When it comes to beachside getaways, Goose Island State Park in Texas is very hard to beat.
Surrounded by both St. Charles Bay and Aransas Bay, it enjoys a stunning coastal location overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Providing visitors with plenty of opportunities to enjoy activities like kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, picnicking and wildlife watching in a warm and pleasant climate.
Situated between a 2.5 hour and 3 hour drive from San Antonio and Houston, the park is also notable for featuring the ‘Big Tree’ – one of the oldest live oak trees in the USA – as well as over 300 different types of birds.
It also has a terrific campground, with several different options for RVs, trailers and tents, that offer a convenient place to sleep at night to the sound of crashing waves.
No matter what time of year you visit this Texas state park, guests can enjoy it in plenty of different ways.
Here are just a handful of some of the many things you can see and do during your time there.
Kayaking and Canoeing at Goose Island State Park
Boasting a launch area for canoes and kayaks, the park enables you to partake in these activities for as long as you want.
Park visitors will need to bring their own watercraft with them as there are no rental sites available. It is also worth wearing a life jacket too.
While partaking in this activity, keep an eye out for alligators that might be sunbathing on the banks of the shore.
Fishing at Goose Island State Park
Fishing is a hugely popular activity here, with anglers from all over Texas and the neighboring states coming here to cast a line.
The likes of redfish, flounder and speckled trout all regularly bite here, and there is a 1,620 foot long fishing pier you can choose to fish from.
Alternatively, campers who have sites along the bay-front can fish directly from them.
The great thing about fishing at Goose Island State Park is that you do not require a license to do so. You can also hire out rods and reels there if you didn’t bring them with you.
Hiking and Guided Walks at Goose Island State Park
While the beach is a fabulous attraction, if you want some time away from it there are several miles of trails you can tackle.
Most of these trails are paved and family friendly, showcasing some of the park’s lush woodlands and diverse wildlife.
These walks can be done independently, but if you want to find out more about the park then you could also go on a guided nature walk.
These mainly focus on the 300 species of birds that live in the park and are led by very knowledgeable guides.
Visiting ‘Big Tree’ at Goose Island State Park
Arguably the main attraction of the park is the iconic ‘Big Tree’, which is essentially precisely what it sounds like.
Possessing roots that have been in the ground for well over 1000 years, this live, ancient oak tree has a massive diameter of 11 feet.
Standing about 44 feet high, its branches are very intricate and provide a natural wonder for visitors to marvel at. Make sure you have your camera with you, as you will want to take plenty of photos of it.
Picnicking at Goose Island State Park
Picnicking is a very popular activity at the park with many visitors taking the opportunity to indulge in a spot of outdoor dining.
The park has a roofed picnic area near the shore of St. Charles Bay, which provides a terrific spot in which to enjoy a meal while taking in the scintillating views of the bay.
The picnic area is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to clean up after yourselves and do not feed the birds that frequent this area.
Pets at Goose Island State Park
Pets are allowed in some sections of the park, so you can bring your dog with you on your visit.
However, some restrictions may apply. So it is worth contacting the park’s main office to clarify how these might affect your experience there.
Camping at Goose Island State Park
For visitors who want to stay at the park for a few nights, there are several camping options available to you.
This includes 7 sites in the wooded area that have full hookups for 50-amp electric, water and sewer. All of these sites each come with a picnic table, lantern post and fire ring and outdoor grill. They are also located near restrooms.
In addition to these, there are also 54 campsites here, with the same amenities available, that come with hookups for electricity and water.
Over at the Bayfront campground, you’ll find an additional 40 sites that come with hookups for 20-amp to 50-amp electricity and water.
Ground fires are not allowed at these sites, but there are picnic tables and shade shelters there. They are also located near restrooms that are equipped with hot showers as well.
For those who want to put up a tent, 22 walk-in sites are available about 150 yards from the campsite of the parking zone at the Wooded Area loop. All sites here have individual picnic tables, outdoor grills, fire rings, a lantern post and water.
Should you run a sponsored, non-profit youth group, there is a group camp available that can accommodate up to 64 people.
This group camp comes with 20-amp or 30-amp electric and water hookups and also has picnic tables, several fire rings and a covered pavilion. Again restrooms are located nearby.
Goose Island State Park
202 S Palmetto St
Rockport, TX 78382
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Goose Island State Park: