An Easy Trip to the Beach with Kids (& Stuff): Jamaica Beach

Jamaica Beach Galveston Island
Address: Jamaica Beach, Texas 77554

After exploring West Beach (and figuring out the best beach access point), we came across Jamaica Beach, a small city on Galveston Island.

Like West Beach, this little section of beach has drive-on-the-beach access.  The public beach is the area of sand from the vegetation line to the water’s edge. (North of the vegetation line is private property.)

Jamaica Beach Galveston Island Cars on Beach
Cars on the beach are not beautiful… but it sure does make beach trips easy with kids.  We just drove up, backed up to the water, lifted up the tailgate and had everything we needed.  Water, snacks, sunscreen, shovels, trucks, towels, chairs, umbrellas… all right there!

We splashed, played, grabbed snacks and repeated.  When we had had enough sun, we packed up and drove off.

On the way home, we took a very scenic route down San Louis Pass/Bluewater Highway all the way to Surfside (and then north on 332/288 to Houston).  This was a beautiful way to go, with water on both sides, if you have the time!

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Schreiber “Flagship” Park in Galveston… 3 Story Space Shuttle Playground, Toddler Area & Splashpad!

Schreiber Flagship Park in Galveston
Address: 3134 83rd Street, Galveston, TX 77554

Right past Moody Gardens, if you are driving towards the Seawall, is Schreiber Flagship Park.

On the first couple passes past the park, we could see the blue equipment but wondered if it was part of the nearby elementary school. On the third time by, we decided to investigate… and this is an AMAZING Space City park.

Schreiber Flagship Park Galveston Playground
This playground has a giant 3 story space shuttle playground, a toddler playground, swings, splashpad and restrooms. You really just need to look at the pictures to understand how amazing this playground is!

Schreiber Flagship Park Galveston Splashpad
The park is in the middle of a sports complex, so on game days, I bet the place is hopping.  We went on a weekday afternoon and found another couple of families playing in the splashpad.

There was not a lot of other foot or car traffic in the area, so I was happy other people were playing in the heat.  (If you go, do your own safety check before you stop.)

Schreiber Flagship Park Galveston Small Playground
The astronauts (kids) played and played on this playground.  Not only does it look cool, and encourage imaginations, but there are some very cool features.  Rock walls, bridges, ladders and more.

Schreiber Flagship Park Small Space Shuttle Spring Rider
Take a look at the pictures… and next time you are in Galveston, check out the awesome playground near Moody Gardens!

Schreiber Flagship Park Galveston Disk Swing
 

Schreiber Flagship Park Galveston Space Shuttle Playground
 

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West Beach in Galveston… with Free & Easy Drive Up Beach Access!

Beach Chairs at Galveston West Beach
Address: West Beach, Galveston, TX 77554 (We used Beach Access #10 at Pean Street and 3005/Seawall/San Luis Pass Road)

Houston moms have been telling me about Galveston’s West Beach for years… but I was never really sure of where to go.  Stewart Beach and East Beach have clearly marked entrances… but West Beach is a long strip of sand along the map.

We finally decided to just figure out this beach.  So we drove down Seawall (away from East Beach) and saw a lot of signs for “Beach Access”.  We turned into several.  Some had an entrance fee, some had parking but no car-on-beach access… and then others had direct beach access.

It was “Beach Access #10” where we found a good spot to drive right up to the water.

Galveston West Beach Parking on Beach
Before moving to Texas, I had never seen cars on the beach… and that first time a friend told me to drive onto Crystal Beach, I thought she was insane.  But now I think that cars on the beach are not beautiful, but it sure is easy.

Just drive on to the packed sand, back up to the water and have everything you need without hauling bags and chairs and coolers and kids.

Galveston West Beach Digging in Sand
So, since we found the drive-on beach, this trip to West Beach was very fun and incredibly easy.

We drove down from Houston, were at the water in about 45 minutes.  We parked, played, made a castle, found a hermit crab, ate snacks and drank water, packed up and drove off.  And it was free!

Galveston West Beach Crab
On the way out of Galveston, we stopped at Palm Beach at Moody Gardens for a few laps around the lazy river (and non-sandy-salty water).  (The membership makes this do-able… otherwise it would be expensive!)

If you are looking for a very easy trip to the beach, check out West Beach… and if you know of another good Beach Access Point, tell us!

 

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East Beach in Galveston… Beach, Playground and Festivals!

East Beach Galveston
Address: 1923 Boddeker Drive, Galveston, TX 77550
Cost: $10+/car (We paid $12.  Get the prices HERE.)

The beach!  Not far from Houston are the beaches of Galveston, and we’ve been going more and more this summer.  Last week we went to Stewart Beach and this week we went to East Beach.

