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Tribeza’s Guide to a Great Galveston Getaway Any Time of Year

While you might typically plan your beach vacation for the summer months, Galveston Island has a plethora of activities to appeal to all ages, all year long. Galveston beckons history buffs to get lost in its gorgeous Victorian mansions, explore railroad exhibits, and discover ships and museums full of fascinating artifacts. For the adventure-seekers, Pleasure Pier and Moody Gardens offer terrific thrills and excitement For those seeking a restful getaway,  you can’t beat the 32 miles of beaches to enjoy long walks, fishing, sandcastle-building, or just sitting with your toes in the sand and a good book in hand. Enjoy our guide to the many activities you can enjoy on Galveston Island, Texas any time of year.

Galveston Island coastline (photo courtesy of Visit Galveston)

Hit the Beach

401 Seawall Boulevard (variety of beaches to choose from)

Let’s start with the most obvious recreational highlight of Galveston Island — 32 miles of sandy beaches! With sprawling coastline, you can enjoy your toes in the sand all year round. While summer brings visitors out for surfing, swimming and play, you can also enjoy boating, parasailing, volleyball, fishing and simply long walks along the beach with the Gulf wind in your hair any season throughout the year. Enjoy less crowds and more open room to roam off-season at the beach. View an overview of Galveston’s most popular beaches.

(photo courtesy of Moody Gardens)

Moody Gardens

One Hope Blvd.

As one of the largest tourist destinations in Texas, Moody Gardens is much more than what you might expect from its name. It is a diverse offering of family-friendly attractions as well as a hotel, spa, convention center, and even an 18-hole golf course next door. The big draw is their three towering pyramids that can be seen from afar above the Galveston skyline. These iconic structures include: Aquarium Pyramid with penguins, seals, sharks and thousands of tropical fish; The Rainforest Pyramid with plants and animals, free-roaming birds, saki monkey, sloths, bats and more; and the Discovery Museum with a Sharks In Depth exhibit and the Planet Earth: Deep Sea Adventures exhibit. Moody Gardens offers even more — from zip lines and a ropes course, special 4D theaters, and plenty of exciting seasonal attractions — to appeal to all ages.

Galveston Island’s Historic Pleasure Pier (photo by Heidi Okla)

Galveston Island’s Historic Pleasure Pier

2501 Seawall Blvd.

Kids and kids at heart will love the classic amusements on this iconic spot in Galveston. Enjoy sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico on the Ferris Wheel, or go soaring over the crowds on the giant swings. Treat the little ones to a little thrill on the two-level carousel. Of course, a visit to the Historic Pleasure Pier is not complete with carnival style games such as a ring toss, and snacks such as funnel cakes, popcorn and pizza. Choose from an all-day ride pass, weekend passes, or simply a walk-on ticket to explore the pier.

Bishop’s Palace (photo by Heidi Okla)

1892 Bishop’s Palace

1402 Broadway St.

The 1892 Bishop’s Palace (also known as the Gresham House) is a must-see destination on your next Galveston visit. A National Historic Landmark, Bishop’s Palace is also considered one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country. Built in 1892, the house withstood the great hurricane of 1900, served for a time as the bishop’s residence before the diocese relocated, and is cited by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important buildings in America. Take a self-guided tour and marvel at the woodwork and stained glass of this opulent grand home.

(photo courtesy of the Bryan Museum)

The Bryan Museum

1315 21st St.

The Bryan Museum is a great destination to dive into history and the arts. It features more than 70,000 artifacts spanning more than 2,500 years. This museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to the American West with a special emphasis on the Spanish influences in the region. Browse over 250 antique firearms; several hundred spurs; a large collection of fine art, religious art, folk art, and portraits; rare maps and artifacts; Native American stone tools and arrowheads; and a Spanish mission bell, and more. Visitors of all ages can appreciate the sheer scale of the Battle of San Jacinto diorama — complete with Sam Houston and Santa Anna figurines.

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA (photo from the Galveston Historical Foundation)

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

2200 Harborside Dr.

Visit the visit the Galveston Historic Seaport to see 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, a rare, historic vessel. The Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA from a scrapyard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. Restoration was complete in 1982 which transformed this ship into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually.

