The West End is the perfect place for Galveston nature lovers to enjoy a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of work schedules, as well as the towering skyscrapers and overpasses of cities like Houston and Dallas.
Think Galveston is all about attractions like Moody Gardens, the Historic Pleasure Pier, and the cruise terminal? Think again! Head west on Seawall Boulevard and you’ll experience another side of this unique Gulf Coast barrier island. Cruise past long stretches of pastures, sprawling residential neighborhoods, local hardware stores and casual restaurants. Roll down your windows and enjoy the peace that comes from hearing the never-ending rhythm of the waves rolling ashore.
Unload your suitcase at your private West End vacation home and get ready to explore the unique ecosystems and parks that make up Galveston!
Perfect Places for Galveston Nature Lovers
Laffites Cove Nature Preserve
3501 Eckert Drive
This preserve offers a quick and easy walk that feels like it’s a world away. Laffites Cove Nature Society, which includes all Laffites Cove residents, maintains this relaxing nature preserve. You’ll find a boardwalk and path to explore the area. The route provides signage about some of the types of birds and other creatures you may see during your stroll. There’s also a gazebo about midway through. Plan to bring a snack, sit and enjoy the view. According to folklore, the Pirate Jean Laffite established an outpost in this area between 1817-1821.
Helen and Edward Oppenheimer Bird Observatory
13102 Stewart Road
Birders and Galveston nature lovers in general are going to love this observation platform. You’ll find this spot for nature lovers at the corner of Settegast and Stewart Roads. Artist Boat commissioned this platform to give visitors a unique birding experience in the natural prairie grasses of the island. Their goal is to inspire visitors to connect with nature. Enjoy a half-mile trail through the wetlands and a view from the 150-foot boardwalk. Tip: Artist Boat offers public kayak tours in the Coastal Heritage Preserve. Check their website to book your tour.
Another popular spot for birders is Sportsman Road. From Stewart Road, turn north on 8 Mile Road and west on Sportsman Road. Keep in mind this is in a residential area, so please be courteous to residents and don’t block driveways. Park in a gravel area at the end of 8 Mile Road. You’ll see shorebirds in this area year-round.
Galveston Island State Park
14901 FM 3005
NOTE: Typically, you can enjoy both the beach and bay sides of Galveston Island State Park. The beach side of the park is currently under renovation. Visitors will be able to access that side again in 2022.
On the bay side of the park you’ll find hiking trails, interpretive trails, a spot to launch your kayak, fishing, and an observation tower. You can also go geocaching. Check their website for tips on fishing, maps for hiking trails, and special events open to the public.
Where Galveston Island Nature Lovers Can Stay
Vacation rentals are the best way to for Galveston Island nature lovers to experience our barrier island. They give you a private place to relax and unwind, and have all of the comforts of home – with none of the responsibilities!
Vacation homes located along the bay side of the island often overlook wetlands. You’ll see various birds, fish, turtles, snakes, crabs, seagrass, and so much more in this part of the island. Rentals on the Gulf side offer the undeniable appeal of Gulf sunrises, busy little shorebirds and easy early morning beachcombing.
However you decide to connect with nature during your stay, Sand ‘N Sea offers the best selection of West End vacation rentals in Galveston. Options include beachfront, beachside, or bayfront homes. We also offer pet friendly vacation homes and homes with elevators.
Sand ‘N Sea is locally owned and operated and has served Galveston vacation rental guests and real estate clients since 1974.