- Things to Do
- Food & Drink
- Where to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
Get a dose of Island Time before and after Cruisin' Time!
Galveston Island is the perfect place to extend your cruise vacation with amenities and attractions minutes from the harbor. With most cruises departing between 4 and 5 p.m., you can easily add some fun to your cruise vacation!
TRAVEL TIP: Arrive a few days early and check-in at any of the island hotels that offer port shuttle services and free parking during your cruise when you book at least a one-night stay.
Harbor House Hotel & Marina is truly a unique place to stay because it's the only harbor front hotel in Galveston! When you stay, you get spectacular harbor views, beautifully decorated rooms, and an ideal location just steps away from the Strand Historic District.
The Tremont House accommodations are elegant and inviting, paying homage to the fact that they're one of the most historic hotels in Galveston. It's a warm slice of Southern charm, with historic features and classic beauty to delight and comfort weary travelers.
Indulge in luxurious accommodations and Gulf views at The San Luis Resort. This 32-acre beachfront hotel is warm and inviting offering all of the state-of-the-art amenities you'll need during your stay. As a recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond Award® since 1999, they take pride in offering guests personalized service during their dream vacation.
One of the finest hotels on the beaches of Galveston, Grand Galvez is the ideal place to stay during your island getaway. This AAA 4-Diamond property has been hosting happy guests for over 100 years. In fact, they're the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast, lending a certain sophistication you can't find anywhere else.
Business or pleasure, there's no better way to spend your time in Galveston than at Moody Gardens Hotel, surrounded by lush tropical gardens, world-class attractions and plenty of meeting space. The whole family will have a blast exploring the majestic pyramids that include an aquarium, rainforest and more!
Start your morning with a delicious breakfast in the East End Historical District at Sunflower Bakery & Cafe. It’s worth your time to stroll through the district after breakfast to admire streets lined with classic Victorian homes painted in the most interesting color ensembles and complemented by well-manicured lawns and gardens. Throughout the district, one can take a self-guided tour of elaborate Galveston Tree Sculptures carved from Oak trees ruined by Hurricane Ike in 2008.
A trip to Galveston isn’t complete without touring through the “Broadway Beauties,” including the breathtaking 1892 Bishop's Palace and the 1895 Moody Mansion. Step back in time to explore the history and stunning architecture of these fabulous homes.
Heading closer to the port, take a stroll through historic downtown Galveston and visit The Strand for an intriguing selection of shops, restaurants, museums and more. Be sure to visit the interactive pirate museum Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast and then stop by the old-fashioned sweets shop La King's Confectionery for freshly made saltwater taffy and ice cream. Postoffice Street is a great destination for visiting art galleries and antique shops. Grabbing a cup of coffee at MOD Coffee & Tea House or stopping by The Grand 1894 Opera House for a self-guided tour is also a treat.
Pier 21 conveniently sits just down the street from the cruise ship terminals and offers a wide variety of ways to enjoy Galveston Harbor. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a Jet Boat Thrill Rides from Galveston Water Adventures where you will experience intense speeds and maneuvers while enjoying the cool breezes on the water. For more fun at Pier 21, take a Galveston Harbor Tours and Dolphin Watch boat ride and explore the remarkable diversity of birds and marine life. Next door, you’ll find the Texas Seaport Museum. At the museum, look up your ancestors in a one-of-a-kind computer database with information on more than 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through Galveston. Adjacent to the museum is the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, deemed one of America’s treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
For lunch at Pier 21, try Willie G's. Grab a seat on the restaurant’s waterfront patio to watch dolphins jumping in the harbor! Other mouth-watering options include Fisherman's Wharf and Riondo's Ristorante – all within walking distance of the terminals.
