15 Best Things to Do in Jamaica Beach, TX

Jamaica Beach, TX
TinasDreamworld / shutterstock.com

The tiny city of Jamaica Beach, Texas, is home to 1,117 people as of 2019.

However, that doesn’t mean the place doesn’t offer any activity or attraction to make a beach getaway worthwhile.

Since the sea surrounds the city on two sides, you’ll get your fill of marine activities here.

Turn north to face the east bay, and then turn south to face the Gulf of Mexico.

It doesn’t matter which direction you turn; Jamaica Beach will make sure you’ll have the time of your life.

Historically, the Karankawa people used the Jamaica Beach area as their burial ground.

Eventually, American companies developed the area, with Johnny Goyen and Earl Galceran leading the way on behalf of the Jamaica Corporation.

They turned the city into a resort subdivision with 2,000 lots built near the marina.

The city attracted even more visitors during the 1960s when residents discovered a skull.

This skull revealed the place’s history as a Karankawa Native American burial ground, drawing curious tourists.

Likewise, the city celebrates its seaside location by naming many legendary pirates, such as Blackbeard, Francis Drake, and Captain Hook.

Do you want to know more about Jamaica Beach, TX?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in town:

Splash around at the Jamaica Beach

Birds in Jamaica Beach
Todd Dwyer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fittingly, Jamaica Beach’s main outdoor attraction is the beach.

This public beach is one of Galveston’s most sought-after destinations, especially in the hot summer months.

So, if you want to beat the heat, bring your family to the beach, splash around, and have some fun!

Sometimes, the city also hosts weekend events at the beach.

Since this beach is for the public, admission is free.

However, you’ll need to watch your kids at all times because there are no lifeguards on duty.

You also need to follow the city’s restrictions on starting open fires or throwing glass containers on the beach.

Spend the Night at the Famous Kettle House

This curious house is one of Jamaica Beach’s most popular landmarks.

Why is this building called Kettle House?

The simple answer is it looks like a giant kettle.

The house is unmistakably kettle-shaped, with a round base and pointed roof even from afar.

The kettle shape happened because an entrepreneur wanted to build a tank for an oil and gas company in the 1960s.

However, the project never materialized.

The building’s welder bought it and relocated it to its current spot.

He had wanted to turn the house into a convenience store, but that failed to happen, too.

Today, the Kettle House has undergone significant renovation, and it also appeared on a reality TV program called “Big Texas Fix.”

The house is now available for rental after appearing on the HGTV/DIY show.

Grab a Cup of Joe at JB Coffee & Wine

Before exploring Jamaica Beach, you might want to chill with a hot cup of coffee at JB Coffee & Wine.

On the other hand, after your busy day in the city, you should drop by the place again for a glass of fine wine.

The Jamaica Beach Coffee & Wine Bar is West Galveston’s top wine bar and coffee lounge.

Every day, they offer coffee made from various beans from around the world.

Their skilled baristas prepare handcrafted coffee with top-quality ingredients and cutting-edge equipment.

Likewise, you can pair your beverages with terrific pastries like muffins, croissants, and tarts.

The bar’s wines will surely help you wind down with friends or loved ones if you visit in the evening.

They also carry a diverse selection of craft beers for brewing enthusiasts.

Even your kids would love the bar because they also carry gourmet popsicles with truly global flavors.

Spend the Day at the Jamaica Beach City Park

Located at Jolly Roger Road, the Jamaica Beach City Park is an excellent venue for public events like concerts.

This park came about because of the combined efforts of community volunteers who built it in 1989.

During your visit, you’ll find a basketball court and a playground, complete with swings.

You can also enjoy a nice picnic at their picnic area, or you can rent a pavilion and cook your meals in the pavilion’s kitchen.

If you’re traveling with a large group, the pavilion might be your best choice for an afternoon outside.

This building is weather-resistant, and it’s available for rental throughout the year.

Various community fundraisers have held their events there.

Beat the Heat at the Jamaica Beach Swimming Pool

If you’re feeling the heat at the city park, but you don’t want to go too far, you just need to step to the facility sitting right next to it.

