Outdoor Activities in Galveston TX

Galveston is a popular beach destination for a reason. It’s an ideal escape for fishing and birding enthusiasts. Plus, the 32 miles of beach prove perfect for kite flying and a wide variety of other activities that outdoor enthusiasts love. 

We tried to keep this list to the Top 5 – but there are just too many great options to choose from! Regardless of your age or energy level, you’ll never find a shortage of things to do in Galveston!

11 BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IDEAS

Fishing

Surrounded by nutrient-rich waters that wash west across our shores, Galveston is full of excellent places to throw a line in (including right from the deck of your bayfront vacation rental!). Take the time to learn patience and a new skill, or get back to the hobby you love while fishing in Galveston. The island provides a wide array of underwater habitats perfect for a great catch of the day!

Fishing at sunset in Galveston tx

Boating

Who can resist a boating excursion? With a variety of Galveston boat rental options and easy access to the bay from your West End vacation rental, you can be out on the water in no time! Bring your fishing poles and life jackets and prepare for a relaxing day on the water.

Boat at sunset in Galveston TX

Birding

Galveston is a prime birding destination thanks to its location along the Central Flyway. Thousands of birds stop by on their annual migration each spring and fall. Join us during the off season for peak birding opportunities, and don’t miss the annual Featherfest celebration in April. Discover your new favorite outdoor activity in Galveston, TX!

Birds flying over Galveston TX

Kite Flying

The constant Gulf breeze is perfect for kite flying! Whether your piloting a line or simply watch those around you, this is a perfect way to get outdoors and enjoy time with others. Bring your own favorite flyer or check out the local Kites Unlimited shop on Seawall Blvd. Kids of all ages will love this perfect beach activity!

family flying a kite on the beach

Parks

Galveston Island offers visitors a variety of different local parks for exploration. Stop by the playground, carve up the skate park, or let your pup off the leash at the local dog park. Visiting Galveston parks is a perfect way to enjoy nature and experience many of the outdoor activities in Galveston, TX.

Galveston Bay

Paddle Boarding

No matter your skill level, a few hours of paddle boarding the local waters is exactly what your next trip to Galveston Island needs! Plan your equipment rental and private lesson, then hit the Gulf or bay! (#protip – Ask your vendor about delivery & pick-up options for your beach house.) When the day is over, we are sure you’ll have a few impressive pictures to look back on as well.

Man paddle boarding with dog

Beachcombing

A long day of combing the beach for hidden treasures is extremely rewarding! Whether you are looking for sea glass, shark teeth, arrowheads, or maybe a unique shell for the kids, Galveston offers a variety of hidden surprise that will make your beachcombing plans worth it!

Shells on beach in Galveston TX

Kayaking

Immerse yourself in Galveston’s unique marine habitat no matter the water temp – enjoy the view from the seat of a kayak. Explore the coast’s splendor and reignite your connection with nature by taking a personal excursion or booking a guided kayak tour.

kayaking in Galveston TX

Jet Skiing

Every vacation or getaway needs some kind of high intensity adventure! Quicken the pace of your day by hopping on a jet ski while in Galveston. These small watercraft are perfect for exploring the canals and inlets along the northern coast of the island. Delivery & pick-up to your beach house is available from local vendors.

Man on jet ski in Galveston TX

Sand Castle Building

We take sand castle building seriously here in Galveston! Many locals say this is one of their favorite outdoor activities. This recreational activity is sure to provide hours of family fun for all ages and is a great past time to keep the kiddos entertained while their sunblock soaks in!

Family standing in front of sand castle in Galveston tx

Sitting and Relaxing

Take advantage of the serenity of the island while watching the waves roll in. Enjoy a simple stroll or just sit back and relax in your beach chair. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch the pelicans and shorebirds. Nothing’s better than the sand under your feet and your favorite drink in your hand while relaxing on a Galveston beach.

Woman relaxing on the beach in Galveston TX.

PLAN YOUR GETAWAY TO GALVESTON, TX TODAY

Galveston Island provides the perfect destination for sun, sand, and fun! Sand ‘N Sea offers 155+ of the best vacation rentals on Galveston’s West End. From open floor plans with multiple decks to elevators and swimming pools, these homes have the amenities you want for a perfect beach trip.

There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Galveston, TX! Contact our team and start planning your perfect outdoor getaway today.

3 Day Galveston Trip Planner

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!

3 days on Galveston activities photo collage of Sunflower Bakery pancakes, Bishops Palace, The Bryant Museum and a boy with a tree sculpture on Galveston

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.

3 days on Galveston photo collage with pictures of children on beach, Tall Ship Elissa, The Strand Galveston and 1894 Opera House

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!

3 days in Galveston photo collage with MOD coffee, Seagull II boat tour, Turtles About Town Statue, Hey Mikey's Ice Cream and Ocean Star Drilling Rig Museum on Galveston Island TX

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!