Choosing a Beach in Galveston
Once a thriving port city at the height of its wealth until a devastating hurricane struck it in 1900, Galveston has reinvented itself as a relaxed beach town, easily accessible to people living in Houston and the surrounding area.
Best Galveston Beaches
With 30 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico, a historic downtown featuring nineteenth century architecture and a medical school to rival those on the East Coast, it’s no wonder Galveston is one of the top vacation spots in the Texas Gulf Coast. However, when most people visit Galveston, they are ready to do one thing: hit the beach. With so many beaches to choose from, how do you narrow it down? Check out these favorite Galveston beaches, straight from the heart of the locals.
1923 Boddeker Road
The biggest beach in Galveston is East Beach and it’s famous for beach parties as well as pretty amazing wildlife photo ops. East Beach is known to city folk as “Houston’s Playground” because of its proximity about 45 minutes south of the fourth largest city in the Unites States. While East Beach has a definite party vibe, they don’t run off families with children and in fact encourage little ones with their annual sand castle competition. Feel free to park your cars on the beach; there's room for thousands of cars. And while drinking and driving isn’t encouraged, booze is allowed on East Beach too; just leave the glass containers at home. Admission per car is $8.
6th and Seawall Blvd
Stewart Beach is Galveston’s family-friendly (and pet-friendly) go-to beach. With sponsored sports like volleyball tournaments during peak season, you can be sure that there’s always something going on – even for those fish out of water. The sun sensitive can rent umbrellas and chairs, and bring money to spend at the snack bar when hunger strikes. Shower off on site before heading back to your vacation rental. Got a large group? Consider renting the Stewart Beach Community Room for corporate events, family reunions or receptions. Admission per car is $8, while oversize vehicles are charged $16.
Located about eight miles from 61st and the Seawall
Pirate’s beach is a well-loved beach in Galveston and a prime spot for families looking for a safe spot to sunbathe. Since it’s a private beach (which means you can only access it if you’re staying in a beach house on Pirate’s Beach), this area is less crowded than the other public and pocket beaches. Also, cars aren’t allowed on Pirate’s Beach which to some may be an inconvenience, but to others is a refreshing break from traffic and fumes. One of the best things about Pirate’s Beach is how close it is to Palm Beach at Moody Gardens.
Palm Beach at Moody Gardens
Everyone knows Moody Gardens helped put Galveston on the map, and its manmade shore is nothing to scoff at. Palm Beach at Moody Gardens is a manmade marine wonder that offers white sand, clear water lagoons and waterfalls amid luxurious landscaping. Don’t miss the Splashpad which is an automatic water feature with dump buckets, spray arches and fountains that the kids – and kids at heart – will love to splash around in. And parents, don’t worry; there’s a separate area for toddlers to be on the safe side.
10th St and SeaWall, East End
Privately owned and operated, Porretto Beach has been a favorite of Galveston locals and snow bird tourists since it was established as a quaint seaside community in the 1950s. Part of the thrill of hanging out at private beach is having access to those certain 'extras' (think jet skis or parasailing) that you might not find at a public beach. And did someone say 'beverage service'? Alcohol is allowed for you beach bums who prefer to party, but again: no glass containers.
Located on Galveston’s West end
While a pocket full of sand may not sound very pleasant, Galveston’s pocket beaches are like county parks and are maintained by the city’s park services. While Sea Gull Shores Pocket Beach 1 was hit pretty badly in a prior tropical storm, the remaining two: Sand Castle Beach Pocket Park 2 and Sea Shell Beach Pocket Park 3 are both excellent beaches to head to without the hype. Located along San Luis Pass Boulevard, they have always been and remain free to the public.