7 Great Things To Do In Galveston

7 Great Things To Do In Galveston
Galveston, Texas is one of the busiest cruise ports in the United States. Located along the Gulf of Mexico coast, this barrier island features 32 miles of beaches, a vibrant downtown historic district with charming Victorian buildings, a number of unique museums and some of the most popular attractions in Texas. A number of cruise lines sail from Galveston including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean.

Galveston is often the embarkation port of choice for many vacationers planning to drive to their cruise from U.S. cities in the South and Midwest. The port of Galveston is also a little over an hour’s drive from Houston’s airports as well. If your next cruise departs from Galveston, plan to spend a few days before or after your cruise enjoying the attractions of this charming resort town.

Here are seven great things to do in Galveston, Texas on your next vacation:

1. Head to the Beach. Galveston Island has been one of the top beach destinations in the state of Texas for many years. There are multiple beaches for vacationers to enjoy on Galveston Island – each with its own vibe. Stewart Beach is a top choice for families and multigenerational groups. This alcohol-free beach is staffed with lifeguards and offers chair and umbrella rentals, food concessions, showers and changing rooms, volleyball courts and more. Galveston’s “party beach” is East Beach, where drinking on the beach is legal. In addition to beach chair and umbrella rentals, concessions and changing rooms, East Beach is often the site for live concerts and outdoor events. Galveston Island State Park is located on the island’s west end. It’s popular with hikers, birdwatchers, families, and those who enjoy nature. This beach features four miles of hiking trails as well as picnic tables and grills, but no alcohol is allowed.

2. Play at Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Vacationers can get their thrills at the indoor/outdoor Schlitterbahn Waterpark, featuring 33 adrenaline-pumping water attractions including waterslides, a surf simulator, whitewater rapids, a wave pool, a lazy river, an adults-only pool, and much more. The world’s tallest water coaster can be found here along with raft rides and their new Infinity Racers Mat Slide. A mile long river system connects the three sections of Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which encompasses 26 acres. This is a popular spot for families and guests of all ages. Hours vary, so make sure to check their website for current opening times and admission prices.

3. Marvel at the Mansions. History buffs will enjoy touring Bishop's Palace, a mansion completed in 1893 for railroad tycoon Walter Gresham. Designed by one of Galveston’s best known architects, this Victorian home is a National Historic Landmark and is also listed on the National Record of Historic Places. Public tours are available and highlights include the mansion’s beautiful hand-carved staircase, all-silver fireplace, gorgeous stained-glass windows, and other architectural features – as well as its gift shop. Another favorite with architecture and history buffs is Moody Mansion, a 28,000-square-foot estate completed in 1895. This four-story grand home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests can tour 20 rooms filled with the lovely furnishings, collectibles and personal effects of the powerful Moody family.

4. Explore Moody Gardens. Galveston’s Moody Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in Texas. This tropical destination sprawls over nearly 250 acres and features a 10-story Rainforest Pyramid, filled with an array of endangered plants and animals from the world's rainforests. Visitors will have the chance to experience a Penguin Encounter at Moody Gardens' Animal Pyramid, while the 10-story Aquarium Pyramid features 1.5 million gallons of water and more than 10,000 marine animals. Guests can also enjoy Moody Gardens’ IMAX 3D Theater, the 4D Special Effects Theater and the attraction’s IMAX Ridefilm Theater. There’s a golf course located here as well.

5. Have Fun at Galveston Island’s Pleasure Pier. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the historic Pleasure Pier features exciting rides including some that are over the water. Visitors can soar on the Texas Star Flyer, ride the colorful Galaxy Wheel ferris wheel, get their thrills on the massive Iron Shark rollercoaster or the looping Cyclone coaster, and much more. The Pleasure Pier also has a rides for little ones, a 5D theater ride, midway games, live entertainment, retail stores, and restaurants including the popular Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

6. Shop The Strand. The Strand is Galveston’s National Historic Landmark District filled with stores, art galleries, restaurants and more. While strolling along The Strand with its historic 19th-century buildings, check out the buildings’ beautiful architecture and look for some of the area’s most famous attractions including the Grand 1894 Opera House, which is still an operating theater. Visitors enjoy shopping at The Strand’s boutiques and sampling some of Galveston’s best seafood at local restaurants. There are some popular attractions located in this area as well including Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast and Haunted Mayfield Manor.

7. Visit Galveston’s Unique Museums. Galveston Island offers a wealth of unique museums spanning a number of interests. Aviation buffs should plan to visit the Lone Star Flight Museum, displaying more than forty historic planes and aircraft. The museum is also the site of the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame and thrilling flights on World War II-era aircraft are available at the Lone Star Flight Museum as well. The Texas Seaport Museum is another favorite stop for Galveston visitors, particularly for those interested in sailing, navigation and heritage. Guests can browse the museum’s database of information on over 133,000 immigrants who came through the Port of Galveston and climb aboard the 430-ton square-rigger Elissa, a National Historic Landmark Tall Ship built in Scotland in 1877. Other popular museums include the Galveston Railroad Museum, the Bryan Museum, and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum.

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Nancy Schretter. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nancy Schretter. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Nancy Schretter for details.