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Goliad State Park - Mission Espíritu Santo State Historic Site
Goliad, Texas

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The area now known as Goliad State Historical Park is linked to one of the most pivotal moments in Texas history. After nearly two days' of fierce combat, Texas forces commanded by Colonel James Fannin, Jr. surrendered to their Mexican foes on March 20, 1836. Upon their peaceful surrender, Colonel Fannin and 342 of his men were imprisoned at the Presidio La Bahia in Goliad and put to death under orders of General Santa Anna. As word spread of the massacre, Texans embraced the battle cry "Remember Goliad!" and vowed to win the war for Texas independence.

Established by Spanish missionaries in 1722, Mission Espiritu Santo was originally located near Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast. In 1749, the mission was moved to its present-day location, where it continued for over a century. In 1886, a severe hurricane destroyed virtually the entire mission. Reconstruction efforts began in the 1930s with the Civilian Conservation Corps, giving Mission Espiritu Santo and nearby Presidio La Bahia new life.

Today, Mission Espiritu Santo is part of 187-acre Goliad State Historical Park. Free self-guided tours of the mission's church, living quarters, and grounds are the focal point of the park. An informative museum, documenting the mission's history, adjoins the church. A small petting zoo, featuring goats and rabbits, is also available.

Primitive, developed (RV) and screened shelter campsites are available. The San Antonio River runs through the park, offering fishing and canoeing opportunities. The park swimming pool--located across Highway 183 from the park headquarters--is open during the summer. Hikers can explore the leisurely 1/3-mile Aranama Nature Trail which takes visitors through typical South Texas woodland and riparian habitats; a free nature guide is available at the trailhead. The river trail parallels the San Antonio River and links several large picnic areas shaded by cottonwood, sycamore, and pecan trees.

Due to its location and diverse plant species, Goliad State Historical Park offers good opportunities for viewing migrating birds. Commonly sighted species during the migratory periods include Northern harrier hawk, red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, Swainson's hawk, upland sandpiper, Franklin's gull, black tern, Whip-poor-will, and many others. A large roosting colony of turkey vultures is located within the park.

Shannon's Notebook

Mission Espiritu Santo
14k JPEG
Copyright © Justin W. Moore
See more photos at OutdoorPhoto.com
Justin and I have explored the church, museum and mission grounds, as well as walked the park's short nature trail. During our walk, we observed Northern cardinal, eastern meadowlark, western kingbird, Northern mockingbird, turkey vulture, and mourning dove, as well as a eastern fox squirrel.

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From Goliad, proceed 1/4 mile south on U.S. Highway 183 and U.S. 77A to the park headquarters.
Map of Park's Location

For GPS Users: N 28° 39.32'   W 097° 23.08' (WGS84/NAD83)
Convert to another coordinate sytem or map datum (Courtesy of Jeeep.com)


Open 7 days a week year-round from 7 AM to 10 PM for day use activities.


A park entrance fee is charged per day -- $2 per person for adults 13 years of age and older. (Texas residents age 65 or older pay only $1 per person.) Listed fees may not be accurate year-round due to seasonal changes. Contact the park directly to confirm fees.

Campsite and other facility fees are in addition to the park entrance fee.

Visit parks often? Learn about the $70 Texas State Parks Pass which exempts the passholder, and the passengers in their vehicle, from the entrance fees at all Texas State Parks.



Consut TPWD's Park Events Calendar for information on upcoming events at this park.


Click for Goliad, Texas Forecast

Volunteer Opportunities

Contact the Amigos of Goliad State Historical Park, the officially recognized non-profit support group of Goliad State Historical Park, at P.O. Box 1397, Goliad, TX 77963-1397.

Contact Information

The park is managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Goliad State Park - Mission Espíritu Santo State Historic Site
108 Park Road 6
Goliad, Texas 77963-3206

Ranger Station: (361)645-3405
TPWD Park Info: 1-800-792-1112

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