- Things to Do
- Food & Drink
- Where to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
There’s nothing quite like the cure of the sea.
Feeling the sand beneath your feet, welcoming the sun as it shines above and exhaling with a sense of instant calm – as if the sea air has brought in a fresh promise of renewal as it rolls off the waves. This is what being on Galveston Island is all about.
pictured: Paddle boarding in Galveston
Here, you can regain your balance along 32 miles of sparkling beaches. Feed your desire for adventure with outdoor recreation that is good for the body. And invest in some self-care for the mind and soul.
If you’re in need of rejuvenation, here are 10 wellness activities to try on the island:
After watching a Galveston sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, there is no better way to kick-start your day than with a relaxing trip to any of the island's world-class spas, offering a unique array of Asian and European massages, body scrubs, wraps, hydrotherapy baths and more. To experience Galveston like Jennifer Lopez did while filming an episode of American Idol, visit Spa San Luis at The San Luis Resort, which offers a signature Shirodhara Therapy Massage – an ancient Ayurvedic ritual. For an equally luxurious experience, visit Grand Galvez Spa, known for its tranquil relaxation room and Eucalyptus steam rooms. And, for a unique experience, visit the Moody Gardens Hotel, which is home to a world-class adult spa as well as the Secret Garden Teen Spa.
With 32 miles of sandy shores, Galveston offers plenty of opportunity for renewal. Grab your yoga mat and head out to the beach, preferably before sunset, for a relaxing yoga session as you allow your body to wake up with the sun. You can also sign up for yoga classes through the island’s many studios, including Yoga Haven in historic downtown.
Galveston’s iconic seawall is the perfect spot for staying active – on foot or on wheels. At more than 10 miles long, Galveston’s seawall is the nation’s longest continuous sidewalk and is a great spot for your daily run, walk, jog, skate or bicycle ride with its scenic view of the Gulf of Mexico.
At the Galveston Island State Park, you can enjoy scenic sights of the coast, dunes and birdlife while exploring hiking trails, kayaking through the bay or having a picnic at the beach. The state park is also a great location for camping, swimming and fishing. During peak seasons, the park offers free classes, guided explorations and other special events.
To get the best view of Galveston’s large collection of historic architecture, take a bicycle tour through the East End Historical District where ornately painted houses line the streets in Victorian, Greek Revival, Queen Anne and other architectural styles. This is a great morning activity to do on your way to breakfast at the neighborhood’s favorite mom-and-pop eatery, Sunflower Bakery.
Covering a 690-acre area on the island’s West End, the Coastal Heritage Preserve is one of the largest unfragmented, undeveloped locations of its kind on Galveston Island. Here, you can go on a kayak tour (or eco-art kayak tour complete with a watercolor painting lesson) with the non-profit Artist Boat to see several places of natural significance and learn about the organization’s work to preserve and restore 1,400 bordering acres from the beach to bay. If you want to get involved, you can even sign up to be a part of special volunteer days as an individual or a group.
Learn to surf or improve your surfing skills with a lesson with Ohana Surf & Skate. You’ll meet with an experienced instructor who will teach you proper technique and safety practices while showing you the best spots to surf on the island! Or try standup paddleboarding lessons or rental with SUP Gulf Coast.
For a picturesque adventure on horseback, guides with Galveston Island Horse & Pony Rides will lead you along the shoreline of East Beach. The trail includes a beautiful natural lagoon, teaming with wildlife on one side and a serene beachfront on the other. (And, it’s very common to see dolphins playing in the ship channel while on your ride).
This site located at Galveston’s most eastern point is a nature enthusiast’s paradise, offering a tranquil setting for kayaking, bird watching or just relaxing at the sensation of the island’s sea breezes. Considered the most ecologically significant stretch of undeveloped land on the island, the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve recently received a new nature trail (complete with interpretive signage) that allows you to better explore the lagoon’s 684 acres of coastal prairie.
The Galveston Women’s Conference is about uplifting women – mind, body and spirit. This annual event, put on by the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce, features events, speakers and interactive sessions to inspire women to strive for the best in both their personal and professional lives. The event is held in November and presents a celebrity keynote speaker each year.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Clayton Kolavo
by Kristen Vale