Not far from the family beach is East Beach on the tip of the island.  It has a pavilion, playground, restrooms, showers, concessions… and alcohol is permitted and it is known for the festivals and live concerts.

East Beach Galveston Pavilion
We went to Galveston on a weekday afternoon.  I45 turns into Broadway, which hits Seawall.  Instead of going straight into Stewart Beach, we turned left and took the long road to East Beach.

We saw quite a few people at Stewart, but with no special events going on, we found we had a lot of space to ourselves at East Beach.

East Beach Galveston Playground Equipment
We drove past the fishing spots, saw quite a few container ships passing by, paid $12 to enter the beach, changed in the clean (outdoor) changing rooms, played at the playground, and hit the beach.

We were able to park right by the sand and make the short walk to the water.

East Beach Playground in Galveston
Umbrella and chair rentals are available, but I finally brought my (affiliate) own… with a small clip on umbrella.  The group next to us brought a big umbrella, umbrella anchor and a small bbq pit and looked like East Beach professionals.

At the beach, the kids dug and splashed for hours while I handed out water and reapplied sunscreen.

East Beach Galveston Playing in Water
When the kids had finally had enough, we walked over to the outdoor showers and washed off the the buckets and the sandy bodies.  (I really like not having to drive home so messy!)

East Beach Galveston Digging Papa
So, if you are looking for another Galveston beach to try out… check out East Beach!  If you are looking for the latest water advisories, look HERE before you go!

East Beach Galveston Digging in Sand
 

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Where to cool off in Houston this summer, with kids… The best pools, splashpads & air conditioning!

Most summers we just power through the heat and continue on our normal routine… with a little extra water, shade and sweat.  But this summer, probably because of the size of my belly, we’re seeking out all the pools, water parks and air conditioning we can find.

To make it easier for you to cool off, here are the parks, pools and places we’ve reviewed.  Click each link, look at the pictures and decide which is best for you.

These are actually our pictures and first hand reviews…  So we’ll keep finding cool (literally, cool) spots this summer and updating the list.  Tell us your recommendations so we can try them and add them too!

Rob Fleming Park Pool Water Dumping at Beach Entry
Splashpads & Pools:

Wet N Wild Splashtown Treehouse Island Ropes
Water Parks:

Stewart Beach Family Beach in Galveston
Beaches:

Dairy Ashford Roller Rink Toddler SkateF
Air Conditioning:  There are a lot of options for air conditioning in Houston… museums, restaurants, theaters… so let me just list a few ideas here!

Find more to do HERE… and just look for the cool summer options!

 



All aboard! Take your Train Lovers to the Galveston Railroad Museum.

Galveston Railroad Museum in Downtown Galveston
Address: 2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston, TX 77550
Admission: Go HERE for the latest.  We paid $10 for adults, $5 for kids.  Train rides are $5/person.  Parking is free in the back lot.

My big kids were at grandma’s house, so I was looking for something my 4 year old would absolutely love as a day trip with mom and dad.  A trip… as an only child… with both parents.  The only thing that could make this better was to throw in some trains.

So off we went to the Galveston Railroad Museum, right in Downtown Galveston.  And as a bonus, it was on a day when the Harborside Express was running.

Galveston Railroad Museum Trains
The museum is quite big with the old depot, lots and lots of restored trains, a model train building, concessions and more.

We arrived around 11:00am on a weekend and parked on the street.  If you park on the south side of the museum, there is some free street parking.  (At least at the time of this post… so check the signs!) Also, behind the museum, on the west, there is a free lot for the museum.  (If you go a block further, you need to pay for street parking.)

Galveston Railroad Museum Train Ride
The short train ride runs on certain days… and it happened to be 11:00am-1:00pm on Saturday.  You buy museum admission and a train ticket, and can jump on the train every 20 minutes.

We were excited about the train ride, so we jumped on right away.  The Harborside Express is a caboose pulled by an engine and is a short 15 minute ride.  You go up the tracks, and reverse back to the depot… but my son liked it!

Galveston Railroad Museum Travelers
After the caboose ride, we toured the inside of several old trains, went through the model train building and  walked through the air conditioned depot.

Audio tours are available, but we were not sure our 4 year old would go along with it.  But, it did look like you could learn a lot… and you can find a sample of the tour HERE.

Galveston Railroad Museum Playing Trains
After our tour of all the trains, and playing at the little toy trains, we headed out to Shrimp N Stuff for lunch and to the beach!

If you have a train lover, check out the Railroad Museum next time you are in Galveston!

 

For more to do with kids!



Stewart Beach… Galveston’s Family Beach & Playground!

Stewart Beach in Gaveston Digging
Address:  201 Seawall Blvd, 6th St. and Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550
Cost: $8+/car. See the details HERE.

