Fishing on Your Galveston Vacation

Whether you’re renting a house on the beach or the bay, spending time fishing on your Galveston vacation is easier than you think.

In addition to the seafood markets on Pier 20 & Pier 21, Galveston’s West End offers a abundance of private homes located on canals or Galveston Bay that are perfect for a fishing trip. Worried about keeping the whole family happy? Book a beachfront house and try your hand at surf fishing!

Read on for insider tips for making this the best trip ever by fishing on your Galveston vacation.

Reeling in the Perfect Spot

Staying at a beach house on the West End of the island? It’s easy to walk out to the beach and enjoy fishing with the kids right in front of your beach house. Generally, the best times to fish the surf are at sunset and sunrise. Aim for two hours before the sun rises and two hours after it sets. Watch the sun rise over the Gulf! As an added bonus, there are fewer people at the beach early in the morning.

If you’re planning on renting a bay house, look for a place right on the bay or fronting a canal. Many homes offer a pier or boat dock, and some include fish cleaning station or underwater fishing lights. Bring your favorite bait, fishing gear, and you’re ready to go!

You can also request a private fishing charter to pick you up right from your dock. Local fishing guides like the captains at Galveston Sea Ventures know the area and where the fishing are running. They’ll even bait your fishing pole and clean the fish.

Preparing Your Gulf Seafood

Now that you’ve caught the fish, it’s time to clean it. Try out the free wifi at your vacation home – have the kids look up a video tutorial on YouTube and learn together. Many vacation rentals include a grill, so fire it up for grilled fish or fish tacos.

Savor your catch by eating on the deck or patio. You’ll find your vacation home is stocked with everything you need for dining al fresco. Plus, the sunset views are great all year round!

Local Flavor #ProTip: Maceo Spice & Import Co. sells its flagship blend of Maceo Seafood Seasoning from its storefront on Market Street. You can also use it for blackened seasoning. Even if you don’t catch anything this time around, their seasonings are an excellent reminder of your trip to Galveston.

West End Restaurants that Will Prepare Your Fresh Catch

If you want someone else to do the cooking, you have two great options on Galveston Island’s West End:

Waterman’s Restaurant, 14302 Stewart Rd, will prepare your fish grilled, blackened, or fried for $12, and it includes two sides.

West End Marina & Restaurant, 21706 Burnet Dr, offers the same option for $16 with two sides including takeout. Both restaurants require the fish to be cleaned and fileted.

Did your hook stay empty? Galveston has an abundance of delicious seafood restaurants for you to try. Or, stop by Katie’s Seafood Market or Sampson & Son’s Seafood to pick up some filets or shellfish to cook at your vacation rental house.

Where to Stay on Your Galveston Fishing Vacation

Sand ‘N Sea Properties manages over 155+ of the best West End vacation homes in Galveston. Options include beachfront, beachside, and bayfront homes. We also offer pet-friendly vacation homes and homes with elevators.

Sand ‘N Sea Properties has been locally owned & operated since 1974. We offer professional vacation rental management and real estate services. From the beach to the bay, we’re here to help you live or play on the island!

Galveston Surfing & Paddle Boarding

Surfs up! With 32 miles of beaches plus salt marshes, the bay, and abundant canals, Galveston’s convenient location less than an hour south of Houston, TX makes it ideal for getting your feet wet. Locals & visitors alike enjoy year-round Galveston surfing and paddle boarding.

Read on for some of our insider tips for paddle boarding or surfing on Galveston Island!

Girl with Galveston Island boogie board

Galveston Surfing Basics

With surfing, the biggest tip is to practice on land before you hit the waves. Novice surfers may want to start by using your knees to standup on the surf board rather than the pop-up technique.

  • Keep your weight over your shoulders.
  • Stagger your feet at an angle about shoulder width or wider apart.
  • Get up slower and lower and think of sliding up to your feet.
  • Use your hips to shift your bodyweight.
  • Spread your arms for balance.

Galveston surfing is permitted from 91st Street all the way west to San Luis Pass.

Take advantage of local companies, like Good Vibes Surfing and C-Sick Surfin’, that provide surf lessons. Other places like Ohana Surf & Skate offer summer surf camps in addition to group or private Galveston surfing lessons.

Sound like a little more work than you want on your Galveston vacation? Check out boogie boards. They’re perfect to play in the waves with the kids. Let the waves do the work! Several local surf shops offer them inexpensively.

Man with surf board at sunrise

SUP Basics

If surfing isn’t your thing, try a stand-up paddle board, also known as SUP. If the water is smooth, you may prefer paddle boarding over surfing. Galveston’s SUP community has been growing, so you’re sure to see other paddlers out on the water!

