Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the U.S. state of Texas. It is considered to be a romantic island in the heart of Texas and is a major tourist destination boasting a temperate weather, rich history, Victorian architecture, 32 miles of beaches, museums, restaurants, shopping centres, top resort hotels, festivals, events, cruise ships and outdoor adventure activities by land or sea.
The best way to get a taste of this Historic town is to indulge in some of the best things to do in Galveston which include taking a tour of venues like The Grand, The Bishop’s Palace, Menard Home, Haunted Mayfield Manor, Galveston Island State Park and Moody Gardens. The city is home to numerous museums like the Texas Seaport Museum, Moody Mansion Museum, Galveston Island Railroad Museum and Terminal, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig And Museum and Lone Star Flight Museum. The city also has numerous amusement parks like the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark and the Pleasure Pier. Other top things to do in Galveston include fishing, spending an afternoon on unforgettable beaches or exploring The Strand Historic District for local entertainment, taking a ferry ride to watch the dolphins in their natural habitat and experiencing the vibrant nightlife at the various clubs, pubs and bars like Old Quarter Acoustic Café, Captain Jack's Beach Bar and Flat Pool and Patio Bar. With such an endless list of attractions, Galveston is sure to keep you encapsulated and entertained, in turn giving you a memorable vacation.
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What to Do in and around Galveston
Enjoy 17 best Galveston attractions and points of interest to choose from!
#1 of 17 Things to do in Galveston | Added 5199 times in trip plans
Ferry Road, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
12:01 am - 12:00 am
This free service (Ferry Terminal To Port Bolivar), the most popular way onto Galveston, is also the city’s most popular attraction! Terrific views of the bay between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula and the occasional dolphin make the ferry ride especially exciting for kids visiting for the first time. On the route, you’ll even spot a shipping wreck. If you’re driving, try and leave your car behind on Bolivar itself – the vehicle lines can be upto 30 minutes long. The pedestrian lines, not so much. The whole island is walk-able anyway. If you want to explore other attractions and destinations, get back to things to do in Galveston page.
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The Strand, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
12:01 am - 12:00 am
The five-block business district between 20th and 25th streets in downtown Galveston is the throbbing, vibrant entertainment and shopping heart of the island. Its success is at least partially owed to the place’s proximity to the harbour. The name is taken from the eponymous district in London, and you can sure see why… every building here is so classically and beautifully Victorian! German jeweller Michael William Shaw convinced everybody to go along with his mad scheme of changing Avenue B to the Strand to appeal to the higher classes! Today, it’s a brilliant mix of antique shops, museums, art galleries, exhibits, restaurants and night clubs! The most popular attractions here include:
The Galveston County Museum
The Galveston Railroad Museum
Horse and carriage rides
An old fashioned trolley for transportation
A giant chess set in Saengerfest Park
The Grand 1894 Opera House in the nearby Post Office District
The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also, the people watching is fantastic. Two festivals are famously celebrated here – the Mardi Gras, and Dickens on the Strand during Christmas, when everybody dresses up in Victorian clothing for a grand old time.
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Galveston Seawall, Galveston, Texas
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Galveston was hit so hard by the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 that the city built itself a seawall against future hurricane destruction. The 10 km long structure however, does a lot more than just protect the city. It’s practically a playground. For many kilometres along it, you’ll be able to spot ‘mural art’ on it. It’s an excellent place to bike, walk or people watch. There are some excellent eateries along the walk, mostly catering to seafood. Pleasure Pier is a fantastic way to pass the hours, with $4 to a ride. The Seawall is a good place to be during sunrise or sunset.
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2501 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
11:00 am - 08:00 pm
1 roller coaster, 15 rides, carnival games and souvenir shops. Very standard, but very well done. The pier has been built to replace an older Pleasure Pier that was destroyed by hurricanes. Though this won’t be the best amusement park you’ve ever seen, it’s definitely got a cozy sort of charm that’s perfect for Galveston. Four hours here will pass quickly!
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2026 Lockheed Road, Galveston, TX 77554, United States
10:00 am - 08:00 pm
With over 35 rides, most of which are water-based, the park promised to keep you occupied for many entertaining hours. It will certainly be hard to cover all the attractions in a single day! Tube floats, tidal waves, speed slides, surf rides, heated pools and swim-up bar/restaurants are only the tip of the iceberg! Check out the website for packages and deals. The indoor water park is heated, making this a wonderful distraction during the winter. During the summer, you can even rent cabanas and luxury loungers from the park.
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1402 Broadway Street, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
11:00 am - 06:00 pm
In the day, this grand old Hogwartsian building looks nothing but charming. Ornate, expansive and as Victorian as possible, the four floor house is just as cool inside as it is when viewed from outside. It’s touted to be one the USA’s top 10 buildings representative of the Victorian style. It was built by architect Nicolas Clayton for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham, his wife Josephine, and their nine children in the early 1890s for a cost of USD 250,000. Today, it’s worth USD 5.5 million. Take the self-guided audio tour. You won’t want to leave. Admissions prices are put towards maintaining the state of the building.
Fun Fact #1: After the sun goes down, this place looks haunted.
Fun Fact #2: It survived every hurricane since it was constructed.
