no one when we were walking around, and many of the stateliest homes sadly seemed abandoned or falling into disrepair.
We decided to take a tour of one of the most stately homes in town, the Bishop’s Palace. This crazy mansion was constructed in 1892, is over 19,000 square feet, and is one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country.
If you enjoy historic homes like we do, the Bishop’s Palace is a must-see. It’s pretty much the antithesis of tiny living — and it’s full of gorgeous and opulent design, from a forty-foot octagonal mahogany stairwell to a massive mahogany fireplace to some truly tremendous stained glass.
After a morning of architecture, it was time for some lighter activities. We headed towards the Strand Historic District to check out the more touristy part of downtown. Obviously we were famished by our exploring, so we ducked into La King’s Confectionary — maybe the best choice we made all day.
The interior was charming, the coffee was delicious, and the ice cream was AWESOME.
We spent a little more time roaming the main strip — mostly restaurants and kitschy shops — then headed back to the campground.
On our way we made an important stop: Home Depot, to buy some screening so Ryan could fix our bug problem! After trying a couple solutions, the fix ended up being simple: he cut pieces of screening to size, then attached them to the exterior of the window with magnets. We spent a pleasant, bug-free night of peaceful sleep.
The next morning the sun had disappeared into a humid and hazy sky. But that’s the beauty of the mobile life! A few clouds won’t ruin your vacation — you just follow the sun! We were headed west once again. Destination: San Antonio!
Campground: Galveston Island State Park (Texas)
- Bay side tent camping
- Cost: $15 for camping, $5/person entrance fee (as of February 11, 2016).
- Pros: a beautiful, clean, centrally located bathhouse. Easy access to trash and water. Flat sites with pavilioned picnic tables and super convenient top-loading animal-proof boxes. Great location near downtown Galveston and the beach.
- Cons: relatively pricey for even non-hookup sites. Lots of bugs, perhaps because of proximity to the marsh.
- Galveston Island State Park also has sites with water & electric hookups for $20/night (bay side) and $25/night (beach side).