Many cities in the Lone Star State are landlocked, which means during all seasons, but particularly the summer, many Texans will flock to Galveston, Texas for some much-needed sun and sea.
Because of this, Galveston has earned a reputation as a coastal hotspot, and it has been so for many decades. However, there are many other fun things you can do in Galveston.
In this article, we will break down anything and everything worth doing in Galveston, so whether you’re a local Texan looking for some new, fun activities to do in your home state, or you’re a tourist who wants to make the most of their vacation, then this is the article for you!
If you’re interested, read on for more!
20 Fun Activities In Galveston, Texas
Here are our top picks for the 20 best activities to do in Galveston, Texas!
Last call for the Galveston Railroad Museum! This museum provides visitors with the opportunity to learn all about Galveston’s historic railroad and the history of transportation in Texas in general.
Not only that, but you can explore an exhibit of vintage train cars, some of them dating back all the way to the 19th century!
And, you cannot miss out on the opportunity to explore downtown Galveston on an open-air caboose!
If you want a relaxing day at Galveston, then Galveston Island State Park is the best place for it. This wonderful state park spans 2 acres and is best known for having an abundance of birds.
In fact, it is part of the Great Texas Birding Trail, where visitors can walk and watch for birds.
In this park, you will see many birds such as herons, ibis, egrets, and barn owls! However, you will also be able to spot other wildlife like armadillos, raccoons, and even alligators!
Aside from walking, you can travel around Galveston Island State Park via bike or even in the water. There are three paddling trails at different lengths where you have the opportunity to see the park in a whole new way.
The Texas Seaport Museum was built in 1877 in Scotland and was recovered from a scrapyard in Greece sometime later. When this boat is not traveling the seas, it docks in Galveston and functions as a floating museum!
Here, you can climb aboard the deck and explore the living history of Texas and Galveston 200 years prior to today when it was a major port city in the US.
Visitors even have the opportunity to search for their ancestors’ names and see if they came to the shores of Texas decades ago!
Houston may be known as the energy capital of the world, but you can learn so much about the oil industry right here in Galveston (Also check out where Go Hiking In Houston)! This is a very unique activity that you can tell all of your friends and family about upon returning home.
This museum is a disused drilling rig that was in use for almost 20 years. These days, you can walk through it on a self-guided tour and take part in many interactive tours that allow you a taste of what it would have been like to work in an oil rig.
Seaside boardwalks are iconic staples of every beach vacation. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is no different. Here, there are a whole host of fun activities to do that will make you enjoy your sandy vacation even more.
For example, there are many carnival staples that will provide many hours of entertainment, as well as midway games and rollercoasters that will send you and your heart soaring.
A fan-favorite ride is the Texas Star Flyer, which allows you to soar over the Gulf of Mexico and see the wonderful views of downtown Galveston and its many wonderful beaches.
There’s never a bad time to learn all about Texas and its significant history. And, one of the best places we can think of to do that is the Bryan Museum.
This museum has a huge collection of artwork, documents, and artifacts pertaining to Texas and the Wild West of America.
No matter if you love history or just have a general interest in the past, you’re sure to find something to enjoy here.
Seawolf Park was named after the submarine that sank in 1944 to honor it and all of the men who participated in underwater heroics during the Second World War.
The USS Seawolf has never been recovered, but there are many other pieces of history that are waiting to be uncovered.
For example, the highlight of this park is a different WWII submarine, one of just three destroyer escorts in the entire world. Not only that, but you can also go and see the remains of the biggest concrete ship that has ever been constructed!
There are lots of historical tidbits to be discovered here, so make sure you add it to your list of things to do when you visit Galveston!
If you have little ones and are looking for something fun to do, then allow us to introduce you to Galveston’s Children’s Museum! This is an extremely family-friendly place full of fun activities that will keep your children entertained for hours.
At this museum, you will find a plethora of interactive exhibits, such as the opportunity to build a lego wall, play doctor dress-up, and so much more!
Can you spend an hour or two at the most haunted hotel in Galveston? Can you spend 5 minutes? Why not find out by taking a trip there on your Texas vacation?
The Hotel Galvez had been standing for over 100 years, so it is inevitable that there would be a spirit or two wandering around.
You have probably heard of the Ghost Bride haunting Room 501, who is suspected to turn TVs on and off and slam doors.
If you’re brave enough, you can find out the truth of the matter by attending a ghost tour and dinner.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Texas and just sit with your own thoughts, then you’re in luck!
The East End Lagoon Nature Preserve is the perfect place for you. Here, you can take yourself birding, hiking, and even camp out for the night to watch the stars.
There are also many rich ecosystems to be seen here aside from the many species of birds, such as butterflies and wildflowers.
If you do choose to camp out there, then we have it on good authority that the sunrise is particularly beautiful, so be sure to wake up in time to see that!
If you love all things art and culture, then you need to visit The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston! This wonderful establishment is no longer an opera house but operates as a performing arts theater that is totally not-for-profit!
However, you won’t just find theater shows here, you will also be able to hear some amazing concerts that will ring in your ears long after the last note has played.
