Galveston has a ton of locations for your engagement session. I think I could walk down almost any street and find some great backdrop, be it big picture or tiny nook. Whether you’re beach lovers, history junkies or, adventure seekers, Galveston Island will most definitely have some spots you’ll love.
Beachtown is situated on the eastern end of Galveston Island. This little community of beach homes is a great spot to embrace your casual coastal living vibes. Beautiful, quiet streets and beach access let you have a variety of island life photo backdrops. And when you’re done with your shoot, you can step into the Porch Cafe, located in the town center, for a dreamy dinner.
Galveston’s first residential neighborhood, the East End Historic District, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Landmark! This district encompasses much of the area from 10th to 19th streets between Broadway and Mechanic Avenue. Streets are tree lined and have homes of all sizes including cottages and grand mansions in a variety of architectural styles including Greek Revival and Victorian. I have a few favorite spots, one of which you can see below.
Darragh Park is located in the East End Historical District at 15th Street and Church (519 15th Street). The park is owned and maintained by the East End Historical District Association. It’s open for day use and can also be reserved for events. While no specific permit is required to use this location for some of your engagement photos, I recommend making a donation in your name to the EEHDA to further the preservation of the park and neighborhood for all to enjoy.
Murdoch’s is kind of legendary as both a tourist trap and local hangout. Punch 2215 Seawall Blvd. in Waze and you’ll find it just steps away from Hotel Galvez to the east and Pleasure Pier to the west. It was originally a bathhouse in the late 1800’s and has been destroyed by a handful of hurricanes including the 1900 Storm and Hurricane Ike in 2008. While it’s got all manner of souvenirs and beach gear, the big draw is the breezeway porch between the shops. Here you can sit in adirondak chairs, sip a drink from their bar and look out at the Gulf of Mexico. After your drink, head below the building to stick your toes in the sand and get photos amongst the pilings that serve as the building’s foundation.
Pleasure Pier is a waterfront entertainment complex located over the Gulf of Mexico at 25th and Seawall Blvd. You’ll find rides, games, shops and food on the boardwalk over the ocean. A walk-on pass for each person is required for this location, and we must adhere to certain rules while on the premises. Contact me for info.
Pier 21 is part of Galveston’s historic seaport and the Port of Galveston. It houses a hotel, museums, restaurants, and a marina where you can catch a harbor tour and possibly a glimpse at some marine mammals! It’s also a great spot to relax and watch the Carnival Cruise and Disney Cruise Line ships entering and leaving port.
1877 Tall Ship Elissa
Docked at Pier 21, the Tall Ship Elissa is a three-masted, square-rigged, iron hulled tall ship built in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1877. Rescued by ship preservationists from a scrapyard in Greece, the Elissa was brought to Galveston and restored and now serves as a floating museum. Through the Galveston Historical Foundation’s commitment to bring history to life, she is also a fully functioning sailing vessel that participates in annual sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Ah-hem. Excuse me while my Navy sailor heart excessively nerds out over this beautiful iron lady! General admission is required for each person at this location.
Also known as the Strand/Mechanic Historic District, this commercial area between 20th and 25th streets features buildings primarily built prior to 1900 with some dating to around 1850. In addition to the East End, this district was also designated by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark for its value in illustrating and interpreting our nation’s heritage.
Old Galveston Square
Located on The Strand at 23rd Street, this three story building built in 1859 is filled with retail shops and offices. Take note of the cool cornet sculpture, titled “The Stone Trumpet,” facing 23rd Street. It was created by David Adickes for the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. This building isn’t just pretty on the outside either! Step inside to see a birdcage elevator, bright and airy atrium, and ornate railings and staircases with iron “OGS” crests signifying Old Galveston Square.
Saengerfest Park is kitty corner to Old Galveston Square at 23rd and The Strand. It’s a public square that has a variety of photo ops including a bright red phone booth, oversized chess set, the super fun and popular Greetings From Galveston Mural and other fun seasonal props.
La King’s Confectionery
La King’s is a recreation of a 1920‘s era confectionery, founded in 1976 by the son of master candy maker Jimmy King. Browse the endless candy counters full of treats made from “old time” recipes and order a drink from the soda fountain. If you have a soul for sharing simple pleasures and a little something sweet with your honey, this is a great pitstop!
I “Heart” Galveston Mural
The I “Heart” Galveston Mural by Gabriel Prusmack is located 24th Street at The Strand on the eastern wall of Shark Shack. The colorful mural has a variety of sea creatures like jellyfish, corals, dolphins and a shark.
Powell Mardi Gras Arch
You’ll find the very hard to miss, brightly colored Powell Mardi Gras Arch near the Tremont House on Mechanic Street at 24th. Commissioned in 1985 to be part of Mardi Gras the following year. Architect Boone Powell designed the arch as an homage to Galveston’s seaport history. It also has design features that reference famous Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton.
Galveston Railroad Museum
Sitting on the western edge of the Strand Historic District, on 25th Street at The Strand, is the Galveston Railroad Museum. The museum site was originally the 1932 Santa Fe Depot and Rail Yard. It’s got a large collection of exhibits and memorabilia but the highlight is the 40+ railcars you can explore! This is definitely a cool location for couples with a love for nostalgic travel. A photo shoot fee applies and the price varies based on the time of day. Contact me for more information.
