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.
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.
Things Not to Miss
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
The Pleasure Pier features waterfront fun and entertainment like no other Gulf Coast destination, the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier features family-oriented attractions including rides, midway games, a wide selection of food venues and retail shops. Pleasure Pier is one of the few spots in the world that has this many rides over the water! You’ll be flying over guests on the Pier, soaring over the Gulf of Mexico and anticipating your next ride! And boy is there food! No matter what you’re craving, the Pleasure Pier has food choices for the whole family. Take your pick of everything from world-famous shrimp to more traditional choices like burgers, pizza and sweet treats! For general information call 1-855-789-7437 or visit them at the Pleasure Pier.
Seawall Urban Park
The center of Galveston’s beach activity takes place along the island’s famous Seawall Boulevard. This urban park stretches more than 10 miles offering plenty of beach as well as the nation’s longest continuous sidewalk — great for running, biking or people watching. Beaches along the seawall offer easy access to the island’s many beachfront restaurants, resorts and tourist attractions, such as the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park that stands on a pier over the Gulf of Mexico at Seawall and 25th Street. For more information visit Seawall Urban Park.
The Strand Historic District will wow you with its wealth of things to see and do. You’ll have your choice of fun shopping, fine dining and fantastic nightlife options. What’s more, the Strand is populated with attractions galore that you will undoubtedly feel compelled to explore. As you amble along this 36-block strip of downtown Galveston, you’ll come across a smorgasbord of stores housed in historic buildings from the late 1800’s. Discover everything from shops selling maritime antiques to hip boutiques offering the latest designer styles. The Strand is also populated with attractions like the Galveston Railroad Museum, Haunted Mayfield Manor and 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Get a brief history lesson at the Pier 21 Theater, which runs short documentary films about Galveston Island on a daily basis. Certainly, The Grand 1894 Opera House and ArtWalk should be on your itinerary.
Galveston Island State Park
Visit the island to stroll the beach or splash in the waves. Or visit the island to go fishing or look for coastal birds. No matter how you end up here, you’ll find a refuge at Galveston Island State Park. Just an hour from Houston, but an island apart! With both beach and bay sides, Galveston Island State Park offers activities for every coast lover. You can swim, fish, picnic, bird watch, hike, mountain bike, paddle, camp, geocache, study nature or just relax! Visit our nature center to learn more about the park and its programs.
Things To Do
Galveston Water Adventures
Join them for the 2-hour sunset cruises where guests are welcome to bring snacks and beverages aboard to make the trip more enjoyable. Perfect for couples that want to sip champagne and watch the sunset or a group of friends just looking for something different to do, the trip will not disappoint. Take a jet boat thrill ride so the whole family can enjoy the thrill and excitement of right angle turns and accelerated speeds. Or join them for a one hour tour of Galveston’s Harbor to see birds and marine life, where you can get a close up view of playful dolphins jumping. For reservations call 409-2766116, visit their kiosk on Pier 21, or go online at Galveston Water Adventures.
Baywatch Dolphin Tours
BayWatch Dolphin Tours is a family owned and operated business in Texas. They’ve been serving the Galveston and Houston area since 2005. They are located on Pier 21 in front of the Harbor House Hotel, only a short distance away from the historical Strand District in Downtown Galveston. They take pride in the fact that they are able to keep their prices affordable for everyone while still providing 45 minutes of informative fun for young and old alike! Their boat has a covered interior and is a dolphin safe tour boat. It is a is a jet drive boat with no propellers. They take you up close to view the dolphins in their natural habitat. They are open 7 days a week, and their boats leave every hour from 10am to 5pm. Infants and pets ride free! For information you can call them at 832-859-4557 or visit them at Baywatch Dolphin Tours.
Cool Tours offers sight-seeing tours of Galveston Island and charter/shuttle transportation services throughout the Galveston and Houston area. Want to see dolphins? Cool Tours provides a unique and comprehensive Land and Sea Tour that combines Galveston’s top-rated dolphin tour with their East End Historic Tour. Explore Galveston Island! Cool Tours provides Galveston’s only Air-Conditioned Sightseeing Tours. Cool Tours offers two tours: a 1-hour East End Historic Tour and a 2.5-hour Land and Sea Tour . Cool Tours also provides private transfers to/from the Galveston Cruise Terminal, Hobby (HOU) Airport, Bush (IAH) Airport, and local hotels. For information call 409-539-5374 or visit Cool Tours.
