Posted on 2/27/2023

17 Perfect Things to Do in Galveston for Couples

Luxurious spas, sun-soaked beaches, surf-and-turf dining, and a historic downtown district — Galveston has all the ingredients for a romantic getaway for two. The island off the coast of Texas boasts some 30 miles of waterfront on the Gulf of Mexico, but it's all the extras that really set it apart.

Whether you come for a honeymoon, anniversary, or just to spend special one-on-one time together exploring and relaxing, there are tons of fun things to do in Galveston for couples.

Head to the Strand Historic District for shopping and dining near the harbor, check out the mansions, museums and local opera house for a taste of culture, or grab some cotton candy and ride the giant wheel on a nostalgic date at the Pleasure Pier.

Below, we've rounded up the best things to do for couples in Galveston that you don't want to miss on your trip to the coast. Our Galveston vacation rentals are conveniently located near some of the top beaches and attractions on the island.

Take Your Date to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

The Historic Pleasure Pier offers a sweet throwback date for couples. It is packed with rides and fair foods that make for a fun date night by the sea. If you're into thrills, the Iron Shark Roller Coaster and Texas Star Flyer will get your heart pumping, while the Galaxy Wheel is a more relaxed slow spin with breathtaking views.

Try the onsite Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant for dinner, or keep it casual with counter-service pizza, turkey legs, and funnel cakes. You can also grab a beer or margarita to enjoy in the open air while you watch the sunset change the sky to shades of pink over the Gulf Coast.

The beachside amusement park is located on the Galveston Seawall and 25th Street. Hours vary by season, but the Pleasure Pier is typically open through the afternoon and evening. Tickets are required to enter the pier, and you can add a ride pass for unlimited admission to the 17 attractions.

Local Tip: Be sure to check their website & social channels for special deals throughout the year.

Shop and Dine in the Strand Historic District

The Strand Historic District in Galveston is the place to go for shopping by day and dining and entertainment by night. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, these blocks house buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s and host popular events like Dickens on the Strand during the holidays and Galveston Mardi Gras! in February.

For a day date, you can grab brunch and check out the antique shops, art galleries, and boutiques in historic buildings. Make sure to stop by the famous LA King's Confectionery to grab an ice cream from the old-timey soda fountain and try the colorful salt water taffy. By night, The Strand bounces with live music and nightclubs.

Paddle the Trails at Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park is one of the best couple's outdoor activities in the area. The preserve is located along one of the last undeveloped parts of the barrier island and covers 2,000 acres of bay and beachfront. Though it's close and convenient to Galveston vacation rentals, it feels worlds away from city life.

The park maintains four miles of hiking trails that are mostly easy and pretty short, perfect for birdwatching and casual strolls through the marshes and coastal prairies. For more active couples, the park's calm paddling trails are great for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

The ultimate adventure is the 5.4-mile Oak Bayou Paddling Trail that crosses through quiet bayous and beds of seagrass to wide-open coves. You can rent boards and kayaks from the onsite sports equipment outfitter.

The state park charges a per-person admission fee for entry, and you need to make a reservation ahead of time for the day that you plan to visit.

Tour a Galveston Mansion

Photo Credit: Victoria Ditkovsky

Galveston has some incredibly beautiful old homes and mansions along Broadway Avenue and the surrounding blocks. You can see some of the facades by just walking through the neighborhood, but a couple of larger mansions offer interior tours that history buffs will love.

Moody Mansion, built in 1895, is a great place to start. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Inside, 20 rooms of the 28,000-square-foot mansion hold antique furnishings and heirlooms. With an admission ticket, guests can explore independently or pay extra to join a guided tour that includes a few extra spaces.

About a mile away down Broadway, Bishop's Palace is an 1892 mansion that is part of the East End Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. Like Moody Mansion, Bishop's Palace offers daily self-guided visits and occasional special tours with a guide of spaces not usually open to the public.

Since the pair of lavish dwellings are both in the East End, they pair well for a history-themed outing in Galveston for couples.

Enjoy a Romantic Brunch

Calling all foodies! Brunching is one of the best things to do in Galveston for couples on the weekends. Galveston has a blend of culinary influences, from Southwestern to Cajun and Mexican, and brunch eateries across the island dish out some amazing morning meals.

Close to the Strand Historic District, the Sunflower Bakery and Cafe and the Mosquito Cafe are local favorites open daily. The first offers Southern comfort foods and scrumptious pastries, while the latter serves up signature dishes like a shrimp and eggs benedict and a crab omelet.

