2000 Census - 750
Gilchrist Texas History:
Before the 1915 hurricane destroyed this town on the Bolivar Peninsula, it was called Rollover. After the hurricane the town was renamed Gilchrist after Gibb Gilchrist who relocated and reconstructed the rail line between Port Bolivar and High Island. The Gilchrist post office was established in 1950. Gilchrist is best known for Rollover Pass which bisects Bolivar Peninsula and Gilchrist, and carries water between the East Bay and the Gulf of Mexico; the pass is considered one of the best fishing spots in Texas. Rollover Pass was a natural pass that had been closed until 1955, when it was opened by the Texas Game and Fish Commission as part of its efforts to preserve and improve fish and wildlife resources. In 1990 Gilchrist's year round resident population was approximately 750, but it had significantly more residents during the summer and on holidays. The town has several year round businesses. Gilchrist is located on the Bolivar Peninsula on SH 87, 55 miles southwest of Port Arthur, 64 miles southwest of Sabine Pass, 49 miles east of Smith Point, 42 miles southeast of Anahuac, 8 miles northeast of Gilchrist, 10 miles northeast of Crystal Beach, 19.7 miles northeast of Port Bolivar, and 26.4 miles northeast of Galveston, Texas.
Caplen is a residential area and resort village adjoining the west end of Gilchrist. Caplen has been a resort since the late 1800s. The site originally had large populations of muskrats. It is also the site of an Indian burial ground. It has approximately 30 year round residents.
The peninsula is a narrow strip of eroding land stretching 27 miles along the Texas Gulf Coast in a northeasterly direction. It is three miles wide at its widest point between Crystal Beach and Caplen, Texas. It is 0.25 miles wide at its narrowest point where Rollover Pass divides the town of Gilchrist. Less than three miles of water separate the southwestern end of the peninsula from Galveston Island which is located southwest of the peninsula. The body of water between the southwest end of Bolivar Peninsula and the northeast end of Galveston Island is named Bolivar Roads. Bolivar Roads serves as the marine entrance from the Gulf of Mexico to Galveston Bay. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway extends the length of the most northern side of the peninsula. Access to the Bolivar Peninsula by land is only possible through southern Chambers County (SH 124 from Winnie down to High Island). A free, 24 hour ferry runs between the most northeastern tip of Galveston Island and the most southwestern tip of Bolivar Peninsula at Port Bolivar. Towns on the peninsula include Gilchrist, Crystal Beach, Caplen, Port Bolivar and High Island.Much of the peninsula land is undeveloped and the state has severely restricted land use. Permitted beach activities include driving personal vehicles and golf carts on the beach, building reasonably sized bonfires, and camping near the dunes. Driving 4 wheelers on the beach is prohibited. Bolivar Beach Parking Stickers are required. Porta-potties are available at the convenience stores located on the highway.
Port Bolivar-Galveston Island Ferry on SH 87:
The ferry runs from Galveston Island to the town of Port Bolivar on the Bolivar Peninsula. This free ferry operates every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day. The 2.7 mile trip takes approximately 18 minutes. The ferry operation consists of five boats, each of which can carry approximately 70 vehicles, 500 passengers and six crewmembers. Each ferry is capable of carrying eight 18-wheel trucks weighing 80,000 pounds each. All of the boats are double-ended with a pilothouse on each end; The Captain changes from one pilothouse to the other to go in the opposite direction. The ferries are named Bibb Gilchrist, R.C. Lanier, C.C. Greer, Ray Stoker, Jr., and the R.H. Deman. (409) 795-2230. Aerial Map
Bolivar Beach Driving & Parking:
Driving is free. Parking requires an annual $10 permit which may be purchased from the Galveston County Parks Department or from participating area stores and real estate agents. Galveston County Parks Department: (409) 934-8100. 4102 Main (FM 519), La Marque, Texas 77568.
Annual Galveston County Fair & Rodeo, April:
Activities include livestock shows, Rodeo Arena events, a cook-off, a carnival, Las Vegas Nights, Boots N’ Wine, Winterfest, and more. Jack Brooks Park and the Galveston County Fairgrounds are located The park and fairgrounds are located at 5700 FM 2004 at SH 6, Hitchcock, TX 77563. (409) 986-6490.
