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

Man and Woman holding a Kingfish caught at the 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

Man presenting several Speckled Trout on his back caught at the 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!

Two men holding large fish at the 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!

Thanksgiving Dining on Galveston Island

Is anyone else still struggling to believe it’s already November!?! Whew! 2017 has certainly flown by, and we are sure we aren’t the only ones ready for a day off with family, friends and an excuse for eating copious amounts of delicious food!

We are looking forward to welcoming all of our Thanksgiving holiday guests to the beach in a few weeks!¬†Holidays at the slower pace of Island life are ideal no matter your age and¬†you don’t¬†have to worry about¬†meeting that “in-law/grandmother clean” standard when everyone travels to a beach house instead – it’s a win-win!

Galveston has some great local dining options if you want to make it a TRUE holiday and let your family chef(s) relax too! Check out some great local¬†Thanksgiving dining options here. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites below:

The San Luis Resort Champagne Brunch
10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
$65/adult, $30/children

Moody Gardens Thanksgiving Day Buffet
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$59/adult, $29/children

ShyKatz Deli & Bakery – Take & Bake
Preorder by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, 11/20
Pickup by 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 11/22

Mosquito Cafe – Take & Bake
Preorder by 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 11/21
Pickup 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 11/22

thanksgiving dining on galveston island tx cornucopia

Budget Friendly Galveston

Everything is better on a budget! ¬†We’ve all heard that the best things in life are free (except coffee…and chocolate…for starters ūüėČ ), and Galveston has a great variety of free or practically-free attractions and activities that we are sure you’ll love!

galveston art tree sculptureGalveston Tree Sculpture Tour
Take a leisurely walking tour and see the gorgeous sculptures made from oak trees that fell victim to Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Movie & Music Nites on the Strand
The first Saturday of every month (March РOctober) brings a different cinematic adventure to the outdoor screen at Saengerfest Park. Films begin at dusk.
The second Saturday brings Music Nite, where the area’s top bands perform to crowds of all ages. ¬†Music Nite & Movie Nite are always free – just bring your beach chair and a few snacks!

Ferry Ride – Watch for Dolphins!
The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry operates dolphin watching in galveston tx24 hours a day, and is a great way to catch site of the Galveston Bay’s population of dolphins as they frolic in the waves and the wakes of passing ships. Another freebie!

Galveston Island State Park
From their beach & bay nature walks to birding, kayak tours, fishing clinics and special events, Galveston Island State Park is a must-see spot for your vacation itinerary!

Museums, Museums, Museums!
The Galveston Railroad Museum, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, Pier 21 Theater, 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA and the Texas Seaport Museum range in price from $5 to $12 per person (most offer free admission for children under age 5) and the nearby Rosenberg Library Museum is free for all ages!

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!

Top 4 Galveston Island Coffee Shops

Recovering from the regional impacts of Hurricane Harvey is exhausting, but a little caffeine, some fresh baked goodies, and free wifi in a quiet environment are just the thing to start the day off right!

galveston island sunset

Galveston Island’s local coffee shops are the perfect place to relax, and we have a few favorites that would love to welcome you with a warm smile and a hot cup:

mod coffee house galveston

MOD Coffeehouse Р2126 Postoffice (Downtown)

This local favorite features fair trade coffee, lattes, chai teas & espressos; plus fresh pastries & baked goods. Enjoy an after-dinner espresso and check out their live music on Friday & Saturday nights (weather permitting). Free wifi.

Galveston Coffee RoastersGalveston Coffee Roasters Р532 23rd Street (Downtown)
A relative newcomer to the Galveston coffee scene, this mom & pop store has quickly made it’s way into our hearts. With custom blends featuring coffees from around the world, you’re sure to find a freshly roasted flavor you love.

Sunflower Bakery and Cafe Galveston TXSunflower Bakery & Cafe Р512 14th Street (Downtown)
If you can resist all the amazing scratch-baked deliciousness in their cases you’re stronger than us! Grab a coffee and baked good or stop by for a more leisurely brunch at this local institution. Breakfast is served until 3 p.m.

SugarBean Coffee & Cream GalvestonSugarBean Coffee & Cream Р11 Evia Main (Evia, near the Moody Gardens Golf Course)
This neighborhood coffee house offers lattes, teas, espresso, smoothies and gelato, seasonally. Lovely outdoor seating and very child-friendly.

We look forward to seeing you at one of these peaceful oases during your next visit to Galveston Island!

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