The Porretto Beach Story
Porretto Beach preserves and protects Texas legacies and traditions by providing a historical, privately owned beach with a family-friendly environment intended for recreational and community purposes.
The Porretto Beach land maintains historical significance reflective of Texas’ unique history following the declaration of independence from Mexico. In 1836, the Republic of Texas agreed to sell over 4,600 acres of land to a Canadian named Michel B. Menard, which included the land known today as Porretto Beach. Through the legislative enactment of the Menard Act signed by Sam Houston in 1838, the State of Texas “relinquished all rights and claims” to this particular property granting an uncommon full land grant. Menard began to sell these tracts of newly acquired land which began the private ownership of Galveston Island’s beach properties. Due to the rare property circumstances, Henry Porretto, Sr. acquired the 27 acre Porretto Beach at an auction held by the Galveston Independent School District who previously used the land as a playground.
True ownership of Porretto Beach was called into question once Texas governmental entities took action in violation of private property rights. These violations first occurred under Henry Porretto Jr resulting in a lawsuit filed. As “The Case” worked its way through the legal system, Sonya Porretto, the youngest of Mr. Porretto’s five children, was brought in to carry out the wishes of her father and see them through. “The Case” was brought before the Texas Supreme Court in 2014, which resulted in a ruling determining the property is rightfully private, real property now held by Sonya Porretto. However, as with most things legal, the story did not stop there. (To learn more, visit our “The Case” section)
Where Are We Today?
As we approach our fourth generation of the Porretto family’s ownership, we continue our commitment initiated in the original acquisition of the property from the Galveston School District to preserve and protect Texas legacies and traditions by providing a historical, privately owned beach with a family-friendly environment intended for recreational and community purposes. Spearheaded by Henry Porretto Jr.’s youngest daughter, Sonya Porretto, “The Case” continues on while simultaneously reigniting beach operations.
Porretto Beach is open to the public from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend with the exception of intermittent special events. (To learn more, visit our “Special Events” section). We are often open on weather permitting weekends in April and May. Umbrella and chair rentals will be available from 8 am to 5 pm while our parking lot is open from 8 am to 8 pm.