For the ultimate romantic and lux weekend meal, though, you can't skip the famous Grand Galvez Sunday Brunch. The prix fixe menu here features a seafood buffet, carving station, seafood gumbo, and specially made omelets with mimosas and champagne.

Step Into the Rainforest at Moody Gardens

While it's known as a family-friendly attraction, Moody Gardens is one of the best things to do in Galveston and the perfect outing for couples, too. Recognizable for its three glass pyramids on the bay, the huge complex has an aquarium, rainforest, golf course, and spa.

Step into the Rainforest Pyramid to be surrounded by exotic plants and creatures from South America, Asia, and Africa. Afterward, visit the Aquarium Pyramid to watch the swimming sharks and cute waddling penguins.

For an extra fee, guests can play a round of golf at the waterfront course or book a couples massage and hydrotherapy bubble bath at the spa.

Moody Gardens also operates the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, designed to look like an 1800s vessel. Day cruises on the boat take you out into the bay for sightseeing, while dinner cruises are the perfect chance to enjoy a romantic sunset with a glass of wine on the water.

Relax at the Beach

Galveston has some incredible Gulf front beaches along over 30 miles of coastline. Whether you're looking for a place to relax together or more of a festive and active vibe, there's a spot on the sand for everyone.

Babe's Beach is one of the best beaches on the island, located along Seawall Boulevard near the 61st Street Fishing Pier.

To the east, Stewart Beach and East Beach are best for spending long stretches of time on the sand since they're full of amenities like restrooms, concession stands, and lounge chair rentals. East Beach is the only one in Galveston that allows and sells alcohol.

For something a little quieter, head down to the West End of the island for peaceful spots like Half Moon Beach, San Luis Pass Beach, and Jamaica Beach.

Take a Ferry Ride to the Bolivar Peninsula

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Located along the East Bay just across from Galveston Island, the Bolivar Peninsula makes for a fun day trip. To get there, you have to ride the free Port Bolivar Ferry for cars and passengers from the terminal on the northeastern end of the island. The ride offers some romantic downtime as you cross the Gulf and takes about 20 minutes each way.

During the ferry ride, look out over the water to spot dolphins and other sea creatures swimming in the channel. Once you've docked, head to Fort Travis Park to explore the historical bunkers and top it all off with an afternoon picnic with a Gulf view.

Walk the Galveston Seawall

Running for 10 miles along the Gulf of Mexico; the Galveston Seawall serves as both a flood defense system and a pedestrian & biking pathway. It also happens to be a great place to take in a romantic sunset.

The Seawall dates to 1902 and connects popular Galveston attractions, fishing piers, and waterfront restaurants.

If you want to go for a seaside walk, the 2.5-mile route between Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and the 61st Street Fishing Pier is a great place to start, with breezy parks and wide, sandy beaches along the way. You can also rent bicycles to go a little further, or surrey bikes for a couples ride with a view.

Visit the Galveston Naval Museum

Known as the "Ellis Island of the South," Pelican Island, off of Galveston Harbor, once served as an immigration center at the turn of the 19th century. Now, the man-made island is home to Seawolf Park - said to be the best fishing spot on the island - and the Galveston Naval Museum.

History-loving couples will enjoy checking out the pair of old ocean vessels from World War II at the museum. On self-guided tours, you can board and explore the USS Stewart, a 1942 destroyer escort built in Houston, and the USS Cavalla, an attack submarine used in WWII battles.

For the perfect couple's outing in Galveston, you can bring along a picnic to enjoy outside in the park while watching the boats and ships sailing in and out of Galveston ports.

Attend a Festival

Photo Credit: amadeustx

Galveston has a packed calendar of festivals throughout the year that make a perfect date activity! Starting with a month of dining specials during Galveston Restaurant Week in January through to the festive Holiday in the Gardens in December at Moody Gardens, there are always date-worthy festivals happening in Galveston.

Some of the big hitters that couples shouldn't miss include the lively Mardi Gras! Galveston in February with parades, parties, and concerts, the Lone Star Rally in November for live music, motorcycles & classic cars, and Dickens on the Strand, a Victorian-themed celebration in early December.

If you visit in Spring, you can also check out the Historic Homes Tour and Galveston Featherfest for birding and photography. Fall brings a whole slew of events, including Oktoberfest, ARToberFEST, the Galveston Island Shrimp Festival, and the Galveston Island Greek Festival.