  • Walk in the water deep enough so your fin doesn’t hit the bottom.
  • Start with your knees in the center of the board.
  • Sit on your ankles or kneel when starting.
  • Hold the paddle lower when on your knees.
  • When you standup, look forward rather than at your feet.
  • The blade angle should face forward not toward you.
  • Place one hand on the top of the paddle and to the middle of the board when paddling.
  • Keep paddle close to board when paddling straight.

The most important thing is to have fun and be safe!

SUP Gulf Coast and Galveston Paddleboard Center both offer daily rentals for surfboards and stand-up paddleboards from their local storefronts. SUP Gulf Coast even offers paddle board or surf board delivery to your beach house. One less thing to pack, and another excuse to avoid heading into town!

Man and dog surfing Galveston beaches

Where to SUP or surf in Galveston

During the summer season, the beaches along Seawall Blvd. have lifeguards stationed regularly. Always watch surf report, and take a look at the day’s flags for current beach conditions in Galveston before hitting the water!

The Pocket Parks and beaches on Galveston’s West End are great for water activities where you’re hauling special equipment. Many of them allow you to park right on the beach (in designated areas). There’s miles of open water and the surf can vary, depending on sand bars. The West End is great for kids, as the water remains shallow for a good distance out. Plus, it’s mostly residential, so you may find you have more space out on the water.

Interested in surfing or paddle boarding in the waters around Galveston? Book a beach house right on the Gulf or bay for easy water access and equipment storage during your whole stay!

Aerial photo of Galveston's West End

Reserve your beach house early for your pick of rentals. Sand ‘N Sea Properties professionally manages some of the best vacation homes on Galveston’s West End. Options include beachfront vacation rentals as well as canal or bayfront homes. We also offer pet-friendly vacation homes and homes with elevators.

Sand ‘N Sea Properties is locally owned and operated and has served West End Galveston visitors since 1974. Now’s the time to book your next Galveston vacation, workcation, or staycation!

Galveston Food Trucks

Galveston food trucks offer the same delicious food you can find inside a sit-down restaurant, but cater to a more laid back and relaxed experience.

Trucks can be seen around town, parked near the water, or hanging out in the Galveston Food Truck Park on the West End. Check them out for a casual dining experience after a day on the beach or bay!

West End Galveston Food Trucks

Chef serving meal at food truck

Galveston Food Truck Park

The Galveston Food Truck Park is conveniently located in the Sea Isle neighborhood. This midway point between Jamaica Beach and the San Luis Pass bridge is perfect for resident and guests at West End vacation rentals alike.

Along with a variety of great eats, the park offers a large seating area. It’s also pet friendly and the beach is just across the street, making it a perfect spot to bring the whole family!

Hours and trucks may vary but the food truck park location stays the same: visit them at 21510 San Luis Pass Road. Visit their Facebook page for current trucks and hours.

Southern Taste

A frequent visitor to Galveston’s Food Truck Park, Southern Taste offers authentic, from-scratch cooking. All prepared with local ingredients! This popular food truck’s menu includes fried seafood, po boy sandwiches, daily specials and their island famous banana pudding!

In a rush or have a large group? Call ahead at 346-814-4210. Be sure to check their truck location and hours before you head over.

Burnt Offerings BBQ

Typically operating from Wednesday to Saturday, Burnt Offerings BBQ offers a full selection of smoked meats. Choose from brisket, sausage, turkey, pulled pork, and more!

In addition to serving up mouth-watering food, this non-profit barbecue food truck donates a portion of its proceeds back to the community to help with disaster relief. They’re in Galveston for the summer, so stop by and try it out!

Shrimp N Stuff

Shrimp N Stuff food truck
Photo: Jennifer Reynolds

Shrimp N Stuff is a longtime local favorite. Their full service restaurant has been an island institution since 1976. They’ve since expanded to a location in Downtown Galveston, plus a food truck. Great news for those of us out here on the West End – no more driving into town to enjoy their fresh Gulf seafood!

The Shrimp N Stuff food truck is conveniently located in Jamaica Beach. Open most days from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., it’s the perfect stop for a quick, delicious dinner after a day spent at the beach!

Grab lunch or dinner for the whole family with offerings such as shrimp tacos, fried crab balls, gumbo, or their famous po boy sandwiches. All at an affordable price!

East End Galveston Food Trucks

Darlene’s Shrimp Shack

Photo: Jason Reuter

Darlene’s Shrimp Shack gets their name from their shrimp boat named Darlene, so you know this Gulf seafood is fresh!

Located right next to their fish market at 1727 61st Street, this Galveston food truck has public picnic tables. Enjoy a view of the bay while you eat. If you’re lucky, you may even get a glimpse of their shrimping boat. Talk about sea to table!

