Things To Do in Galveston

Wondering what to do in Galveston, Texas? Galveston Island is an American Gulf Coast treasure well known for its 32 miles of public beaches and beautiful vacation rentals. It’s home to an abundance of  art galleries, boutique shopping, local  restaurants, and unique shops. Plus, there’s a whole host of historical Galveston attractions and museums that are perfect for all ages.

The Island is also a popular destination for fishing and bird-watching all year long. There’s no shortage of fun to be had, with plenty of free things to do, too! Make sure to also check out our "For Guests" page for useful Galveston resources to help with planning your perfect beach vacation.

What Are the Best Things To Do In Galveston, TX?

There are so many fun things to do in Galveston, TX! When you visit you can expect beautiful beaches, superb Gulf and bay fishing,  amusement parks, gorgeous churches, live music, annual island events, and more. The unique geography and wide variety of things to do in Galveston make this island unlike anywhere else in America... or the world!

Be sure to explore our  Galveston events page to see what’s happening during your next visit, and read on to discover more about what the Island has to offer guests and locals alike!

Tour Famous Galveston Attractions

Galveston Island may have a small footprint, but it's big on attractions! From Schlitterbahn-Galveston to the ever-popular Galveston Island  Historic Pleasure Pier, this Gulf island has something for everyone to enjoy! Other Galveston vacation points of interest include:

  • Moody Gardens – the aquarium pyramid and rainforest pyramid are two sights not to miss here.
  • Galveston Railroad Museum – take yourself on a self-guided tour to discover all there is to know about Galveston’s railroad history.
  • Galveston Naval Museum at Seawolf Park – tour a WWII submarine and a WWII destroyer.
  • Texas Seaport Museum – check out the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA located in this museum in the port of Galveston.
  • The Bryan Museum – explore one of the world's largest collections of historical artifacts relating to Texas and the American West.
  • Schlitterbahn Waterpark – do as the Texans do and take kids to make a splash at this nearby water park.
  • The Strand Historic District – pick up art, antiques, fashion, and anything else you might want to take home as a souvenir.
  • The Grand 1894 Opera House – try to catch a performance here while you’re in town.
  • 1892 Bishop's Palace – this ornate Victorian home gives a glimpse into the city’s rich history.
  • Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum – tour a decommissioned rig and learn about the important offshore drilling industry that was instrumental in the city’s growth.
  • Moody Mansion – a ghost tour is a great way to visit this supposedly haunted location.
  • Pier 21 – this entertainment district offers so much to do, including dolphin and harbor tours, plus lots of delicious dining establishments.

Soak Up the Sun on Galveston Beaches

Galveston has some of the state’s best beaches and there’s plenty to see and do along the coast. In fact, Galveston has more than seven distinct beach areas stretching over the 30+ miles of Gulf coastline, including:

  • West End Pocket Parks – head to these public access points for a relaxing day in the sand and surf..
  • Galveston Island State Park – take a guided kayak tour of the wetlands for a unique day by the beach.
  • East Beach – stroll along the boardwalk or simply rent a chair and relax on the beach.
  • Stewart Beach – lifeguards are on duty here, making it a great option for families.
  • Galveston Seawall – there are plenty of bars and restaurants located around this part of the coast, making it a good option for nightlife after the sun sets.
  • Seawolf Park – this beach is located on Pelican Island is home to one of the area’s most popular fishing piers.

Enjoy Galveston Bay Fishing

What kind of fish will you catch during your vacation? Find great  fishing in Galveston year-round thanks to nutrient-rich waters from the Mississippi Delta region that flow around the island. Galveston is perfect for surf and wade fishing, pier fishing, crabbing, and shrimping, and offers plenty of deep-sea action, too.

This silty water creates a prime growing ground for:

  • Redfish, whiting, croaker, black drum, sheepshead
  • Red snapper, kingfish, amberjack
  • Crabs, shrimp

Explore Historic Galveston

Galveston history is fascinating! Named after Bernardo de Galvez, a Spanish colonial governor and general, Galveston Island has a long history with headline-worthy drama. This unique barrier island served as the base for Pirate Jean Lafitte in the 1800s before being purchased in 1836 by Micheal B. Menard. He and a team of nine other influential men formed the Galveston City Company and quickly built the city into a flourishing port full of merchants, wholesalers, cotton agents, and more.

