The party starts February 14, 2020 and continues through February 25, with plenty of festivities for all ages. Our “Must Attends” for a true Mardi Gras! Galveston experience are:
February 14 @ 8:30 p.m.: Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade – This FREE event offers families, friends, and local businesses & organizations the chance to show off their moves! Check-in the night of the parade for a team number, grab your bedazzled umbrella and boogie on!
February 15 @ 1:00 p.m.: 9th Annual Zaniest Golf Cart Parade – register your beach cruiser today!
February 16 Fiesta Gras (all day): A celebration of Hispanic Heritage, children under 12 get in free with an adult for this day full of live music, food & parades. Bidi Bidi Banda and La Leyenda are headlining this year’s festivities!
February 23 @ 1:30 p.m.: Krewe of Barkus & Meow Parade* – The Galveston Island Humane Society hosts this a-meow-zing parade full of pets decked out in their Mardi Gras finest! Registration details and forms can be found online – this is a great one to participate in!
February 23 @ 3:00 p.m.: Children’s Parade* – the Firefighters Local 571 hosts this parade with costumed kids and decorated floats.
*Family Friendly for All Ages
DON’T FORGET….we have a rental special going on! Book a Mardi Gras getaway of a minimum stay of 2 nights (for stays through February 29, 2020) and get an extra night at the beach for FREE – call us at 409.797.5500 to book today!
The 2019 Galveston Fishing Rodeo runs from September 27 at 6:30 p.m. to October 31 at 5:00 p.m in the Galveston Yacht Basin. With inshore & offshore divisions and over $10,000 in winnings and prizes, there’s something for everyone in the second year of this popular tournament that’s open to private boats as well as guided anglers.
The entry fee for the Galveston Fishing Rodeo open angler (boat or shore fishing) is $30, while the guided division fee is $100. Weigh-ins happen at the Galveston Yacht Basin Bait & Tackle on North Holiday Drive.
The 2019 Fall Flounder Classic kicks off November 1 at 6:30 a.m. and runs through December 29, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. – that’s 8 weeks to find the most fabulous flounder out there, or just enjoy frying, roasting, or grilling all of your runner-ups! 😉 All anglers are welcome! Spend the day shore fishing along our 32 miles of beaches, hanging out on the pier or jetties along Seawall Blvd., or bring your boat and enjoy the open water! Giveaways & drawings in addition to the top prize are really just a bonus to the delicious reward of catching & cooking up this coastal favorite! (After weigh-ins, of course!)
Entry fees for the Fall Flounder Classic are $30 for open anglers & $100 for the guides division. Prizes for each category are different!
After you get registered for your tournament-of-choice be sure to get your beach house booked! With plenty of room for storing your gear, multiple bedrooms, great space for grilling your fresh catch, and fully stocked kitchens, our beachfront, beachside & bayfront vacation rentals are a real catch!
What’s the best way to spend 3 days on Galveston Island? Tour museums, try local eateries, stroll through canopied streets, peruse unique shops & antique galleries and more! As Galveston Island locals for over 40 years now, we have the inside track on where to go, what to eat and what to see during your long weekend or mid-week escape to this Gulf Coast treasure. Read on for our Galveston Trip Planner broken out for one, two, and three day trips.
What to do with 24 hours on Galveston?
After a refreshing night of sleep at your bay or beachfront vacation rental, wake up & enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck – the view is great no matter what time you start your day! Then, put on your walking shoes and get ready to see (& taste) the best that Galveston has to offer!
9:00 a.m. – First, the most important meal of the day! Indulge at the charming Sunflower Bakery & Cafe (512 14th Street). Enjoy challah french toast, quiche, migas, or other brunch favorites. Don’t forget to grab a few baked goods from the case for tomorrow’s breakfast!
10:00 a.m. – After fueling up, tour Historic Downtown Galveston. A host of tours with local experts highlight this former “playground of the south.” Choose from a variety of guided tours, including those by SegCity Galveston, Galveston Historic Tours, or Zipp E Bikes’ electric bike adventure tours.
Next, visit the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and lauded as one of the most significant Victorian residences in the country.
12:30 p.m. – On to lunch! Keep it light with local flavors from Farley Girls Cafe (800 Postoffice) or EATcetera (408 25th Street). Both offer delicious daily specials. Take a quick minute to book tomorrow’s dinner reservations & theater tickets.
1:30 p.m. – Next stop? The Bryan Museum. Located in the Galveston Orphans Home, it houses one of the largest collections of art & artifacts related to Texas and the American West in the country.
