In my guide I am going to share the best of Galveston. Galveston Island was known as the “Playground of the South” – a tourist destination with attractive beaches, convenient location, high-traffic port and numerous attractions. Galveston brings many visitors to this charming historic beach town on the Texas Gulf Coast. It is a romantic island tucked deep in the heart of south Texas. It is located 40 miles south of Houston and has become a popular year-round destination. Galveston has the largest and most well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country. It is home to 32 miles of beaches, a wide variety of family attractions, museums, restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities including kayaking, diving, deep-sea fishing, birding, golfing, beach volleyball, and so much more. Galveston has festive events going on almost every weekend to include the 3rd largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, the Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival, Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival and the Galveston Island Wild Texas Shrimp Festival. The holiday’s in Galveston are full of charm with unique events such as Dickens on The Strand and Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. You can also find out all about the nearby beaches here.
Galveston Weather (When to Go)
The best time to visit Galveston is October to November or March to April when the weather is warm, but not sweltering, and accommodation prices are reasonable. Winter is the best time to score a deal on your accommodations, but it will likely be too chilly to enjoy Galveston’s beach activities. The months that span May and September constitute Galveston’s long summer season, where lodging rates, tourism and temps are at their peak. October – November is the best time to visit Galveston. With average highs that fall from 80 degrees in October to the lower 70s in November, fall is a lovely shoulder season in Galveston. The moderate temps are perfect for both days at the beach and leisurely self-guided tours of the historic properties, restaurants and shops in The Strand district. The winter months that span December and February are some of the best times to find deals on your accommodations, but keep in mind that some of the outdoor attractions around town will shutter for the season. These months see high average temps hovering in the 60s.
Early spring is another delightful time to visit Galveston. Average temperatures, which range from the lower 60s to the lower 80s, aren’t at their summertime highs. Plus, April is the month to witness the annual spring bird migration. Still, keep in mind that spring breakers descend on the island on school breaks, so you might see an uptick of families and groups of college students this time of year. Summer is a long season in Galveston, which stretches from May – with high average temps in lower 80s – to September – with high averages temps in the upper 80s. All of that heat draws Houstonians to Galveston’s beaches, which can make for crowded conditions on the sands and at various other attractions. Summer also sees the highest prices on accommodations.
Best Galveston Area Beaches
Babe’s Beach is the best beach in Galveston, but not simply for its beach activities. The historic seawall has historic markers along the path giving significant in the founding of Texas. Across from the street from the beach is filled with restaurants, bars, gift shops, and even a few tattoo parlors.
Stewart Beach is a family-oriented beach with shallow and calm waters as well as on-duty lifeguards. On the beach, you’ll find several volleyball nets and rental chairs and umbrellas. Wash away the salt and sand at the onsite shower facilities.
Crystal Beach is a long calm beach where automobiles, golf carts, and RVs are free to travel the shoreline. Pitch a tent above the high-tide water line and enjoy the stars. The beach is pet-friendly and the packed sand makes it a great area for a morning run.
East Beach is the go-to beach for the party crowd. It’s the only beach on the island that alcohol is allowed and sold. There are multiple volleyball courts and horseshoe pits. The wildlife is also quite active here and if you’re a birdwatcher, there are several species here to see.
Pocket Park 1
Pocket Park 1 is a quiet and friendly beach that allows parking on the sand and is away from the main crowd. Visitors are welcome to bring a pop-up awning, unfold some chairs, and throw some Texas-style BBQ on the broil. Its 7.5-mile length of shoreline gives plenty of room for sporting activities such as horseshoe tossing, Frisbee, and kickball. The beach has onsite restroom facilities, but no restaurants close by.
Best Galveston Restaurants
BLVD Seafood $11 – 30
What to look for on their NEW menu: New items include: Tuna poke, Oysters the BLVD. way (always changing), AND Exotic game (always changing and made their way!). Lunch Menu Items: PBJ sliders, soft shell crab tacos, Caribbean tacos, blackened shrimp tacos, Mediterranean tacos, and Asian tacos. Telephone: 409-762-2583 Web: BLVD Seafood.
Miller’s Seawall Grill $11 – 30
Miller’s Seawall Grill serves fresh seafood, breakfast, sandwiches, burgers and blue plate specials, all with a view of the Gulf! Their full menu is available all day. Telephone: 409-763-8777 Web: Miller’s Seawall Grill.
Rudy & Paco $31 – 60
When visiting Galveston Island, you simply can’t miss the Island’s most unique dining experience, Rudy & Paco. Rudy & Paco features grilled seafood and steak with a South and Central American sabor. Relax and unwind with your favorite cocktail while enjoying delicious Antojitos. Rudy & Paco is located next door to The Grand 1894 Opera House, and is a great choice for pre-show dinner specials. Telephone: 409-762-3696 Web: Rudy & Paco.
Shearn’s Seafood & Steaks $31 – 60
Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steaks is the premier destination for fine dining in Galveston. Their restaurant features floor-to-ceiling views of the Gulf waters. Shearn’s is one of only 11 Houston/Galveston area restaurants to receive AAA’s Four Diamond Award of Excellence, and it has won it each year since 2004. Executive Chef Felipe Gonzalez crafts his signature Gulf dishes, including his Shrimp Dejong and Lobster Bisque. Shearn’s Lounge, the bar outside the restaurant, has spectacular views of the Moody Gardens Pyramids and sunsets over Galveston Bay. Telephone: 409-683-4554 Web: Shearn’s Seafood & Steak.
Shrimp & Stuff $11 – 30
Shrimp n Stuff, known for affordable and delicious seafood dinners, po-boys, gumbos and salads, has been an island mainstay since it opened for business in 1976. The ‘locals’ have supported their reputation for value, freshness and flavor. “They have people visiting Galveston who come in and say they wish they would have found Shrimp n Stuff the first day they arrived in Galveston, ” the manager says. Telephone: 409-763-2805 Web: Shrimp & Stuff.
Best Galveston Beach Bars
Ocean Grill & Beach Bar
Ocean Grille & Beach Bar is a coastal seafood restaurant with an exciting, chef-driven menu, inspired beverage program, and incredible views of the Gulf. They are dedicated to providing an exceptional dining experience to the residents and visitors of Galveston Island. You can relax on their casual Gulf front patio with one of their signature cocktails, delicious appetizers and awesome flatbreads. Telephone: 409-974-4508 Web: Ocean Grill & Beach Bar.
Huli Huli Hut
Get food and drinks Island Style! Huli Huli Hut is a bright, Hawaiian-style restaurant serving lunch and dinner with a full bar in a beautiful tropical setting. They have a large menu of great specialty drinks. Telephone: 409-443-5525 Web: Huli Huli Hut.
Beerfoot Beach Bar
Beerfoot Brewery is your stop for fantastic craft beers while looking out on Galveston’s historic Seawall Boulevard! Combining a one-of-a-kind venue with the latest in specialty beers, Beer Foot is THE place to enjoy beers of all kinds. Telephone: 409-762-BEER Web: Beerfoot Beach Bar.
Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar
Nick’s is serving up the freshest seafood, juiciest burgers and fattest po’boys on Galveston Island! With the best beer selection on the seawall, the freshest ingredients, live music and an ideal seaside location, you’ll want to take the bait and get hooked. Telephone: 409-761-5502 Web: Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar.
Daiquiri Time Out
There is always time for a daiquiri. Even in the face of catastrophic emergency, in which life or death actually depend on immediate action, there is still…. always time for a daiquiri. Telephone: 409-497-2760 Web: Daiquiri Time Out.