You can’t go wrong with classic fried shrimp. Or, get a little adventurous with some of their other flavors like the garlic parmesan or the bar-be-que shrimp, and don’t forget about the sides! Grab an order of their seasoned fries to complete your meal.

Galveston Island Tacos

This food truck keeps things simple with a limited menu – tacos, tortas and quesadillas. Don’t let that stop you, though! They are always cooking up something a little extra, and you never know what the daily special will be.

Run by a lifelong local, this food truck hits the spot when it comes to original Mexican food with that perfect Galveston flair! Galveston Island Taco’s Facebook page is always the best place to find their current offerings, specials and hours. They often have limited runs of special menu items. Don’t miss out on the unique dishes at this Galveston food truck!

Taqueria Flores

In the mood for authentic tacos? Taqueria Flores is the food truck for you! Choose from breakfast, lunch or dinner menus, depending on when you stop by. They offer delicious items like street tacos, elote, burritos, quesadillas and so much more!

If you are in a hurry, call ahead to place your order at 409-996-7491. Or, enjoy the relaxes pace of island life and eat at one of their covered picnic benches. The truck is typically located at 3202 Broadway Avenue J – a quick walk away from the beach!

Beach 101: Build a Sandcastle

Every beach vacation should include time to build a sandcastle! These sandy sculptures are perfect for all ages and skill levels. Transform tiny particles and splashes of water into fantastical creations, or go for the classic “tallest tower” approach and have a friendly competition with your fellow beach-goers.

For fast-track castle-building you can pick up plastic forms and shovels at a local surf shop. Don’t want to waste time at the store? Use things you’ve got around lying around your beachfront vacation rental – plastic bowls, colanders, measuring cups, etc. Challenge your family to think creatively, using only the tools on hand!

Looking to up your castle game? Hire a professional to help with your technique! Sandy Feet is a local sandcastle sculptor who offers lessons for beginners or intermediate to advanced builders. They provide all the tools and the instruction you need to build a sandcastle. Plus, they can even meet you at the beach closest to your vacation rental. (They also make custom castles for special events like family reunions or beach proposals!)

Sandcastle Tips & Tricks

Want to make a go of it on your own? Here are some basic tips for how to build a sandcastle that’s sure to be the envy of the beach – or at least your friends who aren’t on the beach with you!

SAND: Pick your spot and make a mountain of sand. It’s quicker to use a shovel than your hands. You can make your own sand scoop out of an empty plastic bottle, or use a plastic picnic plate.

WATER: Grab that bucket! As the water drains through the tiny particles the sand clumps together, forming a cement-like mix. You’ll want to fill your mountain with water. Dig out a crater (think volcano) and slowly pour in the water. Then mix it in. 

TOWERS: Now that you have a foundation of sand use your bucket to make towers. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just have fun. 

CARVE: Starting from the top, use a plastic knife or a spatula to smooth out your towers. Carve out stairs, crenellations, gargoyles – anything that says castle to you!

DETAILS: Be creative! Pick up shells, beach glass or driftwood to add to your design. Seaweed ivy, anyone?

DOCUMENT: Snap those selfies! Last but not least, take plenty of photos and videos for your scrapbook or to share with your friends on social media.  

Looking for inspiration? Schedule your Galveston vacation in August and attend the annual AIA Sandcastle Competition. Houston-area architectural firms compete to win the prestigious Golden Bucket Award during this family-friendly weekend-long event on East Beach.

Book Your Own Castle on the Sand – a Galveston Beach House!

Sand ‘N Sea Properties offers an excellent selection of West End vacation homes in Galveston. Options include beachfront, beachside, canal, or bayfront homes. We also offer pet friendly vacation homes and homes with elevators.  Remember to plan ahead and book your beach house well in advance so you’ll have your pick of rentals.

Sand ‘N Sea is a locally owned and operated professional vacation rental management & real estate company. We’ve been helping visitors have great Galveston vacation rental experiences since 1974, and would love to welcome you to Galveston Island!

Galveston’s 4th of July Celebration

Are holiday weekends on the beach some of your favorite childhood memories? Then you won’t want to miss the exciting parades and dazzling fireworks displays that are part of Galveston’s 4th of July celebration 2021!

Create new holiday memories with your friends and family at one of several events that are part July 4th celebrations on Galveston.

Pre-Holiday Events

Thursday, July 1 – Summer Movie on the Lawn – 6 p.m.

Visit the Bryan Museum for a Summer Movie on the Lawn! This museum movie tour starts at 6 p.m. and is followed by a family-friendly film under the stars starting at 7:15 p.m. The event is FREE to all visitors. Concessions available for purchase. Bring your lawn chairs, beach towels, or blankets and enjoy movie night with the whole family.

This week’s film choice, in honor of Independence Day, is National Treasure!

