Top 5 Reasons to Winter on Galveston Island

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:Girl holding fish on hook in Galveston Texas

Fishing – #1
Surf fishing, wade fishing, deep sea fishing, fishing from the dock, warm weather fishing, cool weather fishing…well, you get the idea ūüėČ 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 – #33 Texas Sandhill Cranes Walking in Grass By The Beach.
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!

Festivals – #4
‘Tis the season – festival season that is! We’ve got something for everyone happening on the island at this time of year – and the perfect excuse for a Galveston weekend getaway!
ARToberFEST¬†— October 20 & 21
Galveston Island Oktoberfest¬†— October 26 & 27
–¬†Lone Star Rally — November 1-4
Dickens on The Strand —¬†December 1 &¬†2

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!

Book Your Winter Getaway

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!

Dickens on The Strand – A Galveston Island Tradition!

Huzzah! Dickens on The Strand is parading through this weekend, December 1 – 3, 2017!

Family dressed in tradition clothing at Dickens on the strand in galveston island tx

Friday night’s FREE kick-off festival takes place from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Fezziwig’s Beer Hall features live entertainment, hearty ales and a specialty drink. According to the Galveston Historical Foundation, “Mr. Fezziwig was everything that Ebenezer wasn‚Äôt and this is sure to be a fun and lively start to the weekend‚Äôs activities.” – Count us in!

Saturday & Sunday bring costume contests, delicious food from period-themed vendors,¬†a screening of the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Victorian Bed Races, The Queen’s Parade and a variety of live performances by local and regional artists and performers.

For the kiddos – don’t miss Oliver’s Alley! At 24th Street you’ll find specialty programs, events and more on Saturday & Sunday.¬†This fun area is presented by the Galveston Children’s Museum, so it’s sure to be a blast!

To download a full schedule of events, click here.

Thanksgiving Week Activities on Galveston Island

turkey in galvestonIf 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.

artwalk fall in galveston txSaturday, 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 gardens festival of lights galveston txMoody Garden’s¬†Festival of Lights¬†is a mile-long walking trail with more than one million lights and lighted scenes. Enjoy the area‚Äôs only outdoor skating rink, concession areas with hot chocolate and festive food, holiday buffets, live entertainment and more. (Through January 7, 2018)

moody gardens ice slide galveston txICE 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)

Spring Break on Galveston Island!

Check out our hints for making this year’s Galveston Spring Break the best one yet!

(Updated 01/2019)

beach morning glory flowers on galveston island beach
Beach morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae), a popular sight on West End dunes.

First thing’s first, when is Spring Break in Galveston, TX?

The busiest week is March 9 – 16, 2019, but the island welcomes spring breakers throughout the whole month of March.

Grab your shades, a beach towel & some sunscreen! We’re ready to roll out the sandy carpet whenever you’re headed our way!

Tips for Spring Break on a Budget:

Piggy Bank

#1. Consider beachside vacation homes. These can be as close as 2nd row, with stellar Gulf views & quick beach access – all without the higher prices you can expect for beachfront rentals. Plus, unlike in a hotel, you can split the cost across multiple families!

#2. The Galveston Island Pass can save you up to 40% off of 4 or more local attractions. Participating places include: The Bryan Museum, the Galveston Railroad Museum, Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast & more.

#3. Take advantage of the free activities on Galveston Island during Spring Break! Explore the island’s tree sculptures, see dolphins and more! Check out this”Budget Friendly Galveston” guide for more ideas.

Things to do in Galveston on Spring Break:

If the lying on the ūüŹĖÔłŹ and floating in the waves isn’t enough for you (or you forgot your sunscreen yesterday and are trying to avoid becoming a total lobster) there are lots of other things to do during Spring Break!

March 9 – Family Day at the Ocean Star Drilling Rig & Museum
Children 18 years and younger are FREE with a paying adult! This month it’s “Derrick of Distinction”  – build your own oil derrick!

March 9 & 10Corvette Chevy Expo
Featuring world class show cars, a Miniature Wheels Show, a Wash ‘n Show, and more at the Galveston Island Convention Center on Seawall Blvd.

March 9 & 16 – Beach Exploration Guided Tour
Get a close-up look at the many critters and birds that inhabit the sand, surf and seaweed. Tour activities include hands-on seining, searching for ghost crabs and beachcombing under the guidance of Friends of Galveston Island State Park (FoGISP) volunteers.

