15 Best Beaches in Galveston

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

Texas has very hot summers, so it stands to reason that many people head for the beach during these sweltering months.

The City of Galveston gives visitors plenty of options when it comes to cooling off at the seaside.

The city lies little more than an hour south of Greater Houston, so there is a large audience who flee from the city in search of cool shores.

Add the tourist numbers that visit Texas and its Gulf of Mexico coastline, and the beaches become very attractive.

Galveston itself is a large port – one of the biggest in the USA. It is located on Galveston and Pelican Islands, just off the Texas Mainland.

The population is modest; just 50,000 live here and enjoy the coastal location and plentiful beaches.

Some holidaymakers make Galveston their base, while others come down to Galveston at weekends.

At some point, they are all likely to go to at least one of the 15 Best Beaches in Galveston.

1. Surfside Jetty County Park, TX77541

Surfside Jetty ParkSource: Duane Gore / shutterstock
Surfside Jetty Park

With a beachfront playground, you can take the family to this free park which covers 15 acres.

Winding slides within the playground are great fun.

The picnic area has plenty of parking and there are restrooms close by.

There is a lovely beach to explore.

You can expect to see plenty of birdlife, while fishing and swimming are other ways to spend some time.

Historically, this region was an important harbor area; the old Fort Velasco is just outside the park, and Velasco Battery lies within.

2. Seawolf Park, TX77550

Seawolf Park, GalvestonSource: Cire notrevo / shutterstock
Seawolf Park

This park on Pelican Island to the north is named after the USS Seawolf that was accidentally sunk in World War II. Another WWII submarine – USS Cavalla – and the destroyer USS Stewart are now tourist attractions within the park.

This is not a great place for swimming but there are plenty of other things to enjoy.

Of course, there is the beach itself, as well as fishing piers; flounder is the most common catch.

You might be able to catch lunch, but it is not guaranteed.

Picnic sites are on hand and children will enjoy the park’s playground.

3. East Beach, TX77550

East BeachSource: Mark Taylor Cunningham / shutterstock
East Beach

East Beach was an accidental creation back in the 19th Century.

After the port and harbor were developed, East Beach was left over and is now one of the best beaches in the city.

It is Texas’ largest beach, so it becomes very busy in the summer, although there is always plenty of space.

You can expect regular events – including concerts and festivals.

East Beach is a public beach, and alcohol is permitted, unlike most of the others in Galveston.

There are changing rooms, showers, and a café.

Activities on the beach include horse riding and volleyball.

4. Stewart Beach, TX 77550

Stewart BeachSource: Mark Taylor Cunningham / shutterstock
Stewart Beach

Stewart Beach is a good choice for families.

It has parking close by and plenty of facilities available.

Lifeguards are on duty during the peak season and you can rent chairs and umbrellas on the shore.

The restrooms are clean and you will find showers, changing areas and a pavilion.

Children can join in the fun; there is a playground and even lessons on how to build sand castles.

Sand volleyballs courts are on site, with a snack bar and shop selling anything you may need during your visit.

Alcohol is not allowed on Stewart Beach.

5. Beachtown Development, TX77550

Beachtown DevelopmentSource: Natalia Kuzmina / shutterstock
Beachtown Development

Public Access Beach 1A at the eastern end of the island has a nice café, great ice cream, and rental beach houses behind the sand.

There is a parking area close to the beach, from which you walk through the dunes to find a spot to enjoy your time.

It is never too busy, even in high season and weekends, because it is fairly remote.

You are welcome to bring your dog, while others may prefer to fly kites.

The sea is safe for swimming and your dog might fancy a splash as well.

6. Porretto Beach, TX77550

Porretto BeachSource: zabethanne / Flickr | CC BY-ND
Porretto Beach

Porretto Beach on Seawall Boulevard is a great place to enjoy sunsets; in fact, sunsets are lovely along this entire coastline.

The boulevard is frequented by all ages – you are likely to come across everyone from hippies and cowboys to bikers and fishermen.

There are rentals close to the beach, so think about making Porretto your base to avoid having to haul your things from the parking area to the sand.

There are a number of hotels and restaurants, where the seafood is always recommended.

7. Crystal Beach, TX77550

Crystal BeachSource: donnierayjones / Flickr | CC BY
Crystal Beach

It is worth buying a parking permit for just $10 because it is valid for the rest of the year.

You can get very close to the sand and then just walk onto the beach to find your niche for the day.

Take a ferry ride to reach Crystal Beach; there is even a chance to see dolphins as you make the journey.

Shallow stretches of water are suitable for small children and the beach is kept clean, with trash bags handed out to visitors so it’s easy to take your rubbish home with you.

Facilities are limited but it is an inexpensive day out.

8. Babe’s Beach, TX77551

Babe’s BeachSource: Henryk Sadura / shutterstock
Babe’s Beach

Babe’s Beach, with its lifeguard presence, is a small slice of well-maintained shoreline.

You may just want to sit back and relax here.

