Jamaica Beach began as a weekend fishing getaway in 1956, and incorporated as a full-fledged city separate and apart from the City of Galveston in 1975. With a population of around 1,000 citizens, Jamaica Beach is an alternative to other Galveston real estate, with its own city government, police department, volunteer fire department and EMS, park, public beach, municipal pool and boat launch ramp. Though a separate city, properties are listed as houses for sale in Galveston neighborhoods. About a fourth of the 500 canal, beachfront, dry land and bay front homes in the city are available for vacation rental. Homes range from small cottages to high-end contemporary showcases. The city is just west of Galveston Island State Park and 12 miles west of 61st Street in Galveston, and groceries, gas, restaurants and shops are within walking distance. Sales prices in Jamaica Beach generally range from the $200,000s to 2 million dollars.