If you’re a history buff, then a visit to the historic site of the San Jacinto Battleground is a must-see during your next trip to Bay RV Park. Located only a 35-minute drive away, the battleground became a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and offers plenty for visitors to see and do.
The San Jacinto Battleground is the site of the final battle of the Texas Revolution. At this site in April 1836, Texas won its independence from Mexico. Mexico had previously won its independence from Spain just 15 years earlier in 1821 and Mexican Texas was a part of it. . Although relations between the Centralist Mexican government and the Texan settlers were tense, when President Santa Anna abolished the Liberal Constitution of 1824 and established a dictatorship, it forced the Texans to drive out the Mexican armed revolutionaries. In response, Santa Anna raised a 6,000 man army and marched north to Texas where Santa Anna attacked and killed everyone in the ALAMO.
The famous battle occurred on a cattle ranch known as San Jacinto. The Texans arrived first, with 935 soldiers, and set themselves up along the banks of Buffalo Bayou in dense woodland. The army of Santa Anna, 750 men, arrived later, and they exchanged cannon fire for several hours before the Mexican army briefly withdrew.
Shortly after 500 more soldiers joined Santa Anna, outnumbering the Texans. But the Texans strategically attacked the Mexican army’s north flank while the main army marched across the prairie, hidden by tall grass and a slight rise between the camps. Because the Mexican army had failed to post sentries, the Texans charged on the Mexicans and the fight was over quickly.
Things to See
Spanning over 1,200 acres, the site offers plenty to see:
This sprawling battleground provides a sense of the scale of the historic battle. Featuring western forts and Victorian mansions, you can envisage what the land would have looked like at the time of the battle. Take your time strolling the site or take one of the tours available to learn about the rich history of how Texas began.
The San Jacinto monument towers over the battleground at 567-feet tall and was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. It took three years to build and was declared a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1992 because of its innovative design to withstand tropical storms despite being built on expansive soils. Many locals feel the monument is a symbol of Texan independence. To appreciate this monument, you can take an elevator to the observation deck where it’s possible to see as far as Houston.
The San Jacinto Museum of History is within the monument’s base. The museum provides a rich experience of the battle and Texas history, including its various influences over the years from other cultures and some prominent Texan figures. It’s a great place to wander to discover not only interesting details about the Battle of San Jacinto but Texas in general. If you’re not much of a reader, we recommend visiting the Jesse H. Jones Theatre, which offers a 35-minute movie covering the key details of the battle.
Besides exploring rich Texan history, the site also offers a diverse range of events. Here are just a few of the activities available, but be sure to check the calendar for a complete list of upcoming activities for your visit.
Held every second Saturday of the month, the site opens for cyclists at 7 am. It’s a great way to explore the area safely without worrying about cars. Cycling the site allows you to explore every inch of the site and really soak up the history.
Held on the first Saturday of the month from 7 am to 9 am, the site opens two hours earlier than usual to anyone interested in spotting any of the 200 different species of birds found on the battleground. Available for bird lovers, photographers, and anyone who wishes to visit, the only requirement is being respectful and keeping the noise to a minimum.
These guided van tours give you a chance to discover the key sites throughout the Battle of San Jacinto. Tours start shortly after the movie screening in the museum (Texas Forever!!), leave the monument, and take about an hour. All ages are welcome, and the tour is inclusive of the museum ticket price. Held most Sundays and some Saturdays, check with the information desk and arrive early to secure your spot.
Every year on March 5, the site hosts the annual San Jacinto Independence Fun Run/Walk. Starting just outside the monument, the event is open to all ages and you can choose from participating in a 10k run, 5k run, or walk. There’s also a 1km walk available for children aged three to 12 years. You can register online and gates open at 6 am on the day of the race.
Location, Opening Times & Entry Fees
3523 Independence Parkway South
La Porte, TX 77571
The battleground site is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm (except Thanksgiving, Xmas Eve, Xmas Day, and New Year’s Day). The monument, museum, and observation floor are open from Wednesday to Sunday. The grounds are free, and the museum and monument cost $10 for adults and $5 for children (aged 11 years and under).