Relax at Galveston Island State Park
Galveston Island State Park is one of the most peaceful and relaxing parts of the whole city. It's located on an island and is the perfect place for fishing, bird-watching, and strolls along the beach. This is the perfect family-friendly destination for an afternoon in Galveston. Are you not a fan of those activities? Don't worry. You can also go swimming, utilize the hiking and biking trails, or even go geocaching. There are lots of observation platforms to take in all of the fantastic views of the area.
You Should Know There are no places to rent canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards. You have to bring your own or purchase one elsewhere locally. The park is always looking for volunteers to help out along the waterfront!
Explore the Strand District
The Strand District in Galveston is a historic area filled with beautiful architecture, restaurants, and shops. The neighborhood dates back to the 19th century, and many buildings still look the same way that they did then. Some of the most popular places to visit in the Strand District include La King's Confectionary, the Texas Seaport Museum, and the Pier 21 Theater. Galveston's best festivals are also held here, including the city's Mardi Gras celebration.
You Should Know This area of Galveston is extremely walkable. Find a place to park and then explore the Strand on your feet! The Strand District is considered to be the best place to shop for souvenirs in the whole city.
Soak up the sun at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark
The Schlitterbahn Waterpark is one of Galveston's best outdoor attractions. It's open all year and is home to some of the most epic water slides in the United States. During the colder months, visitors can have fun in the indoor part of the park, which is heated. This park covers 26 acres of land and is filled with activities that are fun for all age levels. Families, in particular, love Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Try to check out the Boogie Bahn, which is one of the most iconic rides!
Best Time To Visit Opt to visit on weekdays if you're visiting in the summer. Fewer people visit during the week, especially earlier in the morning when it first visits. Keep in mind that during the fall, the park is only open during the weekends.
Learn history at the Bryan Museum
The Bryan Museum is one of the most significant history museums solely dedicated to Texas. It first opened in 2015 and aimed to portray the American West. The museum is located inside the Galveston Orphans Home, which the founder, J.P. Bryan, restored. There are around 70,000 different artifacts and relics that can be found throughout the museum. The highlights of the museum include real cowboy chaps, historic arrowheads, and even old maps! There's also a library with around 20,000 books.
You Should Know The Bryan Museum is considered to be one of Galveston's hidden gems. Therefore, it's never super busy, so you could visit any time of day, and the crowds won't be too terrible. There are events held here often, so pay attention to their event calendar.
Tour Moody Mansion
Moody Mansion is a 19th-century historical building that has 31 rooms. It's 28,000 feet and was home to Narcissa Willis and her husband Richard S. Willis. Their daughter later sold the house, and it eventually became a popular place for tourists and locals to visit. The mansion has three floors, consisting of illustrious bedrooms, parlors, libraries, and more spread out over four floors. It's built in the Romanesque style of architecture and is truly picturesque.
You Should Know Two different audio tour options are available: the Mary Moody Northen Tour and the Moody Family Tour. Each one is told by members of the Moody family and guides you throughout the house. All-Access Tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays and are more descriptive than the audio tours.
Check out Pleasure Pier
Pleasure Pier in Galveston opened back in summer 2012 and is a popular seafront entertainment area. On Pleasure Pier, there are rides, shops, vendors, and fun carnival games. Its coastal location lends itself to fabulous views as well. Some of the rides include the Iron Shark Rollercoaster, Galaxy Wheel, and Texas Star Flyer. There are also rides for younger children, including the Carousel and Texas Tea, so there's truly something for everyone.
You Should Know There's limited parking near the pier, so utilize public transportation or visit during a less busy time, such as mid-afternoon. The pier is known for having one of the best sunsets in Galveston. Try to see it if you can!
Explore the inside of the 1892 Bishop’s Palace
The 1892 Bishop's Palace is a gorgeous historical landmark. This Victorian-era building is often also referred to as Gresham's Castle and is one of the most iconic buildings in the United States of its kind. The mansion was owned by the Gresham family and cost $250,000 when it was first built. Today, visitors are welcome to come and explore the four floors of the building. It's genuinely illustrious and features a grand staircase, library, conservatory, and more. Audio tours are available for those who wish to have a guide while exploring the palace.
You Should Know The 1892 Bishop's Palace is only a few minutes away from the Strand Historic District. Children under 5 receive free entry.
Go on a Hotel Galvez Ghost Tour
The Hotel Galvez is a 4-star hotel in Galveston that is 100 years old. The seafront hotel was unfortunately destroyed in a hurricane during 1900 and was rebuilt in 1911. For a time, the hotel served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's temporary White House, and past guests have included Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Many locals say that Hotel Galvez is haunted, especially room 501, due to a young woman who stayed there in the 1950s. Many people refer to her as the Ghost Bride and say that she now haunts the hotel hallways.
You Should Know Tours have to be booked in advance and are known to fill up quickly. You don't have to be staying at the Hotel Galvez to go on this ghost tour. The tour includes dinner.
Visit Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens is a vast entertainment area that's fun for all ages. It opened in 1986 and mainly focuses on spreading knowledge about the area's wildlife and conservation efforts.
Inside, there are many attractions, including zip lines, a water park, Palm Beach, tropical plants and animals, an aquarium, science exhibits, and more. There is also a ropes course and golf course. Guests usually spend at least a full day here because there is so much to do.
You Should Know Children under the age of 3 receive free entrance into Moody Gardens. Though there is a flat rate to enter, there are multiple experiences inside, such as the Penguin Encounter, that requires an additional fee for participants.
See the amazing architecture of the 1894 Opera House
This grand opera theater is truly a testament to Galveston's history with the arts. The 1894 Opera House is one of the select buildings that has survived countless hurricanes and storms throughout the years, unlike many other historical landmarks in the city. In 1993, the opera house was named as the "official opera house of Texas" and is one of the state's most significant supporters of the arts. Shows are still held often here, and tickets can be purchased in advance online.
You Should Know The closest area for parking is near Postoffice Street, but keep in mind that you have to pay. Multiple events are held throughout the year, so pay attention to their calendar to see if one will be happening during your visit.