Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stewart Beach - Galveston, Texas


Description:  Galveston Island is known for its relaxed beach atmosphere. Large waves from the Gulf of Mexico crash onto the sandy shore tempting you to stop and stay a while. One of the most accessible beaches on the island is Stewart Beach. This large beach has plenty of amenities including restrooms, showers, and beach umbrella rentals.  There are also trained life guards on duty.  The sand along the shore is kept seaweed free so there is ample room to stretch out on a blanket and enjoy your day at the beach.

Location: 201 Seawall Boulevard Galveston Texas. Stewart Beach is located at the very end of Broadway Avenue where it turns onto Seawall Boulevard.

Cost: $8 per vehicle.  $16 for an oversized vehicle.

Operating Seasons and Hours:  From Memorial Day to Labor Day the beach is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on week days and open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekends.  From March to Memorial Day and from Labor Day to October the beach hours are from 9:00 to 5:00 on weekdays and 9:00 to 6:00 on weekends. The beach is still accessible during the winter, but the amenities and lifeguards are not available.

Official Website: http://www.galveston.com/stewartbeach/

Date of Visit: Saturday, January 18, 2014, and Thursday, March 20, 2014

Over the past several months I've been talking about the different places that my family stopped during our Texas Coastline Roadtrip in November of 2014.  On day six of that trip we were planning to play at a beach on Galveston Island.  However, we woke up to rain soaking through our tent at Galveston Island State Park.  The rain effectively put an end to our plans to visit any beaches that day.  The rain also tainted my memory of Galveston Island, and I realize my last post may have painted a very disappointing picture of the island.

Today I'm going to fix that dismal picture by telling you about two rain-free trips to Stewart Beach on Galveston Island.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The San Rafael Swell in Central Utah


Description:  The San Rafael Swell rises like a giant wrinkle on the earth's surface.  The swell stretches over 100 miles in a north south line. The maze-like canyons and passages through the swell have been barriers to travel for centuries.  Interstate 70 became the only paved road through the swell when it was built in the 1970's. The interstate allows travelers a glimpse into the wild landscape.  But for those people with time and adventurous spirits the swell has many hidden treasures located along dirt roads.  The swell is one of those rare places that offer amazing beauty without crowds of tourists.

Location:  The San Rafael Swell l is located in Emery County in Central Utah.  It's borders stretch from roughly Price in the north to Capital Reef National Park in the south.  It's east-west boundaries are between Green River and Castle Dale.  There are several dirt roads that lead into the swell, but I-70 is the only paved road that goes through the whole swell.

Cost: Most of the features within the swell are on public lands and have little or no fees.  However, if you are unfamiliar with the area you may want to hire a guide or join a tour.  Also keep in mind that there are no amenities located within the swell.  You will want to make sure you have plenty of food, and water, and that you have enough of gas in your vehicle before you set out on any adventures.

Operating Seasons and Hours:  Open all year long, however the dirt roads will be unsafe during inclement weather.

Helpful Websites:
http://www.sanrafaelcountry.com  (This website has stunning footage of features inside the swell.)
http://www.castlecountry.com/San-Rafael-Swell,
http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price/recreation/NofI70.htmlhttp://utah.com/san-rafael, and http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price/recreation/SanRafaelDesert.html

Other Reference Material: The San Rafael travel brochure by produced by Emery County is a great resource.  I have also heard people recommend the book Canyoneering the San Rafael Swell, by Steve Allen.

Date of Visit: Sunday, July 1, 2012

This post is going to be a little different than most of my posts.  My husband and I didn't discover the wonders of the San Rafael Swell until two years after our Southern Utah Road trip.  Even when we did discover the swell we didn't have much time to explore it.  I made a mental note to make sure we came back to properly explored the swell one day.

Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to go back.  So in this post I'll show you the few pictures we took during our drive through the swell, and then I'll talk about all the places that I want to visit when we eventually make time to explore the swell properly.  (I'm hoping to work in a little side trip to the swell during our next trip back to Utah.)

When I'd planned our Southern Utah Road Trip, I'd been completely unaware of the wonders within the San Rafael Swell.  My plan was to visit as many state and national parks within the state of Utah as possible. But there aren't any state or national parks inside the swell.  In fact, the swell wasn't even listed on my highway map of Utah.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Galveston Island State Park - Galveston, Texas


Description: Galveston Island is the closest island to the city of Houston.  The island is a popular place to get away from the routines of city life.  There are numerous ways to relax, but perhaps the best way is to visit one of the island's many beaches.  Galveston Island State Park has beautiful natural beaches that are homes to many plants and animals. The park spans from the bay side with its calmer waters to the beach side where you can play in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

Location:  The state park is located to the west of the city of Galveston.  It is east of the city of Jamaica Beach.   The exact address is 14901 FM 3005 Galveston, Texas.

Cost:  The entrance fee is $5 for adults, and children under 12 are free.  Camping ranges from $15-$20 on the bay side and is $25 on the beach side.  There are also two large cabins starting at $200 a night.

Operating Seasons and Hours:  The park is open daily. Office hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Friday through Sunday.   Park gates are open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.  Busy season is from March through October.

Official Website: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/galveston-island

Date of Visit: Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This was the third and last stop on the fifth day of the Texas Coastline Road Trip that my husband and I took our kids on in November of 2014. We finished up at NASA's Rocket Park at the Johnson Space Center, and then drove 30 miles south to Galveston Island.  We navigated though the city, turned west, and drove about another 10 miles to find the state park.

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