Birding - Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Upper Texas Gulf Coastal Region:
Galveston Loop: Galveston Island, Galveston, Jamaica Beach
Bolivar Loop: Gilchrist, Bolivar Peninsula, Crystal Beach, High Island, Point Bolivar
Clear Lake Loop: Morgan’s Point, La Porte, Shoreacres, Seabrook, Clear Lake Area, Kemah, Bacliff, Dickinson, Webster, Pasadena, League City, Algoa, Alvin
Bluewater Loop: Follets Island at south tip of Galveston Island, Surfside
Texas Bird Checklist with Photos
West Golf Coastal Plain (Upper Coast) Bird Checklist
Galveston County Bird Checklist with Photos
Galveston Bird Checklist and Birding Sites
Galveston Island State Park Bird Checklist
High Island & Bolivar Peninsula Bird Checklist
San Jacinto Battleground SHS Bird Checklist, La Porte
The months of April through October are the worst months for mosquitoes. Rub yourself with Bounce Fabric Softener sheets, or with Vicks Vapor Rub or pure Mexican Vanilla. Some swear taking a daily vitamin B-1 pill works to repel mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love you when you eat bananas. Mosquitoes are also attracted to some perfumes, including perfumed shampoos. Planting Marigolds in your yard repels mosquitoes. On a picnic table try covering the bottom of a white plate with “lemon fresh” dish wash soap, or use citronella candles. Home Depot sometimes sells the candles in small metal buckets. The ThermaCell Mosquito Repellant is also quite effective in ridding small outdoor areas of mosquitos. Dynatrap Company makes a large standing electric mosquito machine that works like electric bug zappers. It is very successful at making large areas mosquito free. When purchasing mosquito repellent buy those with the ingredient N, N-diethyl-M-toluamide. The fine net clothing available from Cabela’s and other sporting goods stores is highly effective in preventing mosquito bites.
Gilchrist & Rollover Pass, #056 on the Bolivar Birding Loop:
Bolivar Peninsula is one of the top bird migrations and bird watching places in the U.S. Gilchrist is renowned for its Pelicans. A tidal flat is located on the bay (north) side of the peninsula. At low tide, tens of thousands of shorebirds, gulls, and terns feed and roost here. From the intersection of SH 87 and SH 124, go southwest on SH 87 to Rollover Pass. Bolivar Flats Bird Checklist
Rollover Fish Pass, #056 on the Bolivar Birding Loop:
Rollover Pass is a 200 foot wide and 1/8 mile long channel cut across the island between the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. It was constructed in 1956 to improve fishing in the bay; it allows fish to travel between the Gulf and the Bay. It is a nationally known fishing site. On any weekend, dozens of fishermen line up on either side of the pass. When the tide comes in, water rushed from the gulf to the bay bringing the big fish. People fish at night by lantern. The pass offers a large variety of fish including flounder, croaker, redfish, speckled trout, drum, sand trout, sheepshead, salt water catfish and Spanish mackerel. The pass is privately owned and is leased to the non-profit Gilchrist Community Association which maintains and pays for the upkeep of the pass (approximately $1,100 a month). Become a member of the association or give a donation. Fishing is free. Amenities include port-a-potties and garbage cans. From the intersection of SH 87 and SH 124, go southwest on SH 87 to Rollover Pass.
Miss Nancy's Bait Camp:
They sell live and frozen shrimp, tackle, snacks, drinks and ice, and offer fishing pole rentals. Open Mon-Thu, 7AM-6:30PM; Fri, 7am-8pm; Sun, 4am-6:30pm. They are located at 1842 SH 87, right by Rollover Pass. (484) 560-9392.
Bayside Fishing & Bait Camp:
They offer crabbing and sell live bait. (409) 684-2248. They are located near Crystal Beach on SH 87, 9 miles west of Rollover Pass (Gilbert).
Galveston Island State Park Information:
This 2,013 acre park is located on the west end of Galveston Island in the City of Galveston. The Great Storm of 1900 destroyed most of the facilities on Galveston Island, caused almost 10,000 deaths, and precipitated the building of the seawall which helped save parts of the City of Galveston during the latest devastating storm, Hurricane Ike. The September 1998, Hurricane Frances destroyed sand dunes in the park which are the only protection the facilities have from the Gulf of Mexico waters. The dunes are rebuilt annually by creating a foundation out of used Christmas trees. The park was rebuilt after the September 2008 Hurricane Ike. Park activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming (ask park staff about presence of rip tides and jellyfish), hiking, bike riding, kayaking and birding. Park entrance and camping fees apply. For more information read the park brochure, watch the 2009 park video pre-Hurricane Ike and the park video post-Hurricane Ike, and go to the Galveston Island State Park Home Page.
Learn to Camp at Texas Parks & Wildlife State Parks' Outdoor Family Camping Workshops:
Theseworkshops are family camping sessions designed to teach camping skills to those who do not know how to camp; everything is provided from tent to broom. Gear includes a coffee pot, dishes, cooking pots, a camp stove, a battery operated fan and lantern, air mattresses, and a tent. Basic skills taught include pitching a tent, making a campfire, cooking on a propane camp stove, geocaching and using a GPS. Wildlife viewing, fishing and kayaking are available depending on the park and its facilities. After making reservations, families will be sent a packet of information which includes a grocery list. Those interested in this program may sign up for E-Mail Updates on Currently Scheduled Workshops. (512) 389-8903. Calendar
Hunt Texas Online Connection:
More than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, making it hard for hunters to find affordable hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a huge public hunting program, and has developed a new service to help hunters find hunting places. This new service is provided free by the TPWD. It allows landowners to list available hunting leases or spots that have opened up, and allows hunters to find private hunting leases according to their preferences.
Hunting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, General Hunting Information
Hunting, Public Hunting on State Lands, TPWD
Hunting Season by Animal
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Donations