Address: 23700 Termini-San Luis Pass Rd, Galveston, TX 77554
Online Reservations? Yes.
Rate Per Night: Winter: $43-54 — Summer: $54-74
Monthly Rate: $599 only available during Winter
Discount: 10% with the Good Sam, TACO, Trailer Life and Armed Forces
Nights Stayed: 62
Galveston Island RV Resort is across the road from Beach Entrance 34 at the western end of Galveston Island— about twenty miles from the sea wall and all the attractions of Galveston— making this a nice quiet location. It was probably even quieter because we were here during the winter, and while the city got busy during the Christmas holidays, it never seemed to affect our end of the island. We enjoyed the constant sound of the waves and the wind and only the occasional road noise.
Finding the office upon arrival at the resort is easy because, like all the beach houses around it, the office is on stilts in the middle of the resort. It’s a long straight drive from the entrance to the office, then a right turn to a large check-in lane. The roads in the resort are wide enough for even large fifth wheels to navigate and there are a number of pull through sites for larger rigs, but some of the back-in sites can be tricky to maneuver in to. The well spaced sites throughout the resort are nice and level with concrete pads, full hook-ups with 30/50 amp electrical pedestals, a picnic table, and a grill.
The office building includes four shower rooms, a laundry room with six washers and six dryers.— It costs $2 per load to wash and $1.75 to dry— a community room and a small store. However, the community room and store were closed to visitors due to Covid. But, even with the store closed you could buy ice and a number of drinks and frozen treats from the office that would be charged to your site. Our favorite treat, by far, was the big frozen margarita that we could buy at anytime while the office was open.
The staff was always friendly and helpful and not just because they could deliver a frozen margarita on request! They would bring packages to our site except for the holiday week when the park was packed, then they sent an e-mail asking us to come pick up our packages at the office. The property was always well maintained by a busy crew.
The resort offers a number of amenities. Propane is available onsite. They have a pool and a lazy river, though we didn’t get to experience either because it was always too chilly. They also have a pickle ball court, a basketball net and horseshoes. In warmer weather they also have a food truck that makes pizza. And, most importantly, the beach is a short walk or bike ride to the nearest access point across the road from the campground.
We loved our stay at Galveston Island RV Resort. It’s not in the middle of the action. Instead, it offers a quiet place to relax on an island where it’s easy to stay busy with all the fun things to see and do.
At the end of November, as cold weather was beginning to take hold of Tennessee, we headed south to Galveston to take part in the Xscapers Winter Basecamp. Hoping to avoid cold weather and meet other full time travelers like us. We connected with a bunch of travelers and had a wonderful time getting to know them and while the weather wasn’t perfect, we had plenty of beautiful days to explore and learn that Galveston has a lot to offer.
Galveston Island has a long and colorful history that begins when pirates built the first permanent structures on the island. It was the capitol of the Republic of Texas, and a major port city. Then it was almost completely destroyed by a hurricane in 1900, only to be reborn as a paradise of drinking and gambling during Prohibition. All of these layers of history make Galveston Island, and the city of Galveston, on the island’s eastern end, an interesting place to visit even if it didn’t also have the long stretch of beach along the Gulf Coast.
You get to Galveston by driving across the causeway from Texas City, or you can arrive by ferry from the Bolivar Peninsula, a route on and off the island that avoids Houston traffic. Once on the island you’ll find the city is laid out in a grid with numbered streets running north to south and named streets running east to west which makes it very easy to navigate.
The downtown includes Galveston Seaport and The Strand Historic District. Named for Strand Street, the district includes a large swath of the city. There are lots of shops to explore and restaurants to try. Since we don’t have room for anything we avoided going into a lot of the shops, but, we were tempted in by The Kitchen Chick, on Market Street, which features a really well curated collection of gourmet kitchen gadgets, olive oils and vinegars. I had to exercise real self control but I did leave with a little something. The other place we were tempted to visit is La King’s Confectionery. The store began in Houston in 1927, then moved to Galveston in the 70’s to recreate an old fashioned confectionery. They make about fifty different candies from old time recipes from salt water taffy to hand dipped chocolates and the store features a 1920’s soda fountain as well. It was hard to choose, but we left with several chocolate candies including rum cordials and chocolate covered peanut butter caramel cups. These were not your typical peanut butter cups, either. They had a layer of peanut butter covered with a layer of buttery caramel surrounded by a layer of chocolate.
