Photo courtesy AIA Houston. The American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition is the largest event of its kind in the United States.

Family Vacations in Texas: AIA Sandcastle Competition

Every June, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) sponsors a sand castle-building competition in Galveston that puts all others to shame. On the day of the event, about 80 teams of architects, engineers, and students of these two professions each go to work in their own 22325-foot section of beach. They have just five hours to sculpt their creations. Past exhibits have included towers, walls, characters, monuments, and an assortment of innovative surprises.

The designs have become so complicated and detailed that some teams use large molds, scaffolding, tampers, and tiny clay sculpting tools during the creative process. The results of their painstaking efforts are elaborate, often humorous, eccentric creations that frequently reflect current attitudes.

Many contestants bring blueprints to guide them in the construction of their work. Their creations are judged on concept, artistic execution, technical difficulty, carving technique, and utilization of the site. Additional awards, such as Most Hilarious, Most Lifelike, and Public Favorite, are also given out.

AIA Sandcastle Competition Information

Address: East Beach

Seawall Blvd. and E. Beach Dr

Galveston, TX

Telephone: 713/520-0155

Hours of Operation: First Saturday in June, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Family Vacations in Houston: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit Space City.
  • Texas State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Texas, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.