Certainly, the kids will enjoy it, while surfers and fishermen have fun in the water.

The birdlife is varied and interesting.

West of 61st Street, this beach is named after A.R. ‘’Babe’’ Schwartz – a former member of the Texas Senate – who always maintained an interest in Galveston and its beaches; he was a lifeguard when he was young.

The beach was named in his honor in 2016 when he was approaching 90; he died two years later at the age of 92.

9. Pirates Beach, TX77554

Pirates BeachSource: G-Stock Studio / shutterstock
Pirates Beach

This beach on the Gulf of Galveston is a great place to get away from any crowds.

There is parking just a block away and you walk through the beach houses onto the beach.

Sunrise and sunset are both lovely times of day here.

There are few facilities if you want to spend the day, so you will need to bring a picnic or snacks and drinks.

Seaweed occasionally builds up, in which case it is scraped away – but not before a check for nesting sea turtles is made.

There is plenty of accommodation available for those wanting to stay locally.

10. City Jamaica Beach, TX77554

City Jamaica BeachSource: dtran24 / shutterstock
City Jamaica Beach

This is an ideal place for families, with the sea safe even for young children – although there are no lifeguards.

City Jamaica Beach is clean and friendly without being busy.

There are beach houses for rent, giving you the advantage of being able to enjoy sunrise and sunset without getting up early or leaving for dinner.

Winds can be strong here at times – even at night, but they will not spoil your enjoyment of City Jamaica.

Local restaurants are great for lunch and dinner, with seafood a popular choice.

11. Galveston Island State Park, 77554

Galveston Island State ParkSource: Warren Price Photography / shutterstock
Galveston Island State Park

This State Park has been open for more tan 40 years and provides a great day at the beach for families.

Swimming is perfectly safe, while kids will also enjoy the sand.

There are piers for fishing as well as trails for cycling and hiking.

There are interesting channels for canoeing, though you will need to bring your own canoe.

The entrance fee is minimal and once inside, you will find restrooms, showers and picnic tables throughout the park.

If you want to stay, there is a campsite as well as rental cabins.

12. San Luis Pass, TX77554

San Luis PassSource: Jesse Stephens / shutterstock
San Luis Pass

San Luis Pass Pocket Park is at the west end of Galveston, with lovely stretches of sand and natural wetlands.

Apart from just enjoying the beach itself, there is a good variety of birdlife to see, nice picnic areas and a decent infrastructure.

You will find chairs and umbrellas for shade.

Fly a kite or swim in the warm waters.

Outdoor showers will wash off the sand before you leave.

You can bring a vehicle into the parking area within the park, and you should always be able to find a space – even in high season and on weekends.

13. Terramar Beach, TX77554

Ice Cream at the BeachSource: Marko Poplasen / shutterstock
Ice Cream at the Beach

Terramar is supported by a beach community behind the sands.

This means it is a clean beach and fairly secluded – certainly nothing like some of the city’s busier places.

It is certainly no problem relaxing here.

You should bring everything you’ll need for the day because there are no local vendors.

That means any food and drink you may want as well as paddle boards or snorkeling equipment.

Luckily for the kids, an ice cream truck comes around several times during the day.

14. Galveston Pocket Park 2, TX77554

Galveston Pocket Park 2, The Tipsy TurtleSource: Tipsy Turtle Seaside Bar & Grill / Facebook
Galveston Pocket Park 2, The Tipsy Turtle

This beach is great for families and people of all ages.

There is a vendor renting chairs and umbrellas in high season, but you can take your own.

Parking is free and the local restaurant – the Tipsy Turtle – is worth a visit.

With no admission charge, and featuring showers and bathrooms, this beach offers the chance of a cheap day having fun on the sand and in the water.

It is never too busy, even during high season and weekends.

Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead.

15. Beach Access Point 11, TX77554

Beach Access Point 11Source: Jimmy Fingers / Facebook
Beach Access Point 11

This is a small, signposted beach that is situated behind the Spanish Grant homes.

There is a designated parking area and generally, the place is not too busy.

However, don’t park in restricted areas because you will get towed away.

A few houses line the beach, though it could not be described as overdeveloped.

You can leave your litter in trash cans that are provided, but there are no showers or restrooms.

Bring your own umbrellas and food for the day before enjoying the sun and the surroundings.

15 Best Beaches in Galveston:

  • Surfside Jetty County Park, TX77541
  • Seawolf Park, TX77550
  • East Beach, TX77550
  • Stewart Beach, TX 77550
  • Beachtown Development, TX77550
  • Porretto Beach, TX77550
  • Crystal Beach, TX77550
  • Babe’s Beach, TX77551
  • Pirates Beach, TX77554
  • City Jamaica Beach, TX77554
  • Galveston Island State Park, 77554
  • San Luis Pass, TX77554
  • Terramar Beach, TX77554
  • Galveston Pocket Park 2, TX77554
  • Beach Access Point 11, TX77554