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2328 Broadway Street, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
12:01 am - 12:00 am
In 2008, Hurricane Ike tore through Galveston and ravaged more than this hardy community – it tore down about 40000 trees, some of which were ancient and stalwart landmarks for the city. Donna Leibbert decided that these proud and dead giants needed to be honourably commemorated… so she launched a project to turn the most viable of the existing tree stumps into sculptures. Forty of these resurrected works of art are dotted around the city, and one of the best tourist activities we can recommend to you here is to take a selfies tour of each and every tree. Sculptures include a Dalmatian, a Fire Hydrant, Three Pelicans, Angels, Dolphin, Fireplug, Geisha and Mermaid.
To start the tour, get a tour brochure from the Visitor’s Centre. Then start driving/walking.
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2002 Wharf Road, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
10:00 am - 05:00 pm
Dedicated to the offshore oil and gas industry, the museum is established on a retired jack-up rig. Funded by private donations, admissions, and corporate donations, it opened in 1997. It’s three floors, which can be viewed through a self-guided tour, contain models and interactive displays that explain seismic tech, exploration and production.
The Hall of Fame showcases the pioneering people and technology of the industry.
The Pipe Deck showcases retired, gigantic equipment such as blowout preventer, drill pipe, and a cementing unit.
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2618 Broadway Street, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
10:00 am - 03:00 pm
Narcissa Willis built this mansion against her family’s wishes and lived here, estranged from them, until she died (the locals will be happy to talk about the tragedy). But she left behind yet another of Galveston’s remarkable architectural heritage buildings. The Moody’s lived here till a hurricane struck in 1983. In 1986, the house was turned into a Moody history museum, and it’s 19th century state was returned. The basement contains Galveston’s Children’s Museum.
35 room, 5 balconies and 4 floors. Red brick, limestone and terra cotta tile. Rich interior décor. The 90 minute self-guided tour should see you through the lovely parlor, library, dining room, ballroom, conservatory, Mary’s Room, nursery, sewing room, and the auditorium among others.
Today, the house is used as a centre for events, exhibitions, weddings, and business meetings, thanks to the sheer elegance of its interiors and the loveliness of its landscaped grounds and gardens.
There is also a year-round Christmas Tree, and garage building with some excellent cars.
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2002 Terminal Drive, Galveston, TX 77554, United States
09:00 am - 05:00 pm
Top Gun in the house! This museum is the epitome of cool. 40 historic aircrafts restored to their prime in an airport hangar. You’ll drool! The little boy in you will want to come out and play! The exhibit is one of the finest in the nation, and includes:
Hawker Hurricane IIB (Damaged at LSFM airshow April 26, 2008, further damaged by Hurricane Ike September 13, 2008)
Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon
North American B-25J-30NC 44-86734 "The Official B-25 of the Doolittle Raiders Association"
Republic P-47D-40RA 44-90368 Tarheel Hal
Stinson L-5 Sentinel
And these are just the flight worthy ones. The amazing part is that this not state funded - rather, it is driven by admissions, donations and fund raising activities. The museum space can be rented out to crowds of upto 1000-1500. Check website/contact them for deatails.
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2602 Sante Fe Place, Galveston, TX 77550, United States
10:00 am - 05:00 pm
This is one of the largest railroad museum collections in the whole of the USA! Various historical memorabilia, framed in exquisite and fun exhibits, cover 40 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock! Within the carriages, mannequins are dressed up in period appropriate clothing; the model train set-ups will have you swooning; and the lay-out is extremely convenient, informative and intuitive. Basically, the place was set up with a lot of love. The museum regularly hosts special events and exhibits – try and time your visit to coincide with them!
The museum even comes with its own ride – The Harborside Express. Departing every 20 minutes between 11am and 2pm, it’s a must do experience.
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6101 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77551, United States
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Bring your own gear or rent from the owners, this private fishing pier is a Galveston favourite. Highly family oriented, the pier, which extends into the gulf of Mexico, also offers a serene view of the sea from the viewing deck. Even if you don’t want to fish, it’s fun to people watch those who do! There’s a snack stall, where you can get soft drinks, beer, and small eats. The whole place looks like a scene out of a Wes Anderson movie – cute, classic and quaint.
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14901 Farm to Market Road 3005, Galveston, TX 77554, United States
07:00 am - 10:00 pm
Located on the west end of Galveston Island, the park offers kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, beach camping, nature field trips and fishing. The once privately owned property was opened to the public in 1970. There are various campsites at the park where a visitor can sleepover. Contact park authorities for the same. The park is especially busy March – October, and even more so during the weekends. Migratory birds find refuge here, so keep your binoculars and cameras ready.
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East End Historic District, Galveston
12:01 am - 12:00 am
A 50 block National Historic Landmark, the charm of this district is best enjoyed walking. You’ll encounter tree-lined streets, fine architecture from various periods, a thriving and eclectic culture, an excellent home made ice cream store, hurricane survivor homes… this one is to warm the cockles of your heart.
#15 of 17 Things to do in Galveston | Added 1820 times in trip plans
2310 Sealy Ave., Galveston, TX 77550
09:00 am - 06:00 pm
There are several claims to fame here. Firstly, this is the oldest Texas library still in operation. Secondly, the library has played a prominent part in Galveston history – it inspires quite the community involvement. It has an excellent collection of manuscripts, maps, artifacts, and printed items. Over a hundred groups a year use the library as a base of its academic operations. With free Wi-Fi, historical value and over 250,000 books in circulation, it’s no wonder that the library is a worthy tourist attraction.