Description:  As the name implies, Double Bayou has two forks that come together near its mouth on Galveston Bay, by the town of Oak Island.  Both the East Fork and the West Fork afford nice paddling opportunities through pastures and cattle ranches, giving way to pine and oak forests in the upper reaches;  and dredged channels in the last several miles of West Bayou where shrimp boats are docked and occasional barge traffic plies the waterway.  Upstream access to the West Fork is a difficult put-in from public road right of way (not recommended);  downstream at Oak Island, Job Beason Park has very good access to the waterway including paved boat ramps heavily used by duck hunters and fishermen in season.  The East Fork is paddled most often because of access to the bayou from Double Bayou Park, about four miles upstream of Beason Park.  

Directions:  The town of Double Bayou is between the two forks, several miles upstream of Oak Island.  To get to Double Bayou Park, exit IH10 at SH61, and travel south on 61 for four miles.  At the 4-way stop, go straight across the intersection on FM562 and follow it for seven miles.  Where Eagle Ferry Road intersects with 562, turn right (west) and go about a half mile.  Turn into Double Bayou Park, go past the ball fields and look for the water access.

To get to Job Beason Park in Oak Island, exit IH10 at FM563.  Go South on 563 for 11 miles; then south again on Eagle Road for 4/7 miles; then W. Bayshore Road south a half mile.  Job Beason Park will be on your left.

Both parks have flush toilets;  Double Bayou Park has covered picnic tables;  Beason Park has some shade trees but is mostly in the sun.


                                                            Sea kayakers on open waters of lower East Fork Double Bayou


Paddling Directions:  Putting in at Beason Park gives the most options for paddling here.  My personal favorite is to put in there, paddle upstream on the East Fork to Double Bayou Park, eat a picnic lunch there, and then return to Beason Park.  In sea kayaks, this can be done in 5-6 hours, including the lunch break.  Canoes will take considerably longer and are more subject to the wind which is unbroken in the lower parts of the bayou.  Typically there is little current in the bayou, which makes this upstream-downstream trip fairly easy.  A really relaxed canoe trip if you donít want to paddle a lot, is to put in at Double Bayou Park after having run a shuttle and left vehicles for a Job Beason Park takeout.  Double Bayou Park isnít real obvious from the water, so if you are planning to try the up and back trip, you should stop by the park and go down to the water to look for markers that will help you recognize it.  A smallish bayou comes in from the left as you are paddling upstream, but that may not be very easy to spot.

On the lower reaches of both forks the water is deep enough for sailboats and the East Fork is a fairly popular sailing destination from Houston for overnight trips.  Rarely have I been on the bayou when there hasnít been at least one sizable yacht (sail or engine-powered) moored somewhere along the banks.  The upper reaches are beautifully wooded, in some places with pines;  in others with huge oak trees that touch above the stream to form a canopy overhead.  In the fall, the golden orb weaver spiders have huge colonies and webs across the stream in upper reaches.  Kingfisher birds were the most numerous on my last trip there;  as ever, expect to see aquatic and water birds along the bayou.  Another memorable wildlife sighting here was a crab and small snake locked in a deadly embrace Ė the crab was the winner and was slowly eating the snake.

I have enjoyed a nice lunch afterward at one of the seafood/burger (but not fast food!) near the takeout at Beason Park.


 Pine forest in the upper reaches of East Fork Double Bayou