City Guide

Battleship Texas State Historic Site4 min read

Ahoy! Relive history at the Battleship Texas State Historic Site, a must-see attraction while in the Houston or Galveston Island area. This 1,200-acre park includes the San Jacinto Battleground, the Monument and the jaw-dropping USS Texas Battleship. The historical relics of yesteryear allow you to experience first-hand what navy life was like during WWI and WWII. You’ll feel like you’re getting away with something when you sneak a peek at the preserved galleys and living quarters of the ship which was decommissioned in 1948 and preserved for guests. Then, mosey over to the observation deck of the San Jacinto Monument for an epic family photo.

Tips

  • No overnight camping available onsite, so you’ll have to get creative. Galveston Island State Park is located about 59 miles away (approximately 1-hour drive), or you can try one of the private RV camping parks nearby, such as East Park Village RV, San Jacinto Riverfront RV or Galveston Bay RV Resort.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and keep in mind you’ll need to climb on narrow ladders, steep stairs and pass through tight alleyways.
  • Use the restroom by the parking lot when you first arrive–there aren’t any onboard the ship for public use.
  • Plan to spend 2 hours or so scoping out the ship.
  • Ask about Battleship Texas Foundation’s special programs, including behind-the-scenes guided tours and overnight sleepovers for youth (so cool!).

Bare Necessities

Parking

  • No fee to park and plenty of parking available 

Hours of Operation

  • Open Daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Entrance Fees

  • Texas State Park Pass and Texas Parklands Passport accepted 

Other Facilities

  • Gift shop, conference room, and monument observation floor

Historic Sightseeing

You’ve got to see it to believe it. This cultural destination has something for everyone, young and old. Here’s the scoop:

San Jacinto Battleground and Monument 

Walk in the footsteps of a soldier from the famous battle for Texas Independence. You’ll notice the granite markers throughout the park which indicate the Texian camps and Mexican camps. For a nominal fee, you can head up to the observation floor of the monument to get a birds-eye view of the Houston Ship Channel and USS Texas.

Battleship Texas

Get down and intimate with the USS Texas. This mighty naval ship provides intimate insights into the life of a sailor, from the barber shop where they got their hair cut to the guns that they used (gulp!). Climb 60 feet above the water to the flying bridge for spectacular panoramic views or check out the engine room 20 feet below.

History

In the early 1800s, the State of Texas purchased ten acres along Buffalo Bayou in preparation for the fiftieth anniversary of the Texas Revolution. State Senator Waller Thomas Burns of Houston was able to pass a legislation funding money to establish a public park. After the state appropriated over $35,000, arrangements were made to establish San Jacinto State Park, the first official state park in Texas. It is located off the Houston Ship Channel in LaPorte, Texas.

The Battleship Texas is the last remaining battleship patterned after the HMS Dreadnought that participated in WWI and WII. It was originally commissioned on March 12, 1914, as a powerful weapon. By 1919, The Battlefield Texas was the first U.S. battleship to launch an aircraft. New developments in anti-aircraft batteries, fire control, and communication strategies allowed the ship to remain effective until 1948 when she was decommissioned and given to the State of Texas to serve as a permanent memorial. She continues to serve as a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark National Historic Landmark.

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