This facility is the Jamaica Beach Swimming Pool, completed in 2014 after 15 years of consideration.

Likewise, the land for the pool came from the donation of an organization called “Friends of Jamaica Beach,” which also inked an agreement with the city to use the land for a swimming pool.

Like the beach, this pool is open to the public, although admission carries a small fee.

You can buy either a daily pass or a season pass, which you can buy anytime.

Moreover, the pool employs a lifeguard, so you can breathe a little easier while swimming with your kids.

Explore the Water at the Regatta Basin

Located at Basin Drive, near Jolly Roger Road, the Regatta Basin is one of the city’s access points to the various canals that lead out of the city.

You can take a boat and follow the canals to explore the waters of Jamaica Beach, nearby Galveston, or West Bay.

It also goes by the name “Marina” Boat Ramp, and you can relax in the seating area while waiting for your boat.

Likewise, you don’t need to worry about safety.

The single ramp on Regatta Basin is paved and stabilized, assuring boat riders a smooth ride and entry in the canals.

Camp Out at the Jamaica Beach RV Resort

If you want to stay close to nature throughout your stay at Jamaica Beach, why not bring an RV to the Jamaica Beach RV Resort?

The RV campground offers a complete set of amenities, such as propane, wifi, utilities, laundry facilities, and more.

It’s even pet-friendly so that you can bring your pups here, too.

Entertain yourself at the RV Resort with games like miniature golf offered at the Pirates Treasure Miniature Golf Course.

This course has 18 holes, is free for guests, and is accessible to people with disabilities.

You can also take a dip at the resort’s beach pool, free for guests, and even has a Tiki Bar.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore the Outdoors at the Galveston Island State Park

Boardwalk at Galveston Island State Park
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Just drive 14 minutes away from Jamaica Beach to reach Galveston Island, where you can find more activity options, particularly at Galveston Island State Park.

This park has three locations in one: the gulf, the bay, and the beach.

If you don’t know where to go next, don’t worry. The 2,000-acre park itself will guide you.

Scenic View of Galveston Island State Park
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

During your visit, you’ll find that it hosts pristine natural habitats, which attract various bird species.

For example, you’ll find different waterbirds there, especially during migration seasons in the fall and spring.

Bring your binoculars to catch these birds in their fullest majesty.

Scenic View of Galveston Island State Park
Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Get Lost in the Moody Gardens

A bird at Moody Gardens
joannapoe, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Moody Gardens compound is one of Galveston Island’s biggest attractions.

It is a public and non-profit educational attraction that aims to put people closer to nature through conservation, research, and recreation programs.

During the 80s, Moody Gardens merely consisted of a horseback riding arena, a horse barn, and a hippotherapy riding program for people with traumatic head injuries.

A bird at Moody Gardens
joannapoe, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It took extraordinary vision and commitment to turn these separate facilities into the premier educational leisure facilities in the Southwest United States.

When you visit, you can visit the 1,500,000-gallon Aquarium Pyramid to see ocean creatures from all over the world.

Otherwise, check out the Rainforest Pyramid to see animals like sloths, Saki monkeys, and rare birds.

The facility is enormous, so you’ll need to book an entire day if you want to visit all of its attractions.

Blue birds at Moody Gardens
Rhonda Tipton, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll along the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

View of Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Texas
robert thigpen from diboll, texas, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring your family to another top-quality attraction in Galveston Island, the city’s Historic Pleasure Pier.

The relatively new amusement park opened in 2012, featuring a single roller coaster, several carnival games and souvenir shops, and 15 rides.

Before constructing the new amusement complex, this pier originally had the name Pleasure Pier.

It stood from 1943 to 1961, when Hurricane Carla destroyed it.

View of Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Texas
robert thigpen from diboll, texas, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The original Pleasure Pier was another amusement plaza with an arcade, a few rides, an aquarium, and concessions.

Likewise, the original pier hosted a spacious ballroom called the Marine Ballroom, and you can also fish at the end of the pier.

