We’ve entered the time of the year where families flock to places like Gulf Shores, Pensacola and the infamous 30A. I would bet money the bulk of you reading this are either headed there this summer, just got back from there, or someone in your inner circle is there now. The appeal of crystal clear water and white sandy beaches is hard to pass up; many of us in Central Texas look past the 10-12 hour drive for that kind of beauty. But what about the beaches of the Lone Star State? While Galveston isn’t quite as picturesque as other areas of the coast, the 4 hour drive is rather appealing; this proximity allows any 3 day weekend to become a beach vacation! If that isn’t enough to convince you to try it out for a quick visit, keep reading our Texas beach spotlight to see why Galveston is one of my favorite places in the state and how to make the most of your trip there.
If you decide to the trip, the first thing you should secure is a place to stay. Galveston is especially popular in the summertime months, so attempt to plan ahead, book early and avoid skyrocketing prices. Thankfully, as tourism has grown the options for where to stay have increased exponentially! This means you usually can take your pick from VRBO, airbnb, or common hotel chains like a Holiday Inn, Marriott, Hilton, etc. For those of you looking for a more unique, or upscale, experience I would recommend the following:
- The Tremont House: Recently remodeled, this historic hotel on The Strand is a warm slice of Southern charm. Plus, their rooftop bar is a can’t miss feature and the perfect place to enjoy a nightcap!
- Grand Galvez: Known as the Queen of the Gulf, the Grand Galvez just completed an incredible restoration. Here you transported into the past, while being offered the luxuries of today with a full spa, top notch Sunday brunch, and much more!
- Moody Gardens: If you’re looking for a hotel you never have to leave, Moody Gardens is it! On-site restaurants, a private beach, attractions that include an aquarium, rainforest, IMAX, and so much more – are sure to keep you, and the kids, buys from sun up to well past bedtime.
- The San Luis Resort: This seawall resort and spa is sure to provide a memorable weekend for the whole family. You will have trouble deciding between spending your time at the incredible pool with a private cabana, enjoying one of three on-site restaurants, or checking out the long list of wellness activities offered.
If you’re anything like me, a rundown of the places you want to eat will be up next on your agenda. Coming from Central Texas, where fresh seafood is almost impossible to secure, I love the variety I can find in this coastal town. But if seafood isn’t your thing, don’t fret! The list below includes brunch hot spots, fancy steak dinners, decadent desserts and everything in between.
- Maceo’s Spice & Import Co: Authentic Italian spice shop serving daily specials
- The Spot: Chill spot for American grub and Gulf views
- BLVD Seafood: New American seafood creations
- Gaido’s: Historic, elegant seafood house
- Number 13: Refined chophouse and seafood; reservation recommended
- Shearn’s: Elegant, rooftop restaurant serving seafood & prime steaks; reservation recommended
- Rudy & Paco: Central & South American influenced menu; reservation recommended
- Sunflower Bakery & Cafe: Down home American meals + fresh baked goods
- La King’s Confectionery: Old school candy maker and soda fountain shop
- Mosquito Cafe: Casual American east with an eclectic touch
- Pennie’s TexMex Takeout: Family owned and operated; arrive early before they sell out
- Vargas Cut & Catch: Upscale steakhouse; reservation recommended
- KritiKos Olympia Grill: Authentic Greek food
Now down to the nitty gritty. What is there to do in Galveston besides go to the beach? Honestly … more than you realize! Whether it’s roaming The Strand and shopping for souvenirs or enjoying the sound of the waves from one of the 10 miles of Seawall Beach you’re sure to find something everyone will enjoy.
For Water Park + Theme Park Families
For Nature Loving Families
- Galveston-Port Boliver Ferry
** Wait times to DRIVE on are outrageous. But you can bypass the long line by getting in the right hand lane, parking and WALKING on the ferry with your family. The ferry is completely free of charge, a fun way to get on the water and maybe a catch a dolphin sighting or two! **
- Seawolf Park
- East End Lagoon Nature Preserve
For Lovers of Learning + History Obsessed Families
- Moody Mansion and Bishop’s Palace Tours
- Galveston Railroad Museum
- Galveston Naval Museum
- 1877 Tall Ship Elissa Tour
- The Grand Opera House Concerts and Events
- The Bryan Museum
My mom grew up in Galveston, so this city will always hold a special place in my heart. As a kid we made the drive from Houston down to the island, to see my grandparents, more times than I can count. I learned to love the City of Galveston at a young age. But as I have gotten older, I have really come to appreciate the rich history and hidden gems the city has to offer. I hope you will make the time to see why Galveston is one of my favorite Texas cities – you won’t regret it!
Looking for another quick getaway that doesn’t necessarily include saltwater and sticky sand? Check out our list of family friendly spots here! Don’t forget to tag us in all of your summer adventures, @wacomoms – we’d love to share your favorites.