Tips for Galveston’s AIA Sandcastle Competition

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We’ve all bought the plastic forms and shovels for our kids to make our version of a sandcastle. But, have you ever seen a sandcastle or sand sculpture made by professionals? And, better yet, a competition between teams of architects? Well, you’re in luck if you’re considering August for your beach vacation. The third weekend in August in Galveston is the Annual American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sand Competition at East Beach.

This year’s AIA Sandcastle Competition is Saturday, August 21, 2021, at East Beach. 

Keep these tips in mind for this incredible event. 

  • Arrive early and plan to stay late to see the completed sandcastles. Yes, you’ll be amazed.
  • There are two entrances into East Beach, Apffel Park Road and Boddeker Drive. Parking is $15/vehicle, and there is a one-time entry per vehicle.
  • Bring a cooler with bottled water and snacks. You’ll also find the beach pavilion offers restrooms, food trucks, and concessions. While alcohol is allowed at this beach park, no glass bottles are permitted on Galveston’s beaches. East Beach also offers chair and umbrella rentals. 
  • Teams build their sandcastles between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. They create their own tools and molds for this fierce competition. 
  • AIA invites the public to vote between 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on their favorite.
  • AIA judging is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and awards are announced at 4:30 p.m.
  • Traffic can back up, especially at the end of the day, so you may consider riding a bike to East Beach. Note: There are several bike rentals available on the island.  
  • If you bring children and dogs, keep them hydrated, and remember, you should expect big crowds. And, keep in mind the AIA Sandcastle Competition is a popular event for locals and visitors. 
  • Charge your smartphone, be ready with hashtags, and post away. 
  • Local Tip: Skip the crowds on Saturday and come on Sunday to see the completed sandcastles.  

Another thing to love about the AIA Sandcastle Competition is aside from parking; the event is free. So enjoy your Galveston beach getaway with this incredible event included in your trip itinerary. 

Ryson Vacation Rentals offers more than 260 properties across the island that provide plenty of reasons to visit Galveston this year. If you need help planning your visit, Gulf Coast Concierge is available to assist.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christine is a proud BOI, meaning she was “Born on the Island.” She is the co-author of the newly released “100 Things to Do in Galveston Before You Die,” published by Reedy Press. Before the book, she wrote more than 300 blogs on Galveston offering travel tips on what to see and do. Over the years, she’s given hundreds of tours for visiting travel writers showcasing the sites on the island. Currently, she’s a Galveston guide for ToursByLocals.com.