If you’re anything like us, by now you’re on your 6th iteration of “The Holiday Menu” – complete with vegan options, too-many-pies-to-count, and a growing confusion about how “gluten free”stuffing could possibly be a thing.
Once the post-turkey/tofurkey fervor has died down next week, escape the confines of the kitchen and enjoy one of these fun, family-friendly activities happening here on Galveston Island:
Friday, November 24 – Hotel Galvez Tree Lighting Celebration festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include a special appearance by Santa Claus, live holiday entertainment including the Galveston Ballet, and the lighting of the hotel’s 35-foot Christmas Tree on the front lawn. During the event, the hotel collects donations for the Salvation Army of Galveston County.
Saturday, November 25, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. – ArtWalk takes place inside existing art galleries (both commercial and non-profit) and other spaces such as cafes and shops that showcase rotating art exhibits in the heart of Galveston’s historic district.
Moody Garden’s Festival of Lights is a mile-long walking trail with more than one million lights and lighted scenes. Enjoy the area’s only outdoor skating rink, concession areas with hot chocolate and festive food, holiday buffets, live entertainment and more. (Through January 7, 2018)
ICE LAND: Rainforest Holiday showcases the work of a skilled team of master ice carvers. Journey through the rainforests of the world to see monkeys, beautiful birds, incredible butterflies, colorful orchids and more! A giant ice slide takes you from the tree tops through to the forest floor, ancient ruins and rivers edge. (Through January 7, 2018)
Is anyone else still struggling to believe it’s already November!?! Whew! 2017 has certainly flown by, and we are sure we aren’t the only ones ready for a day off with family, friends and an excuse for eating copious amounts of delicious food!
We are looking forward to welcoming all of our Thanksgiving holiday guests to the beach in a few weeks! Holidays at the slower pace of Island life are ideal no matter your age and you don’t have to worry about meeting that “in-law/grandmother clean” standard when everyone travels to a beach house instead – it’s a win-win!
Galveston has some great local dining options if you want to make it a TRUE holiday and let your family chef(s) relax too! Check out some great local Thanksgiving dining options here. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites below:
Everything is better on a budget! We’ve all heard that the best things in life are free (except coffee…and chocolate…for starters 😉 ), and Galveston has a great variety of free or practically-free attractions and activities that we are sure you’ll love!
Galveston Tree Sculpture Tour
Take a leisurely walking tour and see the gorgeous sculptures made from oak trees that fell victim to Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Movie & Music Nites on the Strand
The first Saturday of every month (March – October) brings a different cinematic adventure to the outdoor screen at Saengerfest Park. Films begin at dusk.
The second Saturday brings Music Nite, where the area’s top bands perform to crowds of all ages. Music Nite & Movie Nite are always free – just bring your beach chair and a few snacks!
Ferry Ride – Watch for Dolphins! The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry operates 24 hours a day, and is a great way to catch site of the Galveston Bay’s population of dolphins as they frolic in the waves and the wakes of passing ships. Another freebie!
Galveston Island State Park
From their beach & bay nature walks to birding, kayak tours, fishing clinics and special events, Galveston Island State Park is a must-see spot for your vacation itinerary!
October is the perfect time to catch some of your favorite feathered friends frolicking on Galveston’s shores!
Galveston ornithologist Jim Stevenson recently sent us these great images, and we just had to share!
Here’s what Jim had to say:
“the rains of Harvey created a lot of freshwater pools for shorebirds to feed, as the Gulf’s shores were well under water. From left to right above, there are Western Willets, a Great-tailed Grackle, Black-bellied Plover w/ a Black-necked Stilt behind it, a Short-billed Dowitcher bending over, a Long-billed Curlew flying right to left, a Laughing Gull already in winter plumage with a Marbled Godwit right behind it, two more Willets & another black-belly and a Spotted Sandpiper (hard to make out) flitting at the right edge of the picture.
During the height of Hurricane Harvey’s winds, birds like this Long-billed Curlew were hunkering down, of course facing the wind. You can see the nearby Marbled Godwit was also low. This female (see the long bill?) also still has much of her breeding (alternate) plumage, as shorebirds molt a great deal in August and April.”
Galveston Island is a great birding location all year round, but it gets even better in the spring! Check out FeatherFest – Galveston’s annual birding and nature photo festival!
Recovering from the regional impacts of Hurricane Harvey is exhausting, but a little caffeine, some fresh baked goodies, and free wifi in a quiet environment are just the thing to start the day off right!
