Galveston Island – Not just Brown Water

Is the water brown in Galveston?

While we were exploring the giant state of Texas, we decided to find out.  My husband and I love the ocean and visit regularly. We normally are swimming in the Atlantic Ocean though, so the Gulf of Mexico was a new experience. The little town of Galveston Island has a bad reputation due to the deep brown coloring of the sea on its shoreline. I even heard it referred to as Texas’ armpit.  Don’t believe the hype.  The water is, in fact, brown, but there are many theories as to why. (See my blog here)

There is a strong absence of a shoreline in many parts there.  The Army Corps Of Engineers built a massive seawall back in the early 1900’s after a hurricane almost wiped the town off the map.

Galveston Island

Assess to the beach is a bit limited due to the seawall. We swam mostly at the Gulf Shores Beach on the west end (far past the seawall). Parking is oddly situated on the side of Seawall Blvd and driving (or parking) on that road can be tricky. There are more accidents on Seawall Blvd each week than in all neighboring towns combined. If you are planning a trip to Galveston Island, Texas I recommend walking.

Galveston has a renovated downtown area that is alive with music, shopping, and food. We drove through it but we did not stop and walk through it. During our visit, the temperatures were a smothering 102 and the humidity was around 70-80%.  I definitely could see visiting sometime in mid-March and enjoy the walking then. This town is swimming in history. There were many markers along the way that enlightened us on our journey.

The Best Places on Galveston Island

The best places on the entire Island were small Mom-and-Pop restaurants situated along Seawall Blvd and the San Luis Pass Road. We found a great Mexican restaurant named Salsa’s that served giant portions for a great price. There was a deli-style eatery on San Luis Pass Blvd right next to a gas station. It was a hole-in-the-wall place with wonderful nachos and catfish for a very small price. It was named Seahorse Grill. I highly recommend this little dive for some wonderful food at a budget price! A more pricey option we indulged in was CafΓ© Michael Burger. Here we each had a burger and shared an order of fries. My husband’s burger looked good and was rather large, but my burger… Well, I don’t eat meat, so mine was a veggie burger. It was bigger than my face! I suppose we paid for it too. Each Burger cost approximately $15 each and the fries were about $7 that we shared.

The small town was saturated in charm and friendliness. The sky was absolutely beautiful and photogenic. The seawall (although hated by many) provided a beautiful place to take nature photos. It was a peaceful place I enjoyed my morning coffee and gave thanks with a grateful heart.

This post has kindly been contributed by Christina Polovich and is a travel blogger. You can visit her blog here and enjoy many posts about her travels.


83 Replies to “Galveston Island – Not just Brown Water”

    1. Do you live in Galveston County or are you referring to Galveston Island? This article was written directly in relation to Galveston Island. Also are you referring to the water on the bay side or the ocean side? We spent an extended amount of time there earlier this year and I have many pictures of the brown water.

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        1. When we first arrived on Galveston Island I thought perhaps the brown water was a fluke. Something had turned up the water Maybe or something else had occurred but I was sure there was a reason for it. By the end of our first week, the water was still Brown. I did a very simple search on the internet and found hundreds of thousands of people asking the same question over time. That’s when I decided to look it up. I found the geological reasoning in the article that I wrote from NOAA, scientific studies conducted at multiple research facilities, and universities. There was also a great deal of public opinion available. During our stay which was pre hurricane Harvey, we got to speak to a lot of local residents who have lived there their entire lives. Everyone said the same thing. The brown color of the water was part of what made Galveston special. During our stay we were as East as the island goes before it breaks off, all the way down the Seawall, and about 25 miles west of it as well. Many of the local residents who had been there 50 years or better told us if we were looking for the beautiful water that more closely resembled Destin, we would not find it. But they did tell us if we traveled further Southwest and went far south of Corpus Christi, we would eventually find some more clear water. In my mind I just settled that this made the most eastern part of Texas very special. As my article indicated, it doesn’t mean that Galveston is dirty which is unfortunately the common thought process on the internet. Because the waters or so murky and we could not see through it, I did obtain my first close encounter with sea life there. A jellyfish wrapped around the upper part of my right thigh. That was a experience I’ll never forget. I’ve seen jellyfish many time in the oceans that we have swam in, this was the first time having one touch my skin though because I couldn’t see it.

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  1. We just came home from a week at the beach in Southern California. My daughters love the water and we could definitely go for another summer vacation before school starts soon. My brother and his family recently moved to Texas and we are planning to visit later this year – his kids are having so much fun living by the beach!

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  2. This sounds like such a tranquil spot. My sister recently moved to Texas and wants to explore the area, so we’ll add this to the list when I visit. Sounds like a worthwhile stop!

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    1. There’s a very diverse crowd there so part of the Island is loud & exciting (lots of bars). We hung out on the other side with the silently relaxing zenith people (or old folks…whatever you want to call them) 😊☺😊☺

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  3. I’ll have to start by saying I’m a bit of a beach snob. (sorry!) I happen to live along the Gulf of Mexico, where the county I live in is claimed to have “the worlds most beautiful beaches.” There is no way I’d swim in brown water. I would visit Galveston and totally do the other things you mentioned.

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  4. I’ve never been to Galveston Island before. It looks amazing! I’m curious about the brown water too. Although, I’m glad that it’s a town worth going to especially with the new restaurants!

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  5. I enjoy visiting places like this! I love eating at mom and pop shops and not having to deal with so many tourists! Looks like a cool place to visit to me!

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  6. I’ve never traveled to the Gulf of Mexico but have heard from many people how beautiful the sights are there. There certainly seems to be a lot to enjoy and experience in Galveston Island.

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