A few blocks away on Market Street is Maceo Spice and Import Company. The store features jars of just about every herb and spice, plus a number of spice blends to go with local seafood, barbecue or brisket (this IS Texas, after all). The rest of the store features Italian food staples from pasta and sauce (including their own excellent tomato gravy) to pannatone and good olive oil. At the back of the store is a deli counter where you can order lunch to go or to eat at one of the tables outside. If you want a good muffuletta, this is the place to go.
The historic district includes a neighborhood of gorgeous Victorian houses with lots of tropical flair, survivors of the 1900 Hurricane that devastated the island. Since it was Christmas time, many of the houses were dressed up for a Christmas decorating contest. It’s well worth your time to wander the tree-lined streets. Wandering the neighborhood is also a great way to spend your time as you wait for a table at one of the many restaurants.
It’s short walk from the Strand to the Seaport where you will find the Ocean Star Drilling Rig and Museum. If you’ve ever been curious how a drilling rig operates, this museum is worth a visit. There is an indoor museum to help orient you before you go outside to walk the decks and look at all the heavy equipment up close. Much of the museum, though, is an advertisement for the oil industry.
On the Gulf side of the island are the beaches and the famed Seawall built to better protect the city after the 1900 hurricane. Here you’ll find the beach town vibe with lots of gift shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. Standing amid the garish newcomers is the Hotel Galvez and Spa which has been facing the Gulf since 1911. Just a short walk down the Seawall is Pleasure Pier (pictured at the start of this article), an amusement park on a pier extending into the Gulf. The Seawall is worth a visit to stroll along or to ride your bike, though there is no guard rail to keep you from falling on to the beach. It’s great for an early morning stroll to watch sunrise over the gulf, or to watch lights come on on the piers as daylight fades into night at sunset.
Driving west on San Luis Pass Road soon takes you out of the city and you find yourself surrounded by bright colored beach houses for several miles until you cross through the Galveston Island State Park which covers the island from the Gulf beach to Galveston Bay. Beyond the state park is the town of Jamaica Beach which has churches, a police and fire station and several stores. Beyond the town there are clusters of beach houses along both sides of the road all the way to the end of the island. On the bay side of the island there are some very nice residential communities with boat access to the bay.
Galveston island offers quite a few RV campgrounds. Sandpiper RV Resort at Stewart Beach is the closest to The Strand area, but is little more than a parking lot for RV’s. On the west end of the Seawall is Dellanera RV Park which is a small campground located right on the beach. If you want to see the ocean from your RV, this is the place to stay. Next is Stella Mare RV Resort a large campground across the road from the beach. Jamaica Beach RV Resort is a very busy campground that offers a lot of amenities including a mini golf course. The last one is Galveston Island RV Resort where we stayed. It’s the furthest west on the island which has the advantage of being far from the noise of town. I will have more to say about them in a future post. Spoiler alert: we loved it.
Galveston Island may not have tropical weather— most days were in the 60’s and there were a few cold and rainy days—but it still has a lot to offer for a winter stay. The city is home to UTMB hospital complex for any medical needs, there is a Home Depot, Target, Kroger and most other stores you might need. Anything you can’t find on the island is just across the causeway in the Houston area. After two months we only scratched the surface. We skipped many of the museums and the Moody Gardens because of Covid 19 activity in the area. But, we will be back to explore more.
If you aren’t familiar with Harvest Hosts, let me tell you a little bit about them. Harvest Hosts is a membership organization for RVer’s. Members get access to a network of thousands of farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, museums and most recently, golf courses across the country that let fully self contained RV’s park overnight. In exchange, members make a purchase or otherwise participate in the host’s business. Thanks to our membership we had the opportunity to stay at two incredible wineries in New Mexico and a brewery in Southern Colorado with great beer and a unique backstory. All three experiences were unique and absolutely magical.
Black Mesa Winery
Our first stop was Black Mesa Winery in Velarde, New Mexico; about halfway between Santa Fe and Taos. The winery sits at the base of a sandy, rock strewn hill just across the road from the Rio Grande River. The river valley is green and full of life in contrast to the dry rocky hills on both sides.
The winery is a set of adobe buildings with the vineyard out front beside the parking area and a green lawn with shade trees and tables where you can enjoy your wine tasting while watching the many hummingbirds stopping at feeders hung in the trees. Alex, the person working behind the counter was charming and accommodating and the owner chatted with us briefly. We were even greeted by one of the winery’s cats as we went to take a seat.