Saturday, July 3 – Galveston Beach Band Concert – 7:30 p.m.

The Galveston Beach Band Concert series is now in its 92nd season!

This long-running beach band is as important to a Galveston summer as sandcastles, ice cream cones, and beach days are! Free, family friendly concerts are held weekly at the Eugenia and George Sealy Pavilion.

July 4th Celebrations in Galveston

Pirates Beach 4th of July Parade – 10 a.m. (West End)

One of our favorite of Galveston’s 4th of July celebration activities! We are longtime sponsors of this family friendly parade starting in Sand `N Sea’s parking lot at 10 a.m.

Bring your beach chairs and watch the festively decorated wagons, bicycles, golf carts, walkers and more pass by in the Pirates Beach July 4th parade!

Pirates Beach Fourth of July Fireworks – 9:15 p.m. (West End)

Not looking to travel far from your beach house, but still want to see a great firework display? Check out the 11th Annual Pirates Beach fireworks display beginning at 9:15 p.m! Click here for a map of the parade route and the firework launch site.

4th of July Trading Post, The Bryan Museum – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Bryan Museum’s Conservatory will be transformed into a modern-day flea market, offering unique and eclectic items. A little bit of everything can be found at the 4th of July Trading Post!

Take advantage of live music, and a free children’s art book with every purchase from The Trading Post. Paid admission to the museum also comes with free hot dogs and popcorn!

City of Galveston 4th of July Parade – 7 p.m.

Bring the whole family and witness this beautiful seaside parade sponsored by the Marine Corps League filled with decorated floats, military vehicles and performances. The City of Galveston July 4th parade kicks off at 7 p.m. and will follow the Seawall east to 25th street!

July 4th Patriotic Concert – 8:30 p.m.

Join the Galveston Community Band for a free patriotic concert at The Grand Galvez Hotel & Spa, performing at 8:30 p.m.

City of Galveston 4th of July Fireworks Show – 9:15 p.m.

Following the conclusion of the parade, a 20 minute Galveston firework show will begin at 9:15 p.m. over the Gulf of Mexico near 37th Street and Seawall Boulevard! Nothing says a holiday vacation at the beach like that!

There are few things that send us straight back to the glorious summers of childhood faster than fireworks, popsicles, and the beach.

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!

Free Things to Do in Galveston

Free music, free food, free movies, free time…vacations on Galveston are the best! You’ll love the variety of free things to do in Galveston during your next visit. Read on for some of our 2021 staff favorites.

Galveston Beach Band Concerts

When: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.

The Galveston Beach Band performs at the historic Eugenia & George Sealy Pavilion at Mary Moody Northern Plaza. In it’s 92nd year, this free Galveston concert series entertains audiences of all ages. Bring your chair and enjoy a diverse mix of tunes and the special “Children’s Parade” at each concert!

Concerts run through August 3, with a special 4th of July performance on Saturday, July 3.

Summer Movies on the Lawn

When: Thursdays at 7:15 p.m.

A new addition to the long list of free things to do in Galveston this summer, The Bryan Museum’s “Summer Movies on the Lawn” series is fun for the whole family. This fun scene is the place to be every other Thursday night. Museum tour begins at 6 p.m. and film screenings begin at 7:15 p.m.

Concessions and drinks will be available for purchase. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and/or chairs. Arrive early to get a prime viewing location!

Thursday, June 17 – Ruby Bridges
Thursday, July 1 – National Treasure
Thursday, July 15 – Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas
Thursday, July 29 – High Noon

ArtWalk

When: July 17, August 28, October 9, November 27 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Shower off the surf & sand, then head to Historic Downtown Galveston. Artwalk is one of local’s favorite free things to do in Galveston. Stop by the island’s unique art galleries, coffee houses and “other walls” that showcase some of the region’s best talent. Check out the interactive map to see who’s participating each month.

Interpretive Beach Tours

Where: Pirates Beach (West End)
When: Saturdays (through September 4) – 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Where: Midtown, Seawall Blvd, #56 Lifeguard Station
When: Fridays (through September 3) – 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Where: Stewart Beach
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (through September 5) –
11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Hosted by local conservationists at Artist Boat, beach walkers of all ages will love the Bucket Brigade tours! These 45-minute tours of tune you into the flora and fauna you can find along Galveston’s 32 miles of beaches. All ages are welcome at this free Galveston event. Group sizes are limited. Register online or contact Artist Boat to schedule a private tour for your larger group.

Galveston Tree Sculpture Tour 

When: 24/7, year-round

Take a walking tour and see all of the beautiful sculptures made from oak trees that fell victim to Hurricane Ike in 2008. The combination of extended saltwater exposure and hurricane-force winds uprooted or killed a large number of the majestic oaks that lined the roads of Historic Downtown Galveston. A group of private residents and artists came together after the devastating storm and created works of art to commemorate these beautiful trees. Sculptures are dotted around the East End and create an exciting opportunity to talk about the ecology of trees, impacts of storms, and art. Download the map before you set out!