Galveston Island’s local coffee shops are the perfect place to relax, and we have a few favorites that would love to welcome you with a warm smile and a hot cup:
This local favorite features fair trade coffee, lattes, chai teas & espressos; plus fresh pastries & baked goods. Enjoy an after-dinner espresso and check out their live music on Friday & Saturday nights (weather permitting). Free wifi.
Galveston Coffee Roasters – 532 23rd Street (Downtown)
A relative newcomer to the Galveston coffee scene, this mom & pop store has quickly made it’s way into our hearts. With custom blends featuring coffees from around the world, you’re sure to find a freshly roasted flavor you love.
Sunflower Bakery & Cafe – 512 14th Street (Downtown)
If you can resist all the amazing scratch-baked deliciousness in their cases you’re stronger than us! Grab a coffee and baked good or stop by for a more leisurely brunch at this local institution. Breakfast is served until 3 p.m.
SugarBean Coffee & Cream – 11 Evia Main (Evia, near the Moody Gardens Golf Course)
This neighborhood coffee house offers lattes, teas, espresso, smoothies and gelato, seasonally. Lovely outdoor seating and very child-friendly.
We look forward to seeing you at one of these peaceful oases during your next visit to Galveston Island!
We wanted to take a minute to reassure all of our guests that we are continuing to reach out to all reservations impacted by Harvey.
Our limited staff is reaching out by phone and email to the leaseholder for each reservation, but in many cases are not able to leave messages because voicemail inboxes are full. We are anxious to talk to each of our guests to address any concerns you may have.
If you have been displaced due to Harvey, or have contact information different than what you provided at the time of your reservation, please let us know. Our phone lines are back to normal – 409.797.5500 – and you can always reach us at email@example.com.
If you sent an email or left a voicemail and we missed it we are very sorry. With our systems up & down because of the storm it is distinctly possible that it was lost or accidentally overlooked. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us again! We want to ensure that you are taken care of!
September 5, Tuesday, 1:45 p.m.
Our phone system is back up and running! We can be reached normally at 409.797.5500. Thank you for your patience!
September 5, Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.
Our phone system is completely down again, but the office is open! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to reach us. We will respond as quickly as possible, and appreciate your patience as we wait for technicians and equipment.
We are continuing to contact guests with upcoming reservations. Thank you for your patience & understanding during this process!
September 2, Saturday, 1:15 p.m.
Our limited staff continues to work through contacting and responding to guests from over 150 reservations impacted by the effects of Harvey.
We are coordinating with guests & homeowners on a case-by-case basis and are happy to discuss existing reservations for any impacted guests.
Our phone system is still not fully operational, but we can be reached directly at 409.797.5533 or by email at email@example.com.
We understand the devastating impacts of hurricanes and their aftermath all too well and know the recovery process is just beginning for many people. Our thoughts continue to be with our friends and neighbors who were impacted by Harvey.
We’re here to help and appreciate your patience!
August 31, Thursday, 9:30 a.m.
Yes! Our office is open! Many of our staff are back, and we are busy checking houses and calling each of our Labor Day guests.
Once we have reached all incoming Labor Day guests we will begin contacting next week’s guests.
Our phone system is still recovering, so if you need to reach us immediately, please call 409.797.5533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to respond to every call and email as quickly as possible, as we get the information you need.
Much of Galveston is open for business as usual, including a great selection of restaurants. Arriving guest? Look for a prearrival email with more details coming to you soon!
We appreciate your patience & understanding as we get back up to full speed. We look forward to welcoming you to the beach soon!
August 30, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.
Our office is open today with limited staff.
Our phone system is working intermittently and we are told the interruptions could last indefinitely.
The best way to reach us is by email, and please use email@example.com you need to contact us.
Labor Day Reservations: Today, staff is contacting all guests with Labor Day reservations. Please rest assured that we will be in touch with every guest with an existing Labor Day reservation.
Reservations arriving after September 4th: We will contact guests with future reservations via email or phone call as soon as we are able.
Thank you for your continued patience as we work through the recovery process from this historic storm.
Our thoughts continue to be with our friends & neighbors on the mainland and in the Houston area.
August 30, Wednesday, 7:15 a.m.
Our office will be open today with limited staff. With the prolonged power outage, our phone & computer systems will need time to come back online. We anticipate the phone system will be the last piece to come back, so please use firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to contact us.
As soon as we are able, staff will continue to contact guests with Labor Day reservations. Please be patient and rest assured that we will be in contact with every guest with an existing reservation.
We will notify guests with future reservations via email or call when our secure GuestWeb portal is available again.
Thank you for your continued patience as we work through the recovery process from this historic storm. Our thoughts continue to be with our friends & neighbors on the mainland.
