There are many images and stereotypes associated with Texas, some of them true, some not. For me, Texas conjures up visions of barbecue food, country music, and football. But beaches? Not so much.

When I was in San Antonio, darting in and out of the air-conditioned buildings, all I wanted was to run across a beach and plunge into the water. What I didn’t know was that just four hours south, along the Gulf of Mexico, is 600 miles of beautiful coastline.

This is where you will find Galveston, aka the “playground of the South.” With 32 miles of beaches, it might be difficult deciding which one to pick. Narrow down your choices with this guide.

Galveston Island State Park

beaches of galveston

Photo by Tales From the Mutiny via Trover.com

For a tranquil and nature filled beach day head to Galveston Island State Park. There are two sides to the beach, the sea and bay, and Travel Channel named this place one of the Best Gulf Coast Beaches. Fishing, surfing, swimming, hiking, kayaking, and wildlife watching round out the activities available here.

This beach is best for families, camping enthusiasts, and outdoor adventure lovers. If you want to stay at the campground, it’s recommended to book well in advance.

Seawall Urban Park

beaches of galveston

Photo by Jessica via Trover.com

Galveston and the Seawall Boulevard go hand-in-hand. It’s a 10-mile stretch of beaches, restaurants, and the longest sidewalk in the United States. On one side of the seawall is the rocky beach, on the other are the places to eat and shop.

This beach is best for Galveston vacationers who crave being close to the center of the action. The Seawall is the hub of the city and there are lots of things to do here.

East Beach

All the way at the far end of the island is East Beach, aka the party beach. One of the only beaches on the island that allows alcohol, the boardwalk and outdoor stage host events and concerts all summer long. The seashell-lined shore makes this beach a good one for shell collectors. There are also bathrooms and concession stands.

Everyone will have fun at East Beach, but those who want to keep the party going all day (and night) long, East Beach is for you!

Stewart Beach

A Guide to the Beaches of Galveston

Photo by Rebecca Meadows via Trover.com

On the east side of town, but not as far as East Beach, Stewart Beach is at the end of the Seawall. With lifeguards on patrol, it’s clean, safe, and alcohol free. It is long, with lots of wind (perfect for kite flying), and offers group activities like volleyball games and sand castle contests.

This Galveston beach is idea for families. In fact, Family Vacation Critic named Stewart Beach one of the 10 Best Beaches for Families in the US. With lifeguards, showers, and chair and umbrella rentals (though a bit pricey), everyone in the family will be secure here.

Private Hotel Beaches

Many Galveston hotels and resorts have their own private beaches for guests to enjoy. If you want more privacy during your trip, look into the different options some of the hotels offer.