NDR: Galveston – Port Bolivar Ferry

Does anyone have any information, experience, opinions on this?

We have a cruise 5/20-5/25 out of Galveston and this could be a deent way to get there?

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It beats going through Houston if you’re driving in from the East! Houston traffic can be horrendous. My sis goes to Galveston often and takes the ferry route. She says it’s much more scenic as well. Just watch the ferry hours.
I’ve taken it once. And would again if I were going to Galveston.


We took this ferry when youngest grandson was at Sea Camp a couple of summers. That was a few years ago. I don’t recall any difficulties. We were pulling a trailer, as well. This ferry was about what we expected from past experiences.

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It just depends. On a nice weekend the wait for a ferry can be longer than the drive. Check the Twitter feed and the Transtar website for waits. You’re probably going to be good going from Bolivar to Galveston early on a Saturday and going from Galveston to Bolivar early on a Thursday though.




I agree. Depending on what times you are crossing it’s fine (and fun!). When I was in high school/college we used to ride it just for kicks.

But weekends in warmer months the wait time can back way up. They will post the wait on traffic notification boards all the way near downtown Houston. (Traffic to the island from Houston can be really frustrating, period.)

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Good to know! Thank you.
We are driving to the port and had planned to get a hotel about an hour away the night before and head to port in the AM. Do you think it’s smarter to get our hotel at the port?

I think that is doable but you may or may not want to allot more than an hour. The nearest chain hotel (assuming you are coming in I-10) will be in Winnie (what’s there? No idea. Not a lot!) - I’d allow at least 1.5 hours but but it does look like there is one hotel in Crystal Beach these days that would put you just under 1 hour out from the port. It skirts you around the worst of the city and gives you a chance to spend the night on the beach (it’s no South Carolina or florida beach, but it’ll do).

The only glaring problem with this plan is that you miss a Buc-ees encounter, in case you have not yet been to what Texas calls the world’s best gas station. But I’m pretty sure it’s not wort going that far out of your way for a chopped beef sandwich and maybe a photo with a beaver. :joy:

Hotel prices on the Island are higher, but probably not bad midweek in May.

And. I know you are up at night but I’m usually not. So. Back to sleep, maybe, if I can shut off my brain.

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I second staying in Winnie for a quick trip to the port. My sister raved about this Mexican/ Cajun restaurant (I think she went to the one in Beaumont first though) Tia Juanitas. They have one in Winnie. Her family will take a trip to the one in Lake Charles about 1.5 hours away now. Yall should totally try dinner there if you get the opportunity :grin:


I was awake @ehsanchez bc —kids!—

Thankfully - we have a few Buc-ee’s under our belts and it won’t be a must-do.

I’ll look at those suggestions more carefully @drvillarejos

We want to go to Waco after the cruise, so we’d likely need the ferry en route to Galveston.

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We went to Austin one year after camp. Left Galveston about 6 am, towing the camper, heading over the bridge to Houston.

About an hour later I felt like we were finally clear of Houston. And still had several hours to Austin.

Texas is not one of my favorite states to drive in. It’s so damn big.



Good to note.

We once left Miami and 7 hours later still had not driven into GA. DH suggested we just pull over and start a new life :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Florida is unreal

We have on occasion driven from Key West into the panhandle.


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This made me chuckle hard! :smile:

It’s funny how you think kids will stop waking you in the middle of the night after they reach a certain age, but it doesn’t really happen.

Good news if you are headed up to Waco, you get more opportunities for Buc-ees, with the first one not too far into the mainland drive off 45.

Also. I’m not sure the route you plan to take, from Galveston, but 45 north is not nearly as pretty as making your way to 290 - Hwy 6. It also has the benefit of taking you through College Station (the home of Texas A&M) and gives you a chance to pick up an authentic Kolache from the Czech Stop in West Texas.

Only an hour? :joy: I timed my drive from Galveston poorly one day and it took me 2 hours to get home, and I live no where near any edge of the city. My general rule of thumb for surviving Houston traffic is to refuse to get in it.


I think this was a Sunday morning, early. On the road at 6. So no traffic.

Completely missed a kolache in Houston last April when I spent a week there with the robotics team.

Despite that oversight I am in no hurry to spend more time in Houston.

Oh, true story: we were driving some kids back from the Space Center to the George R Brown convention center for the final robotics matches. I’m driving with a real person navigator and two nav aides - one in-vehicle and one hand-held.
Just had to laugh as we drove past the GRB one level too high to do us much good. :sweat_smile:


Ha! I am pretty sure I saw a whole bunch of those robotics kids in the park across from the convention center on a Friday last April. My oldest had her school formal that night and we were taking photos of kids all dressed up getting stares from kids who were clearly there for a convention. Funny to think we might have been just across the street from each other.

And navigating any big city when you are unfamiliar is just stupid hard, but missing exits in downtown Houston is extra painful.


Just avoid the ferry during normal rush hour times, you should be fine otherwise. I would stay in the clear lake area. There’s places to eat and stuff but youre not too far off. Have a good trip!


We actually didn’t miss an exit. The nav aids thought we were right outside GBR. On the Chartres side. Except we were above Chartres. It was pretty funny.

I found out later there were 35,000 robotics kids, etc, there. On Saturday there was an Astros game right next door. Talk about gridlock. :flushed:


Yes. I often struggle when my navigation thinks I’m somewhere I’m not. :weary: especially when it thinks, surely you are on the smooth sailing feeder road and not the gridlocked freeway. Just turn right!

There were so. Many. Kids.

I already looked. The dates don’t overlap this year so maybe it will be less crazy if we do the same place.


I thought I would watch from inside GBR. I watched on twitch on my phone. Parking is insane and at least 2 days I was towing a trailer.

Our hotel was 10 miles away. The kids want to stay within walking distance this year.

I’m glad the days don’t match up! :blush:

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