Posted on 5/22/2024

Summer in Galveston: A Traveler's Guide

With over 30 miles of beaches, family-friendly fun, and a historic downtown full of cool cafes  and shops, Galveston Island is an idyllic summer getaway. The Gulf Coast Texas destination offers a warm and sunny summer escape, with  beautiful beach vacation homes perfect for long weekends or extended getaways.

In this guide, we’ll share insider tips and the best places to spend those long summer days. Get ready for sun, sand, and sea this summer in Galveston!

About Summer Galveston


Expect hot and sunny days with occasional breezes during summer in Galveston. The average high during this season is 90 and the low 79, according to the NOAA, with a little less humidity but more rain in the forecast than spring. June tends to be the driest summer month, so keep that in mind when making your plans.

Summer water temps average 84 degrees, perfect for swimming and paddling!

Getting to Galveston Island

Getting to Galveston is easy, thanks to two airports in the Houston metro. If you’re flying in, William P. Hobby Airport is the closest, about 40 miles away, but George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston has more arrivals and is about 70 miles away.

Getting Around Galveston

Bringing or renting a car in Galveston is the easiest way to get around, especially when you’re staying on the quieter western side of the island. You can also  rent a golf cart for a few days for a laid-back way to drive to the beach and back in many neighborhoods..

For public transit, the  Galveston trolley connects The Strand with the Seawall and runs all the way to Moody Gardens, connecting several key spots along the way.

What to Pack for Summer in Galveston

With all the hot sunny days on the island this season, swimwear and shorts are the summer uniform. A Galveston clothing packing list should include

  • Bathing suits
  • Sightseeing outfits (think tank tops and sundresses)
  • Activewear for hiking or biking
  • Evenings out on the town are pretty casual, but you can dress up to your comfort level for fancier dinner reservations or cocktail hour at swanky bars.

Since it’s a beach vacation, you also should pack:

  • Sunscreen
  • Shady hats
  • Beach toys

Stores on the island are also well stocked with beach essentials, so it’s easy to pick up anything you forget.

Things To Do During Summer in Galveston

Go Beach Hopping

Island vacations are meant for spending time on the sand, and Galveston has more than 30 miles of coastline full of beaches to enjoy. Whether you prefer lazy days sunbathing and beachcombing or will be chasing kids and building castles, below are a few of the  best beaches in Galveston you may want to hop around to.

West End Beaches

Further from the touristy parts of Galveston, the West End has quieter spots like Jamaica Beach, Terramar Beach, and Galveston Island State Park. This is a great way to avoid crowds on a swath of sand close to your  West End vacation rental.

Stewart Beach

Toward the eastern end of the island, Stewart Beach is popular for families since it has lifeguards on duty. You’ll also find beach gear rentals, food vendors, restrooms, and showers.

East Beach

If you’re looking for a beach with amenities, East Beach on the far side of the island is full of them. This is a great spot to spend a few hours with chair rentals, snack stands, restrooms, and a wide stretch of sand.

Take a Sand Castle Building Lesson

If your beach vacation goal includes building the world’s best sand castle, you’re in luck! Each summer Saturday on East Beach, you can join a  sandcastle building class led by a pro to perfect your technique.

The events are free, and you can watch the sculptures being created before attempting your own masterpiece. East Beach is home to the annual AIA Sandcastle Competition each summer, so this is the perfect spot to learn!

Play at the Pleasure Pier

The  Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is the quintessential seaside destination, with carnival games and rides on a wooden dock that stretches out into the Gulf. You can come for a beachfront dinner at the on-site Bubba Gump Shrimp or head straight for the amusement park and fair foods for an afternoon of family fun!

Visit Moody Gardens

If you’re looking for family-friendly summer activities in Galveston, you can’t go wrong with a day at Moody Gardens. The entertainment complex has boat rides, a golf course, and three glass pyramids with attractions inside.

Start at the Aquarium Pyramid to see one of the biggest aquatic exhibits in Texas full of sharks, penguins, seals, and colorful fish. The Rainforest Pyramid mimics the wet habitats of Asia, Africa, and South America, with hundreds of plants and animals inside (make sure to say hi to the sloths and monkeys).

In the Discovery Museum Pyramid, you’ll find rotating exhibits and hands-on activities. You can also hop on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat for sightseeing day cruises or evening dinner cruises.

Hike at Galveston Island State Park

Summer in Galveston is a great season to spend time outdoors at  Galveston Island State Park. The park preserves 2,000 acres of undeveloped land on the western side of Galveston, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the bay, so it’s full of quiet beaches and beautiful wetlands.

To enjoy the landscape, you can hit the boardwalks for an easy hike, go kayaking on the paddling trails, or join the  Friends of Galveston Island State Park for beach walks to look for ghost crabs and other sand critters.

Shop and Dine on The Strand

You can’t vacation on the island without spending at least one day hanging out on The Strand in Downtown Galveston!

The Victorian-era Strand Historic District is located a block from the Galveston Bay and seaport and is full of boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, bars, restaurants, and other entertainment. It’s the perfect spot to go by day for ice cream or icy margaritas or later in the day for happy hour and nightlife!

Check Out the Strand Summer Series

Free movies and music are on the agenda during Galveston’s Strand Summer Series. Taking place between April and September, the series features monthly Saturday concerts at Saengerfest Park on The Strand and movie nights on different Saturdays each month at Hendley Green downtown. Beer and wine are sold on site during the events.

Hit the Waterslides at Schlitterbahn

Hot summer days are the perfect excuse to take to the twisting slides and lazy rivers at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston. The park offers fun for the whole family, with wave pools, water slides, swim-up bars, kiddie zones, and beach cabanas. You can buy daily tickets or a season pass to return a couple of times during your vacation!

Tour Galveston’s Mansions and Museums

Whether you need a break from the sun or a way to spend a rainy day, Galveston has tons of great museums to visit and cool old mansions to explore.

If you’re vacationing with kids, you don’t want to skip the  Galveston Railroad Museum to see the vintage trains and historic station near The Strand. The 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA is also a must to learn about Galveston’s maritime history, pirates, and sea life in a floating museum.

For more island history, check out the East End Historical District for home tours of the 1895 Moody Mansion, 1892  Bishop’s Palace, and the  Bryan Museum, with Texas and Western artifacts in a former children’s home.

Getaway to Galveston This Summer

It’s time to pack your bags and head to Galveston for a beach getaway! Summer in Galveston means warm weather perfect for playing in the sand, splashing in the waves, or cooling off with an ice cream at the pier.

With so much to do and see, you’ll want to reserve your Galveston vacation rental for a week of fun on the island. When you’re ready to make your reservation, we’ve got the perfect beach houses for your crew, whether you’re looking for a spot to host a big family reunion or a relaxing spot with stunning views.

Book your stay with Sand ‘N Sea today!

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