Moody Mansion (photo by Heidi Okla)

Moody Mansion

2618 Broadway

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Moody Mansion is a stunning Galveston landmark that was originally the home of one of the country’s wealthiest people in the 1950s, W.L. Moody, Jr. This 28,000 square-foot, four-story mansion was completed in 1895, and is now open for guests to peek at the details in 20 rooms in the home, filled with the furnishings and personal effects of Moody family. Visitors can take a self-guided tour that depicts the home life of a powerful Texas family.

Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House (photo by Heidi Okla)

Grand 1894 Opera House

2020 Postoffice St.

More beautiful architecture can be seen at The Grand 1894 Opera House. It survived the storms of 1900 and 1915, and Hurricanes Carla and Alicia, as well as years of neglect at various times throughout its history. The Grand is one of the few remaining theaters of its era in Texas and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1993 the 73rd Texas Legislature proclaimed The Grand “The Official Opera House of Texas“. Located in the center of Galveston’s Downtown Cultural Arts District, you can currently find a full year-round schedule of performing arts at this lively venue.

(photo courtesy of the Galveston Railroad Museum)

Galveston Railroad Museum

2602 Santa Fe Pl.

The Galveston Railroad Museum is invites you to celebrate the history and golden age of railroading through its exhibits that feature locomotives, model train layouts, and more. The museum is dedicated to the restoration, observation, and re-use of its historic facilities and equipment. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the interactive activities beginning in the train station and continuing onto the 5-acre railyard.

Historic Downtown Galveston (photo courtesy of Visit Galveston)

Historic Downtown Galveston

The Galveston Strand, in the late 1880s, was dubbed “The Wall Street of the South.” It was a street of opulent Victorian buildings with bustling merchants, banks, shops, and vibrant life. It was then one of the richest cities in the world per capita. All major railroads served Galveston, and 60% of the state’s cotton crop was exported through its port. Given this rich history, the downtown area is a unique an interesting place to stroll and discover. Marvel at the architecture, enjoy antiques, trinket shops, iconic candy stores and more. Wend your way through the area’s many art galleries and antiques shops, like the quirky Nautical Antiques & Tropical Decor on Ships Mechanic Row, or stock up on local spices at the Italian market inside Maceo’s Spice & Import, or indulge your sweet tooth at LaKing’s Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlour.

(photo courtesy of The Tremont House)

The Tremont House

2300 Ship Mechanic Row

One of the most historic hotels in Downtown Galveston is The Tremont House, where you will find extremely elegant accommodations. Here Southern charm exudes. Sink into you deluxe rooms where you’ll enjoy a mix of both historic features and high modern luxury. Among one of Galveston’s top high end hotels, The Tremont House is rich with style.

(photo courtesy of the Grand Galvez)

Grand Galvez

2024 Seawall Blvd.

Renown as the Queen of the Gulf, the Grand Galvez has been pampering guests of this epic hotel for over 110 years. The only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast, the Grand Galvez has recently undergone multi-million dollar renovations to reintroduce the old feelings of luxury and sophistication with elegant designs, crystal chandeliers, white marble floors, and royal accents.

Hotel Lucine (photo courtesy of Samantha Wiley Photography)

Hotel Lucine

1002 Seawall Blvd.

The newest trendy spot to stay on Galveston Island is Hotel Lucine, a 61-room boutique hotel situated across from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. A mid-century dream, Hotel Lucine is a revitalized 1960s motor court that includes an Instagram-worthy courtyard pool, relaxing rooftop bar, and several dining experiences, including the on-site restaurant, The Fancy, offering a French-adjacent menu, or The Den, with more casual fare. Hotel Lucine’s offers a blend of colorful yet elevated vibes are sure to draw many new visitors to Galveston in search of beach vacations with style.

(photo courtesy of Gaido’s)

Gaido’s

3828 Seawall Blvd.

A guide to Galveston couldn’t be complete without a mention of Gaido’s Restaurant. Founded in 1911 this is a local landmark for delicious fresh seafood. Gaido’s popularity has continued to grow, now serving as a cherished tradition for thousands of visitors. Located right along the Seawall, you can enjoy a wonderful meal along with views of the Gulf.