Sail Galveston Bay Charters
Have you ever watched the sailboats go by and dreamed about being out there on one. Enjoying the wind, waves and sunshine, or maybe enjoying a loved ones company under a full moon while sailing. How about taking the family or a friend on a sailing adventure or anchor out at an island swimming and watching dolphins play. You can be a part of the adventure at very reasonable rates on a private sailing yacht. For more information call 713-829-2164, or visit them on the web at Sail Galveston Bay Charters.
Fishing Galveston Texas
Fishing Galveston TX offers the most amazing fishing charters in Galveston. From shallow water night time flounder gigging to Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf and everything in between we have a trip for you. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a first-time fisherman, your time spent with us will have you hooked. Their captains are family oriented with kids in mind. They love getting those kids “Hooked Up!” From family fishing to corporate entertainment, or even that special weekend out with friends for a bachelor or bachelorette party – they have a trip for you.
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$ BLVD Seafood
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. For more information call 409-762-2583 or visit BLVD Seafood.
$$ Miller’s Seawall Grill
Miller’s Seawall Grill serves fresh seafood, breakfast, sandwiches, burgers and blue plate specials, all with a view of the Gulf! Their full menu is available all day. For more information call 409-763-8777 or visit Miller’s Seawall Grill.
$$ Rudy & Paco
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. Note: Shorts are not allowed in main dining room at dinner, but are accepted at the bar. Lunch is casual and shorts are acceptable. For more information call 409-762-3696 or visit Rudy & Paco.
$$ Shearn’s Seafood & Steaks
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. For more information call 409-683-4554 or visit Shearn’s Seafood & Steak.
$ Shrimp & Stuff
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. For more information call 409-763-2805 or visit Shrimp & Stuff.
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. If you are seeking a more intimate dining experience, you can unwind in their modern, ocean-inspired dining room with their extensive wine menu, fresh seafood entrees and amazing desserts. Contact them at 409-974-4508 or visit them at 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. Contact them at 409-443-5525 or visit them at 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. Contact them at 409-762-BEER or visit them at 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. Contact them at 409-761-5502 or visit them at 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. For more information call 409-497-2760 or visit Daiquiri Time Out.
Top Galveston Texas Hotels
The San Luis Resort Spa & Conference Center
This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. This luxurious beachfront resort features 3 on-site restaurants, which include fine dining options and casual alternatives. Free Wi-Fi access is available in each room. Enjoy massages, facials, body scrubs, wraps and hydrotherapy baths at the full-service spa. You can also relax in the tropical outdoor pool, which has its own poolside bar. A state of the art fitness center are also available. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit The San Luis Resort & Spa Conference Center.
Hotel Galvez and Spa, A Wyndham Grand Hotel
This property is 2 minutes walk from the beach. Featuring a full service spa and an outdoor heated pool, this luxury resort is located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico just 5 minutes’ drive from Central Galveston. Free Wi-Fi is provided. Guests can work up a sweat doing cardio or lifting weights in the fitness center. The Wyndham Grand Hotel Galvez and Spa offers concierge services, a business center and beach chairs for hire. Galvez Bar & Grill, the on-site restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch and diner. Guests can enjoy views of the water whilst dining on one of the many fresh seafood menu options. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Hotel Galvez and Spa, A Wyndham Grand Hotel.
Casa Del Mar Beachfront Suites
This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Located on Galveston Island, these beachfront suites offer a kitchen and free WiFi. Two outdoor pools are located on site. The Galveston Pleasure Pier is just 6 minutes’ drive away. Guests at Casa Del Mar Beachfront Suites can access on site BBQ facilities, and a launderette is also available. This accommodation offers a 24-hour reception. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Casa Del Mar Beachfront Suites.
Closing Time at The Victorian
This property is a 10-minute walk from the beach. Offering an outdoor pool and a restaurant, Victorian Condo Hotel Resort is located in Galveston. Free Wi-Fi access is available. This condo will provide you with a cable TV and a balcony. There is a full a kitchen. Featuring a shower, the private bathroom also comes with a hairdryer. At Victorian Condo Hotel Resort you will find a tennis court and a fitness center. Other facilities offered include meeting facilities and a laundry room. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Closing Time at the Victorian.