3:00 p.m. – Explore the East End’s self-guided Tree Sculpture Tour. Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston’s live oaks in 2008, but a group of homeowners saw an opportunity to create beauty from destruction and commissioned artists to create whimsical tree sculptures from the remnants of these once-majestic trees. Walk, bike, or drive to see over 15 unique creations.5:00 p.m. – After your day of tours, stop by Katie’s Seafood Market (star of National Geographic Channel’s Big Fish, Texas) and pick up some delicious ingredients for dinner. Then, stop in at The Wine Next Door (418 21st Street) to select the perfect pairing for your fresh Gulf seafood. After shopping, head back to your beach house to prepare a quick dinner in the full kitchen, then relax & dine on the deck while watching the sun set over the water.
48 Hours In Galveston – Day #2
What’s on the agenda for Day #2 on Galveston? Spend a leisurely morning on the beach sunning or surfing, shower off at your beach house and get ready for some great local lunch fare. Then shop in Historic Downtown, explore Pier 21 and enjoy a fine dining experience followed by a live show at one of 2 local theaters.
9:00 a.m. – Wake up to the peaceful sounds of waves washing ashore. Then, toast the delicious baked goods you picked up downtown yesterday and enjoy a leisurely start to your second vacation day!
9:30 a.m. – Sun, sand & surf all morning! 3 days on Galveston isn’t complete without beach time. If you’re lucky enough to be at a beachfront vacation home then the fun is just outside of your door. Otherwise, take your pick from multiple public access points, two West End Pocket Parks, the crowds and entertainment of East Beach, or the centrally located Seawall beaches, near the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.
12:00 p.m. – Rinse the salt & sand off at your beach house. Then, head into town for delicious salads, pastas & soups at Mosquito Cafe (628 14th Street); or swing into The Spot (3204 Seawall Blvd.) – Island famous for burgers, wings & milkshakes, with open-air deck seating and Gulf views.
1:30 p.m. – Make your way over to Historic Downtown Galveston for a tour of the Texas Seaport Museum and the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, where you will learn about Galveston’s rich immigration history as the “Ellis Island of the West” and view artifacts from the infamous Texas Navy.
3:00 p.m. – Browse the unique shops along The Strand. You’ll find an eclectic assortment of clothing boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, souvenir shops, and specialty goods. Stop by La King’s Confectionery & Ice Cream Parlour(2323 Strand) for handmade chocolates, freshly pulled saltwater taffy or a frozen treat made with their Purity ice cream, the first manufacturer of ice cream in Texas.
6:00 p.m. – Freshen up, then it’s time for your dinner reservation at Rudy & Paco’s (2028 Postoffice) – voted one of 2018’s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America by Open Table. Featuring grilled seafood & steak with a South & Central American flavor, this island institution offers a fine dining experience with amazing cuisine. You’ll be tempted to linger, so make sure you allow time to make it to the theater!
Evening – Take in a live performance at one of Galveston’s two theatres – The Grand 1894 Opera House or Island ETC. The Grand features world-class musical performances, comedians, ballets and more, while Island ETC is a professional repertory theatre company that stages 5 -6 productions a year.
72 Hours In Galveston – Day #3
Your vacation might be winding to a close, but there’s plenty to do to extend your fun on day 3 of your Galveston vacation! Wake up with a trip to the local coffeehouse, take a tour of a decommissioned oil rig, lunch on the water, create the perfect souvenir, indulge in dinner & dessert on Postoffice Street in Historic Downtown and then wrap up your day with a sunset drink on the deck!
9:00 a.m. – Make the most of your 3 days on Galveston with another relaxing start to the morning at MOD Coffeehouse (2126 Postoffice), a local favorite for over 15 years that’s serving handcrafted tea & coffee beverages as well as sweet treats.
10:00 a.m. – Visit the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum. This decommissioned rig features three floors of models & interactive displays illustrating the story of the offshore oil and gas industry. Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
11:30 a.m. – Book a seat aboard the Seagull II Harbor Tour, a 50-foot twin-engine boat with a covered main deck as well as an open upper deck seating that’s perfect for watching the resident dolphins frolicking in the wake. Operated by the Texas Seaport Museum, this narrated tour highlights the historic Port of Galveston.
1:00 p.m. – Get off the tour boat and then lunch right on the water at Fisherman’s Wharf (2200 Harborside) or walk a few blocks and enjoy dining in the courtyard of Shrimp `N Stuff Downtown (216 23rd Street), another longtime local eatery featuring broiled and fried seafood.