Ride the Galveston Ferry

Galveston Ferry

When: 24/7, year-round

Drive aboard or park & walk onto the free ferry that runs from the East End of Galveston to the Bolivar Peninsula. The 2.7-mile trip usually lasts about 20 minutes and it’s a great chance to see the pod of dolphins that call the bay & ship channel home. Watch the cargo ships come in from the Gulf along the Houston Ship Channel. Check wait times to plan your ride.

What else is there to do in Galveston?

Wondering what else there is besides free things to do in Galveston? This slice of Gulf Coast paradise offers a full events calendar, and great, family-friendly attractions & activities to enjoy all year long!

Book your choice of 150+ of the best West End vacation rentals on Galveston with Sand `N Sea Properties. Local & trusted since 1974, a beach or bay vacation rental is the perfect place to pick as home base during your exploration of this Gulf Coast barrier island!

Nature Lover’s Guide to Galveston’s West End

The West End is the perfect place for Galveston nature lovers to enjoy a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of work schedules, as well as the towering skyscrapers and overpasses of cities like Houston and Dallas.

Think Galveston is all about attractions like Moody Gardens, the Historic Pleasure Pier, and the cruise terminal? Think again! Head west on Seawall Boulevard and you’ll experience another side of this unique Gulf Coast barrier island. Cruise past long stretches of pastures, sprawling residential neighborhoods, local hardware stores and casual restaurants. Roll down your windows and enjoy the peace that comes from hearing the never-ending rhythm of the waves rolling ashore.

Unload your suitcase at your private West End vacation home and get ready to explore the unique ecosystems and parks that make up Galveston!

Perfect Places for Galveston Nature Lovers

Laffites Cove Nature Preserve

3501 Eckert Drive

This preserve offers a quick and easy walk that feels like it’s a world away. Laffites Cove Nature Society, which includes all Laffites Cove residents, maintains this relaxing nature preserve. You’ll find a boardwalk and path to explore the area. The route provides signage about some of the types of birds and other creatures you may see during your stroll. There’s also a gazebo about midway through. Plan to bring a snack, sit and enjoy the view. According to folklore, the Pirate Jean Laffite established an outpost in this area between 1817-1821.

Helen and Edward Oppenheimer Bird Observatory

13102 Stewart Road

Birders and Galveston nature lovers in general are going to love this observation platform. You’ll find this spot for nature lovers at the corner of Settegast and Stewart Roads. Artist Boat commissioned this platform to give visitors a unique birding experience in the natural prairie grasses of the island. Their goal is to inspire visitors to connect with nature. Enjoy a half-mile trail through the wetlands and a view from the 150-foot boardwalk. Tip: Artist Boat offers public kayak tours in the Coastal Heritage Preserve. Check their website to book your tour.

Sportsman Road

Another popular spot for birders is Sportsman Road. From Stewart Road, turn north on 8 Mile Road and west on Sportsman Road. Keep in mind this is in a residential area, so please be courteous to residents and don’t block driveways. Park in a gravel area at the end of 8 Mile Road. You’ll see shorebirds in this area year-round.

Galveston Island State Park

14901 FM 3005

NOTE: Typically, you can enjoy both the beach and bay sides of Galveston Island State Park. The beach side of the park is currently under renovation. Visitors will be able to access that side again in 2022.

On the bay side of the park you’ll find hiking trails, interpretive trails, a spot to launch your kayak, fishing, and an observation tower. You can also go geocaching. Check their website for tips on fishing, maps for hiking trails, and special events open to the public.

Where Galveston Island Nature Lovers Can Stay

Vacation rentals are the best way to for Galveston Island nature lovers to experience our barrier island. They give you a private place to relax and unwind, and have all of the comforts of home – with none of the responsibilities!

Vacation homes located along the bay side of the island often overlook wetlands. You’ll see various birds, fish, turtles, snakes, crabs, seagrass, and so much more in this part of the island. Rentals on the Gulf side offer the undeniable appeal of Gulf sunrises, busy little shorebirds and easy early morning beachcombing.

However you decide to connect with nature during your stay, Sand ‘N Sea offers the best selection of West End vacation rentals in Galveston. Options include beachfront, beachside, or bayfront homes. We also offer pet friendly vacation homes and homes with elevators.

Sand ‘N Sea is locally owned and operated and has served Galveston vacation rental guests and real estate clients since 1974.

Galveston Family Photos = Beach Memories Forever

Galveston family photo with bright colors - Plan-it Ink Photography

Make it easy to remember your vacation – plan to take professional Galveston family photos during your next beach trip!