I came to Houston from San Diego, where I lived right at the beach.  Each day I would walk to the water and run, watch or have a bonfire… but usually not swim because the Pacific is cold!

Now I’m in Houston, where people love to not love the Galveston beaches… but I really do like having them so close.  And my kids really like to dig and splash.

Stewart Beach Family Beach in Galveston
So, more and more, we’ve been packing up the minivan and making the short 45 minute drive from Downtown to Galveston.  Our last trip took us to the family beach… Stewart Beach!

Located right after I45 turns into Broadway… and where Broadway meets the Seawall, the beach is very easy to find.  Admission is $8+ per car (or you could walk in for free… but street parking also costs money).

This beach has a pavilion, concessions, restrooms, showers, playground, volleyball courts and more.  No alcohol is allowed on this family beach.

Stewart Beach Galveston Ship Playground1
On a weekday, we found a parking spot close to the beach, walked just a short distance and were digging in the sand in no time. Umbrellas and chairs were available for rent, but next time I’m bringing an (affiliate) umbrella or pop up tent!

The kids dug and splashed for hours… and for the first time in their lives, they told me they were ready to go rather than me pleading with them to go home.

Stewart Beach Galveston Swings
After the sand, we stopped by the pavilion and saw the coolest (and shaded) boat playground. When the kids were exhausted from playing, we packed up and headed home.

Stewart Beach in Galveston
If you are looking for a good family beach, check out Stewart Beach.  And if you are looking for the latest water advisories, look HERE before you go!

 

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Give Away: Tickets to the Houston Zoo!

Chimp at the Houston Zoo
It might be hot, but you can still brave the Houston Zoo.  They have a splashpad, lots of misters and several indoor exhibits.  To win a family 4 pack of tickets to the Houston Zoo, sign up below!  We will pick winners on Monday, July 11, 2016.

Update: Congratulations to the winner, Amanda W!

Contest Ends: July 11, 2016 at 9:00am.
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-9C9



Calling All Houston Chefs: Master Chef Junior is Casting in Houston!

MasterChef is on a nationwide search for talented kids between the ages of 8-13 who love to cook!

If cooking is your child’s passion, you cannot miss out on this opportunity from our sponsor!

Pre-register HERE to attend our open casting call in Houston on Saturday, July 16th at the Four Season Houston from 9am-5pm! Good luck!

Master Chef Junior Houston Flyer



Play at the Beach without the Mess… Palm Beach at Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens Palm Beach Lazy River
Address: One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77554
Cost: $23.95, $17.95 kids, 3 and Under are Free, Free for Members (Get the latest prices HERE.)

Sometimes we want to cool off and play in the sand, but are not up for playing in the ocean.  This Galveston destination includes sand and pools… it’s Palm Beach at Moody Gardens!

Palm Beach, open during the summers, includes a lazy river, wave pool, slides, water playground, splashpad, sandy beach and volleyball court.

The water park is not huge, but it’s a good size for little kids.  Teens (and probably tweens) may not love it, but for little kids, there is enough to do… and it’s not really hard for the parents to keep track of them.

Moody Gardens Palm Beach Play Area
There are 2 slides for kids over 48″ (that end in a contained “tray” and not in a big pool), 2 slides for little kids, a small wave pool (that does not get as big as Wet’n’Wild), a splashpad (in it’s own area for young children), and a lazy river that is fun for everyone.

Moody Gardens in Galveston Palm Beach Slides
My kids are still pretty young and I like that it’s not too hard to watch them. I also like that they can play in the sandy beach… and swim in the pool water… so we do not leave all messy like when we are at the ocean.

We usually arrive mid-day with everyone else, but I’m told that at the 9:00am opening time, there are fewer crowds.

Moody Gardens in Galveston Palm Beach Boat at Splashpad
Besides this water park being small, be aware that only water is allowed in.  Coolers must be parked in the picnic spot outside the gates.

Also, lockers must be rented.  If you want to swim with the kids, I’d leave most of the stuff in the car or at home.  As for car keys… I’m thinking of getting a (affiliate) waterproof case to hang on my neck.  (I saw a lot of bags and strollers around… but I would get a locker or hold on to the valuable stuff!)

And, finally, there is the price.  It’s not cheap to get in… but now it’s not a whole lot more than Bellaire Town Square.  If you will go several times or visit all of Moody Gardens (including the winter lights events), there is an annual family membership.  Just plan to use the membership a lot, because the price makes the Houston Zoo and Houston Museum memberships look like a bargain.

The good news is that you can pay the admission fee, decide if you love it, and apply the ticket price to the annual membership after you swim.

Moody Gardens Palm Beach Lazy River Fountain
 I do like Palm Beach for the size of my kids… and I really like not driving back from Galveston all sandy!  Look at the pictures and see what you think.

 



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