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Yes, Texas Has Beaches! Playing in the Sand at Galveston Island State Park

Yes, Texas Has Beaches! Playing in the Sand at Galveston Island State Park

Texas is usually known for barbecue, longhorn cows and western wear.  Even though Texas has a long coastline, I don’t think people think a lot about the coastal region.  People fly to California, Florida and Hawaii for the beaches, right?  Not Texas!

There are several great beaches in Texas where the Gulf of Mexico crashes onto soft sand.  I’m sure there are small ones I have yet to discover, but the most popular ones in Texas are South Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Galveston Island.  The closest one to Dallas/Fort Worth is Galveston, so we thought we’d make a three day trip to visit.  While I lived in Houston briefly “back in the day,” this was the first time James (or the children) saw the Texas coast.

We spent the morning surveying Galveston and it is a great city with a pretty unique feel.  Since we try to visit state parks whenever we can, I thwarted the children’s attempts to swim in the city so we could spend the afternoon on the western side of the island in Galveston Island State Park.  This was a really great call!  While the beaches on the east side of the island had the typical beach-in-the-city feel, the west side was quiet and did not have an urban feel.

Galveston Island State Park has two distinct environments within its borders.  The northern part of the park is bayou and marshes, while the southern part is a beautiful natural beach.  We visited during the week in May, and except for a couple of school groups on a field trip we saw very few people in the park.  There are camp sites and RV hookups on the bay side of the park, and there are even “premium” campsites on the beach.  I think I’d pick the beach.  While I didn’t experience mosquitoes during my visit, the marshes looked like they could be a place they would love to live and raise their pesky babies.  There’s nothing worse than being attacked by mosquitoes while you camp.

If you are headed to a Texas beach, I have no reservation suggesting Galveston Island State Park.  There’s a great picnic area, so bring your lunch.  Don’t forget water and lots of sunscreen!  I applied two layers and still burned.  It is the curse of having pale skin!

You might notice that Luke is sporting a life jacket.   Don’t worry!  The life jacket was not a necessity – and we aren’t crazy helicopter parents.  It is just that Luke has always been nervous around the ocean and the waves stress him out.  He loves to swim, so we thought we’d give the life jacket a try.  Having it on seemed to relax him, and he was excited to run out into the waves with James close at hand.  I call that a success!

galveston island state park

Claire letting the waves wash over her.

Galveston Island State Park

Luke couldn’t wait for the photo to be taken, he wanted back in the waves.

Playing in the sand is so much fun!

Claire, working on the perfect beach hair.

A good view of the soft sand of Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park TX

There is a coastal restoration project going to help the sea grass grow on the sand dunes

The marshes and bayous of Galveston Island

Galveston Island State Park

There are several miles of walking paths through the wetlands.

Texas Park and Wildlife website – Galveston Island State Park

  1. Leigh 16 May, 2013

    I would have loved growing up close to a beach – but that was always a vacation activity. Looks like the kids are fully into and having a great time.

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  2. Muza-chan 16 May, 2013

    Lovely pictures 🙂

  3. Sere@Light Of World Photo 16 May, 2013

    Looks like a lot of fun! My son, mom and I visited Padre Island a few years ago and went to Mustang Island to play in the waves. I still have sand from there :). We also went to one of the beaches, I think it was near Corpus Christie, where you could drive your car onto the sand. That was fun! Not many places you can do that haha. We ate at Snoopy’s Pier and made a quick drive through Galveston. Would love to get back there again. I will have to check out Galveston more in depth the next time.

  4. budget jan 16 May, 2013

    Thanks for posting these photos. I was interested to see what the beach area of Texas looked like and to see Galveston.

  5. Becca@R We There Yet Mom? 17 May, 2013

    Love how empty it was for you – While TX beaches are not my favorite, I do still love me a beach, no matter what it looks like!

    Thanks for linking up!

  6. Tonya {The Traveling Praters} 17 May, 2013

    Your pictures make me long for the beach.

  7. Lisa Goodmurphy 17 May, 2013

    It looks beautiful! We left from Galveston on a cruise for New Year’s and I was wishing that we would have planned to stay longer. If we ever cruise from there again then I think we’ll plan for a couple of days on the island beforehand.

  8. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} 18 May, 2013

    I grew up an hour drive from Galveston, so we went there many times when I was a kid. I must admit that the warm temperature of the Gulf of Mexico has spoiled me. Every time I get in the ocean elsewhere, even Southern California, I feel like I”m freezing.

  9. Karen Dawkins 19 May, 2013

    LOVELY colors! Texas not only has beaches, but they’re gulf coast beaches. LUCKY! I’m on the Atlantic coast and long for the deep blue gulf waters.

  10. eileen at FamiliesGo! 20 May, 2013

    looks like a great beach for kids with small waves breaking far out.

  11. Stepping Out of Houston - A Daytrip to Galveston, Texas - Everything Everywhere Family Travel 12 June, 2013

    […] We were only in Galveston for a day, and a large part of that was spent outside of the city limits on the western part of the island at Galveston Island State Park. […]

  12. Battleship Texas State Historical Site in Houston - Everything Everywhere Family Travel 22 July, 2013

    […] teenagers visits ($48), you are more than halfway to your break even point. Add a visit to nearby Galveston Island State Park at $5 per adult (total $20), and you have just paid for your pass. All your other Texas State Park […]

  13. MIchelle @ Having Fun in the Texas Sun 25 August, 2013

    Beautiful pictures of your children on the beach! We were married on Jamaica Beach just East of the GISP, and it’s one of my favorite places!

  14. Photo Essay : Our Year Through Pictures - 2013 - Everything Everywhere Family Travel 28 December, 2013

    […] The Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas […]

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  15. Jacqui@papaandmayhem 10 August, 2014

    Lovely pictures – will definitely visit the beaches on our road trip to Texas October. Where are great places to take the Mayhems!

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