March 10 & 17 – Bay Exploration Guided Tour
Discover the wetlands with a close-up look at the critters, grasses and birds that inhabit the marshland and bay.   Tour activities include hands-on-seining, fiddler crab sightings and more under the guidance  of FoGISP volunteers.

Build-Your-Own Galveston Spring Break!

Spring Break doesn’t have to be about the “typical” beach things! Here are some of our favorite things to do:

Artist Boat kayakers on Galveston Bay

Artist Boat – Ecological Tours via kayak. Something for all skill levels!

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier – Fun for all ages! Rides, midway games & live music.

The Grand 1894 Opera HouseCeltic Nights: Oceans of Hope, and more! Check out their schedule for the week and enjoy a special night out at this local gem of a theatre.

Why Sand `N Sea for Spring Break?

Our Galveston Island vacation rental homes offer open floor plans for quality time with family & friends, decks for sunning or dining al fresco, lofts to send the teens & kids to, fully stocked kitchens for family meals (leaving plenty of your budget for sweet treats or activities!), and comfortable, private bedrooms for everyone in your group (perfect for early birds or late risers!). Add to that 24/7 maintenance availability & a staff of locals here to help you every step of the way!

With over 150+ options, we’ve got the amenities you’re looking for! We offer homes with hot tubs, private pools, foosball tables, awesome fishing and more. From beachfront to bayfront, pet friendly to homes that work together (perfect for large families!), we’ll help you find the perfect Galveston vacation rental home for making Spring Break memories that last a lifetime!

FIND YOUR SPRING BREAK GETAWAY

#ProTip

Looking for a deal on your Sand `N Sea Spring Break rental? Be sure to check our Rental Specials page often for (you guessed it!) vacation rental specials, plus limited deals at your favorite Galveston Island beach house!

Galveston’s a Winter Wonder Island!

Galveston is full of fun holiday events this winter – and there are some you definitely shouldn’t miss! ¬†A few of our favorites are coming up this week:

Dec. 2 Р4:  Dickens on the Strand
This family-friendly Victorian holiday festival is an annual favorite full of period costumes, parades, live music, themed food & drink vendors, a great selection of Victorian-inspired shopping stops, and more! Check out the newly expanded Oliver’s Alley hosted by the Galveston Children’s Museum.

Dec. 2 & 3: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Performed at the historic The Grand 1894 Opera House, this fresh adaptation includes stunning sets, traditional carols, and a timeless message. Tickets available now.

festival-of-lightsThrough Jan. 8:  Festival of Lights
Enjoy more than one million lights within 100 sound enhanced animated displays, plus nightly live entertainment! Don’t miss the ice rink (skate rentals available), the Arctic Slide, or photo ops with Santa. ¬†Full schedule and ticket information available¬†here.

We hope to see you out enjoying all that our Winter Wonder Island has to offer during your Sand `N Sea vacation!

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!

galveston tx october free festivals

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!

Galveston Island FeatherFest and Nature PhotoFest

photo of pelican on post taken at featherfest in galveston island This weather is for the birds! ¬†Well, maybe not even them…these thunderstorms probably have them tucked into their nests for the day.¬†Hopefully, some sunny weather will be winging its way to us for this weekend’s FeatherFest and Nature PhotoFest! ¬†(In case you haven’t already gathered, we’re feathering our post with as many terrible bird puns as possible. “Cheep” laughs, that’s us! :D).

group of birders birdwatching nature with binoculars in glaveston island texas

With over 100 field trips, workshops, and birding events to choose from, FeatherFest is an annual event that causes visitors of all ages to flock to Galveston to try to catch a glimpse of the over 200 species of birds that make the arduous northward migration across the Gulf from Central and South America. Our prime spot on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail makes Galveston Island the natural watering hole for bird watchers and their feathered friends!

As of today, there are still seats left at several¬†of the sessions of both parts (FeatherFest and Photofest) of this awesome experience.¬†From the newly hatched birder to the “wise old owl” types, there’s bound to be a class you’ll enjoy! Plus, free family events include a screen of “Audubon The Film“, a “Birds of Prey Raptor Show” and more!

spoonbill in water in galveston island texasDoes your flock already have plans for this weekend? ¬†Don’t worry! ¬†This¬†handy “Great Birding” brochure is a great guide no matter what season you’re making your annual beach migration ūüėČ

P.S. Early birds didn’t get all the¬†worms – er, vacation houses! We still have some prime nesting spots left for this weekend – check availability and book online¬†24/7¬†or give us a call at 409-797-5500, Ext. 2.