Galveston enjoyed a booming economy, even becoming known as the "Wall Street of the South" until it became the site of the worst natural disaster in US history,  The Great Storm of 1900. Reconstruction efforts took over a decade, but it regained much of its former glory by the 1920s when famous performers such as Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra came to the island's booming nightclubs: the Balinese Room and Hollywood Dinner Club.

Did you know that the city has the highest concentration of historical homes in the state of Texas? Don’t miss this unique aspect of Galveston during your getaway! Make time to take a walking or interior sightseeing tour of one or more of the architecture and cultural heritage sites dotted around the city.

How's the Weather in Galveston?

Galveston is beautiful at any time of the year, but the most pleasant temperatures are usually found in the spring or late fall when temperatures are typically in the mid-70s. The winter is brisk and full of Gulf Coast winds, so our city makes a great place to get cozy at Christmas. Summer months easily top 85+ degrees, but with 32 miles of beaches and lots of Galveston vacation rentals with neighborhood pools, it's easy to stay cool!

The best time to visit Galveston will be based on what you and your family want to do while here. There’s always something going on on our lively island.

How to Get Around Galveston

Galveston is relatively compact, so it’s easy to get around our beautiful city in a variety of ways.

Take a Bike Ride

Galveston Island is the perfect place to explore on two wheels. Rent a traditional bike for an adventure along Seawall Blvd. and take in the panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, or go high-tech and make life easier with an electric bike or Segway rental.

Explore Galveston on Foot

There are lots of great Galveston walking tours to choose from, including guided and self-led tours. Some lesser-known favorites of ours include:

  • Tree Sculpture Tour – sculpture artists have breathed new life into the trees that were uprooted during Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the results are breathtaking.
  • Seawall Interpretive Tour – learn the stories behind the hand-painted mosaic tiles on the 70 benches that line the seawall.
  • Taste of The Strand – try all the best food and drink on offer and learn about the history behind our most popular dishes.
  • Turtles About Town – play a game with your family to see how many turtles you can find hanging around Galvelston. Hint: our favorite one is just outside of our office!

Drive Along the Coast

Seawall Blvd and FM 3005 stretch the entire length of the island, with great views of the Gulf. Take a leisurely drive, cruise along on your motorcycle, or rent a golf cart and explore your local neighborhood.

Lyft and Uber are both available in Galveston and nearby Houston, making it easy to get to the island and all of its points of interest.

Where to Stay in Galveston

There’s a great range of vacation rental accommodation available in Galveston. Be sure to book in advance though as spots fill up quickly during peak seasons.

Can I Rent a Galveston Beach House?

Yes! Galveston vacation rentals are located throughout the Island, and they offer options for all budgets, seasons, and groups! Sand `N Sea Properties manages Galveston beach house rentals with large living spaces, fully equipped kitchens, private bedrooms, large decks, off-street parking, and amenities such as elevators and pools. Splitting the cost with your family and friends is a great way to make your vacation dollars stretch further without giving up any comfort!

What's the Best Area to Stay in When Visiting Galveston?

West End neighborhoods offer a chance to stay away from the noise, traffic, and crowds of the Seawall and Strand entertainment districts, but remain within easy driving distance.

Looking for quiet beaches away from it all? Book a Galveston vacation rental home in:

Have a large group that needs  vacation houses that work together within 30 minutes of Downtown Galveston? We’ve got you covered in the following neighborhoods:

Want to be closer to town? These neighborhoods offer vacation rentals within 12 miles of the heart of Downtown Galveston and offer easy neighborhood beach access:

Are There Pet-Friendly Galveston Vacation Rental Options?

Yes! Sand `N Sea Properties offers over  75+ pet-friendly vacation homes on the beach and bay, for all budgets and sizes. Your furry friends can join you on your getaway so nobody has to miss out!

Find Everything You’re Looking for in Galveston

As you can see, there’s so much to see and do here in Galveston. When you spend time in our beautiful city you are guaranteed a great time that you’ll never forget. Before you visit Galveston, check out more recommendations below on where to stay and what to do.