2:30 p.m. – Work off some of that delicious seafood by checking out the Turtles About Town! Galveston has 19 turtle statues dotting the island as part of a campaign towards awareness & conservation of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles who nest here each year. Started by the Turtle Island Restoration Network & Clay Cup Studios, with the support of local businesses who sponsored a statue, these unique art installations were all designed & decorated by local artists and make the perfect photo opp to remember your Island visit by!
5:00 p.m. – Finish your night on Postoffice Street (where you’ll find several Turtles About Town statues). Grab dinner at Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar or Taquilo’s TexMex Cantina and be sure to save room for dessert at Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream (we highly recommend the ice cream nachos – perfect to share!).
6:00 p.m. – Not ready to head back to your beach house yet? Stop into Clay Cup Studio where you can paint your own pottery, take a glass fusion class, or create a canvas. This walk-in art studio also offers great classes, so be sure to check their schedule before you head to the Island.
Finish your 3 days on Galveston with drinks on the deck of your beach house and start planning your return trip!
Where are the perfect places to snap your #GalvestonVacation pics?
We’ve found the best spots to highlight your Instagram Story during your Galveston Island vacation! Let’s face it, is it truly a vacation if you don’t share make-you-jealous pics with family & friends? 😉
There are tons of places on Galveston Island to capture #insta-worthy pics to remember your Island vacation. Our Social Media & Marketing Coordinator, Jessica, recently spent some time with her family hunting down some ideal spots for your #gramworthy #familyvacay photos.
#1 – The McGuire-Dent Recreation Center
This community rec center offers a variety of activities for local adults & children. Features include an indoor basketball gym & racquetball court, large outdoor playground, splash pad & tennis courts. When it opened its renovated doors in 2014 it was the only building in the city to pursue and receive a certification of the U.S. Green Building council.
Our favorite part is clearly visible from Seawall Blvd and takes the form of a full length sea turtle mural. Painted by island local Gabriel Prusmack & unveiled in 2017 by the Turtle Island Restoration Network and NOAA’a Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary, this 3D mural is something to behold!
#2 – High Tide Statue
Installed in 1992, the High Tide bronze statue is the third casting of a 1985 work by Charles Parks. This iconic statue is located on Pier 21, a waterfront entertainment and dining area in Galveston’s Historic District. This channel-side location is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely evening stroll, watch cruise ships, or get your #history on with a visit to the Texas Seaport Museum & Tall Ship ELISSA.
Kids of all ages will love a visit to the nearby Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum. This decommissioned oil rig that has interactive exhibits, machinery & more. Feeling adventurous? Take a boat tour of the bay and surrounding port – keep your eyes open for dolphins!
#3 = Big Beach Chair
The #giantchair in Saengerfest Park gets a laugh out of all ages. Pile all the kids together, pose with your girlfriends or stand back and pretend to balance your favorite mini guy pals on the palm of your giant hand.
You’ll also find giant chess and an iconic red telephone booth, as well as Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast and the Haunted Mayfield Manor here. Check the calendar of events for free community favorites like Movie or Music Nites on The Strand.
Be sure to #lovegalveston and check out what other spots people have found #gramworthy on their Galveston Island vacations!
#4 – Greetings from Galveston
This nostalgic postcard-style mural outside has become the quintessential spot for vacation rental guests, day-trippers and locals to snap a pic! With bold colors & graphics, this one is sure to make your feed pop, and each letter highlights a local attraction that’s sure to inspire your vacation #ToDoList.
After you grab the perfect cover image for your digital or traditional photo album, stop in at nearby Yaga’s Cafe for lunch or a drink & a Yagatizer (we highly recommend the seafood flautas!). This local favorite offers hand tossed pizzas, seafood specials, a kids menu and more.
#5 – I ❤️ Galveston
This one says it all! Head on over to the corner of Strand Street and 24th Street (aka Mitchell) to check out this cool building-long tropical mural, perfect for group shots!
These frolicking dolphins, schools of rainbow-colored fish & people-sized corals are another example of local artist Gabriel Prusmack’s magnificent murals.
This funky wall art is right next to Shark Shack Beach Bar & Grill. If you time it correctly, it’s a great way to finish out your #gramworthy #galveston day.
Historic Downtown Galveston offers a plethora of great #architecture and unique merchandise, so be sure to allow time to wander along The Strand and soak it all in. Keep an eye up to see the unique facades and architectural accents this area is known for.
