Planning a visit to Galveston Island but not sure which beach is the best? Here’s a breakdown of each beach, so you can find the perfect place to put your toes in the sand, whether you prefer a quiet walk on the beach, building sandcastles with the kids, or a fun party spot! Galveston definitely has something for everyone!
The most family-friendly of the Galveston beaches, Stewart Beach allows neither driving on the beach, nor alcohol. You’ll find mostly families here, enjoying the beach and surf! There is a big pavilion, gift shop, playground, restrooms and showers, lifeguards and chair rentals with umbrellas, although you can bring your own! Pets are permitted on leashes. Hard surface watercraft, such as kayaks and surfboards, have a designated area, as does fishing. Admission is $12-$15/car with a one time entry, or purchase a $50 annual permit. They do take credit cards.
2. East Beach
The opposite of Stewart Beach is East Beach, where you’ll find lots of beach parties, and driving on the beach and alcohol are both permitted! The beach is home to many of the island’s premier music festivals, too! The beach offers a music stage, restrooms and showers, lifeguards and chair rentals with umbrellas, although you can bring your own! Pets are permitted on leashes. Hard surface watercraft such as kayaks and surfboards are not allowed from May – September, and fishing is only allowed on the jettys. Admission is $12-$15/car with a one time entry, or purchase a $50 annual permit. They do take credit cards. Galveston Island Horse and Pony Rides is also located on East Beach and offers horseback riding on the beach.
On the East End of the Island, Beachtown has new homes being built with a mix of Victorian and South Carolina style, on a wide section of Galveston beach. Rentals are available. Definitely visit The Porch for an incredible meal while on the island!
One of the most convenient beaches are the Seawall Beaches, which stretch for 10 miles along the seawall. If you’re staying on the Seawall, it’s an easy walk across to enjoy the FREE beach, or there is paid parking along the Seawall. Parking is $1 hours, $8/day or you can purchase a $25 Annual Permit on the Seawall. There is no driving on the beach. You’ll find easy access to the Seawall Restaurants and shops, as well. There are restrooms along the Seawall. Leashed pets are welcome, as are surfboards and kayaks, except from 53rd- 61st Street, May – September. Fishing is permitted along the beach, also.
5. Babe’s Beach
A 15-block section of Seawall Beach heading west from 61st St., this beach offers FREE beach access, and the Galveston Fishing Pier. Leashed pets are welcome, as are kayaks and surfboards.
6. Galveston’s Pocket Park #1 allows on the beach driving, has chair rentals during summer hours, and restrooms. Leashed pets are welcome. Hard surface watercraft, such as kayaks and surfboards are also welcome, as is fishing. Admission is $12-$15/car for a one-time entry, or you can purchase a $50 annual parking pass.
7. Galveston Pocket Park #2 has paved parking. There are indoor restrooms and showers, as well as umbrella and chair rentals, and the Tipsy Turtle Bar and Grill, where you can sit and enjoy the beach. Admission to Pocket Park #2 is FREE.
8. Jamaica Beach
My personal favorite, since my husband and I were married on Jamaica Beach! Located in the city of Jamaica Beach, not Galveston, but on Galveston Island, it’s a little confusing at first. This is the place to go to get away from the crowds. Check VRBO for beach rentals. One of the narrower parts of the island, this is also a great place to take a kayak out on the bay.
As of 2019, the Beach Side of Galveston Island State Park is closed for renovations. I’m only adding it to this list so you’ll know not to count on a visit here. The Bay Side of the park remains open, and is a great place to visit to kayak or fish in the bay. Admission is $5/person, 12 and up or purchase a Texas State Park Pass.
10. San Luis Pass Beach
At the western edge of the Galveston Island you’ll find the San Luis Pass. Here fish enter the bay and it makes for a great fishing location. Strong currents near the mouth of the pass make swimming or wading dangerous. It’s also a great place for birding, as you can walk from the beach side to the bay side. Access is FREE, and while cars are permitted to drive on the beach, stay away from the deep sand. We’ve spent a very long and unintentional night here stuck in the sand, and tow truck drivers will not come get you out. Your best bet is to keep a 6-pack of cold beer handy to one of the pick up truck drivers to help you out.
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