So, if you’re on a trip to Galveston, be sure to check out what’s on at this fantastic opera hours and incorporate it into your plans!
Galveston’s Sacred Heart Church attracts visitors far and wide who go to marvel at its gorgeous architecture. This building features many white arches and columns and looks beautiful in the glow of a summer’s evening.
The design of the building takes inspiration from Gothic, Romanesque, and Byzantine architectural styles. Visitors can go to marvel at this beautiful architecture, but they can also go to participate in Mass.
Nestled away on little Galveston Island is St. Mary’s Basilica, a popular Catholic Church. This basilica was first built in 1847 and is one of the oldest churches on the island.
During the hurricane that swept Galveston in 1900, this was one of the only buildings that sustained minimal damage.
Here, visitors can enjoy mass or simply enjoy wandering around the Church to admire the architecture.
One of the best ways to enjoy Galveston is to go on a bike ride along Seawall Boulevard. This boulevard has a flat terrain which makes biking easy and peaceful.
Not only that, but the views are gorgeous and there is a wonderful sea breeze that keeps you nice and cool even on the hottest days of the Texas summer.
However, be sure to keep your eye out for the many historical and informational markers along this route! You can learn a lot even while you’re having fun.
If you do not have your own bike, you can easily rent one in stores all around the island.
The Lone Star Flight museum is located just outside of Galveston, so you can experience a fun road trip along the Galveston paths before pulling into the museum parking lot, where there is a lot more fun to be had.
The Lone Star Flight Museum is filled with aircrafts from a variety of different time periods. However, they are anything but stationary! That’s right, these aircrafts can still take to the skies, and they look extremely impressive while doing so!
Not only that, but visitors have the option to sit in the aircrafts themselves as they take flight to have a one-of-a-kind adventure!
Or, if you’re afraid of heights, then you can participate in a flight simulator for a similar experience that you’re sure to enjoy!
The Moody Mansion was once home to one of the most powerful families in Texas. The Moody empire was based on the production of cotton, ranching, banking, print, and more.
This was an extremely powerful, influential family, and they used their riches to develop the Moody Mansion back in 1895.
The mansion fell into disarray but it has been restored with all of the original furnishings.
There are 31 rooms in the mansion, and guests can walk through 20 of them on a self-guided tour, and explore the history of this family as well as local history, including their associations with the slave trade and how their family influences Texas today.
Galveston is home to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, and here you can have the time of your life splashing around and participating in many water activities!
This waterpark is often said to be the best in the world. It spans 26 acres and has 33+ attractions so there is never the opportunity to be bored here!
There are both outdoor and indoor sections in the Schlitterbahn water park. Most of the park features calm waters, but there are some sections that feature whitewater and currents. So, there is something for everyone!
So, if the day is particularly hot and you cannot find relief from the sun, wander down to this water park and allow the water rejuvenate you.
Bishop’s Palace looks like something out of a Jane Austen novel, and you wouldn’t be blamed for wandering around the grounds and the halls pretending as though you’re attending a Netherfield Ball.
This luxurious castle is one of the most interesting places to visit in all of Galveston. It is also considered to be one of the most important Victorian residences in Texas today and is protected as a National Historical Landmark.
This mansion was built in the 1800s and features four floors full of opulent, beautiful interiors and even a little chapel. Guests are welcome to take a self-guided tour and, if you’re lucky enough, will be able to see a special event at the palace!
Of course, one of the main attractions of Galveston is the beaches. However, the real heart of the city is its Strand Historic District – also known as Downtown Galveston.
The buildings that line these streets are all over a century old and have been transformed into various establishments, such as antique shops, art galleries, and many delicious eateries.
There are plenty of enjoyable things to do here, so if you want to visit it’s best to make a day of it! You can choose between shopping, dining, or experiencing the various entertainment the Strand has to offer.
One place you definitely have to visit in the Strand Historic District is LaKing’s Confectionary. Here, you can grab a shake from a 1920s soda fountain – still in prime working condition!
There are many amazing beaches in Galveston that are well worth a visit. However, if we had to pick one to recommend, then we need to go with Stewart Beach!
This lovely beach stretches along the coastline, so it is perfect for sunset walks as well as relaxing on the sand and swimming in the ocean.
This is a family-friendly beach that boasts many different amenities, from a playground to volleyball courts to chair and umbrella rentals when you need some relief from the warm sunshine.
Not only that but there are many lifeguards employed on this beach for the safety of the public. So, it is perfectly safe to play in the sea!
People far and wide remember their time at Stewart Beach fondly, so it is absolutely a must-see when you find yourself on this fun Texan island!
So, there you have it! Galveston is a seaside city that has become a bit of a hotspot for sunny coastal holidays.
This reputation is earned because Galveston does indeed feature a whole host of sunny beaches and many seaside attractions that you’re sure to remember!
However, there is a lot more to Gaveston than meets the eye, and aside from the beaches, visitors can have fun learning about history at the many museums or exploring the local history of the town through its streets and stores.
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