Mardi Gras! Galveston – The Fun Marches On

galveston mardi gras knights of momusmummers

Whew!  We had an awesome time last weekend as we began our 115th Mardi Gras! Galveston celebration!  What about you?

Did you miss it? ¬†(How COULD you!!) ūüėČ ¬†Don’t worry! The party continues¬†through February 9, and there are still plenty of festivities for you to take part in. ¬†Our “Must Attends” for the second weekend are:

February 6 @ 9:00 a.m. & 11 a.m.: ¬†Krewe d’Espirit Rosaire Battle of the Bands* (9 a.m.) & Parade* (11 a.m.) – Marching bands from the Houston-Galveston area will perform and compete for the coveted trophy during the Battle of the Bands. The parade starts at 11:00 a.m., and includes Krewe royalty, motorcycle groups, drill teams, boats, and more! ¬†Immediately following the parade, the ‚ÄúYard Party‚ÄĚ at Jack Johnson Park¬†begins! More bead throwing, more music and food and drinks for sale and plenty of FUN!

February 6 @ 6:30 p.m.: Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade – Mardi Gras! Galveston’s largest parade, viewers will enjoy spectacular floats, marching bands, beads, and more!

galveston tx dog and cat mardi gras kreweofbarkus

February 7 @ 1:00 p.m.: Krewe of Barkus & Meow Parade* РThe 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 Рthis is a great one to participate in!

February 7 @ 2:00 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 getaway of a¬†minimum stay of 2 nights for any time before¬†March 7, 2016, and get an extra night at the beach for FREE – call us at 409.797.5500 to book today!

Now¬†we just need to figure out what we’re going to do with all of these beads…

115th Mardi Gras! Galveston

galveston island mardi gras festival parade

Laissez les bons temps rouler!  The 115th Mardi Gras! Galveston celebration is kicking off this weekend, and we are SO ready!

Rumor has it there’s going to be more than 3 million beads, 22 parades, 20 balcony parties, 5 masked balls, and more than 30 live concerts over the course of the celebration (January 29 – February 9, 2016) on Galveston Island. Headliners this year include Collective Soul, Cory Morrow, and Candyland¬†& Fightclvb.

Some of our “Must Attends” for the first weekend include:

January 29 @ 8 p.m.: Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade РDance and twirl your way along this fun parade route.  This free event is the perfect excuse to have a lot of fun and get down with your friends, family, coworkers, or whoever!  Reserve your spot soon.

January 30 @ 11 a.m.: Mardi Gras! Galveston Official 5K РGrab your posse and enjoy a leisurely crawl or an intense run along this course through Downtown Galveston.  Open to all ages and levels.  Register online.

mardi gras parade galveston seawall

January 30¬†@ 1¬†p.m: ¬†5th Annual Zaniest Golf Cart Parade –¬†Roll your way through Historic Downtown Galveston with your friends and family on your glammed out golf cart! ¬†Register your stunning ride today.

And the FREE and Family Friendly parades on January 31 include:
@ 1 p.m.: The Sunshine Kids Parade
@ 3 p.m.: The Shriners Hospital for Children Parade

AND….we have a rental special going on! ¬†(as though you needed another excuse to take off for the weekend!) ¬†Book a¬†Mardi Gras getaway in one of our vacation rentals. ¬†Book a minimum stay of 2 nights for anytime January 19 – March 7, 2016, and get an extra night at the beach for FREE – call us at 409.797.5500 to book today!

It’s Festival Season on Galveston!

It‚Äôs Fall!! ¬†Don’t get us wrong – we love summers on the island. ¬†However, if pressed, we might admit to loving October/November even more (shhhhh!). There’s something about a steady forecast of 80 – 90 degrees with a cool breeze, endless blue skies, and the less-busy beaches that really speaks to us. ¬†Plus, it seems like there’s a festival (and festival food!) almost every weekend!

ARToberfest ¬†–¬†October 17 & 18
Island Oktoberfest РOctober 23 & 24
Mini Monster Bash Р October 31
Lone Star Rally rolls into town November 4 ‚Äď 8‚Ķwhew!

AND all of the “regularly scheduled” monthly entertainments are still happening: Music Night on the Strand, Island Market, ArtWalk, Family Day at the Ocean Star Museum, and more…

…excuse us while we head downtown to invest in some new walking shoes!