Free Summer Events on Galveston Island

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!

Movie Nite on The Strand  the first Saturday of every month brings a different cinematic adventure to the outdoor screen at Saengerfest Park. Films begin at dusk. Don’t forget your lawn chairs and movie snacks!
June 3Earth to Echo (2014)
July 1National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
August 5The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

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.

TrolleyRide 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!

Trolley Buses Roll into Galveston

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Ding! Ding! Free trolley bus service is rolling into Galveston for the summer!

Service starts June 2, with trolley buses servicing a downtown route that has seven stops through Historic Downtown, and a seawall route that makes frequent stops from Stewart Beach to Moody Gardens.

“This method of transportation … brings back a sense of nostalgia for many Galveston Island visitors,” Mayor Jim Yarbrough said, “…and we look forward to seeing people take advantage of the free service this summer.”

The three rail car trolleys that were damaged during Hurricane Ike in 2008 are making their way to Gomaco Trolley Co., where restorations are expected to take a year. We look forward to following their progress once work begins next month.

In the meantime, hop on a trolley bus for a free mini-tour of the Island, or (and let’s be honest, this is our plan) plan to hop on-and-off to get to all the shops, restaurants, and sites on your vacation itinerary – from Moody Gardens to past 10th Street and throughout the heart of Downtown Galveston!

 

FALL in Love with Galveston Island This Weekend!

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: October might be our favorite time to be on the Island! With a huge offering of free or low-cost family-friendly events, warm sunny days, and a jam-packed festival schedule you need to be here! This weekend is no exception!

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ARToberFEST
October 15 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
October 16 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

33rd Annual Greek Festival
October 15 – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
October 16 – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

FREE Admission Day at 1892 Bishop’s Palace
October 16 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

p.s. Don’t forget about our October Rental Special! Get a FREE night at the beach with your new minimum two-night reservation, through October 30. Check out the details and book your weekend getaway now!

4th of July on Galveston Island

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There are few things that send us straight back to the glorious summers of childhood faster than fireworks, popsicles, and the beach. You know, back when some adult had to worry about sunscreen, water bottles, towels, & trying to scoop sand out of the car at the end of the day, and all we worried about was how many ghost crabs we could dig up and whether or not we’d get to finish our architecturally stunning sandcastle before the tide came back in.

If holiday weekends on the beach are part of your fondest memories too, then you definitely won’t want to miss any of the opportunities to catch dazzling fireworks displays on Galveston Island this 4th of July! And the best part? Most of them are FREE! Here’s a quick rundown of the parade and nighttime extravaganzas happening across the island this weekend:

July 1 & 2:
Bands on the Sand at Moody Gardens. Enjoy live music and fireworks at Palm Beach. Friday: Intercoastal Pirates.  Saturday: Space Monkeys. Tickets are $15 each and you can get all of the details online.

July 3:
Fireworks over Lake Como at 9 p.m. (FREE) SNS is a proud sponsor of this West End favorite hosted by the Pirates Property Owners Association. Lake Como is located just west of the Galveston Country Club, off of Stewart Rd.

July 4:
Pirates Beach Parade at 10 a.m. (FREE) This family-friendly parade boasts decorated golf carts, bicycles, pets, and more!  Bring your beach chair and watch the fun! The parade starts at our parking lot and continues north along 12 Mile Road, then west along Stewart Road.

City of Galveston Parade & Fireworks at 7:30 p.m. (FREE) Bring the family and enjoy the City’s stellar parade and fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico. The parade kicks off at 7:30 p.m., traveling along Seawall Blvd. from 45th Street to 22nd Street. The 20-minute fireworks presentation starts immediately after the parade, near 37th Street & Seawall Blvd.

We hope to see you out and about enjoying all that Galveston Island has to offer this weekend – maybe with a popsicle or two and a bucket full of sand! 😉

Galveston Island Museums

Feeling a little waterlogged (or sunburned) already this Spring Break? Don’t miss these one-of-a-kind local museums during your Galveston Island vacation!

lonestarflightmuseum-sThe Lone Star Flight Museum has a unique collection of “flying collection of historic aircraft and period artifacts provide a unique perspective of the technological development of the aviation industry while serving as a tribute to those who bravely served our country.” Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.

The Bryan Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to the Southwestern United States.  Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday – Monday (closed Tues. & Wed.)

railroadmuseum-sculpturegallery-sThe Galveston Railroad Museum boasts a “Ghosts of Travelers’ Past” sculpture gallery, a restored train depot, historic artifacts, and model train exhibits as well as rides aboard the Harborside Express. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.

Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast is a fun adventure for swashbucklers of all ages!  Hear the legends, myths, and stories surrounding Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates.  Hours: Friday – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m, Saturday & Sunday – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Tues. – Thurs.)

We love that our slice of island paradise has so much to see and we’re always ready to share our favorite must-sees. If you’re looking for something new to do during your visit give us a call or stop by the office!

