Galveston Day Trip {Tips & Tricks}

Galveston won’t be on any of the list of top beaches to visit on your next vacation. You can’t see your toes if you are ankle deep. There is seaweed everywhere. The sand is brown. And on and on the complaints have gone.

But you know what? I grew up going to Galveston, and it was the most magical place for me.

And even though I have now experienced the beauty of other beaches, I’m committed to loving the beach that is just an hour away and introducing my girls to that same magical glee I felt each summer of my childhood. My oldest daughter is filled with the same amount of exuberance on Galveston Beach as she is in the crystal sands of Seaside.

My friends Jessica and Sarah love making their beach trips into all out staycations by getting a house or hotel.  {Pssst…be sure to check back tomorrow for a post on how to do it up right!}  But if you aren’t able to do that, these are my tried and true tips for a day trip to Galveston ::

Galveston Day Trip

Where to go ::

There are many options, but my favorite and where we go 9 times out of 10 is Stewart Beach {and no, this is not a sponsored post}. I highly recommend this as your first place to go if you are a newbie at going to the beach. Here are some of my favorite things about Stewart Beach…

  • Straight shot drive. 45 becomes Broadway and Broadway dead ends into Stewart Beach at the seawall.
  • Only $8 per vehicle cost {every penny is worth it}
  • Clean bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms on property. You know we’ve been potty training for about 10 billion years. A reliable bathroom is gold.
  • You can rent 2 chairs and an umbrella for $30 {last time I was there}. This is worth it. They only take cash though, so be sure to have it. You can always set up your own chairs and such if you’d rather.
  • Lifeguards. Clearly, you’ll still watch your kids, but just feels good to know someone else is scanning.
  • Concessions on property and several food places within walking distance.

If you want to try something new, check out all the beach options in Galveston or head to Surfside {our favorite drive on the beach spot}.

What to bring ::

A must {in my opinion}…

  • Sunscreen. And reapply often. That beach sun is no joke.
  • Towels {one per person}
  • Sheet, extra towels, or light blanket to lay out on.
  • Beach toys – buckets, shovels, water gun, boogie boards, beach ball, frisbee, etc.
  • Baby powder. There’s something magical about it that keeps all the sand off.
  • Snacks and drinks {pack in a cooler}. One of my favorites is to bring a whole watermelon and knife and cut it up right there on the beach.
  • Trash bags. I usually pack a few – for trash, wet towels, and clothes.
  • Ziplock bags for car keys and phones.
  • Change of clothes for after {keep in car until you are ready to go}
  • $30 cash to rent chairs OR bring your own
  • Goggles {if kids complain about salty water}
  • If you have young kids, plenty of swim diapers and wipes
  • Also if you have young kids, bring some floatation devices

What to do ::

  • Go for a walk on the beach
  • Make sand castles {have a competition between kids}
  • Jump the waves
  • Throw a ball
  • Fly a kite
  • Learn to boogie board
  • Hunt for hermit crabs and seashells
  • Sit right on the shore and let the waves crash over you
  • Relax and watch your kids experience the magic of the beach!

Final bit of advice ::

  •  You can do this. I know it’s hard to go to the beach with your family in tow. The days of going to the beach with no plan and no packing list are long gone. Let’s just embrace this season of life and make it as magical for our kiddos as possible. My mom was a single mom and still dragged us to the beach many times each summer. And I’m so grateful she did.
  • Have the best attitude about Galveston’s beach as possible. I hear so many people complain about it. But trust me, your kids will not think less of it unless you teach them that.
  • Check the weather before you go. Always helpful to know.
  • Embrace the mess of the day. If you are a Type A person {like my husband}, the sand is going to drive you insane. Just embrace it. And drive through a car wash on the way home to rinse off the beach smog. Then after you get home, pull out the vacuum cleaner and suction out the car.  It will all be so worth it!

Looking for tips on places to stay, fun family outings, and great restaurants?  Be sure to check out Jessica and Sarah’s guide to a Galveston Staycation too!

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11 Responses to Galveston Day Trip {Tips & Tricks}

  1. Liz July 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Thanks for the tips, Becky! Our family is going to Galveston soon and I will keep this post when I start to pack! Another thing we’re packing: a rake! It’s great for when you find yourself in a spot of sand where the seaweed is crazy!

  2. Roxanne July 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    I agree about having a good attitude. I once heard someone describe Galveston this way, “It ain’t purty, but it’s what we’ve got.” A beach is a beach is a beach. The sounds and scents, and sunburn are the same as elsewhere, and we are blessed to be so close to the Gulf.

  3. Luanne May 25, 2015 at 12:06 am #

    Your attitude of the beaches of Galveston is so refreshing to read! I grew up in East Texas and Galveston was our vacation spot countless summers. I have such fond memories there and to this day my family…including my parents and siblings and all….continue to have our annual Galveston trip. It’s so much more than the beaches…it’s the memories we will cherish forever!

  4. Sue Lemmon May 19, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    You might consider hitting the road in the afternoon. Kids could nap through the drive (or leave just after nap time), charge the beach in the late afternoon, dinner picnic on the beach and pile back in for drive home in the evening.
    Last year, when staying at a house on Galveston, we stayed in one day due to rain. The clouds parted and we went out in the late afternoon, took some pictures in the setting sun, and played on the beach with daylight, but not scorching sun. I plan to try to capture this time frame again this year but as a day trip!

  5. Chandra July 31, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    2 chairs and umbrella are now &35 and the fee was $13. I read $8 a lot of places. But nope, at the entrance it was $13. There was no seaweed to see and we felt nice beaches all over. Stewart was nice. Family day.

  6. Mayelin July 29, 2020 at 9:20 pm #

    Thanks for everything you have shared.


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