August 29, Tuesday, 7:45 a.m.
Our office is currently closed as significant rain and wind from Harvey move through our area. Significant flooding across the Island has made roads impassable, including FM 3005 on the West End.
Once power is restored and we are able to return to the office we will continue to contact all of our incoming guests with updates about their reservations.
If you need to contact us before the office reopens, email us at email@example.com. We will respond as quickly as possible.
August 28, Monday, 3:00 p.m.
We are open in a limited capacity today and, from what we have been able to assess, the West End of Galveston appears to have fared well. We’ve had about 8” of rain and minimal winds, but more bands are expected to move through tonight & tomorrow.
Once Harvey moves completely out of the area, our teams will begin inspecting each of our vacation homes.
In the meantime, we are working to contact each of our guests whose upcoming stays may be impacted, including Labor Day Weekend stays. Please rest assured that everyone will receive a call from us as promptly as possible.
We continue to keep everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Harvey’s historic flooding in our thoughts and prayers.
August 27, Sunday, 12:15 p.m.
Right now, Galveston Island is experiencing a respite from the rain. Officials predict another 4 – 8″ by 7 p.m., adding to the 20 – 25″ that has fallen so far.
There continue to be widespread electrical outages on the West End, including the Sand `N Sea office. Per the City, roads are passable, but there is standing water.
We are still monitoring the storm and will continue to post updates here daily. We will also continue to share important local updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all Texans affected by this monumental storm.
August 26, Saturday, 2:40 p.m.
– Impassable roads throughout the City (list here)
– Significant power outages (as of 11 a.m., 4,900 without power)
– Minimal structural damage
– All beaches are closed
– Galveston Ferry & San Luis Pass Road are closed
Forecasts call for another 15 – 30″ of rain and 4′ tides into Thursday.
August 25, Friday, 9:45 a.m. – OFFICE CLOSED. Now that all of our guests have safely departed, SNS staff has turned towards the final stages of securing our office. Phones are off, and we will continue to post any significant updates here on our blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
As of now, we are planning to welcome our Labor Day Weekend guests as scheduled. Once the storm moves through and we are able to return to the office we will contact all of our incoming guests.
If you are interested in making a future reservation, we will be happy to help you when we are back in the office.
If you need to contact us before the office reopens, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as quickly as possible.
August 25, Friday, 7:45 a.m. – Hurricane Harvey has continued to intensify overnight and is moving rapidly toward making landfall southwest of Galveston, near Corpus Christi. Our goal is to have our staff out the door and on their way to safe places with their families by 10:00 a.m. today. We will update here once our office has been closed.
We will continue to post updates here, as possible, but also highly recommend:
When most people went to bed Wednesday night, Harvey was still a tropical depression headed for points well south of here. By the time the sun rose Thursday, it was a tropical storm. By late morning it was a hurricane predicted to be at Category 3 strength by the time it makes landfall sometime today or early Saturday somewhere around Corpus Christi. – Galveston Daily News
August 24, Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – We would like to thank all of our guests for their patience today, as well as for their understanding of the unpredictability & serious nature of Hurricane Harvey. We know having your vacation interrupted or postponed is stressful, and we appreciate your help in making sure everyone stays safe in the coming days.
Currently, we plan to be open in the morning, to care for the last of our guests checking out and finish storm preparations for our vacation homes and our office. We plan to close early afternoon tomorrow, and will post updates here on the SNS blog when we know what time that will be. Our office will remain closed until conditions are deemed safe for staff to return.
As the City of Galveston Emergency Management team continues to track and prepare Galveston Island for the effects of Hurricane Harvey, we wanted to make you aware of several closings, including:
– Galveston Island State Park (closed Thurs – Mon)
– Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum (closed Fri – Sun)
– Galveston Trolley Service (service suspended Fri – Mon)
– ArtWalk (rescheduled for Sept. 9)
– “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” at The Grand 1894 Opera House (Sat. night cancelled, rescheduled for Nov. 10)
– Galveston Historical Foundation (ALL attractions closed Fri – Sun)
– Moody Mansion (closed Fri – Sun)
– Schlitterbahn Galveston (closed Fri – Sun)
– Galveston Fishing Pier (closed 3 p.m. Thurs – Sun)
– Galveston Arts Center (closed Fri – Mon)
– Galveston Chamber of Commerce (closed until further notice)
– Fireworks at Seawall Blvd. on Sunday (cancelled)
– Seawolf Park, East Beach, Stewart Beach & Beach Pocket Parks (closed 5pm Thurs through Tues)
– Friends of Galveston Island State Park annual meeting (will reschedule)
August 24, Thursday, 12:15 p.m. – Our staff is still busy calling guests with check-ins scheduled for this weekend. If you haven’t heard from us, rest assured, you are on our list! Need to talk with us sooner? Please feel free to call us at 409.797.5500 to discuss your options.
