As the closest beach town to Houston, Galveston has long been the go-to for those of us searching for a coastal getaway. Whether you’re spending the day by the beach or going all out for a staycation, here are the top 10 things to do in the Galveston area.
1. Kemah Boardwalk
Every day, the Kemah Boardwalk welcomes visitors of all ages with a delightful array of attractions. Situated a mere 20 miles away from downtown Houston, this lively destination boasts a variety of enjoyable experiences for everyone.
With its scenic waterfront, visitors can indulge in delectable dining at charming restaurants, revel in exciting amusements, explore delightful retail shops, and partake in frequent festivals and entertaining seaside performances.
Galveston Island State Park, which underwent several enhancements and repairs before reopening the previous year, covers a vast area of 2,000 acres from the beach to the bay.
Within this expansive space, visitors can explore diverse ecosystems, offering excellent chances for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. The park also boasts numerous trails that wind through marshes and dunes, providing a picturesque and adventurous experience for nature enthusiasts.
3. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
This Gulf Coast destination offers waterfront fun and entertainment unlike anything else on the coast. Among the family-oriented attractions at Galveston Island’s Historic Pleasure Pier are rides, games, and shows.
The trolley, which charges only a single dollar for adults, has routed seven stops across Galveston’s Downtown Loop, a Seawall route, as well as stops from Moody Gardens, Stewart Beach, and Schlitterbahn.
Once back in operation, the trolleys pass each stop half hour. Guests must pay in cash only, drivers cannot make change.
Whether you want to chill or get your thrills this summer, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston offers everything from mild to wild. Packed with high speed slides, water coasters, raft rides, pools, as well as cabanas, swim-up bars, and areas for the little ones, you get everything and more at Schlitterbahn. Daily passes start at $39.99.
Readers will be surprised to find out that a higher congregation of tiki and beach bars are located by the beach. While the definition of beach is more flexible concerning Galveston, the area does shore a number of tiki bars, including The Spot.
The beachfront “Island Famous” bar and restaurant serves a savory assortment of burgers, fresh seafood, and hand-dipped onion rings. The massive, two-story hut and patio parades all things tropical, not limited to five venues, a sideyard for beach games, and a tiki bar capable of serving 100-ounce Piña Coladas and margaritas.
Opened in 1911, a near decade after a hurricane devastated the area, The Hotel Galvez in Galveston has since experienced its fair share of the supernatural. Its most infamous guest perhaps is that of Audra. Back in the ’50s, Audra was a 25-year-old bride-to-be. Her husband, a mariner, oft left for seafaring voyages, wherein alone Audra would stay in Room 501 of the hotel.
On one such voyage, a catastrophic storm capsized the husband’s boat. “All hands were lost” were the reports from the wreckage; overwrought with despair, Audra hung herself there in the hotel.
As the single oldest running restaurant in Houston, Christie’s Seafood and Steak has been serving the city with excellent Gulf Coast cuisine and state-sized steaks for the past 105 years. Born in Galveston moved to the Texas Medical Center in 1934, Christie’s continues to serve the seafood and steak recipes three generations later.
9. Peruse the Maritime Museum
Galveston Seaport Museum has been recently remodeled, the museum tracks Galveston’s nautical history of commerce and immigration.
Hop in the van and ride out to Kemah for Tookie’s Hamburgers. Founded in 1975, Tookie’s Hamburgers is a nod to the drugstores and soda fountains of a time since past. Styled in vintage decor and Americana ambience, Tookie’s is known for their classic menu and super-sized beef patties hamburgers made fresh daily.