Picture a small Victorian city, with gas-powered street lamps, historic homes and buildings, and warm residents who roll out the welcome mat for you and your pup. Now, imagine that charming town has 32 miles of dog friendly beaches where Fido is welcome year-round, as long as he’s wearing his leash. If that sounds like your ideal vacation destination, welcome to a dog friendly beach getaway in Galveston, Texas!

A couple walking their dog on the beach in Galveston Texas

Getaway To A Dog Friendly Beach In Galveston

Just 50 miles southeast of Houston, and situated on two islands in the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston has a long and interesting history. You’ll find few places where the past and present are so beautifully entwined as you stroll down the seawall or meander through the historic districts. Having some context for the area’s unique qualities will enhance your visit, so let’s take a quick look at Galveston’s past.

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Galveston’s History

The French pirate, Louis-Michel Aury, constructed the first European settlements here around 1816, to help the fledgling Republic of Mexico fight Spain. That campaign was successful, and in 1821 Mexico gained her freedom. A few years later the Mexican Government established the Port of Galveston – the only deepwater port between New Orleans and Tampico, Mexico.

The city grew quickly with wharves, cotton warehouses, stores, and an opera house. Cattle ranching flourished on the islands, and life was a combination of hard work and lavish entertainment.

Historic Buildings - Galveston, TX

Historic Buildings - Galveston, TX

In 1836, the Republic of Texas declared it’s independence from Mexico, and in 1845 Texas was annexed by the United States. Through it all, prosperity reigned in Galveston, and by 1899 the city had more millionaires per capita that any other US city! Elegant mansions lined the streets, and the most advanced technologies of the times, including electricity, telephone, and telegraphs, were common.

Disaster Strikes

But everything changed on September 8, 1900, when Galveston took a direct hit from a massive hurricane. Believing the position of the islands would protect the city from serious damage, residents opted to ride out the storm, which still ranks as the deadliest in United States history. An estimated 8,000 people perished.

In addition to the loss of humanity, the hurricane robbed Galveston of it’s commercial appeal. Houston soon became the state’s leading seaport. But Galveston is resilient. A new seawall was constructed, 500 city blocks were raised to protect them from future storm surges, and research, education, and tourism now keep the city’s economy ticking.

The Strand

The heart of Galveston is known as “The Strand,” a recognized National Historic Landmark for it’s collection of 19th century architecture. Shops, dining, museums, and night life can be found here. It’s an easy place to while away an afternoon exploring boardwalked streets, alleys, and parks. But it’s prettiest in the evening when the gas street lamps bathe everything in a warm glow.

The Strand - Galveston, TX

The Strand - Galveston, TX

The Strand - Galveston, TX

Pier 21

The masts of the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa pierce the sky down at the Pier. Here you’ll find a nice selection of waterfront restaurants with dog friendly patios, and Saengerfest Park, where you can admire Galveston Channel and keep an eye out for passing dolphins.

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Pier 21 - Galveston, TX

Pier 21 - Galveston, TX

Postoffice Street District

For art galleries, antique shops, and more eateries, head over to the Postoffice Street District. When you’re all shopped out, grab a chair at Mods Coffee House. The shady outdoor seating area is lovely and pet friendly.

For lunch, try the patio at Mosquito Café (628 14th Street). Their fresh, homemade menu, warm casual atmosphere, and friendly service won’t disappoint.

Historic Buildings - Galveston, TX

Dog Friendly Beaches and Seawall

Of course, the main draw here are Galveston’s 32 miles of stunning, dog friendly beaches! Leashed dogs are welcome year-round on all of the island’s beachfront, and there are plenty of places to explore. East Beach is one of largest beaches in Texas. Galveston Island State Park covers 2,000 acres, stretching from beach to bay. And Stewart Beach with it’s volleyball tournaments and sandcastle competitions is always entertaining. And those are just a few options to check out!

The seawall offers another opportunity to admire the beach and Gulf of Mexico, without getting your paws sandy. Following Seawall Boulevard and running for 10.3 miles, this is one of the longest continuous sidewalks in the world!

Buster and Ty at East Beach Park - Galveston, TX

Galveston Beach - Galveston, TX
Photo credit: Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

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This was our first visit to Galveston, and we just shot down for the day from Houston. But we all had a fantastic time, and we plan to come back. Let us know if the comments below of any other Galveston attractions we should be sure not to miss! Click through to find pet friendly accommodations in Galveston.

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  • I stayed in Galveston one week ago and had a very nice stay at The Hotel Galvez. They allowed dogs and we saw several well behaved dogs in the lobby as well as on the beach!

  • I was there last weekend with my hubby & fur baby. Not one hotel on the island would let my dog stay. I was so disappointed , I left the same evening I got there upset. We ended up in Webster at a hotel. Ruin my experience since I haven’t been to Galveston in years. Made me not want to return!

  • I lived in Galveston for 17 years before moving back home to Okla. City and I’d say you did a splendid job of describing Galveston. Most outdoor dining areas are Dog Friendly and your dogs will enjoy walking the beaches and barking at the seagulls. Good Job, Amy!

  • If you take the ferry over to Crystal Beach it is less populated and my dogs love it there. Even Memorial Day weekend the beach wasn’t busy which allowed for more relaxed doggie play time

  • That’s fantastic, Denise! I’m so glad you had fun in Myrtle Beach – we were there earlier this year, too, and had a great time. Ty cannot be off-leash either, so I completely understand how nice it is to find a nice “on-leash” beach to relax. Waggin’ trails!

  • Awesome find. We love taking the dogs with us to the beach. We live in San Diego and have two official places you can go off leash with your dogs. Unfortunately, our dogs cannot be off leash at the beach, so we are going to see if we can find a place nearby that will allow On Leash dogs to enjoy the beach as well. Recently, we spent two weeks in Myrtle Beach with our dogs on leash at the beach and it was HEAVEN! Everyone took care of their own dogs and there were no fights and not a bunch of craziness, and no one got hurt!

  • Category: Travel Destinations / Tagged with: Beaches, Texas