Find your beach on Galveston Island: East Beach vs. Stewart Beach

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Lifeguard on duty at Stewart Beach | Photo courtesy of Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Pick the perfect beach to suit your mood and beach-going preferences on Galveston Island this summer, with party-ready and family-friendly options close at hand. 

Galveston has been blessed with many days of beautiful waters and clear days this summer. And while any day at the beach is going to be a good one, the island’s two primary beach parks—East Beach and Stewart Beach—offer different perks and personalities to go along with their common amenities.

Party & Play at East Beach

Beachgoers looking for adventure and a party will find a home at East Beach, perched at the far eastern tip of Galveston Island. It’s perhaps most notable for permitting alcohol, which is not allowed at most of the island’s beaches.

The beach is known for hosting festivals and live concerts throughout the summer months. The park hosts a pavilion, boardwalk, sand volleyball courts, and an entertainment stage. You’ll also find restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, a children’s playground, and concessions, along with other amenities.

The Gulf Coast Volleyball Association (GCVA) holds all-day tournaments at Each Beach through the summer season. Registration and play is open and you don’t have to be a GCVA member.

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Volleyball at East Beach | Photo courtesy of Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Special Events at East Beach

All events are included with beach admission unless otherwise noted.

  • Stay & Play Sunday: Fireworks Over the Gulf | Sunday, August 19 | FREE – After a day at the beach, head to 37th Street and Seawall for the best views of the weekly Sunday night fireworks show. 9pm to 9:30pm.
  • 32nd Annual AIA Sandcastle Competition | Saturday, August 25 – Watch more than 60 teams compete for the prestigious Golden Bucket Award. After months of planning, teams stretch out along the beach front, where they meticulously sculpt their piles of sand and work non-stop for five hours. Included with beach admission. 10am to 4:30pm.
  • Stay & Play Sunday: Fireworks Over the Gulf| Sunday, August 26 | FREE – After a day at the beach, head to 37th Street and Seawall for the best views of the weekly Sunday night fireworks show. This will be the second to last show of the season. 9pm to 9:30pm.
  • Gulf Coast Volleyball Association Labor Day Classic | Saturday, September 1 – The largest outdoor volleyball association on the Gulf Coast hosts its annual all-day tournament. Registration is $25 per person or $50 per team. Beachgoers are welcome to watch at no cost. Starts at 9am.
  • Stay & Play Sunday: Fireworks Over the Gulf | Sunday, September 2 | FREE – After a day at the beach, head to 37th Street and Seawall for the best views of the weekly Sunday night fireworks show. This will be the final show of the season. 9pm to 9:30pm.
  • Gulf Coast Volleyball Association Season Closer | Sunday, September 23 – GCVA wraps up the summer season with its final tourney of 2018. Registration is $25 per person or $50 per team. Beachgoers are welcome to watch at no cost. Starts at 9am.

Admission

Beach admission is priced by vehicle and can vary by day of the week, summer dates, and holidays. On most days, most vehicles can visit for $10 to $15 per vehicle.

Click here for vehicle pricing details, including a season long parking pass, and other East Beach rules.

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Galveston Family Beach Challenge at Stewart Beach | Photo courtesy of Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

Relax & Play with the Family at Stewart Beach

Deigned one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families” by Family Vacation Critic in 2013, Stewart Beach is Galveston’s premier family beach park. Situated where historic Broadway Avenue meets the Seawall, Stewart Beach offers plenty of amenities for a day at the beach, plus the regular supervision of highly trained lifeguards.

The park is home to a pavilion, beach volleyball courts, a children’s playground, concessions, restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, and more. With no alcohol permitted, it’s a perfect spot for families or those looking to unwind without too much revelry.

Special Events at Stewart Beach

  • Sandcastle Building Lessons | Saturday, August 18 | FREE – Learn to build your own sandcastle creations from a professional sandcastle builder. The instructor will build a sandcastle in the morning from 8am to 11am. Lessons follow at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Limited equipment will be available, but participants should consider bringing their own sand buckets and shovels.
  • Galveston Family Beach Challenge | Sunday, August 19 – Families, and groups of four, can compete as teams in a series of contests including giant Jenga, sack races and more. 11am to 5pm.
  • Stay & Play Sunday: Fireworks Over the Gulf | Sunday, August 19 – After a day at the beach, head to 37th Street and Seawall for the best views of the weekly Sunday night fireworks show. 9pm to 9:30pm.
  • Stay & Play Sunday: Fireworks Over the Gulf | Sunday, August 26 | FREE – After a day at the beach, head to 37th Street and Seawall for the best views of the weekly Sunday night fireworks show. This will be the second to last show of the season. 9pm to 9:30pm.
  • Stay & Play Sunday: Fireworks Over the Gulf | Sunday, September 2 | FREE – After a day at the beach, head to 37th Street and Seawall for the best views of the weekly Sunday night fireworks show. This will be the final show of the season. 9pm to 9:30pm.
  • Galveston Family Beach Challenge | Sunday, September 16 – Families, and groups of four, can compete as teams in a series of contests including giant Jenga, sack races and more. This is the last beach challenge of the 2018 summer season. 11am to 5pm.

Admission at Stewart Beach

Like East Beach, admission to Stewart Beach is priced by vehicle and can vary by day of the week, summer dates, and holidays. On most days, most vehicles can visit for $10 to $15 per vehicle.

Click here for pricing details, including a season-long parking pass, and other Stewart Beach rules.

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Beach Umbrellas at Stewart Beach | Photo courtesy of Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

See More & Save with Galveston Island Pass

While you’re on the island, consider taking advantage of Galveston Island Pass to explore Galveston’s charm, history, character, and fun, while saving 40% off admission to local attractions.

When you buy a Galveston Island Pass, you get to pick four or more participating attractions and save 40% off retail price. Passes are valid 30 days after purchase.

Participating Attractions include the 61st Street Fishing Pier, the American Undersea Warfare Center at SeaWolf Park, Bryan Museum, Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid, and more. Click here to see all participating attractions.

Click here to order a Galveston Island Pass or for more information. One pass per person.

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Girls walking up Stewart Beach | Photo courtesy of Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau

This story was sponsored by Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Per our advertising policy, we only accept sponsored content from businesses that meet our editorial standards and truly present a valuable activity, resource, or destination for Houstonians and Houston visitors. Click here to learn about promoting your event, product or business.