Galveston Island is Made for Sweethearts

Confession time:  we still haven’t decided what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day! ::gasp:: Now, unlike some years, this isn’t because as we sit and think about what would be a great gift all we hear are those annoying crickets as absolutely nothing comes to mind.  This year, it’s because there are just too many cool local Galveston Island things to choose from!

couplewithdogsonbeach

We love being such a short drive from Houston, but sometimes we just want to stay a little closer to home and soak in the relaxed atmosphere instead of getting all fancied up and then battling for a parking space in “the big city” 🙂  If you’re like us (or you’re lucky enough to be enjoying a long weekend at one of our vacation rentals), then we have a few suggestions for you and your sweetheart this weekend!

1.  Go out for brunch and beat the crowds, or plan a picnic lunch at one of our local parks and pick up some sweet treats from local favorites PattyCakes BakerySunflower Bakery, Farley Girls Cafe, or ShyKatz Deli & Bakery.

2.  Unplug all the electronics and enjoy a leisurely stroll along our 32 miles of beaches, or plan to attend one of the great programs at the Galveston Island State Park.  Saturday, February 13 brings Beachcombing 101 at 10 a.m. and a Bay Tower Hike at 3:30 p.m.

3.  Music lovers will enjoy the jazz and big band sounds of the Trio du Jour at the Tremont House’s 1888 Toujouse Bar every Friday and Saturday evening; or you can pick up tickets to attend the high-energy performance by The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra on Saturday, or the Galveston Symphony Orchestra on Sunday at The Grand 1894 Opera House.

4.  Feeling creative?  Join the Paint Party at Galveston Island State Park onFriday at 4:30 p.m.  Or, the Affaire d’art International Fine Art Gallery is offering a “Couples Corks and Canvases” event on Saturday at 2 p.m. (limited seating, so reserve your spot ASAP 409.789.0079). There’s also a great assortment of art galleries you can wander through on a leisurely stroll through Historic Downtown Galveston – maybe you’ll find the perfect piece to remember your weekend away!

5.  Looking for something a little more traditional?  Try the Galvez Bar & Grill’s romantic four-course Valentine’s Day Dinner on Saturday or Sunday nights, or the popular Sunday Brunch. Reservations are strongly advised, online via Open Table.

You can see why we’re having trouble deciding!  Maybe we’ll grab breakfast at a bakery, join in the Beachcombing 101 class, head downtown and browse a few galleries, and then relax and enjoy one of the performances at The Grand….or maybe we’ll just pick up lunch from one of our favorite seafood spots and spend all day with a sweater and a book in our lounge chairs on the beach … these choices are tough! 😉

Winter on Galveston Island

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Are we right?!?  As “Snowmageddon” is getting ready to turn the East Coast into a big pile of snow, we can’t help but rejoice as we grab our pullover, throw on our flip flops (because, seriously, they are an all-year wardrobe piece – no matter what our mother says) and be SO happy we get to call this Gulf Coast island home!

Even though it’s not quite sunbathing weather, there is still plenty to do!  Today was a great day for shell collecting with the wind blowing the water out and opening up wide stretches of beach. Or, grab a wetsuit and your surfboard for the days with great swells out along the Seawall.

Stop by one of our local restaurants for some warm comfort food, then walk it off while hunting for the perfect treasure in one of the kitschy little shops along The Strand. The Galveston Historical Foundation is hosting a free (with RSVP) winter lecture series that dives into Galveston’s nautical past.  The Grand 1894 Opera House continues its season of awesome programming with the Oak Ridge Boys this weekend.  We are especially intrigued by the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra of New Zealand performing next month…

There are great programs offered at Galveston Island State Park that is free with park admission, cooking classes at The Kitchen Chick, Winter Texan deals at the Moody Gardens Golf Course, plus…well, you get the idea!

We freely admit that winter is one of our favorite seasons on the island – the weather can still be gorgeous and, without the crowds that summer brings, you get a chance to soak in the beauty at your leisure!

Galveston Favorites – Jessica

We are excited to start our series of entries highlighting our Sand `N Sea staff and their Galveston Island favorites!

Meet Jessica!

jessicapic

What is your title and what do you do at SNS?  How long have you worked with Sand `N Sea?
I am the Guest Relations Coordinator and have worked with Sand `N Sea since July of 2009.  I get to do a little of bit of everything! I manage our guest rewards program (Guest Advantage), handle our social media and online presence, work with the Marketing Team on rental and real estate pieces, back up our Reservationists, head up special projects, and more!

shrimpnstuff

What is your favorite restaurant/dish on the Island?
I love getting dinner at the new Shrimp N Stuff location in Downtown Galveston.  The patio seating is this really nice little oasis.

What is your favorite attraction/thing to do on the Island? Why?

The Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid.  I love that the longer you watch each exhibit the more you see – and my husband and daughter could spend hours there.  I can’t wait to see it after the renovation is done!

Where do you always take your out-of-town visitors? Why?
We always do the Moody Gardens complex.  And the beach (of course!).  I also really enjoy wandering The Strand and always have to check out what’s new at The Admiralty.

What local event do you like the best?
It’s hard to choose!  I really enjoy ArtWalk and the Music/Movie Nites on the Strand.  As free and family-friendly events they’re my go-to for weekend entertainment. 

We hope that some of our staff favorites help you find some new things to do on your Galveston Island vacation!  Keep an eye out for more features of our team!