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East Beach: Galveston's Party Central for Fun and Surf

Updated 684 days ago

East Beach is now up and running and sure to be a hit with visitors this summer. With family events, sparkling surf, volleyball courts, concession stands and the imaginative sand sculptures created during the annual AIA Sandcastle Competition, it’s one of the most popular beaches on the island.

“If you are looking for a place to have a good time, East Beach is a given,” says Sarah Kinsler, Social Media Manager with the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This spacious beach is a favorite for parties and special events because of all the available amenities. And it’s the only beach park that allows alcohol, available for purchase or you can bring your own.”

At the tip of the island’s eastern end, East Beach is particularly popular with partiers and younger beachgoers, some who spend much of the day on the volleyball courts. With its entertainment stage and boardwalk, East Beach holds festivals and live concerts throughout the summer.

Although popular with young people, East Beach has a children’s playground and bird sanctuary, also making it a destination for families. A pavilion houses concession stands selling food and soft drinks, and other amenities include restrooms and showers, chair and umbrella rentals, and beach wheelchairs and supplies. And of course lifeguards are watching out for the safety of all and ready to assist in emergencies.

“The beach attracts all age groups, but it's known as more of a party beach,” says Mary Beth Bassett, Public Relations Coordinator for the Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau. And what’s the atmosphere like on any summer weekend day? “Lots of energy!” exclaims Bassett. “It's great to see all the visitors having a good time and enjoying a day at the beach.”




One of the most exciting activities is the AIA Sandcastle Competition, sponsored by the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Ready with their shovels and some precise imagination, more than 60 teams compete every year. The contestants sculpt sand in to their own designs along the beachfront, working nonstop for five hours. Creations have included everything from traditional sandcastles and architectural sculptures to kid-inspired and movie-themed designs.

New this year is a series of Family Beach Challenges that kicked off in March and will continue through the summer. During these events, families go head to head in a series of competitions including giant Jenga, sack races and more- all to win some fantastic prizes. These events are free to the public and structured for groups of four people. The family with the most points at the end of the day will receive a $500 gift card, plus tickets to island attractions. For additional info and event dates, visit


East Beach Park Rules

  • Glass prohibited
  • Pets permitted on leashes; clean up after your pets
  • Camping prohibited 12–5 a.m.
  • Open fires prohibited (BBQ pits allowed)
  • Stay off dunes
  • Tents and tarps permitted in designated areas
  • Launching boats permitted in designated area west of park
  • Hard-bottom craft (surfboard, kayaks, etc.) prohibited May 15th thru Labor Day (permitted west of park year round).
  • Fishing permitted from South Jetty and west of park
  • 4-Wheelers, ATV's, and dirt bikes are prohibited
  • One-time entry per vehicle with paid entry.

Hours of Operation

From Memorial Day to Labor Day:
Weekdays: 9am-6pm
Weekends: 8am-7pm

From March 12 - May 29, 2016, and from September 5 - October 9, 2016:
Weekdays: 9am-5pm
Weekends: 9am-6pm


$8 per vehicle
$16 per oversized vehicle

Daily parking at East Beach, Stewart Beach, Pocket Parks 1 and 2, and Dellanera R.V. Park is $12 on weekdays and $15 on weekends throughout peak season. After Labor Day, fees are $10 on weekdays and $12 on weekends and will remain that way during the months the parks are open until peak season begins again Memorial Day weekend. On holidays and during special events, however, the cost to park will be $15.

Annual passes are available for both the seawall and the beach parks for $50.

Article written by Richard Varr

Richard Varr is a well-rounded freelance writer with more than 25 years writing experience. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), he specializes in travel, feature and business writing and is the author (main contributor) of the Dorling Kindersley EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE TO PHILADELPHIA AND THE PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH COUNTRY. Richard currently lives in Houston and contributes to a variety of magazines and websites, with particular focus on highlighting destinations for cruise and RV publications. Visit his own blog at

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