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No trip to Galveston is complete until you take a ride on the Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry. It is a free service that takes travelers and residents from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula. There is at least one ferry running 24/7 and additional ferries will operate based on traffic volume, with a maximum of 5 ferries running at peak times.
But can you take your travel trailer or RV on the ferry? Absolutely. You can even ride the ferry without a car. We’ll cover more on that in a few. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to tour Galveston, or if you are heading across the bay to continue your journey, the Galveston Ferry is a free, easy way to accomplish both. In this post we are going to cover some of the most frequently asked questions about the ferry, including wait times, ferry limits, and more. Let’s jump in.
Can You Take A Travel Trailer On The Galveston Ferry?
Yes. You can take your travel trailer, motorhome, or 5th wheel on the Galveston Ferry, with few exceptions. The vehicle limits for the ferry are any vehicle that doesn’t exceed 80,000 pounds. Your vehicle must also be shorter than 65 feet, have a maximum height of 13.5 feet, and a maximum width of 8.5 feet. If your rig falls under these specifications, you’re good to go.
Each ferry has the capability of holding 70 vehicles, 500 passengers, and 6 crew members. There can only be 8-eighteen wheelers on board at once, each carrying under 80,000 pounds.
Crew members of the Galveston Ferry will guide you into your designated place for the trip, and you will feel like you are being packed in like sardines. However, once the ferry is on it’s way, you are free to move about to take pictures, stretch your legs, or use the restroom. If you feel the need to feed the seagulls, the crew asks that you do it from the rear of the ferry.
How Much Does It Cost To Ride The Galveston Ferry?
A ride on the Galveston Ferry is free. It is a service provided by the Texas Department of Transportation and is the only way for travelers and residents to cross the Galveston Bay to Bolivar Peninsula.
How Long Is The Ferry Ride?
The total distance of the Galveston Ferry ride is just under three miles and lasts about 20 minutes. However, that is plenty of time to take in the scenery of the island as you pass.
Along the route you will pass the shipwreck SS Selma. This WWI ship is the only permanent shipwreck along the Houston Ship Channel, and you can see part of it sticking out of the water.
You will also cruise past Seawolf Park, located on Galveston’s Pelican Island. From the Galveston Ferry you get a glimpse of the WWII submarine, the USS Cavalla as well as the USS Stewart, a WWII destroyer.
As you approach the Bolivar Peninsula side of the ferry ride, you get a great view of Fort Travis and the Bolivar lighthouse.
Once the Galveston Ferry has docked on the Bolivar side of the bay, you will be unloaded like cattle. But the unloading process is very safe and efficient.
How Do I Find The Current Wait Times For The Galveston Ferry?
If you would like to find out what the “current” wait times are for the Galveston Ferry, you can visit the Houston Transtar website. Or follow @Galveston Ferry on Twitter. In our experiences with the ferry wait times, if you try to cross during peak hours, you are going to have to wait a few hours.
The line to load the ferry stretches for several blocks along Ferry Road during peak times. The busiest times in Galveston are in the summer when tourism is at it’s highest. However, if you plan to ride the Galveston Ferry early in the morning, your wait time will be under an hour, in most cases.
One word of caution while you’re waiting in line. DO NOT CUT IN LINE. Ferry Road is two lanes each direction to allow for residents to bypass the long ferry line. It might be tempting to try to jump ahead, but trust me, don’t do it. Local law enforcement will be posted up and down the road and if you get caught cutting in line, they will pull you out of line. And as a result, you will have to go all the way to the back of the line.
The Galveston Ferry is a much-needed service for locals as well as travelers. If you are driving a Class A or pulling a camper, you can ride the Galveston Ferry worry free. Many RVers use this route to bypass Houston on their way to New Orleans. Waiting in line for a few hours beats the rush hour Houston traffic, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the Galveston Ferry? Have you taken your RV across? If so, leave us a comment below and let us know.
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