Explore the Historic Strand Seaport Area

Galveston's Historic Seaport Area is located on the Galveston Channel just steps from The Strand and is full of museums, entertainment, and restaurants. From here, you can join dolphin tour excursions, book sunset sailing trips, and explore a couple of nautical-themed attractions.

For the perfect day date, start at Pier 21 and visit the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum and Texas Seaport Museum to see the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, a National Historic Landmark. Grab a seat at the Fisherman's Wharf for lunch to try the bacon-wrapped Shrimp Kisses and seafood platters.

In the afternoon, hop on a wet and wild jet boat ride to bounce around the bay or a more relaxed eco-tour to search for marine life. If you want to stay by the waterside for another meal, Willie G's Seafood and Steaks at Pier 21 offers a raw bar and a weekday happy hour with martinis and margaritas.

Spend a Day at Schlitterbahn

Who says water parks are just for kids? Especially since Schlitterbahn Galveston has fun adult activities like swim-up bars and private cabana rentals. If you're looking for fun things to do for couples in Galveston when the weather is steamy, Schlitterbahn is the perfect spot to cool off.

Thrill seekers can test out the intense water slides that drop and twist you from 70-foot heights, but there are also mellow spots to enjoy lazing around. Head to the heated Wasserfest or Blastenhoff pools with bars for frozen drinks like the Bahn-A-Rita and Americana Colada.

For your own private oasis at the park, Schlitterbahn has cabanas for rent that come with a personal host, lounge chairs, and a discount on food and beverages.

Take note: Schlitterbahn is not open year-round; check information on their website for details.

Uncover History at the Bryan Museum

Housed in a former orphanage built in 1878, the Bryan Museum in Galveston holds one of the world's largest collections of Texas and Western artifacts. It's a great spot for history-loving couples to spend some time examining folk art, cowboy memorabilia, Native American tools, and other artifacts dating back hundreds of years.

The museum also hosts a weekly Thursday at the Bryan event in the early evening with live music and wine.

Set Sail at Sunset

Does it get any more romantic than sipping a glass of champagne on the deck of a boat while watching the sky turn to shades of pink and orange over the water? Sunset cruises on the harbor are one of the best things couples can do in Galveston in the evening.

Cruises leave from the Galveston Harbor and typically last about two hours. Guests can bring their own romantic picnic and beverage of choice onboard for a personalized date night on an open-air boat tour.

Galveston Water Adventures hosts a two-hour cruise out of the harbor and invites guests to bring their own beverages and snacks to set the mood!

Watch a Show at The Grand 1894 Opera House

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A date night at The Grand 1894 Opera House is the perfect Galveston couples activity for theater and music lovers. The venue hosts everything from quartets and symphony orchestras to Irish step dancing, classic musicals, and pop performances.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Romanesque Revival building has survived multiple hurricanes. It is one of just a few theaters in Texas from this era still standing.

Go Brewery Hopping

Photo Credit: VisitGalveston

Hot island days pair perfectly with a cold mug of beer — especially when you add in a water view. Galveston has a handful of spots to go for a tasting, so you can try somewhere different each day of vacation or lump them together for a fun day of brewery hopping.

Galveston Island Brewing

Galveston Island Brewing is one of the local favorites, about a block inland from the Seawall on the West End. All beers here are brewed onsite, and there's an inside taproom and outdoor, pet-friendly lawn with games. Make sure to try the signature TIKI Wheat when you go.

Devil and the Deep Brewery

Next on the tour, head to Devil and the Deep Brewery near The Strand. The bar keeps craft Belgian and American beers on tap, and hosts live music and entertainment. If you want to add spirits to the tasting menu, Texas Tail Distillery is around the corner and produces signature Coastline Whiskey and Texas Tail Vodka.

Beerfoot Brewery

Beerfoot Brewery, a small spot near the Pleasure Pier with a view of the Gulf, is the perfect place to wrap up your day. The locally owned venue offers its own flavors but also allows island drink artisans to use their equipment to craft their own brews. Beerfoot is also across the road from the Float Patio and Pool Bar, a lively nightlife venue with music and a swim-up bar.

Romantic Getaways for Couples in Galveston

Galveston is packed with fun activities for couples, from relaxed days on the beach to live music, festivals, and brewery hopping.

You'll find the perfect vacation rentals for a romantic island getaway with Sand N' Sea Properties, whether you're looking for something close to all the best date adventures in Galveston or a peaceful escape where you can settle into the sound of the waves.

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