Updated: April 30, 2020: The state has issued a directive opening all Texas beaches beginning Friday, May 1 with social distancing recommendations. This includes Galveston beaches, which have been closed except during the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. for exercise as part of our community’s response to COVID-19.
Gov. Abbott has urged Texans to continue following health guidance from the CDC and the state, including maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowds, limiting physical contact and using face coverings in public to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
It’s Time Again for Sand Between Your Toes
Finding the perfect spot on the beach is sometimes a challenging thing. You have to look for space, waves, umbrellas, a place for your kids to play, a view…and then there is the water too!
The 32-mile long stretch of beaches that make up Galveston Island, whether private or public, offer a range of beachfront experiences. The Galveston Seawall and beaches lining the Gulf of Mexico is the world’s longest continuous sidewalk and attracts walkers, joggers, bicyclists, surfers, sunbathers, skaters, and sightseers year-round. It’s a great place to exercise or just sit to watch a flock of brown pelicans skim across the waves at sunset. Here is the guide to the different beach experiences on the island. We are positive one will be perfect for you and your family.
East Beach is Galveston’s bonus beach, and is easily considered not only the most beautiful but the hippest of Galveston’s beaches. East Beach is located at the far east end of the Island. During the summer months, East Beach comes alive with concerts, festivals, events, an annual sandcastle competition, and parties that last from dusk until dawn. Unlike most beaches on Galveston, alcohol is allowed on East Beach, although glass containers are prohibited.
East Beach is located at 1923 Boddeker Drive. For more info call (409)797-5111. It is open weekdays 9am-6pm and weekends 8am-7pm.
Memorial Day to Labor Day admission is Monday-Friday $12, Saturday-Sunday $15. There is a $2 Early Bird Discount before 12 noon excluding special events and holidays. Cost is $15 for special events and holidays.
You can even rent a horse and go for a stroll around the East Beach area!
Named one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families” by Family Vacation Critic in 2013, Stewart Beach is Galveston’s premier family beach park. Located where historic Broadway Avenue meets the Seawall, Stewart Beach offers plenty of amenities for a day at the beach as well as regular supervision of highly trained lifeguards. The park is home to a pavilion, concessions, restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, beach volleyball courts, children’s playground, giant water slide, and more. Alcohol is not permitted at Stewart Beach.
Stewart Beach is located at 201 Seawall Blvd. For more info call (409)797-5182. It is open
Memorial Day to Labor Day Stewart Beach is open weekdays 9am-5pm and weekends 8am-6pm. Admission is Monday-Friday $10 and Saturday-Sunday $12. There is a $2 Early Bird Discount before 12 noon excluding special events and holidays. Cost is $15 for special events and holidays.
The Seawall Urban Parks & Beaches
The center of Galveston’s beach activity takes place along the island’s famous Seawall Boulevard. This urban park stretches more than 10 miles offering plenty of beach as well as the nation’s longest continuous sidewalk – great for running, biking or people watching. Beaches along the seawall offer easy access to the island’s many beachfront restaurants, resorts, and tourist attractions such as the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park that stands on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico at Seawall and 25th Street.
Parking along the Seawall from 6th to 69th streets and 81st to 103rd streets can be purchased via Pay By Phone for $1 per hour, $8 per day or $25 per annual pass. Paid parking is enforced from 10am-6pm daily. Register your vehicle by visiting paybyphone.com or (866)234-7275.
Glass and alcohol is not permitted on any Seawall Beach.
West End Pocket Parks
The island’s West End offers a quiet oasis miles past the Seawall. The area is home to two “pocket parks” that are great for some swimming, sunbathing, picnics, and bird watching.
Pocket Park 1 is located at 11102 San Luis Pass Road on Galveston’s West End. The park is minutes from 61st Street and island attractions Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Waterpark and includes a children’s playground. Beachfront parking is available.
Pocket Park 2 is located at 11745 San Luis Pass Road on Galveston’s West End. The park includes an educational wetlands preserve, beach access points, and public parking. Amenities include outdoor rinse-off showers as well as umbrella and chair rentals.
Both Pocket Parks are open Memorial Day to Labor Day weekdays 9am-5pm and weekends 8am-6pm. Admission is Monday-Friday $12 and Saturday-Sunday $15.
A local’s favorite beach, Sunny Beach is located on the west end off San Luis Pass Road at the end of 8 Mile Road. The most exciting feature of Sunny Beach is that you can drive on the beach and park, and place your tent beside your car. You can surf, fish, swim, fly kites and more here. No glass bottles are allowed. There are no lifeguards or chair and umbrella rentals but this is a great place to search for seashells and get away from the business of the island.
This beach gets quite crowded on weekends. There is no charge to access this beach area. Be careful, the sand is very loose in some areas and it is easy to get stuck.
Also to note, most days the ice cream truck comes around late afternoon!
Seawolf Park is located on Galveston’s Pelican Island on a former immigration station site. The park offers one of the island’s most popular fishing piers, picnic sites, and a playground. The park is also home to tourist attractions, including the WWII submarine the USS Cavalla and one of only three destroyer escorts in the world, the USS Stewart. The remains of the WWI tanker S.S. Selma, the largest concrete ship constructed, can be seen northwest of the park’s fishing pier.
To get to Seawolf Park, take I-45 South into Galveston. Turn left onto 51st Street and continue over the bridge to Pelican Island. This road will end at Seawolf Park.
Admission is $6 per vehicle. They are open 24 hours a day seven days a week year round.
Galveston Island State Park
The Galveston Island State Park was named one of the top 5 “Best Gulf Coast Beaches” by Travel Channel in 2013. The park offers a quiet oasis on the island’s West End where visitors can explore the Gulf of Mexico or Galveston Bay. Families can enjoy kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, nature field trips and fishing clinics at no cost. Visit fogisp.org for information or see the Outdoors section in this publication. The park also offers beach camping, kayaking, and geo-cache events. For information, visit tpwd.state.tx.us.
Galveston Island State Park is located at 14901 FM 3005. For more info call (409)737-1222. Entrance fee is $5 per person, per day.
San Luis Pass
The beach referred to as San Luis Pass is actually named for the stretch of water that both separates Galveston’s western tip from the mainland and connects Galveston Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The beach at San Luis Pass is located off the beaten path and offers no amenities except the peace of isolation and solitude.
Surfing and fishing are permitted year-round, and along the Pass are several launch sites into the Gulf.
Swimming is allowed only on the Gulf side, and although no permanent lifeguards are stationed, security and lifeguards do patrol the area during the summer. Alcohol is prohibited, but vehicle access to the beach is entirely free and reaches all the way to the water’s edge.
The Galveston side of San Luis Pass is a public beach located at the far western tip of the Island. The entrance is marked by signs and can be found just before the entrance onto the Galveston Tollbridge.
Palm Beach Inside Moody Gardens
Grab your sunglasses and sink your toes in the white sand – yes, in Galveston! Galveston’s favorite summer hangout, Palm Beach, offers you and your family a relaxing day in white sand under an umbrella, on the lazy river, the 18-foot tower slides, splashpad, and a wave pool. Attractions include:
Palm Beach is open Sunday-Thursday 9am-7pm and Friday-Saturday 9am-10pm. Tickets are $23.95 for adults, $18.95 for senior (65+), $18.95 for child (4-12), and children 3 and under free.
Palm Beach is located within Moody Gardens at One Hope Boulevard. For more info and discount rates call (409)744-4673 or (800)582-4673 or go to moodygardens.com.