TCBR: Bryan Beach to Galveston

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The fifth section of the Texas Coast Bikerafting Route (TCBR) traverses some of the most developed sections of the Texas coast including the contrasting industrialized Brazosport area and the island resort city of Galveston.

The previous section left off after crossing the mouth of the Brazos River and landing on Bryan Beach. It’s about 2.5 miles to the first access road connected to the beach and around 6 miles to the terminus of this beach at the Quintana Jetty. There does not appear to be a suitable launch site behind the jetty, but one can loop around into Freeport and ride the roads with bridges to get around the jetty (this is also the only Buc-ee’s on the route for those fans out there). Riding through this area is like travelling through an industrial hellscape. Chemical plants and refineries dominate the landscape and with it the strange smells of unfamiliar synthetic substances. It’s perhaps the ugliest spot on the entire Texas coast, and a stark reminder of the costs of modern industrial products and what is lost if the coast line is not protected.

On the other side is Surfside Beach, a small coastal community of less than a thousand. It’s a minor tourist area with some accommodations and restaurants. You can return to the beach and ride onward or take the Bluewater Highway Trail, a multi-use trail that runs parallel to the highway until the city limits after which one can continue on the highway or return to the beach to proceed. The beach runs for about 10 miles from Surfside to the end of the island at the San Luis Pass and camping is allowed on the beach. The San Luis Pass is about 0.75 miles wide and a toll bridge spans the gap connecting to Galveston Island (I was also not charged a toll as I was on a bicycle). This pass is noted for it’s treacherous currents and history of drownings and should only be crossed via the bridge. It’s also worth pointing out that there is no camping allowed on the public beaches after crossing onto Galveston Island.

After crossing over the bridge, one can immediately return to beach riding or continue on along the highway. The beach runs for about 18 miles to the beginning of the Galveston Seawall where the beach is briefly interrupted. There one can then ride on top of the seawall for the remainder of the island, or after a short distance, return to riding on the sandy beach.

The city of Galveston is a popular tourist destination and attracts people for a variety of reasons. The island has about 32 miles of beaches and is popular for swimming, fishing, and other beach activities. It is a popular departure point for cruise ships to the Caribbean and Mexico. The city has an interesting history with a number of historic buildings and landmarks. In addition to the resorts, tourist attractions include a Schlitterbahn water park and the Historic Pleasure Pier. Galveston also hosts a number of events and festivals each year. When I was passing through in October of 2022, I stayed at the state park and planned to have breakfast in town at ShyKatZ Deli & Bakery and then continue onward to the Bolivar Peninsula that day. While I was enjoying my breakfast, some talkative cyclists showed up and upon seeing my bike, struck up a conversation through which they informed me that they were in here for the Octoberfest celebration. I decided to stick around and reserved a hotel for the night. Then I spent the day exploring Galveston by bike, and then joined the Octoberfest activities that night. I learned two important things from this: Galveston is a great town to explore by bicycle, and it’s always worth checking what local events are going on.

Towns and Resupply Areas

This section traverses through developed areas and towns where food and other supplies are easily sourced. Galveston has a great selection of restaurants and cafes also. This section also passes perhaps the only bicycle shop that is directly on the entire route, Island Bicycle Company on Seawall Blvd.

Water Sources

This section traverses through developed areas and towns where water is easily sourced.

Camping Areas and Lodging

Camping is generally allowed on the beaches of Brazos county. This includes the areas from Bryan Beach to the San Luis Pass. Camping on beaches is not allowed on Galveston Island, but Galveston Island State Park has fee camp sites as well as a KOA campground. Hotels are available along this section with many in Galveston.

Notice: Outdoor activities such as those described on this site are inherently dangerous. Effort has been put forth to present factual information but no guarantee is made that it is complete or represents current conditions. You assume all risk with any use of the information on this site.

Rowdy Fisherman

I enjoy combining adventure with cycling. Bikepacking, bikefishing, ultra distance, all road, former road, off road, and unusual locations. Riding the best and the worst roads. I hope that I can share these adventures with you and inspire others to take on their next adventure!

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