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7 Reasons We Love Jamaica Beach in Galveston

Our family spent spring break (just last week!) on the beautiful, historic Galveston Island. We discovered a new hidden gem that we are excited to share with you – Jamaica Beach!

This stretch of sandy paradise is a free public beach that we found to be clean and great for a fun day near the water. Other amenities around town are just icing on the cake.

When you search images of Jamaica Beach in Texas, I am afraid that Google is going to show pictures of beaches in Jamaica…in the Caribbean. Don’t be fooled! Jamaica Beach is lovely, but you’ll see accurate images below so you won’t expect a tropical island resort with turquoise water when you arrive!

Check out the top reasons we love Jamaica Beach below and make sure it is on your itinerary for your next visit to Galveston!

beautiful stormy sky on a Texas beach

Where is Jamaica Beach?

Jamaica Beach is both a town and a public beach on the west end of Galveston Island. This small beach town only takes up one square mile of geographical space – but it sure packs a mighty punch with all it has to offer!

To reach the beach, use this google map link and pull right onto the sand. There is not a separate parking lot, but the sand was packed and easy to drive upon.

7 Reasons You’ll Want to Visit Jamaica Beach

1. Beach is Clean and Well-Maintained

While peak times can bring more people, we found Jamaica Beach to have a pristine shoreline – the cleanest we found in Galveston! The water was also clearer here which puts this on our list as one of the best beaches close to Houston.

Jamaica beach with sand, shallow waves, and stormy sky

The beach lines a lovely waterfront neighborhood and there is evident local pride in keeping the beach nice, not just for visitors, but for locals too. Expect a warm welcome and please do your part to keep the beach looking its best.

Please note that you will not find restrooms or a lifeguard at this beach.

2. Jamaica Beach is on the West End

Jamaica Beach is on the west end of Galveston Island, which means you’ll need to drive about 20 minutes from the Historic Seaport or the Strand. It is located just past Galveston Island State Park (another underrated spot!), which means that the visitors to this area are less than downtown beaches.

Empty Jamaica Beach with large expanse of sand and gentle waves and cloudy sky

Less people means easier parking (on the beach), less garbage left behind, and more space to run and play or lay out for a peaceful nap. We are huge fans of quieter spaces where our children can spread out and build the biggest sandcastle they can! Jamaica Beach fits this request perfectly and offers a great Texas beach for soaking up all that nature has to offer. Pro tip* The sand is pretty packed, so metal shovels are best for digging!

3. Jamaica Beach is Free!

Many of the beaches on Galveston Island come with a parking fee, so if you will love the free admission and parking at Jamaica Beach.

Parking is right on the beach except for a marked off section during peak months. This makes for a convenient day on the beach without having to haul all your gear! Be sure to park more than 25 feet from the waterline.

Stay between the vegetation line and the ocean as it is private property beyond the vegetation.

Jamaica Beach sand and shoreline with posted beach rules

4. Stay in a Cottage in the Waterfront Neighborhood

The Jamaica Beach neighborhood across the street from the beach is made up of waterways gifting each home a waterfront yard and beautiful views. Walk through the streets and take in the landscape – it is so unique!

waterfront homes along canals on Galveston Island

If you are lucky, you might find a vacation rental here available for your stay! You’ll find that some rentals include a golf cart for exploring, fishing gear, kayaks, paddleboards, boat slips, and pedal boats included in your stay.

5. Play at the Playground

Jamaica Beach has a fun playground perfect for cool mornings or after dinner playtime. Next to the playground, we found cute picnic areas with a tropical shade for a fun meal spot too.

Playground by the beach with lawn and pirate play structure

6. You Can Splash in the Pool

Need a break from sandy toes? I can’t say that I get that, BUT there is a great pool in the neighborhood which is a perfect addition to a Galveston Island beach getaway.

The pool is open from May – September, so we didn’t get to use it on our Texas Spring Break trip. However, it’s only $5 per entry for anyone age 7+, so super reasonable for a day of swimming!

Swimming Pool with water splash feature in Galveston

7. Grab Shrimp from the Local Food Truck

Tasty food while playing on the beach makes for a perfect day – don’t you think? Check out the Shrimp N Stuff Food Truck just steps from the sand for a plate to go of grilled or fried seafood and fries. Their beachside menu is sure to please – don’t pass up the crab balls!

Bonus* If you get lucky, a ice cream truck might visit you on the beach too – so be ready! Fresh seafood + ice cream for dessert = beach day perfection!

Empty Jamaica Beach with cloudy sky
Jamaica Beach water tower on Galveston Island

Jamaica Beach TLDR

This small Texas beach town really surprised with offering so much to love on an island filled with amazing spots. The top reasons we’ll return again are:

  • Clean and quiet beach
  • Free parking on the beach
  • Shrimp truck nearby
  • Beautiful waterfront vacation rentals
  • Swimming Pool
  • Adorable Playground

Did we miss anything? We hope you will check out Jamaica Beach on your next visit and let us know what you love most!

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