The new Pleasure Pier renovated, remodeled, and repaired the site, which had not seen any maintenance for 70 years.

Sample Craft Beers at Galveston Island Brewing

Sitting on the west end of Galveston Island, one block from the beach is Galveston Island Brewing, where you can drink delicious local handcrafted beer.

The brewery also sells the “Official Beer of Galveston,” called Tiki Wheat, and they also offer their year-round #1 IPA called Citra Mellow.

Besides those brands, the brewery also offers several core beers, such as the Causeway Kolsch.

They also sell multi-season draft beers like the Nightfall Porter, the Blue Bridge Hoppy Amber, and the Strawberry Lemonade Seltzer.

Of course, an ice-cold glass of beer is incomplete without the proper meal to complement it.

Grab a filling sandwich or a plate of chips to pair with your tasty beer.

Go Wet and Wild at the Galveston Island Schlitterbahn Waterpark

View of Galveston Island Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Texas
CJ TravelTips, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This 26-acre waterpark should be your go-to attraction for water thrills in Galveston Island.

It’s also open year-round, so just drop in whenever you feel like it.

Since it’s open year-round, the waterpark features different amenities to fit the weather.

View of Galveston Island Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Texas
CJ TravelTips, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Beat the heat at their famous Boogie Bahn ride, or warm your bones in their heated pool.

Besides water rides, you can also climb up the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, the only zip line in Galveston Island.

Bring a friend and feel the wind whipping your face as you fly 100 feet in the air.

The ride will give you an incredible view of Galveston Island and the neighboring Gulf of Mexico.

Spook Yourself with the Galveston Cemetery Ghost Tour

If you want to try something new on your visit, you’re welcome to join the Galveston Ghost Tours with Dash Beardsley.

Several tours are available for all ages, such as the Galveston Cemetery Ghost Tour and the Dash Beardsley Restless Spirits Tour.

Go along the Galveston Cemetery Ghost Tour, and visit one of the oldest cemeteries in town.

You’ll walk among historic graves and mausoleums of people who died during the Civil War, the Great Storm of 1900, and many others who met their fates in Galveston.

If you’re wondering why this cemetery is so large, it’s because the cemetery comprises seven cemeteries that just expanded together through the years.

Beardsley will tell stories of the residents buried under your feet throughout the tour.

Your spine will surely tingle as you see the headstones and mausoleums of the people in these stories.

Be careful, because this tour is not for the faint of heart.

Learn Local History at the Historic Strand District

View of Historic Strand District
Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll need to go roughly 30 minutes from Jamaica Beach to reach the historic Strand District in Galveston, but the trip is worth it.

This district sits in the island's heart, offering plenty of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options.

As a National Historic Landmark, the Strand will take you back to Galveston’s heyday as a commercial hub in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

View of Historic Strand District
Roman Eugeniusz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll notice that many of the buildings there are over a hundred years old, but the skill and craftsmanship that went into their construction are still able to surprise tourists.

You can eat mouthwatering Mexican food, seafood, and other cuisines at the restaurants dotting the district.

After your meal, visit the La King’s Confectionary for delicious desserts.

During the day, you can explore the Texas Seaport Museum and Elissa, the tall ship.

Tie the Knot at the Galveston Country Club

Beside Galveston Bay lies the scenic Galveston Country Club, a rich green course perfect for outdoor weddings.

The 120-acre property teems with palm trees and foliage that emphasize the beauty of its landscape.

If you decide to get married there, you’ll go on your honeymoon with gorgeous photos and unforgettable memories.

Make sure you get sunset photos with Lake Como as your backdrop.

The view will add to the romance of the occasion, which you can’t get anywhere else.

Likewise, the country club’s Special Events Team will help you and your guests get comfortable.

The Executive Chef will also prepare a sumptuous feast as unforgettable as the ceremony itself.

Final Thoughts

Jamaica Beach offers plenty of activity and entertainment options for tourists who want a weekend beach getaway despite its size.

You can also venture out to the rest of Galveston Island to experience everything it has to offer.

Book a weekend, and fly to Jamaica Beach!