Winners of Friends of Galveston Island State Park Photo Contest

Overall Winner - Jack Chaiyakhom

Overall Winner – Jack Chaiyakhom

Winner Digital - Jody Determann

Winner Digital – Jody Determann

Winner - Cell Phone _ Mary Openshaw

Winner – Cell Phone _ Mary Openshaw

The winners for the Friends of Galveston Island State Park Photo Contest have been named.  We had over 80 entries for the contest  which ran from January 1st through February 28th.   Thank you to all who participated:

Overall Winner – Jack Chaiyakhom   – One year pass to the State Park

Best Cellphone Pix – Mary Openshaw –  $25 gift certificate to the Galveston Island State Park Store

Best Digital Pix – Jody Determann – $25 gift certificate to the Galveston Island  State Park Store




Need a relaxing Galveston stay-cation?

Are you looking for that perfect location to host a gathering of friends? Perhaps you are searching for that private little slice of paradise where you or your family can sneak away for a relaxing “stay-cation” right here in Galveston. Well, look no further than our own Galveston Island Sate Park. Starting in August, the Park will offer for rent the Maco Stewart House and the nearby Ranch House. These two homes, situated on the shore of beautiful Lake Como, have been restored to their former glory after suffering significant damage as a result of hurricane Ike. They are now available to the public to rent by the day, the weekend or the week.

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The Maco Stewart House and the Ranch House are located on what were once the palatial grounds surrounding the Stewart Mansion. George Sealy originally built the Spanish-style house, now known as the Stewart Mansion, located on the bay at Stewart Road and 13 Mile road. After Maco Stewart acquired the land in a property exchange in 1933, the mansion was enlarged and extensively renovated, resulting in the building that we see today. The mansion remained in the Stewart family until 1944, when it was donated to the medical branch of the University of Texas to be used as a children’s convalescence home. It eventually became too expensive to operate and was abandoned.

In Maco Stewart’s will, he stipulated that, after the death of his wife and sons, the associated ranch, which is now Galveston Island State Park, be left to the state of Texas to be used and maintained as a fish, game and oyster preserve. His wish was that this ranch would be a source of enjoyment to the public for generations to come. In 1975, Galveston Island State Park was opened to the public, fulfilling Maco Stewart’s dream.

If you would like to come out to the Park and enjoy this private getaway and make your own unforgettable memories, just contact the Park office to inquire about cost and reservations. If you are a member of FoGISP, let them know.



Galveston Island State Park has two thousand acres of surf, beach, dunes, coastal prairie, fresh-water ponds, wetlands, bayous and bay shoreline. It is a richly diverse preserve with hundreds of species of wildlife — you may see roseate spoonbills resting in an oak mott, tree frogs croaking out their mating calls, skimmers nesting in terraced wetlands, egrets fishing the ponds, coyotes prowling the nighttime grassland, sandpipers skittering in the surf and pelicans surveying from high above.

For recreation, you can swim at the beach, hike or bike the miles of trails, kayak the wetlands and fish the bay or surf. The Park is also a science laboratory for naturalists and students of marsh ecology, bird migration, shoreline stability and wildlife habitat.

Even though a short visit can be refreshing, an overnight stay at campgrounds that front the beach or bay offers the promise of a star-filled night with the soothing sound of water meeting the shore.

Friends of Galveston Island State Park (FoGISP) is a non-profit corporation founded by a group of conservationists, naturalists and educators in February, 2001 in order to assist and promote the Park.

Read the blog entries below to keep up with our activities.


Images by Jack Chaiyakhom, winner of our first photo contest