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San Luis Pass is a strait of water at the south-western end of Galveston Island off the shores of the U.S. state of Texas. It connects the sheltered waters of West Bay to the open Gulf of Mexico. Swimmers and fishermen have been killed in the Pass' treacherous waters, largely due to murky water, uncharted drop-offs, and fast moving currents. The San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge spans San Luis Pass into Brazoria County.
Tide levels can vary by almost 2 feet in height, although the tidal effects seem more pronounced along straights than other barrier island zones. Water current dangers are prominent up to about one mile away from the pass along either island. A high amount of drownings occur in the vicinity of the San Luis Pass compared to other areas off of nearby beaches. Until June 2013, about 10 people drowned near San Luis pass on the Galveston side since 2001, and about six of those people drowned there since 2007. The depth of the pass varies to up to 40 feet deep.
Tides cause daily variations in topography, and occasionally, storms more drastically change the topography of the pass.
Pier fishing on the San Luis Pass Pier was a favorite for visitors and locals alike for many years, however the beach and pier were wiped out during Hurricane Ike in 2008, and it was not rebuilt. The pass is also home to bank fishermen who often travel many miles to take advantage of the excellent redfish population from June thru October.
Overnight camping, while once allowed, is prohibited on the Galveston side of the pass. The San Luis Pass Camp Ground and county park, on the Brazoria County side, is the only accessible place now. At least from the Galveston Island side, entering the water is prohibited, because of safety hazards.
Hurricane Ike in September 2008, forever changed the topography of the beach. What was once a driveway and public beach access is now part of the Gulf of Mexico. The land where the bait house of the pier once stood is now permanently submerged.
San Luis Pass on the Galveston side is a place for bird watching.
The "San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge" or San Luis Pass Bridge was built shortly before 1970. It is operated by Galveston County, Road District 1. This bridge has 2 lanes, is 1.3 miles, and has a toll fee of $2. Surfside Beach is the closet city on the other side of Galveston along Texas State Highway 87.
The San Luis Pass County Park is on this location.
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