Hot Galveston Attractions

Things to Do in Galveston

Rent a beach house in Galveston during the summer when the kids are out of school.
Galveston attractions are more than just a day at the beach. From water parks to historic battleships, you’ll find something that interests everyone in your group.

While most people rent beach houses in Galveston over Spring Break or the summer, there’s something going on there year- round.

Visit during March for Galveston’s100th Mardi Gras celebration or check out Dickens on the Strand in downtown Galveston during December.

Ride the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry

Sure, to some it may be just a way to get from Point A to Point B, but to others (especially others who are under the age of 12), a ferry ride in an interesting departure from the more usual modes of transportation (think: plane, train or automobile). The Galveston-Bolivar ferry is a pleasant 13 minute ride and has been running since 1930. Keep an eye out for dolphins or bring some bread or crackers along to feed the sea gulls off the back of the ferry - a fun photo op.

Moody Gardens

Imagine an indoor rainforest, a man-made beach, 3D and 4D theaters, a championship golf course, multiple greenhouses, and an aquarium all in the same destination. It’s called Moody Gardens, a gargantuan eye candy fest to delight people of all ages. Add Ridefilm Theater, an amusement park-like ride, Colonel Paddlewheeler paddleboat rides, Discovery Pyramid – a center where kids can learn about science via interactive, state-of-the-art exhibits and live theater put on by Island Star performances. Shall we go on? The Moody Gardens complex is certain to please even the most fickle in your group - old and young, old souls and the young at heart - everyone can find something they can enjoy.   

Mardi Gras

Just because you know how to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans, doesn't mean you've done it Texas-style. Of course the Lone Star State can let the good times roll with the best of them. This year’s festival is the 100th Mardi Gras celebration held in Galveston and takes place from February 25th through Fat Tuesday March 8, 2011. Galveston Mardi Gras comes complete with a parade with floats that mimic the street car art made famous by New Orleans Krewes. Don’t miss the 27th annual Mardi Gras Parade viewing party celebrating "The Enchantment of India" on Saturday, March 5, 2011 presented by the Tremont House. Hint: Look into Galveston vacation rentals for the event as hotels are likely to be booked and/or crowded.

Galveston Beaches

While the man-made "Palm Beach" at Moody Gardens can do in a pinch, when you really want to hit the shore, only real waves lapping against real sand will suffice. Luckily Galveston beaches are diverse and can cater to most vibes. The plus? Finding a beach rental in Galeston is easy and much more convenient than squeezing into a hotel room. Visit East Beach for a taste of the biggest beach in Texas or take the kids to Stewart Beach, a family-friendly beach that’s always aims for good, clean fun with organized volleyball tourneys and sandcastle building contests during the summer months. Pirate’s Beach offers shoreline unadulterated by resorts and hotels. Jamaica Beach is one of the oldest and most popular beaches in Galveston. If you’re feeling adventurous, ride the Galveston-Bolivar ferry and spend the day lounging at upscale Crystal Beach. Head to one of Galveston’s several pocket beaches if you want to forgo the fanfare.

Board the tall ship Elissa, a Galveston attraction that is fun for the whole family.

Board the Tall Ship Elissa

Called the “Tall Ship of Texas” by locals, the Elissa is what boat people call a “three masted barque,” which basically means it's a prized possession of the Lone Star State and the site of many an elementary school field trip. Built in Scotland, the ship first set sail back in 1877. Then the Galveston Historical Society got a hold of her lying shipwrecked somewhere in Greece and brought her to the Texas Gulf Coast for restoration. She made her first restored voyage in 1985, when she sailed all the way to Corpus Christi. Now mostly moored at the Texas Seaport Museum, the Elissa is the perfect excuse for a  day trip from surrounding cities like Houston and Lake Conroe and it's a great way to slip in some education for the kids.


Open from March and all the way through your kids' long, hot Texas summer vacation, Schlitterbahn Galveston is Texas’ favorite indoor water park, with waterslides, coasters, rides, miles of lazy river and a white water beach. If you prefer the relative ease of the heat, the adults can enjoy lounging in the hot tub with a swim-up bar. Chauffers and lifeguards (ie. parents) will be glad to know that parking, lifejackets and tubes are free. Not only that, guests are encouraged to pack a picnic lunch – a great way to avoid having to buy all those over-priced sandwiches (and chips, and drinks, and...) inside the park.

Historic Downtown

Galveston is home to six historic districts, including several buildings that are registered in the National Register of Historic Places. The Strand Historic District has always been the crown jewel of Galveston, dating back to the city's heyday in the late 1800s when it was known as “The Wall Street of the South.” Enjoy seeing the preserved architecture that has survived the Great Hurricane of 1900, including old buildings along Post Office Street and the Strand that offer a snapshot into Texas coastal life at the turn of the century. Visit the Railroad Museum at 25th and the Strand; the Ocean Star Energy Museum at Pier 19 and see a movie at Pier 25. It’s also easy to find a bite at the drop of a tophat, with all the restaurants in downtown Galveston.