When you arrive, spend the morning exploring the many attractions surrounding the Moody Gardens complex. Moody Gardens is home to three pyramid-shaped buildings that feature a live rainforest replica with free-roaming animals, a gigantic aquarium and an interactive Discovery Museum. Outside of the pyramids, you can walk through botanical gardens while deciding whether to take a cruise on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, splash at Moody Gardens’ Palm Beach water park, or hit the green at the Moody Gardens Golf Course. For lunch, there are a variety of dining options located on the Moody Gardens property, including their Garden Restaurant, Cafe in the Park and Shearn's Seafood and Prime Steaks.
After Moody Gardens, make your way to the beach! The afternoon is the perfect time to enjoy sparkling gulf views with the sand between your toes along Galveston Island’s 32 miles of beaches.
Stewart Beach is Galveston’s premier family-friendly beach park, named as one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families” by the Family Vacation Critic. Stewart Beach, located near where Broadway meets the Seawall, has all the amenities you need for a day of family fun at the beach.
Located at the far eastern tip of the island, East Beach is home to a pavilion, boardwalk and entertainment stage as well as restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, children's playground, concessions and other amenities. Unlike most of Galveston’s beaches, alcohol is permitted at East Beach.
Dinner options along the Seawall are endless with many offering breathtaking views of the gulf at sunset. The Spot is a fantastic local venue easily recognizable due to its gigantic palapa roof. Here, you can eat, relax and watch the waves crash on the shore. For a more formal option, dine at the iconic Gaido's Famous Seafood Restaurant and don’t forget to try their famous pecan pie. After dinner, take a walk to Murdoch's charming gift shop, ride a surrey bike along the Seawall or take part in a game at Magic Carpet Golf!
For the next morning, see the itinerary above for “Half Day in Galveston.”
On Day 1, spend the morning and afternoon cooling off and lounging at Schlitterbahn Waterpark on the west side of the island.
The park is open year-round and has an outdoor and indoor option, including 35 different water adventures and rides, such as water coasters, wave pools and a lazy river. If you’re a daredevil, try the Screaming Serpents water slide, or ride the MASSIV, the world’s tallest watercoaster with uphill and downhill thrills.
Stay at Schlitterbahn for lunch and experience the park’s 20-foot smoker which slow cooks ribs, briskets, chicken and other traditional BBQ offerings daily. Family fruit platters, fresh wraps, and grilled chicken are just a few of the healthy food options available. You can also find traditional park treats, like hamburgers, nachos and more.
After Schlitterbahn, marvel at one of the world’s largest collections of historical artifacts, documents and artwork relating to the American West at The Bryan Museum, which opened in June 2015. The rare collection includes 70,000 items spanning more than 12,000 years.
At Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood, you will find a delicious menu and a unique atmosphere. Number 13 is committed to creating a special experience for every single guest. The chefs at this popular Galveston eatery use quality ingredients and infuse passion into every dish, making your meal one you won't forget.
The original Galveston restaurant for true "Boat-to-Table" Dining, BLVD Seafood offers fresh, local Gulf Wild seafood and daily specials. Open for lunch, dinner, and brunch. BLVD Seafood also offers a Happy Hour and Tapas at the bar on Mondays through Fridays from 4PM until 7PM. Located right along the Seawall, diners can enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico.
For more than 20 years, Katie’s Seafood Market has provided the highest quality seafood to Galveston locals and visitors. In September of 2019, Katie's husband, Buddy, opened Katie’s Seafood House right next to the store. The market supplies the restaurant with its fresh seafood, which is a unique attribute among restaurants and takes each dish to the next level. Stop in for a delicious shrimp platter and enjoy a house cocktail next time you in Galveston!
Savor your meal in a space that artfully blends historic architecture and modern design. Located in the James Fadden Building, Hearsay on the Strand offers eclectic American cuisine, craft cocktails, and a chic backdrop. It's the perfect place to get a deal done over lunch, relax with friends at happy hour or celebrate a special occasion in a private dining room.
For the next 1.5 days, see the itinerary above for “1.5 Days in Galveston.”
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Kristen Vale
by Visit Galveston
by Dr. Hal Needham
by Visit Galveston