The ferry service has been around since the 1800s when companies would only take paying customers from one side to the other. The state of Texas purchased two ferries from a privately owned company and has been operating the current ferry system since 1934. Originally there was a .25 cent fee to ride the ferry, but this only lasted until 1949 and the service has been free every since. The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry (SH 87) is the only way motorists can cross the waterway between the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island since there is no bridge. This 2.7 mile trip takes about 18-20 minutes and crosses one of the busiest waterways in the world. You will see evidence of just how busy it is when you take a trip on the ferry and see all the ships coming and going.
There are two ways to ride the ferry. You can drive on or walk on. If you drive onto the ferry keep in mind that you will have to get off at the other side and get back in line for your return trip. Depending on the time of day and the time of year there could be a wait at either side. If you decide to walk onto the ferry you will be allowed to stay on the vessel for the whole roundtrip. I've done both and in my opinion walking on is so much easier and takes a little less than an hour for the whole trip.
-The ferry runs 24 hours/7 days a week
-Each ferry can carry about 70 vehicles, 500 passengers, and 6 crewmembers
-Busiest months are June, July, and August
-There is free parking for those walking onto the ferry
-Restrooms are locked when the ferry is NOT in motion
-You can only feed the seagulls at the REAR of the ferry
-It is really windy onboard so be sure to hold onto your hat/sunglasses or you might lose them
-The ferry does experience turbulence that can make it unsteady at times. Be sure to hold onto something if you feel dizzy and take Dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness
-The best chance at seeing the jumping dolphins is at the front of the vessel. Watch the water on either side and you may just see a dolphin :)
-Be prepared to be bombarded by seagulls if you bring food to feed them. It may start with a few but before you know it you are swarmed by them....and yes you might get pooped on!
A ride on the ferry is always a must anytime I'm in Galveston. I love the wind in my face and the smell of saltwater in the air. This trip was my 2 year old son's first time on the ferry and he loved every minute of it. (Even though he kept calling the dolphins sharks LOL) If you're in Galveston and you have at least an hour to spare don't miss out on this free activity that's fun for the whole family. Have you taken a ride on the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry? How was your trip? Do you prefer to ride on or walk on? I'd love to see pictures of your trip and hear your stories. You can post pics on my Facebook page @melwashereblog or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until the next adventure,
Mel Was Here