The wines were wonderful and we spent time chatting with some other guests from a safe distance. We bought bottles of our favorites and as the sun set, we returned to the RV parked beside the vineyard. After a quiet night, despite being close to the road, we finished our visit by following the trail behind the winery to see ancient petroglyphs.
Wines of the San Juan
After a day of visiting Taos and driving west across New Mexico we came to Wines of the San Juan in Blanco, New Mexico. The drive in makes this place all the more surprising. We drove through desert landscapes, then turned off the main road toward a stand of trees. Once we reached the trees everything changed. The winery sits on the banks of the San Juan River. Huge shade trees covered us from the sun and we were greeted like friends at the outdoor tasting bar. After talking through the menu we each got a glass (or two) and were invited to go sit by the pond.
The pond had tables with umbrellas and the grounds were populated by a menagerie of animals. Two geese weren’t happy that we sat at the table closest to them and they yelled at us for a bit before wandering away in a huff. Then, a family of peacocks walked up to greet us. Finally one of the cats came to say hello.
We sat in the shade enjoying our wine until they closed then we wandered back to Belvedere to make dinner. They were unusual in that they had electric and water hookups and we were the only guests there so we had a very quiet night. In the morning we were stopped on the road by a young cow that had escaped and was standing in the middle of the one lane road. We weren’t stopped for very long and we called the winery to let them know they had an escapee.
Colorado Farm Brewery
A week later, on our way to Great Sand Dunes National Park, we stopped for a night at Colorado Farm Brewery outside Alamosa, Colorado. We thought our GPS was taking us completely the wrong way when we left paved road behind and proceeded down a dirt road for a couple miles, however, we eventually came to another paved road and subsequently learned that we didn’t have to take the dirt road to get there. Anyhoo! We finally made it to their incredibly beautiful location.
The brewery is on the grounds of a family farm. The parking area was alongside a huge field of golden barley that was being harvested the day we visited. We received a very warm, friendly welcome and once we were set up for the night we wandered over to try the beer and get dinner from the food truck they had onsite for the night.
While our beers were being poured we chatted with the owners and learned that the farm has been in the family for four generations. With debt piling up and the barley business dwindling they turned to making barley into malt and became the largest international producer of craft malt. The brewery was founded on the property in 2018. Of course, we had to try the Wheatverly, their estate beer. Every ingredient of which; water, yeast, hops and malt all come from their property. It didn’t disappoint, it tasted fresh and slightly fruity.
The tap room, a former storage shed, was busy and the atmosphere was friendly and casual. The owners told us a lot of the customers are their neighbors from surrounding farms as well as people from town and other Harvest Host guests. Tables are all on a patio, under awnings, looking out over the fields. There was also a large children’s play area with things to climb. We ordered tacos filled with chicken and chorizo and enjoyed the food and the friendly atmosphere until the sunset.
Once the sun started to go down it was time for me to grab my camera and capture one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The night was quiet and the skies were so dark I was able to do some astrophotography. We were both a little sad when morning came it was time to pack up and leave. But, we may find ourselves making excuses to travel through Alamosa so we can visit them again and again.
So, those were our first experiences. When we became Harvest Host members we were excited to visit these places. Covid got in the way but we finally got to make use of our membership and have been absolutely blown away by how wonderful our first experiences were. We’re looking forward to many more experiences on our travels. If you have a self-contained RV, check out Harvest Hosts and you can have these experiences, too.
Minor Mini Rant – Staying at a Harvest Host is not about a free place to stay; there are Walmarts and Cracker Barrels aplenty if all one needs is a patch of reasonably level ground upon which to park. Harvest Hosts stays are experiences; a chance to see and participate in someone else‘s dream for a little while. There have been reports of RVers abusing this experience which frustrates us, as we get a lot out of and actively seek these kinds of experiences. We want hosts to be glad they are hosts so that we can keep staying with them. The expectation, clearly communicated by the Harvest Host organization, is that guests should follow rules set by the host and expect to support the Host with a purchase. Our rule of thumb is to spend as much as we would on a night of camping at an RV park (okay, sometimes it’s the same as a REALLY NICE RV Park!) If what they have on offer does not appeal to us— which is rarely the case because we are the ones choosing where we stay— it becomes a gift for others. Additionally, we show our appreciation during our visit by trying to be easy guests and afterwards by liking them on social media and writing about our experience in our blog. The hosts get nothing from Harvest Host in payment, and especially in these COVID times, success is a struggle, so we feel it is important to do our part to support these organizations as best we can.
Disclaimer: We are not sponsored by Harvest Hosts. We purchased our membership not long after we took delivery of our RV.