Per the National Hurricane Center, Harvey has intensified to a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Landfall is expected closer to Corpus Christi, but life-threatening storm surge, rainfall, and wind hazards are expected throughout the Texas coast. Per advisories, preparations to protect life and property should be completed by tonight, as tropical-storm-force winds will first arrive in the hurricane and storm surge warning areas on Friday.
August 24, Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – Due to the projected severity of Tropical Storm Harvey, we are exercising an abundance of caution and reaching out to all of our incoming guests (check-in dates of 8/24, 8/25, 8/26) to delay arrival or reschedule your vacation. If we haven’t been able to reach you yet, please call our office at 409.797.5500 as soon as possible.
We know how precious vacation time with family & friends is, and we also know how quickly conditions can deteriorate with an incoming, unpredictable storm the size of Harvey. We don’t want any of our guests or staff to be caught in a dangerous situation, and we want you to get the most out of your visit to Galveston Island!
Our staff is dedicated to ensuring that you have the best vacation possible. We look forward to helping you reschedule your trip.
For questions about your travel insurance policy, please call Red Sky Travel Insurance directly at 866-889-7409. If you purchased coverage, claims can be filed online.
August 24, Thursday, 7:45 a.m. – Per the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Harvey is expected to intensify as it continues its northwestward projection towards the Texas coast.
August 23, Wednesday, 1:45 p.m. – There is still a significant amount of uncertainty regarding the impact TD Harvey will have on Galveston Island. We are currently under a storm surge watch and a tropical storm watch, as issued by the National Hurricane Center. Some of the latest models predict Galveston could receive 15″ or more of rain with this system, with heavy wind gusts starting as early as Thursday evening. We will post another update if there are any changes, or as more definite predictions are available.
August 23, Wednesday, 10:15 a.m. – The weather system has been updated to tropical depression Harvey. At the present time, weather officials and Galveston City officials are not sure where or when it will come ashore; they are simply saying that it will be somewhere on the Texas Coast. Also, at this time, officials expect this storm to be, primarily, a flood event.
We are tracking all updates and we will contact – via email, phone call and/or text – all of this weekend’s guests on Thursday, August 24 to let you know whether or not check-in will continue as normal.
If you are an arriving guest who has purchased travel insurance, call Red Sky Travel Insurance at 866-889-7409 with specific questions about your coverage.
August 23, Wednesday, 8:10 a.m. – We are keeping a close eye on the “Remnant of Hurricane Harvey” which is entering the Gulf of Mexico today and is currently predicted to make landfall between Freeport and Matagorda Bay. However, the weather service states that the location and timing of landfall is highly uncertain.
We are in touch with City and County officials and will continually post updates to this blog page.
To all our guests currently in houses, and all those who are checking in over the next few days, you will hear from us. We are reaching out to you via email, phone and text.
We are committed to keeping you up to date with the most current information. If you have specific questions, please email us at email@example.com.
Everyone loves vacation, right? Getting away from your normal habits and off your hectic schedule gives you the freedom to laze about in the sun, float along the water, catch up on your reading…and enjoy vast horizons of local culinary options that include fried-and-maybe-stuffed-with-cheese-and-wrapped-in-bacon-if-you’re-lucky Gulf seafood.
Then, it’s time to check out, go home, and begin the difficult return to reality. It’s hard enough to say goodbye to vacation…no one wants to say hello to a few extra pounds at the same time!
Fear not! We have 10 great tips for staying in shape during your Galveston Island vacation that will still let you feel like you’re on vacation!
#1 – Morning Jog on the Beach
There is nothing more motivating than watching the sunrise over the Gulf and listening to the peaceful sounds of the waves washing ashore. (Trust us, we’ve started many a Monday morning with this trick!) Start the day with your running shoes and then unashamedly trade them in for flip flops til it’s time to head to bed!
#2 – Take a Bike Ride
Riding a bike may seem simple when compared to your typical workout routine, but it’s a great activity for all ages and there’s some great local bike rental locations. Tour & exercise in one!
#3 – Swim a Few Laps
We all love floating in the ocean while the kids doggy paddle around, but next time you hit the water, try actively swimming before settling in to relax. It’s a great full body workout!