Other top photo spots include:
Murdoch’s (2215 Seawall Blvd.) – the pilings and Gulf backdrop are the the quintessential coastal vacation image, but be prepared to work around professional photographers, as it’s a popular engagement shoot spot
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (2501 Seawall Blvd.) – the hardest part about this stop is taking time out from the rides! From carousels to ferris wheels to rollercoasters, there are plenty of #gramworthy options!
Tall Ship ELISSA (Pier 21) – try your hand at the helm of this working 1877 tall ship. Or at least look like it! This piece of #islandhistory is one of our favorite #mustdotours to recommend to our vacation rental guests.
Try one of the Top Tours of Galveston for some unique perspectives and insider shots of the most iconic place on Galveston.
Your Instagram Story isn’t complete without shots of your Galveston Island vacation rental! Sand ‘N Sea beach houses are perfectly appointed for great photos, and have plenty of space to relax in after a long day of Instagram-ing. Book yours today!
Summer has officially ended, but there is no shortage of great reasons to spend the fall or winter on Galveston Island! In no particular order, here are a few of our favorites:
Fishing – #1
Surf fishing, wade fishing, deep sea fishing, fishing from the dock, warm weather fishing, cool weather fishing…well, you get the idea 😉 Enjoy great fishing of every kind when you visit Galveston Island during the winter! This year, there are 2 inaugural fishing tournaments (the Galveston Fishing Rodeo & Fall Flounder Classic, with prizes!) to lure you in as well!
Birding – #2 Check out our previous post for some hints about the best birds to look for at this time of year! We love the huge Sandhill Cranes that migrate to Galveston for the winter – you can find them strolling the pastures throughout the West End. Don’t miss the Holiday with the Cranes event put on the by GINTC (Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council), December 8 – 9 (more info coming soon to their webpage).
Beaches – #3
Galveston’s 32 miles of beaches are perfect no matter the weather, but beachcombing gets even better as short winter storms move through, and seasonal currents bring new creatures up from the depths of the Gulf. Plus, the weather can be beautiful & there are fewer people sharing the sand with you during winter on Galveston Island!
The Grand 1894 Opera House – #5
Constructed in – you guessed it! – 1894, “The Official Opera House of Texas” plays an important role in supporting the arts, with award-winning dramas, Broadway musicals, internationally-acclaimed musicians & the Serious Fun Children’s Series gracing the stage every season!
Need more ideas (aka excuses) for getting away to Galveston this winter? Check out our full local events calendar and follow us on Facebook! Want to be the first to hear about our winter rental specials? Sign up for our emails!
Beachfront vacations & fresh ocean breezes
Decks that face sunsets & fishing that pleases
Warm sandy afternoons spent like a king
…these are a few of our favorite things!
But our most favorite thing is adding new Galveston vacation rental options for our guests! Or maybe it’s welcoming new guests…no, it’s welcoming your family each year and seeing it grow & change…or, maybe…well, we have LOTS of favorite things, but introducing new vacation rentals is definitely in the Top 5!
Has your family outgrown their favorite Galveston vacation rental? Or are you looking for the perfect place to start building lifelong vacation memories?These contemporary vacation homes are full of the amenities you’re looking for: pools, elevators, private piers, panoramic Gulf views, multiple decks & more!
Need even more reasons to try one of these stunning new vacation rentals? We’ve got TWO!
1. Salt Life and Coastal Retreat both have “7 Nights for the Price of 5” rental specials running for the month of June! That’s over $290 in savings at Salt Life and over $160 savings in Coastal Retreat – and that could get youa lot of fresh Gulf seafood to enjoy while at the beach!
2. Don’t forget – each stay in ANY of our new vacation rentals could be earning you points towards a FREE 2-night stay when you’re a member of the Sand `N Sea Beach Club!
See how the other half (of the Island) lives – spend time fishing, birding or boating on Galveston Bay!
We know our beaches are the prime draw to our slice of coastal paradise – who can resist sitting in the surf with a cool drink in your hand? The stuff dreams are made of we tell ya! – but, head north from FM 3005 and you’ll discover another side to Galveston Island that’s well worth your time.
Galveston Bay is home to wildlife and marine animals as diverse as the bay & canal homes that border them! Red drum, sheepshead, flounder, sea trout and more are found in the bay.
Bring your boat or schedule a charter with a local fishing guide who knows all of the best spots! Or, just fish right from the deck of your canal front vacation rental. Grab bait from Sea Isle Bait Camp at the West End Marina, or stop by the Rusty Hook down towards Bay Harbor.
