Galveston is a coastal resort city and port on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the United States state of Texas and is less than an hour from Houston. Galveston, also known as Galvez’town, was named after a Spanish military and political leader from the 18th century. Galveston has white sand beaches, cafés, galleries, and antique stores, making it a pleasant place for sightseeing, shopping, and dining. It also has elegant Victorian architecture and an endless calendar of festivals.
Galveston has an endless list of fun activities that will entice you to return. Plan your trip schedule using this list of the 10 best things to do on Galveston Island. (If you are considering moving to Galveston, here are the best Galveston movers)
1. The Strand Historic District
The Strand Historic District in Galveston, also known as the Strand, is a National Historic Landmark District made up primarily of Victorian-era structures, many of which survived the Great Storm of 1900. It’s now a pleasant place for sightseeing, shopping, and dining, with numerous restaurants, cafés, galleries, and antique stores.
Many of Galveston’s most important tourist attractions are located in this district, which stretches down to the busy wharf area with its old restored warehouses. In this area, you’ll also find Pier 19, which houses the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, as well as the nearby Texas Seaport Museum and restaurants with water views.
Location: 2100 Strand Galveston, TX 77550
2. Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens is not a garden but a 242-acre entertainment complex with a lot to offer tourists.
It’s one of the most pleasing Galveston tourist attractions and a local favorite.
Although this is quite expensive in Galveston, most people don’t mind the extra cost because there is so much to see and do for everyone.
The Public Penguin Encounter and Giant River Otter Encounter are two of Moody Gardens’ animal attractions, while the Aquarium Pyramid allows visitors to go underwater with their favorite critters.
The additional attractions and activities are a Discovery Museum, a ropes course, and a zip line.
Location: 1 Hope Blvd Galveston, TX 77554
3. Galveston Railroad Museum
It first opened in 1983 on the former Santa Fe railyard and depot site.
The museum houses an impressive collection of steam engines from various eras, as well as exhibits and information designed to entertain and educate anyone with a locomotive interest.
The memorable Texas Limited, a famous streamlined train, is included in the collection.
However, two fascinating permanent exhibits steal the show. The Depot recreates the passenger train experience of the olden days, while the Ghost of Travelers Past even has plaster molds of passengers. In addition, the museum has over 40 pieces of stock, Southwest’s largest collection of dining car silverware, and a one-mile track. On Saturday, the museum organizes a train ride for all interested visitors.
Location: 2602 Santa Fe Pl Galveston, TX 77550
4. Stewart Beach
Stewart Beach, located at the northern end of Galveston’s renowned Seawall, is an ideal beach day destination for families. Lifeguards ensure that everyone is safe while swimming and having fun on the beach, and concessions provide snacks and beverages to quench your thirst.
The popular beach is a long stretch of sand with plenty of room to spread out and sun loungers and umbrellas for rent.
Visitors can also use the restrooms and showers, and children will enjoy the playground.
The good times don’t stop there. After a day at the beach, you’ll only be a short walk away from the excitement of Broadway Avenue and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.
Remember that there is a parking fee when you arrive at the beach.
Location: 201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
5. NASA Space Center
The NASA Space Center in Houston is the most popular attraction for international visitors! It’s only a short drive from Galveston, about 40 minutes away by car. This non-profit education foundation features interactive exhibits. There are also numerous authentic space/astronaut items on display. This centre features a Food Lab, Gift Shop, Mission Mars exhibit, and other attractions. At Independence Plaza, you can go inside a shuttle replica Independence, which is mounted on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. A tram will also take you to see the Saturn V rocket!
Pro tip: The NASA Space Center is very popular, so if you want to take a guided tour, you must book ahead of time! The Space Center tickets range from $24.95-29.95 per individual.
Location: 1601 E Nasa Pkwy Houston, TX 77058
6. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier soars over 1000 feet into the Gulf from Seawall Boulevard. The stilts jump out of the water, supporting the historic pier, which has more than a dozen thrilling rides, including roller coasters and a Sky Wheel.
It is an exquisite setting for couples, friends, and family. When you’re not experiencing the adrenaline-pumping rides, take in the breathtaking views of the coastline and the balmy golden hour.
Location: 2501 Seawall Blvd Galveston, TX, US 77550
7. The Grand 1894 Opera House
The Grand 1894 Opera House, beautifully restored and filled with immaculate decor, eludes its magical history when you step inside the doors.
It has been a part of Galveston’s history since 1894 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy events ranging from musicals to food and wine festivals and everything in between. In addition, visitors can make memories by renting the opera house for lavish meetings, receptions, and parties held at the theatre.
Location: 2020 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
8. The Bryan Museum
The Bryan Museum houses over 70,000 artifacts, including art and artifacts from the great state of Texas and the American West.
It has various museum galleries that house historically significant documents, exquisitely crafted saddles, antique firearms, spurs, rare maps, books, fine art, folk and religious art, exquisite portraits, and much more. The Bryan Museum Library houses over 6,000 titles that help readers better understand the state’s history.
Location: 1315 21st St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
9. Seawolf Park
Visiting Seawolf Park is like going inside a submarine without leaving Galveston.
The park offers excellent fishing and crabbing for people of all ages, a playground for children, a picnic area, and a wealth of history.
After exploring the park, pay a visit to the museum.
At Seawolf Park, you can learn more about Texas’ rich marine life history and see some fascinating artifacts.
Many tourists agree that this is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Galveston and throughout Texas.
Location: 100 Seawolf Park Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
10. Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum
The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum is one of Galveston’s most unique museums.
The museum is housed on a retired oil rig. Following an introductory video that provides background on the rig’s history, you can embark on a fascinating self-guided experience.
The museum has three floors of exhibits as well as two outdoor areas that display drilling equipment. The Offshore Drilling exhibit, which delves into the complex process of drilling for gas and oil in the ocean, is the tour’s highlight.
Location: 20th St & Harborside Dr Galveston, TX 77550
Did you love your visit to Galveston, Texas? You may want to visit Clear Lake, Baytown, Atascocita, League City, Friendswood, Montrose, Houston First Ward, Deer Park, Houston Heights, Pasadena, Conroe, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, and Pearland, Texas, for more enjoyable things to do.