Swimming and sunbathing are customary activities for a typical day at the beach. But, if you want to spice up your beach plans this summer, try heading to one of Galveston’s beach parks and take part in some activities from sand castle building to a fun, family obstacle course challenge.

East Beach

Spanning 72 acres of land, East Beach is an expansive area on the island’s easternmost point. It’s the only Galveston beach where alcohol is permitted. Perfect for spending the day with friends, playing volleyball, or just soaking in the sun. East Beach is home to a pavilion with showers and restrooms, children’s playground, stage area, beach volleyball courts, plus food, beverage, chairs and umbrellas vendors. Daily horseback rides are also offered here. East Beach is located at 1923 Boddeker Dr.

Gulf Coast Volleyball Association Hot as Hell Classic: Aug. 1 at 9 a.m. Visit www.gcva.net.

Watch the beach volleyball action or join with a team. Divisions include men’s, women’s, coed, coed recreational and juniors. Entry fee is $25 per person or $50 per team.

AIA Sandcastle Competition: Aug. 21-22 at 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. Visit www.aiasandcastle.com.

For the 34th year, Houston area architects, designers, engineers and contractors will take their tools to Galveston’s East Beach Aug. 21 for what is considered one of the world’s largest amateur sand castle competitions. The Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) sponsors this annual contest in which the public is invited to watch more than 80 teams compete for the best sand castle design. The sand castles will remain in place through Sunday for public viewing.

Gulf Coast Volleyball Association Labor Day Classic: Aug. 28 at 9 a.m. Visit www.gcva.net.

Watch the beach volleyball action or join with a team. Divisions include men’s, women’s, coed, and juniors. Entry fee is $25 per person or $50 per team. The first 100 registrants will receive a free T-shirt.

Dash Catamaran Race: Aug. 28 at 1:00-4:00 p.m.

A long-distance catamaran race that ends at East Beach. Enjoy a great beach day and take in the sights as sailors race to the finish. There will be an awards ceremony to follow the event.

Sand Crab 5k/10k/Kid’s Mile Night Run: Sept. 11 at 7:30-10:30 p.m. Visit runintexas.com/gcrab.

Description: Run entirely on the sand, the Sand Crab is a great way to get a little exercise under the stars on a beautiful Galveston beach. Participants can enjoy refreshments while listening to great music. All races are chip timed including the Kid’s Mile, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Parents are welcome to run with kids free of charge. The course is lit with LED lights. Runners are required to run with a flashlight or head lamp.

Stewart Beach

Stewart Beach is Galveston’s premier family beach park since 1941. Located where historic Broadway Avenue meets the Seawall, Stewart Beach offers plenty of amenities for a day at the beach as well as regular supervision of highly trained lifeguards. The park is home to helicopter tours, a pavilion, concessions, restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, beach volleyball courts and more. Alcohol is not permitted at Stewart Beach. It is located at 201 Seawall Blvd.

FREE! Bucket Brigade Tours: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Visit artistboat.org.

Join the Bucket Brigade in exploring the creatures and features that make Galveston beaches unique. Tours are educational and fun for ocean-lovers of all ages. Hands-on activities investigate topics including Galveston’s turbid water, marine debris, Sargassum landings, and more. Look for the bright orange shirts near Beach Patrol Tower #6.

FREE! Sandcastle Building Lessons: Saturdays at 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit visitgalveston.com/blog/sandcastle-building-lessons.

Visitors to Stewart Beach can participate in Sandcastle Days events and receive free sand castle building lessons from a professional sand castle builder. Each event will begin with an instructor building a sand castle from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. followed by lessons at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Equipment will be provided on a limited basis and participants are encouraged to bring their own sand buckets and shovels. Registration is not required. The lessons will take place on the sand near the Stewart Beach Pavilion.

FREE! Galveston Family Beach Challenge: Sep. 5 at 11 a.m. — 5 p.m. Visit galvestonchallenge.com.

The Galveston Family Beach Challenge transforms a portion of Stewart Beach into a gigantic obstacle course, allowing families to compete in life-size versions of classic games. The course will include 14 stations for kids and adults including a bean bag game, a life-size battleship game, limbo, volley balloon, “beam” bag, giant Connect Four and more.


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