Galveston's Seawall Beaches

The Seawall has drawn visitors to the Island since its construction in the early 1900s. It remains a popular spot for beachgoers, photographers, foodies and shoppers.

For over a century, Galveston beachgoers have flocked in droves to the beaches that line historic Seawall Blvd. Fun Fact: the sidewalk along the Seawall stretches 10.3 miles long, making it the longest continuous sidewalk in the United States.

An aerial photograph showing the waters and beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, the Seawall, and roads and houses in Galveston, TX

pictured: Seawall Boulevard

Seawall Overview

At over 10 miles long and rising 17 feet above sea level, the expansive Seawall is the longest continuous sidewalk in the US. Simply taking a stroll or a bike ride along it are popular pastimes, but the Seawall also boasts several beaches, unique shops, restaurants, and thrilling attractions to entertain just about anyone.

History of the Seawall

The Great Storm of 1900 engulfed Galveston, leaving mass destruction in its wake, more than 6000 dead (estimates range), and millions of dollars in damage. Construction of the Seawall began in September 1902, with the first segment completed in 1904. Work continued into 1963, extending the Seawall seven times from 3.3 miles to its current length. As a result of this amazing feat of engineering, the risks of loss of life and damage from future hurricanes were lowered dramatically. With the Seawall came tourism; despite it being built as a protective measure; sure enough, visitors arrived in droves to admire it, as they still do today.

A historic photograph showing 1900 storm damage in Galveston, TX, including downed telephone polls and destroyed buildings.
Damage from the 1900 storm

Seawall Beaches

Seawall Boulevard is home to several stunning beaches, complete with beachside restaurants and attractions. Each beach offers its share of great views, lots of space for building sandcastles, or just lounging about as the waves hit your feet. With mild weather throughout the year in Galveston, you can pack the cooler and surfboard year-round and enjoy a warm day on the Gulf Coast.

Seawall Shopping

Check out the shopping opportunities along the Seawall after a day at the beach, or beforehand to buy beach day items. Murdochs is one of Galveston’s oldest institutions, a former bathhouse turned gift shop. It has taken a few beatings from the many hurricanes over the century, but it’s still standing. Pop in for a souvenir shirt or other island goodies, and stay for a cocktail on the deck looking out to the Gulf.

Another quaint gift shop, but this one also offers rentals, Salt Water Gift Shop is great for all the beach stuff you need, from frisbees to snorkels. They also rent out boogie boards, beach umbrellas and chairs, bicycles, e-scooters, Onewheel Pints and XRs, and surreys.

Pick up some surf gear and casual attire for the whole family at the Ohana Surf & Skate, a surfing and skateboarding shop with a casual vibe featuring gear sales, rentals and lessons.

Pop into the San Luis Resort, the acclaimed beachfront hotel and spa resort on Seawall Boulevard, for some boutique shopping. Aqua has designer swimwear, athleisure, accessories, and more for women and girls.

Bars & Restaurants

There’s no shortage of walkable restaurants and bars along the Seawall, many with incredible views. Stop by for a bite to eat and a cool drink after a day on the beach at Miller’s Seawall Grill, famous for their fresh seafood dinners and signature bloody mary.

The Spot serves the best comfort food in a large setting, as the restaurant was built from three vacant houses. It offers casual beachfront, multi-level dining, and is a great place to watch the game with a beer and a plate of wings.

Gaido’s Famous Seafood Restaurant has been pleasing diners since 1911. Known for excellent service and commitment to quality (they peel Gulf shrimp, shuck Galveston Bay oysters, and fillet fresh fish all by hand), even big names like Alfred Hitchock have enjoyed a meal or two here.

To enjoy a visitor favorite, check out BLVD Seafood. This staple was Galveston’s original restaurant to offer “boat to table dining,” and features fresh, Gulf wild seafood and daily chef specials.

An outdoor table filled with food, including salads and colorful drinks, with a view of the ocean and beach in Galveston, TX
Lunch at Fish Tales overlooking Seawall Blvd.

More Things to Do

If you’re done suntanning and craving some activity, the Seawall has exciting and fun activities to partake in. You can’t leave Galveston without a day out on a surrey, the four-wheeled covered bikes (with a fringe on top). The Seawall is perfect for a surrey, tandem bicycle or beach cruiser, available for rent at Island Bicycle Company. They also have bike trailer rentals for the little ones.

Get a dose of art mixed with local history along the Seawall Interpretive Trail. Go for a relaxing walk and observe a trail of 70 concrete benches covered in hand-painted mosaic tiles depicting local ocean history. Pair your stroll with a cold treat like an old-fashioned frozen custard from Rita's Italian Ice or shaved ice courtesy of Bahama Bucks.

Seawall Accommodations

On the Seawall, you'll find a desirable mixture of popular hotels, stylish resorts, and condos. One of the top-end options is The San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center, with a prime location on the Seawall affording wonderful views. The 32-acre beachfront hotel is for those wanting a true resort experience with lavish accommodations and fabulous amenities.

The Grand Galvez Resort & Spa has been a popular place to stay and unwind in Galveston for more than 100 years. It’s the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast, with elegantly restored rooms, a tranquil spa, heated saline outdoor pool, and seasonal swim-up bar, plus all that you’d expect in a luxury hotel.

Less than half a mile from the beach, the Hilton Galveston Resort spans 35 acres of historic Seawall Boulevard. Perfect for solo travelers or families, the hotel has an outdoor heated pool, onsite casual dining, and premium bedding.

Casa del Mar is within walking distance of the beach and is a top pick on Galveston Island for families or couples. Each condo has a private balcony with scenic views, along with a small living area with a studio kitchen. Guests can unwind poolside at two tropical pools and make use of the barbecue area.

The exterior of the Grand Galvez Resort & Spa, flanked by palm trees, beneath pink and royal blue dusk skies in Galveston, TX
The elegant Grand Galvez Resort & Spa at dusk.

Seawall Parking

Seawall Boulevard parking is secure and convenient, as now visitors can pay for parking through the PayByPhone mobile app or call (409) 797-5198.

Payments are associated with a single license plate, so there’s no need to display a receipt on your vehicle’s dash.

The rate is $2 per hour with a two-hour minimum (maximum $16 per day); Annual Seawall Parking Passes are available for only $45. Operating hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, 7 days a week.

Free parking is available on the north side of the Seawall between 12th and 19th Streets, 33rd and 39th Streets, 53rd and 61st Streets, and 85th and 91st Streets. All other parking along Seawall Boulevard consists of paid spots.

Galveston Beaches near the Seawall