Last June, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Galveston, TX as part of our cross-country road trip. I wanted to mix up our trip stops, and less than two weeks into our trip, we were definitely ready for an adventure at the beach.
This was our first time in Galveston and we were excited to explore a beach town right on the Gulf of Mexico. We were also thrilled by all the things to do in Galveston, like the amusement rides at Pleasure Pier and the aquarium at Moody Gardens.
Whether you have a long weekend, or even a week, you’ll find so many things to do in Galveston. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Have fun. 🙂
Where to Stay
After nearly two weeks in hotels, we were excited to stay in a two-bedroom bayside condo in Galveston that I booked through FlipKey. The condo was absolutely delightful and we were so happy to settle in, if only for a couple of days. A short walk to the beach, the condo is toward the end of Galveston in a quiet area with few hotels. So relaxing.
The condo has a well-stocked kitchen, which made it easy for the kids to get breakfast on their own each morning (I picked up cereal and donuts at a nearby Walmart) and for me to prepare a fairly basic dinner, like tacos, in the evening. The condo is part of the Pointe West Resort and Beach Club, so we even had access to a large kiddie pool, a fitness center and a BBQ area. Nice.
The owners of this vacation rental were fantastic and made sure we had everything we needed. Plus, it was easy to get into the condo using a security keypad after our drive. Even better, it was great to have a washer and dryer. Not that I wanted to do laundry on vacation, but it was nice to be able to do the wash from the convenience of the condo.
There are a lot of vacation rental options in Galveston, making it a great choice for families, but if you do want to stay in a hotel while in Galveston, there are several great picks. Look to the Moody Gardens Hotel, San Luis Resort or TownePlace Suites by Marriott Galveston. All three are great for families.
What to Do
It’s easy to get around Galveston as a family. Of course, it’s a must to splash around on the beaches, but there are a number of kid-friendly attractions across the island, like Moody Gardens and Pleasure Pier. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do in Galveston.
Moody Gardens. My kids absolutely loved Moody Gardens. You can easily spend an entire day there and still not explore all of the attractions, including a ropes course, a waterpark, a paddlewheel boat, an aquarium and a rainforest experience. And, of course, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.
Pleasure Pier. For midway games and a giant ferris wheel, it’s a must to visit Pleasure Pier. There are so many family-friendly rides and games, even a place to take antique photos. There are lots of shops and restaurants at Pleasure Pier, making it the perfect stop for a bite and after-dinner fun with the kids.
Tree Sculpture Tour. Print out a map and walk around the East End Historical District in Galveston to check out all kinds of sculptures made out of trees. There are 20 sculptures located in the historical district that range from a mermaid holding a clam shell to Toto from The Wizard of Oz. So cute.
Treasure Island Tour Train. For a narrated overview of Galveston, hop aboard the Treasure Island Tour Train. This 90-minute guided tour covers 17 miles across Galveston, highlighting the historic homes, the downtown business district, the shrimp fleet, Moody Mansion and other key places of interest.
Moody Mansion. Take a self-guided tour to explore 20 rooms inside Moody Mansion, which was once owned by the Moody family, one of the most powerful families in Texas. Be sure to stop in the garage for “Auto Fever,” an exhibit dedicated to the history of the automobile in the U.S. and Texas.
East End Lagoon Nature Park and Preserve. From hiking and kayaking to fishing and crabbing, you’ll want to head to East End Lagoon Nature Park and Preserve to explore nature in Galveston. The nature park is also a great spot for bird watching and taking photos of animals and plants all around you.
Where to Eat
There are a number of restaurants in Galveston that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.
Sunflower Bakery & Café. Located in the East End Historical District, Sunflower Bakery & Café is a great place to stop for a bite while checking out the tree sculptures. Look for fresh seafood, salads and made-to-order sandwiches.
Café Michael Burger. Just off the beach, Café Michael Burger is a super-casual place to stop for burgers and more. Their burgers were even ranked among the top-50 in all of Texas. Try the Island Burger.
Shrimp ‘N Stuff. You can’t go to a beach town without sampling the seafood, so head to Shrimp ‘N Stuff. Look for coconut shrimp, fish tacos, fried crawfish and plenty of po-boy sandwiches.
Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream. It’s a must to head to Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream where you and the kids will find more than two dozen flavors of ice cream, like Candy Bar Overload and Thin Mint Cookie. They have nearly 10 flavors of Italian Ice, too.
Have you been to Galveston with your kids? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite things to do in Galveston, as well as your favorite places to eat as a family.