Busy schedules and spread-out family members are only two of the things that make it difficult to snap the perfect family photo. Yes, limited opportunities arise in the forms of holidays or special events like weddings, but those can be stressful and overly formal. You can’t get much more relaxed than being on the beach!

Sure, selfies are fun, but there’s something to be said for letting a professional photographer be responsible for capturing your family’s memories. Months, years, or decades later, you or your kids will be able to flip through an album and remember all the fun you had at the beach that year.

You’ve already gone to the trouble of planning a great Galveston vacation – why not take advantage of the time together by booking a professional photo shoot right after you book your beach house?

Top tips for getting the perfect Galveston family photos:

Think Themes

If the photos include extended family, make sure they know in advance. It can be stressful enough packing for vacation. Don’t leave it til the last minute if you want to coordinate outfits. Popular looks for Galveston family photos are often all white tops with denim bottoms. You could also do mini themes for each family group. Don’t be afraid of color – think pale corals or vibrant greens. You’ll want something that pops against the tan sand and varying blues of the Gulf!

Include Your BFF (Best Furry Friend)

Galveston family photo with dog - Plan-it Ink Photography

Get the whole family in on the fun! Pet friendly vacation homes are abundant on the West End of Galveston. Plus, furry pals are great for adding a little stress relief to the shoot. Make sure you bring their favorite squeaky toy to grab their attention.

Pick the Perfect Prop

Think about adding props like oversized letters with your family name, fishing poles, or surfboards. What are your favorite family activities? Another idea is to hire a professional sand sculptor. Yes, that’s a thing! Sandy Feet Sand Castle Services can create a unique sand sculpture as part of your photo. How fun is that?

Book in Advance

Book your photoshoot in advance and schedule at the start of your trip. Why? Just in case, the weather doesn’t cooperate, this can give you time for a backup date for your Galveston family photos. Plus, it’s better to get that photo taken before the sun or wind burn set in!

Local Expertise

Galveston family photo with toddler - Plan-it Ink Photography

Just like local fishermen, an experienced local photographer will have their own special spot, perfect for capturing your family’s beach memories. Plus, they’ll have unique, proven ideas about special views or times of day (sunset snapshots, anyone?) you should consider.

Galveston Family Photographers

The most important tip for memorable Galveston family photos is to have fun. Your local photographer will know how to make that stubborn child keep their eyes towards the camera or make your overly-serious grandpa crack a smile.

Local photographers specializing in Galveston family photography include:

Make Memories

Galveston family photo with blue and white - Callie Walker Photography

Document the best vacation ever with Galveston family photos during your next visit. Plan ahead so you’ll have your pick of beach house rentals and photographer session times!

Sand ‘N Sea Properties offers over 150+ of the best West End vacation homes on Galveston, Texas. Local and trusted since 1974, our experienced local team is ready to help you make memories that last a lifetime!

Galveston Mother’s Day Brunches

Galveston Island is full of delicious restaurants looking to help you spoil the mom in your life on May 9, 2021! Galveston Mother’s Day brunches feature fare like bottomless mimosas, fresh Gulf Snapper, filet mignon with lobster tail and an abundance of sweet treats for dessert.

The Best Brunch Buffets for Mom

Table at Galveston Mother's Day brunch

1880 Garten Verein Champagne Brunch

Enjoy a Champagne Brunch at the 1880 Garten Verein from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Taking place during the 47th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour, this special event brunch includes a unique gift, corsage, live music and more.

The menu includes options of salads, breakfast selections and lunch selections in addition to gourmet coffee, iced tea, and free-flowing mimosas.

Tickets must be booked ahead of time online. Limited availability.

Moody Gardens Mother’s Day Brunch

Moody Gardens is serving a full brunch buffet in their Frances Moody Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m..

Their huge menu includes an omelet station, carving station, seafood display, meat and cheese platters, salad selections and an assortment of desserts. Don’t forget the complimentary mimosas and Bloody Marys!

Seating times are scheduled every 30 minutes, with the last seating taking place at 2 p.m. Reserve your table online.

For additional information, visit Moody Gardens website or call 409.683.4404.

Special Mother’s Day Menus

San Luis Resort Brunch

San Luis Resort is hosting a Galveston Mother’s Day celebration with a culinary-inspired menu! Your choice of first and second courses, an entrée of filet mignon with shrimp scampi, and finish with a family-style dessert. The food options will be accompanied by a full bar.

Reservations run hourly, between 11 A.M. – 2 P.M. Find pricing information and place reservations online. For parties of 10 or more, call 409.744.1500.

Gaido’s Seafood Brunch

Alongside their full menu, Gaido’s will be serving a featured menu this year. Treat your mom to some classic coastal treats at this local institution.