#4 – Go Surfing
This is an amazing full body workout and also lots of fun. If you don’t know how, try a surfing camp. Try it with your kids for a Galveston Island vacation to remember!
#5 – Paddle Board
SUPs (stand up paddleboards) have been gaining in popularity in the recent years, and SUP Gulf Coast has guided tours and rental options. This full body workout is low impact and perfect for nature-lovers.
#6 – Kayak
Whether you choose to kayak along the Gulf shoreline or in the bay or wetlands, it’s sure to be a fun and relaxing way to keep in shape on your Galveston Island vacation! Galveston Island State Park has a paddling trail, or book an eco-art paddling adventure with Artist Boat.
#7 – Beach Yoga
Looking to relax and get centered? Grab your mat and head onto the sand for some beachfront yoga! Need some guidance? The Yoga Haven offers sunrise yoga on the beach each Saturday morning.
#9 – Throw a Frisbee An oldie-but-goodie, throwing a frisbee is fun in- or out-of the water! Best yet, we have some great dog parks (Menard Park & Lindale Park) that would love to host your furry family members during a game too!
#10 – Portion Sizes There’s no shame in indulging in vacation food – fried seafood, ice cream cones & other family favorite recipes – but it can be easy to over-do it! Keep cool, hydrating veggies & fruits or heart-healthy nuts on hand for snacks and, when you do go out to enjoy some local cuisine, don’t be afraid to ask for to-go containers! (Not having to battle with mini-fridges is a perk of staying in a beach house!)
We’d love to hear YOUR tips for staying fit on vacation – leave us a comment below!
Dashing Dolphins If you’re lucky you can watch them from the deck of your vacation home! Boat tours abound as well – we love the free Galveston Ferry trip to Bolivar & back, or try a private or group tour with one of the local captains.
Craft Beer Made on the Island Galveston Island Brewing Company‘s tap room boasts the German-style kolsch, pale ales, porters and more, while Beerfoot Brewery augments its own small-batch brews with a selection craft beers from Texas and around the world.
Free, Family-Friendly Fun
Our coastal escape is full of FREE events throughout the year! From the monthly ArtWalk tours & Movie Nite on the Strand to free open air concerts and weekly fireworks during the summer, there’s something for everyone!
Loos! No, really. Let’s talk toilets! (That’s a series of sentences we never thought we’d be writing!)
The first of five “Portland Loos” have been installed along Seawall Blvd.! These free-standing restrooms are modular stainless steel units with a flushing toilet & hand sanitizer station inside, and a hand-washing station & shower on the exterior. Island visitors to the new beaches along the seawall rejoice!
Touted as virtually indestructible, these prefabricated units are named for and patented by the city of Portland, Oregon. Carefully considered features – not the least of which is an interior large enough for a family and an exterior sink & shower for walk-by traffic – make us excited to see this innovative solution implemented on Galveston Island.
The first unit was installed at 29th Street, and the others are slated for locations along Seawall Blvd. at 19th, 39th, 45th, and 61st Streets.
Let’s be honest, everyone loves free stuff, right? Free music, free food, free movies (surely we aren’t the only ones that think theater prices are just a little outrageous – whew!)…anyway, if it’s free you can pretty much assume we’re going to at least try it!
Thankfully, our little gem of an island is jam-packed with awesome FREE events all summer long!
Galveston Tree Sculpture Tour– take a walking tour and see all of the beautiful sculptures made from oak trees that fell victim to Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Ride the Trolley along Seawall Boulevard and into Downtown Galveston. This free transport is a great way to see the East End if this is your first time to Galveston! (There are also several stellar local tours if you prefer sometimes-weird tales & quirky facts that you can then pull out at random times to share with unsuspecting friends & family! Rates are reasonable, but book your tour time in advance!)
Beachfront Fireworks Show – every Sunday night at 9 p.m. at the intersection of 37th Street & Seawall Blvd. A great way to cap off an evening stroll along the Gulf!
Bucket Brigade Tours – hosted by Artist Boat, these 45 minute tours are offered at various locations and times along the new seawall beach. Check at the closest lifeguard station for daily tour times, or meander down any part of our 32 miles of beaches at your own pace with their Seek & Find Guide.
ArtWalk – happens every six weeks, and is a fabulous excuse to get out and mingle on Saturday night. Wander through Historic Downtown Galveston and stop by the unique galleries, coffee houses and “other walls” that showcase some of the regions best talent. Many venues offer light hors d’oeuvres too (score!). (June 3, July 15, August 26)
Hopefully you get to take advantage of some/all (for you vacation itinerary overachievers) of these great, family-friendly Galveston events!