Looking for a truly unique casting experience? West End-based equipment lender Rick’s Beach Rentals offer fishing kayaks for 1 or 2 people by the day or week. Perfect for a paddle around the marshes or inlets!
Is the promise of excellent fishing not enough to convince your family to give the bay side a try? Reel them in with the promise of a private pool! We’ve got the perfect bait – three different canal front vacation rental homes with private pools: Aloha Paradise, Bay Escape, , and Isla del Sol.
So, you’re planning your Galveston Island vacation, scrolling through options on your tablet…and you find it! The perfect beach house for your summer escape!
You check the bedrooms – yes! teens in a loft for the win! – then glance over to show it to your partner and, it happens. You catch the eye of your loyal canine companion. (The one you slip pieces of bacon to when no one’s watching.) Aaaand, there it is- those killer puppy dog eyes! The ones that say “you’re leaving me, aren’t you? To go frolick in the waves, sniff the sea air and chase the seagulls…”
Frantically, you scroll back up…searching…searching…ah HA!
You’re out of the dog house! With over over 50 pet friendly vacation rental options here at Sand `N Sea, we’re sure to have a pet friendly beach house your whole family will love!
Now that you’ve eased your conscience (and added “dog treats” to your packing list), we have a few tips to help you and your dog have a great time at the beach:
• Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for your pup to drink – at least 2x as much as usual. It’s hot at the beach and your dog will drink more than normal.
• Don’t let your dog drink salt water. It can cause him/her to get sick.
• Remember the leash laws. Galveston Island City ordinances require dogs to be on leashes at all times.
• Arrange for a shady, protected place for your dog to rest after a romp in the sun and surf. (Beach canopies, umbrellas, or just a towel draped over 2 chairs to make a little pup tent work perfectly for this!)
• If you leave your dog leashed in the shade, be sure to leave plenty of water nearby.
• Pets get sunburned too! Use sunscreen on exposed areas, like on noses and ears.
• If the sand is too hot for your feet, it is probably too hot for your dog’s foot pads.
• Don’t throw sticks or Frisbees far out into the water and expect your pup to retrieve them. The undertow can be strong and unpredictable, capable of carrying your dog out to sea before you know it. So play on the sand and near the water’s edge.
• Each day, rinse the salt water off your pup with fresh water. (The outdoor shower at your pet friendly vacation rental is perfect for this!)
• Watch for heat stroke and over exposure on sunny days, especially from noon to four o’clock-the hottest part of the day.
• Snakes! Do not leave your dog unattended in the yard. There have been snake sightings.
• Galveston has several restaurants that welcome pets. We’ll give you the list at check-in.
• In case you need help while on the island, Sand `N Sea has a list of recommended vets.
Be sure to ask about our special swag for your beach-going pet at check-in! We look forward to seeing you and your V.I.P. (very important pet) at a pet friendly vacation home on Galveston Island soon!
Galveston Island for the holidays? We couldn’t agree more! From the City of Galveston Holiday Parade (Dec. 16th) to the Santa Hustle 5k (Dec. 17th), there’s a lot going on here on the island – not to mention the abundance of unique shops that are sure to have the perfect gift for hard-buy-for-Uncle-Phil!
ICE LAND at Moody Gardens (our hands down favorite local holiday attraction) returned for its fourth year, and we think the Rainforest Holiday theme might be the best yet! Over 2 million pounds of ice were used by a skilled team of master ice carvers – resulting in an interactive 28,000 square foot ice sculpture complete with an ice slide!
New this year is Downtown Lanterns & Lights at Saengerfest Park in the heart of Galveston’s Historic District. This unique display is the perfect place for holiday pictures, and is a great place to stop and take a break from holiday shopping (T-minus 10 days people!). As if these festive light sculptures aren’t enough – there’s a giant snowglobe for visitors to step into on December 16 & 23. We…ahem…our KIDS think this is awesome!
Attendees flock to various special programs – from the Dawn Patrol to an East End Winter Coastal Birding exploration over the course of the weekend.
This unique program is just one of the annual events that the nature-minded team at GINTC presents each year. Their 16th annual Featherfest celebration is coming April 17 – 22, 2018, bringing birders of all ages and experience levels from around the globe to our corner of the Gulf coast!
(You know what they say about the early bird – they get the best vacation home nest!…or something like that! 😉 We’ve got great Galveston Islandvacation rental homes available for flocks of all sizes. We would love to welcome you to one for Featherfest!)