This special Galveston Mother’s Day meal includes your choice of starter (including mixed greens salad, crab bisque and cocktail shrimp) and entrée options such as a center cut filet or the grilled catch of the day. You’ll wrap up your meal with delectable desserts like their signature pecan pie.

Pricing and additional details can be found online, or call 409.761.5500.

Hearsay on The Strand

On Mother’s Day, Hearsay on the Strand is adding featured menu items to celebrate the day!

Hearsay on the Strand is located in Galveston’s Historic Strand District. This funky restaurant blends vintage elements with eclectic American cuisine.

Menu items include delicious fare like a filet benedict or a frozen amaretto soufflé! For more information or to make a reservation for this year’s Galveston Mother’s Day trip, visit Hearsay on the Strand online or call 409.539.5914.

Where to Stay for Mother’s Day

Sand `N Sea Properties manages over 155+ private West End Galveston vacation rentals. Decks with panoramic Gulf views, spacious primary suites with private balconies, hot tubs, private pools, and more await!

Make memories to last a lifetime with your mom at a beach house this year! We’ll help make your Galveston Mother’s Day a special one.

Galveston Island Animals to Discover on Your Next Visit

Galveston isn’t just a popular beach destination for people – it’s home to a wide variety of flora & fauna as well!

With 32 miles of beaches and year-round temperate weather, Galveston Island has a lot to offer for permanent residents and seasonal visitors alike – weather they’re slimy, scaled or feathered! Raucous seagulls and silent saltwater fishes aren’t the only type of Galveston Island animals you’ll come across while spending time here on the upper Texas coast.

Read on for some fun facts about a few of our favorite Galveston Island animals! All the creatures listed below can be spotted year-round, but some are much easier to find during specific seasons.

Springtime Galveston Animals

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills flying over marsh grass Galveston Island

While Roseate Spoonbills are common on the island year-round, their unique pink coloring is especially vibrant in the spring during their mating and nesting season. Yes, just like their more well-known distance relatives the flamingos, Roseate Spoonbills get their pink coloring from their diet. This can include crustaceans, insects, frogs and small fish. Their coloring can vary from a pale pink to a bright magenta.

Spoonbills are unique in both the way they feed and in the way they fly! They collect their food by sweeping their head side to side in shallow water to collect what they can. These long birds are quite muscular, and they fly with their heads pointed straight out to help keep their balance. This eye-catching avian is unique to the Gulf Coast, yet is one of the more common Galveston Island animals – sometimes you don’t even need binoculars to catch sight of them!

Coyote-Red Wolf Hybrids

Coyote Red Wolf Hybrid against grasses Galveston Island

Perhaps the most unique Galveston citizen are these wild canines that have been found to be half coyote and half red wolf! They lack the adaptability of the coyote and the aggressive pack mentality of the wolf. So, don’t be scared off by the name, because these canines are actually quite shy and tend to stay clear of human activity.

These limited-population canines can typically be spotted (and heard!) in the dusk or dawn hours of the day. The coyote-red wolf hybrids live on the island year-round, but the mating season is in February and the pups are typically born between April and May.

Blue Crabs

Blue Crab in water Galveston Island

Galveston has quite a few different types of crabs, but the blue crabs are one of the most economically important fisheries of the Gulf. Blue crabs like to burrow in softer mud or hide in sea grasses. They are what are known as bottom dwellers, and enjoy eating clams, oysters and mussels. Spawning season for blue crabs is from December to October, with the peak occurring in the spring and summer months. Blue crab hunting happens year-round in Galveston, except for the month of February!

Get the whole family in on the fun! Find & catch blue crabs hanging out in the bays and mud flats on the north side of the island.

Did you know? Blue crabs get their names from the color of the claws, which vary in shades of blue, but the females can always be spotted easily because the tips of their claws are red!

Summer Fun Galveston Animals

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle on Beach

Galveston is a great place to catch a glimpse of some turtles, especially in the summertime! Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the smallest of all marine turtles, and one of only two species that have mass synchronized nestings called “arribadas”, which is the Spanish word for arrival.

You may see some turtle nests, a momma turtle coming to lay her eggs, or even some turtle hatchlings on the beach, but remember – they are the most endangered sea turtle in the world so do not touch the eggs or nests!

If you spot a nest or a stranded/injured sea turtle report them to 1-866-TURTLES.

These are one of our favorite annual Galveston Island animals, and Galveston also has a fun, public art project known as Turtles About Town. Designed to showcase our little local friend and help support the conservation efforts of Turtle Island Restoration Network, this “turtle trail” is a great way to spend a day exploring the island. Local businesses around Galveston, including Sand ‘N Sea, sponsored the turtles while local artists were commissioned to give each turtle their own unique personality and meaning!

