- Things to Do
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- Plan Your Trip
In case you’re looking for a little extra motivation to get on Island Time, here are 10 excuses to head to Galveston Island this summer.
While you don’t need a real reason to head to the coast during the Texas summer – the cool breezes and sparkling Gulf waters are usually enticements enough. But if you need a little guidance, we're here to tell you why Galveston Island is the place to be for summer 2021.
pictured: Pleasure Pier
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is scheduled to reopen May 22 after closing last year due to the pandemic. The reopening will coincide with cosmetic updates at the park, which will be sporting brighter colors on its family slides, Wolfpack and Thunder Tub attractions. Additionally, the park’s Pointe Pizza restaurant has been remodeled and will feature a new menu. For details, visit www.schlitterbahn.com/galveston.
While Seawall beaches are open year-round, the island’s largest public beach parks – Stewart Beach and East Beach – open seasonally. The 2021 beach season kicked off in March, offering a variety of special amenities. Visitors to the beach parks can take advantage of restrooms, showers, beach chair rentals, volleyball courts, snack bars and other concessions, including horseback riding and helicopter tours. For more information, visit www.galvestonbeachinfo.com.
Giant battleships, huge bean bags and limbo showdowns are coming to Stewart Beach this summer for the return of the Galveston Family Beach Challenge.
The challenge, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on second Sundays May through August as well as the Sunday of Labor Day weekend – will transform a portion of Stewart Beach into a gigantic obstacle course, allowing families to compete in life-size versions of classic favorites like giant Jenga and dominoes, sack races and sandcastle building.
Participants will have the chance to win the grand prize of a $500 gift card plus tickets to popular Galveston attractions.
For rules and to register in advance, visit www.galvestonchallenge.com.
Sandcastle Building Lessons
Attention budding builders – sandcastle builders, that is. This summer, Galveston is hosting a free, family-friendly event series to help beachgoers create spectacular sandcastles with tips from the pros.
Visitors to Stewart Beach can participate in “Sandcastle Days” events to receive free sandcastle building lessons from a professional sandcastle builder. Each event will begin with an instructor building a sandcastle followed by lessons at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Equipment will be provided on a limited basis and participants are encouraged to bring their own sand buckets and shovels. Registration is not required. The lessons will take place by the water's edge, straight down from the Stewart Beach Pavilion.
Learn more here.
With thousands of beach houses and vacation rentals available on Galveston’s 32-mile coast, booking a remote stay may be closer than you think.
If you’re looking for a vacation rental, the island offers everything from beachfront mansions and waterfront condos to historic cottages and luxury high rises. For information, visit our Galveston vacation rental guide.
If you’re more of the resort sort, you can choose among seaside, bayside or downtown hotels (from historic to modern) to make your summer getaway special.
In Galveston, you can explore African American history in living color thanks to a new interactive tour app offered by the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The tour, found on the new Visit Galveston app, allows visitors to take a self-guided journey to learn about the island’s many historically black institutions and monuments celebrating black accomplishments.
The Galveston Downtown Cultural Arts District, an official cultural district designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts, offers an intriguing selection of theaters, shops, restaurants, and museums that are well worth visiting.
The Victorian architecture of Strand Street, widely known as The Strand, makes for a charming stroll as you shop for unique finds or grab sweets at LaKing’s Confectionery. Saengerfest Park at 23rd and Strand is a free family park home to a life-size chessboard, Insta-worthy selfies in front of an iconic Galveston mural and regular live entertainment.
Be sure to also check out the district’s 20-plus art galleries, displaying fine art, sculpture and photography in beautifully restored historic buildings. Many can be found on Postoffice Street.
The Galveston Island State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor activities that are free to participate in. While each person over 12 must pay a $5 entry charge to get into the park, families can enjoy beachcombing, geo-caching, kayaking, birding, nature field trips and fishing at no cost.
Sometimes you just want to hop in the car and head to the beach, right? Hauling your chairs, canopies, umbrellas and other beach items can seem like a hassle. Here along Galveston Island's 32-miles of coastline, you can find ample vendors ready to make your beach experience as relaxing as possible!
East Beach Cantina and Rentals offers beach fare food and drink as well as beach-side food and beverage service, chair, umbrella and cabana rentals. They also have all of your beach must-haves like sunscreen, boogie boards and more available for purchase.
Galveston Island provides visitors with a special passport to adventure and savings with the Galveston Island Pass. The pass allows visitors to experience multiple Galveston attractions on one ticket and save 40% off regular admission prices.
For more information and to purchase a pass, visit GalvestonIslandPass.com.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Clayton Kolavo
by Kristen Vale