Our High Island sanctuaries are a haven for birds and visitors, especially during spring migration! We welcome visitors from all 50 states and over 20 countries who flock to the Upper Texas Coast for the best birdwatching. Our sanctuaries are critical habitat for migrating birds and there have been nearly 400 species documented on our properties, including several species never before seen in the United States. We invite you to visit us on the coast this spring!
The kiosk at Boy Scout Woods will be open March 29 through May 5, 2024.
The four sanctuaries at High Island–Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, Eubanks Woods, and Gast Red Bay–are open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk.
Purchase a patch for unlimited access to all High Island sanctuaries for the entire year! Patches are $30 and can be purchased in advance online or on-site. Day passes are sold on-site for $10/person. Free admission for children, students, and High Island residents. (Houston Audubon membership does not include access to the High Island sanctuaries. We appreciate your support.)
Getting Here: Directions & Maps
High Island is on the coast just off Hwy. 87. It can be reached by taking I-10 east from Houston, taking the exit at Winnie to go south on Hwy. 124. Another option is to use the free Galveston - Bolivar ferry and proceed up the coast on Hwy. 87.
At Smith Oaks the gate at Old Mexico Rd is open dawn to dusk March 1-May 15 and on weekends in the fall: September 15-October 15. The Winnie Street entrance at Smith Oaks is open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk.
- Please show consideration for other sanctuary visitors and allow them to view birds from the observation platforms.
- Limit your time at the front of the observation platforms to 20 minutes.
- Flash photography allowed only within the photo blind at Boy Scout Woods.
- If you are not taking pictures, please move your equipment off the platform.
Tents at Smith Oaks
Tents are allowed in the picnic area only and need to be taken down before sunrise. The maximum limit is 3 days. There is no charge. There are water and toilets available at the restroom but no showers. No open fires permitted. Camping stoves allowed.
No overnight RV parking in Houston Audubon High Island sanctuary parking lots, except for working volunteers with a parking permit.
High Island Community
Please support local businesses and civic organizations as much as possible. Communities are more willing to support local conservation efforts if they feel protected habitat helps the local economy.
Your High Island patch/day pass is also valid for admission to Hooks Woods in High Island, owned by the Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) and managed by Houston Audubon.
Peak spring migration season is from mid-March to mid-May. Numbers are highest during a "fallout", which sometimes occurs with a fast-moving cold front. During fall migration, late September to mid-October usually produce the best results. Be sure to check eBird for the latest bird sightings at the sanctuaries!
Please be considerate of our neighbors! Birds can be found almost anywhere on High Island, including our neighbors' yards. Please do not enter their yards and be careful when you aim your binoculars, as some people get the idea that birders are looking in their windows and invading their privacy.
Questions? Contact Pete Deichmann, Land Director