Turtles About Town was dreamed up & organized by the local leaders for Turtle Island Restoration Network and the owner of Clay Cup Studios. Check out our interactive Turtles About Town map and see how many statues you can find on your next trip to Galveston Island!

Ghost Crabs

Ghost crabs are another crustacean that calls Galveston home! Also known as sand crabs because they are pale in color, these little guys blend in beautifully with their surroundings.

They are nocturnal, but can occasionally be seen during the daytime too – so keep your eyes peeled when you’re hanging out on the beach! You’ll have to be quick, because these little guys can move up to 10 miles per hour!

While they also burrow, similar to the blue crabs, their homes are a little more unique. Their burrows are dug at a 45-degree angle to the surface, and can reach up to four feet deep!

Fun Fact: Their burrows entrances are angled like that to allow the breeze to blow inside for additional ventilation – even the crabs know you need AC during the hot Texas summer!

Winter Wonder-Island Animals

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes, nicknamed Sandies, are one of only two crane species typically found in Texas. Birders travel from all around to watch these stately avians in the open pastures on the West End of the island during their annual winter migration.

If you know the right places to look, Galveston’s Sandhill Cranes are easy to find. These birds stand nearly 4 feet tall and have distinctive red crowns on the top of their heads. If that bright crown doesn’t your attention, you’ll definitely hear their strident trumpeting call. Sandhill Cranes are also known for dancing! They like to stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow and leap.

Check out the pastures along 9 Mile Road, Pabst Road and 11 Mile Road during December & January for the best chance to see these beauties!

Sand ‘N Sea is proud to be a sponsor of Holiday with the Cranes, a celebratory & educational event put on annually each December by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council.

Piping Plovers

Unlike their wintering neighbors the Sandhill Cranes, Piping Plovers are small and can be easily missed! These delicate birds are scant in size, weight and wingspan. Combine that with their sandy gray color, and these birds are masters at invisibility!

Piping Plovers migrate south to spend the winter here with us on the island, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these little cuties! They are protected under the Endangered Species Act, so when you do see one, be sure to keep your distance so they can continue to vacation with us here in the winter!

American White Pelican

American White Pelican Galveston Island

Pelicans may be the first bird that comes to mind when you think about Galveston Island animals, but what may not be known is there are two different types that call our island home!

The American White Pelican primarily breeds in the interior states of North America. They then migrate south to the coasts, but only for the winter – just like our Galveston Winter Texan vacation rental guests! American White Pelicans follow the “bigger is better” mantra that Texas is known for with a whopping 9-foot wide wingspan.

Unlike other pelican species, these large birds don’t dive for fish. Instead, they forage by swimming and dipping. It’s typical to see large colonies in the marshes and around the inlets along the northern edges of Galveston Island. They can also be spotted flying high above the Gulf and bay, especially near the Bolivar Jetty.

Year-Round Galveston Island Animals

Bottle Nose Dolphins

Did you know that Galveston Bay boasts a resident group of these exciting marine mammals? These fun mammals can be spotted by themselves or in small groups known as pods, and are part of an ongoing study by the Galveston Bay Dolphin Research Program – check out their great pictorial guide to meet the dolphins that call Galveston Bay home!

A helpful hint for spotting a dolphin: watch for where the birds are feeding! Underneath the surface of the water that birds are typically feed at, there are dolphins feeding in the water. They also love to surf in the wake of the ferry and other vessels in the shipping channel.

Another great way to increase your chances of seeing a dolphin is to catch a ride on the free Galveston-Bolivar ferry – the dolphins love to swim alongside. Or, book a spot on the Dolphin Watch harbor tour at Pier 21!

Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelican on Side of Fishing Boat Galveston Island

Brown Pelicans are permanent residents here on Galveston Island. They can be seen flying over all of Galveston’s beaches, bays and inlets. Day-trippers to Galveston can always catch sight of them from the Seawall as the pelicans dive into the water to retrieve their meals.

When Brown Pelicans plunge headfirst into the water, their gular (throat) can fill up with up to 2.5 gallons of water! They then tilt their heads to drain off the saltwater before they swallow their delicious fishy meal!

Brown Pelicans are rarely spotted inland, as their preferred habitat is along the coastline and on breeding colony islands. These coastal creatures nest from February to July, though most eggs hatch by late May.

Places to Stay in Galveston

Galveston’s West End is the perfect place to rest your head after hours of exploration of the habitats that Galveston Island animals call home. Book a beach house for the best home-away-from-home amenities. You’ll love the large living spaces, fully stocked kitchens, private bedrooms and decks with panoramic views of the Gulf or bay.

Sand `N Sea manages over 150 of the best vacation rentals on the West End, and we would love to you welcome you (and your pup!) to explore our island home soon!