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!

Galveston Fishing Rodeo & Fall Flounder Classic Fishing Tournaments

Kingfish - Galveston Fishing RodeoGrab your gear and¬†get ready to reel ’em in at the Galveston Fishing Rodeo in October or the Fall Flounder Classic this November & December!

Hosted and coordinated by the Galveston Professional Boatmen’s Association, these two inaugural tournaments cast light on the amazing surf & off-shore fishing we get to experience here on Galveston Island!

The¬†Galveston Fishing Rodeo runs from September 28 at 6:30 p.m. to October 28 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 this inaugural tournament that’s open to private¬†boats as well as guided anglers.

Inshore: Bull redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel & Gaftop Catfish.

Offshore: Kingfish, Ling (Cobia), Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), Greater Amberjack, & Mangrove Snapper

Speckled Trout - Galveston Bay Fishing RodeoThe 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 2018 Fall Flounder Classic kicks off November 2 at 6:30 a.m. and runs through December 30, 2018 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! ūüėČ 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!

Galveston fishing rodeoAfter 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!

Book a Bay or Canal Rental

 

Want to be the first to hear about our fall rental specials? Sign up for our emails!

Fall Birding on Galveston Island

October is the perfect time to catch some of your favorite feathered friends frolicking on Galveston’s shores!

Galveston ornithologist Jim Stevenson recently sent us these great images, and we just had to share!shorebirds galveston bay hurricane harvey

Here’s what Jim had to say:

“the rains of Harvey created a lot of freshwater pools for shorebirds to feed, as the Gulf‚Äôs shores were well under water. From left to right above, there are Western Willets, a Great-tailed Grackle, Black-bellied Plover w/ a Black-necked Stilt behind it, a Short-billed Dowitcher bending over, a Long-billed Curlew flying right to left, a Laughing Gull already in winter plumage with a Marbled Godwit right behind it, two more Willets & another black-belly and a Spotted Sandpiper (hard to make out) flitting at the right edge of the picture.

bird watching galveston bay

During the height of Hurricane Harvey‚Äôs winds, birds like this Long-billed Curlew were hunkering down, of course facing the wind. You can see the nearby Marbled Godwit was also low. This female (see the long bill?) also still has much of her breeding (alternate) plumage, as shorebirds molt a great deal in August and April.”

Galveston Island is a great birding location all year round, but it gets even better in the spring! Check out¬†FeatherFest – Galveston’s annual birding and nature photo festival!

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.

Trolley ride city of galvestonRide 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!)

galveston seawall beachfront fireworksBeachfront Fireworks Show Рevery 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 Рhosted 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.

galveston art walk galleryArtWalk – 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

Galveston Historic Trolley ride

 

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.

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

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!

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!

4th of July on Galveston Island

galveston 4th of july fireworks

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! ūüėČ

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!

lonestar flight museum aviation galvestonThe¬†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.)

railroad museum sculpture galleryThe 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 Р11 a.m. to 8 p.m, Saturday & Sunday Р10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday Р11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Tues. РThurs.)

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!

couple with dogs on galveston beach

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” ūüôā ¬†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 Bakery, Sunflower 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! ūüėČ

Winter on Galveston Island

sand snowman winter on galveston island

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!