RVing on the Gulf Coast Ferry System

TheRVgeeks Trip Tips 10 Comments

In ten years of full-time RVing, we’d only taken our motorhome aboard a ferry twice before, on a round-trip sailing from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver, Canada to Gibsons, on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. That trip, on a huge 450-foot-long BC Ferries vessel, took about 45 minutes each way and was very expensive for the RV, our tow car and two people.

Despite the cost, there was something very cool about having our RV out on the water, and the beauty of the Sunshine Coast during our month-long stay made it well worth the expense.

On a recent trip from New Orleans, LA to Galveston Island, TX, both Google Maps and our GPS suggested that we drive inland, along interstate 10. Since we prefer to stay on more scenic local roads whenever possible (and we were also eager to take the RV on the ferry ride to Galveston Island) we stayed along the coast instead.

As a bonus, we drove through peaceful and scenic marshland and got some views of the Gulf of Mexico as well. While researching our route, we discovered that there would be an additional water crossing required, on the Cameron-Holly Beach ferry.

We weren’t sure if a large motorhome would be able to make the crossing. Were large vehicles allowed? Was there a problem with low tide causing steep approach or departure angles? A little online research showed that it wouldn’t be a problem, although we’d recommend that anyone planning to follow this route check for any updates or changes to ferry policies or conditions.

The Cameron-Holly Beach ferry trip is laughably short… only 1/4 mile and about 3 1/2 minutes. It took longer to drive on and off the ferry than to cross. Because of the short trip duration, everyone is asked to remain in their vehicles. As we approached the loading area, we were asked if anyone on board was over 65. Since neither of us is, we had to pay full fare to cross: $1. That’s right… the RV, toad and 2 people for $1! lol Had we been over 65, it would have been free.

When we arrived in Port Bolivar, TX to catch the ferry to Galveston Island, we were pleased to find that the trip was free for all ages! During the crossing we saw dolphins riding in our bow wave and were lucky enough to catch one of them on video, as you can see.

Next time you’re RVing along the Gulf Coast, get off the Interstate and head out onto the water. It’s a great way to travel by RV!



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Comments 10

  1. I have watched a number of your videos and have found each one well done and informative. It was not until the most recent one on TPMS that I found the thumbs up to click on. I have looked and specifically went back with this one and looked again – I can’t find the thumbs up here either. Makes me think I am nuts, or blind, or ???. I noticed you have a “Notify me on new posts by email.” button below. I like that a lot, too.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Elizabeth! Sorry if it can be a little confusing, but since we embed our YouTube videos directly into our website, watching them here does not provide all of the identical controls and functionality of watching them on YouTube. So there is no way to thumb up a video while watching it on our website. If you’d like to do that (and we sure appreciate the thought!), you can watch the video in YouTube instead. You can do that once a video beings playing by mousing over the little YouTube icon in the lower right corner of the video. You’ll see a little “Watch on YouTube” note pop up. If you click that, a new browser window will pop open and the video will begin playing there instead. You can then give a thumbs up and simply close the window when you’re done, which should leave you back on our website. Thanks for your comment and thanks for watching! By the way, if you did indeed check the “Notify me on new posts by e-mail” box, then you’ll receive this message in an e-mail the moment we click “Reply”….. Here goes…… ;-)

  2. Thanks for the ferry video. My wife and I have taken that same trip along the Gulf coast. Your route missed Holly Beach, which is a flat hard-packed sand beach that is great for dry camping for a few days in good weather in snowbird season. We tried it on 2 different trips. On the first the weather was dry and warm and we had a wonderful time strolling the beach and a cheap 3 day stay. On the second we were hit by a torential rain and left the next day. Not much in the area to keep us there for long.

    Gulf ferries can be tricky with all that shallow water. We tried to get onto the ferry across the mouth of Mobil Bay a couple of years ago and were turned away because it was low tide. That was after a long drive down a long peninsula. We ended up wasting about 3 hours (after we took a wrong turn), but in the end it was not a total waste as we found an outlet mall in the long detour.

    If you think BC ferries are expensive, try the one from La Paz, Baja to the mainland. Mile for mile, the worst we have ever been on and we have been on the BC ferries and the one to Newfoundland. That Mexican ferry was 3 times the one to Newfoundland and about the same distance, but since we wanted to go to southern Texas from the southern end of Baja, there was a big savings in gas by taking the much shorter route across mainland Mexico to Brownsville. And we were able to take the Copper Canyon train trip and drive the Devil’s backbone route up into the mountains.

    Thanks for all the videos.

    1. Thanks for all the insight into your trip along the Gulf and in Mexico, too. We have friends who did Copper Canyon and loved it. We keep meaning to add that to our list! :)

  3. Just wanted to thank you. We bought a older RV, and spent almost 2 years getting her ready to fulltime. We’ve been “official” sine September 2013. Your sight helped me make a couple of repairs.
    Thanks again.

    1. Congratulations on going full-time Dave! When we hit the road, we originally planned to be full-time for about 2 to 3 years. Less than one month from now we’ll celebrate 11, with no end in sight. It’s a great way to live and we can’t even imagine being in a stick house any more. Have fun and safe travels.

  4. I am thinking by his smile, my husband loved the price :)

    We will have happy travels the month of August and then Nov.2014 – March 2014. We heard it was going to be cold down south, WOW, we are glad we stayed home..lol. Hubby is a farmer so, fields first. Travel 2nd. Ooookay by me :)

    Because I am very ill, my husband bought a 5th wheel and he said, “I am taking you out the bedroom, I am gonna take you to see the USA.” :) What a guy. We know very little about true RVing…so again, you are going to be a BIG HELP…thanks for all you do!

    This is probably more info than you ever wanted to know, but I am so excited to have found you, I have looked at a lot of sites. Love the narration. Plus I have plenty of time-layin around. Just writing this is exhausting. I am very isolated, out on the prairie…soon be planting and getting ready for August. YEAH! Take Care.

    HUGSnLOVE
    Carol
    (sorry this is just how I am-handshake and love at first after that it’s hug-arama-love from me)

    1. Carol… your Husband is AWESOME! We hope you get out on the road soon. Even when the weather is “cold” down south, it’s tons warmer then MN!! We’re in 87-degree Quartzsite, AZ and our mantra is “Winter is a Choice!”

  5. Wow, thanks for the vid of this. We are new to rving and would never dream of doing this. With your vid piece of cake. It looks so awesome! Can’t wait to try it. We stayed home in MN this winter, because we heard it was not gonna be real nice down that way, but there is always winter of 2014. Take Care, Love Your Tips and Hints!

    1. Hi Carol! Thanks for your comment and welcome to our blog!! Taking the ferry was a blast. The only other time we had the RV on a ferry was in British Columbia, and it cost a small fortune, so being free or nearly free was an added bonus. Sorry you’re in such cold weather this winter, but hope to see you on the road somewhere warm next year. Safe travels!

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