The area from 20th to 25th Streets between Market and Broadway, which includes Galveston’s Postoffice District, boasts just as many fun, cool and quaint backdrops as anywhere else on the island. Postoffice Street itself is a true arts mecca with tons of galleries stocked by talented local artists.
1861 Customs and Court House
Referred to as the Old Galveston Customhouse, this Greek Revival building also served as a post office and courthouse. It survived the Civil War, the 1885 Galveston Fire, the 1900 Storm and various other disasters. You’ll find it located on Postoffice at 20th.
Galveston Island Trolley Transit Terminal Station
This cute Galveston Trolley Station is at the center of the hustle and bustle of the Postoffice District. It’s the perfect spot to relax and refuel while you people watch. And in the spring when the vines over the patio bloom with jasmine, it smells absolutely divine!
The patio at MOD Coffeehouse is at the center of the hustle and bustle of the Postoffice District. It’s the perfect spot to relax and refuel while you people watch. And in the spring when the vines over the patio bloom with jasmine, it smells absolutely divine!
Koi Pond Mural
This colorful Koi Pond Mural by Derek Anderson is located in the alley between Postoffice and Church streets bordered by 22nd and 23rd. If you’re a wall/mural lover, this is a must hit location!
Even more nooks…
There are so many little highlights in this area including lots of hidden in plain sight gems. Simple things like doorways, walls and fence lines can make for sweet, fun, romantic photo spots. As an added bonus, the island blooms (literally) in different ways throughout the year so some locations may vary with the seasons!
The West Market District is the area along Market Street, west of 25th Street. A little less bustling than “downtown” but, with no less character and spots worth a visit. You’ll find some unique building facades and a Daniel Anguilu mural at Maceo Spice & Import.
Kempner Park is a neighborhood park that is free and open to the public. It has a meandering walkway, lots of shade from numerous oak trees, an historic fountain that dates to 1896 and the Albert Kuhn Memorial Pergola. You’ll also find the stunningly, beautiful 1880 Garten Verein, a dance pavilion that hails from Galveston’s late 1800’s German community. While the Verein isn’t open to the public, it makes for a pretty and unique photo backdrop. Tap 2704 Avenue O into your Waze app to get there!
I’m hella passionate about sea turtles. I’m so passionate that I used to help rescue and rehabilitate them when I was in the Navy stationed in Norfolk. So needless to say, I love this Sea Turtle Mural by Gabriel Prusmack at the McGuire-Dent Recreation Center. If you are a nature lover and fellow sea turtle enthusiast, I think it’s only right that we get a photo of you smooching in front of this backdrop. 2222 28th Street at Seawall Blvd.
On Seawall Blvd near the San Luis Resort, Fort Crockett Park is a 2 acre public space on land that once served as a military installation. What used to be part of the Hampton Battery at Fort Crockett is now a picturesque space that overlooks the beach and the Gulf of Mexico beyond. Look for plaques that tell the history of the area and enjoy a watercolor sunset.
This is the spot along a section of Offatts Bayou has a boardwalk style fishing pier and a boat launch with docks. It’s a great location to catch an epic sunset over water and you’ll even have a clear view of the Moody Gardens pyramids in the distance. Located at 1600 61st Street.
Moody Gardens is a tourist attraction for locals and travelers alike. If you’re looking for scenery that feels more naturally adventurous, the Aquarium Pyramid or the Rainforest Pyramid are wild backdrops. You might also consider taking a trip around Offatts Bayou onboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat! A property permit is required and costs $75/hr with a two hour minimum. I can coordinate your permit with Moody Gardens staff at the time of booking.
The Evia community has that island living feel in a more intimate package. While it doesn’t have beach access, it does have three small lakes, gazebos, and pretty walkways. You’ll also find the delicious and adorable Sugar Bean Coffee and Cream, the local coffee and snack spot. The quaint and relaxing community patio behind Sugar Bean has benches, a small grassy area, patio tables and even yard games. A walk around the central lake is really enjoyable and will provide a ton of beautiful photos.
For my nature lovers and those looking for more of a natural adventure style session, Galveston Island State Park is the place to be. On the bayside of the park you’ll find miles of hiking trails as well as multiple boardwalks and observation decks. The park also has a beach side along the Gulf of Mexico. At the time of this publication, a daily entrance fee is required but no permits.
Unless otherwise noted, I can make necessary arrangements and secure the proper permits with the staff at the museums/attractions as part of your engagement session booking. For locations that require general admission passes only, you may purchase them at your convenience.
It is very important to me to adhere to Leave No Trace guidelines. Galveston Island, as well as the beachfront, bays and bayous that border it are naturally significant for a variety of wildlife, some threatened or endangered. For this reason we will always be sticking to designated trails and public areas. This also includes avoiding the use of balloons, glitter and confetti (even the “biodegradable kind). Balloons can be easily lost and are one of the top killers of seabirds and are also very harmful to sea turtles and pretty much every animal. Glitter and confetti are too difficult to remove from outdoor spaces after use. Fear not! If you prefer to use items like these, we can find an indoor location (like the Carr Mansion) where they can easily be cleaned up and properly disposed of! While I’m always excited to go above and beyond to get unique and creative photos, an image isn’t worth damaging delicate areas or wildlife.
Did you see some locations you absolutely love? Let’s book your engagement or anniversary session now!