There was a time when visitors would check into Galveston hotels for a month in the summer to enjoy the “healing powers” of the Gulf.
While most of us don’t have the luxury of a month-long vacation these days, Galveston’s beaches still offer a “healing power," and island activities can quickly fill up your schedule. Or, of course, you can just relax.
pictured: Schlitterbahn Waterpark
The great thing about fishing on the island is that it's easily accessible. You can fish from several rock jetties on the beachfront, public fishing piers, or book a public or private fishing charter.
Local favorite spots include the Galveston Fishing Pier on 90th and Seawall, the 61st Street Fishing Pier, and Seawolf Park. You can also fish at the Galveston Island State Park. If you want to join in the fun of a public boat trip, Galveston Party Boats has been operating since 1958. Tip: Be sure to get your Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fishing license before coming to the pier and have it with you.
Have you ever seen a dolphin? We can pretty much guarantee that you’ll see a dolphin if you venture on one of the harbor excursions at Pier 21. Every tour is a little different depending on the captain, and all are fun. You'll find the Seagull II, operated by the Galveston Historical Foundation, at the Texas Seaport Museum. And, at Pier 21, look for Baywatch Dolphin Tours and Galveston Water Adventures. Tip: Check their website for sunset tours too.
Summer calls for house-made ice cream. If you left your ice cream maker at home, we have some suggestions for you. Along with the shops, restaurants, and galleries on Postoffice Street, look for Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream. They rotate through an estimated 250 recipes.
While saltwater taffy and chocolate come to mind when you venture inside La King’s Confectionery, toward the back on the left, across from the saltwater taffy is their ice cream counter. The ice cream is made upstairs using the recipes from Galveston’s former Purity Ice Cream. The soda fountain is fantastic, and you'll love the charm of this historic candy and soda shop. And, lastly, if you love Gelato or Sorbet, Marios on the Seawall makes their own cool treats. They offer twelve different flavors that include the most popular picks of vanilla and almond.
It’s a good guess that part of the appeal for you to visit Galveston is our beaches. If you want to enjoy the water beyond just splashing around, we encourage you to rent a stand-up paddleboard, take surf lessons, or rent a jet ski. SUP Gulf Coast and Galveston Paddleboard Center rent paddleboards and surfboards and offer delivery. Suppose you want to learn to surf during your summer vacation, book lessons with Ohana Surf & Skate. You’ll find jet ski rentals at Beach Service, LLC on 39th and Seawall and Celebrity Jet Ski Tours and Rentals on 69th and Seawall. There are also several boat rental companies.
While you may be familiar with the Aquarium Pyramid and Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens, did you know they also have their own beach? Palm Beach offers a lazy river, wave pool, slides, and splash pad for the little ones. Beach chairs and umbrellas are free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Tip: Moody Gardens also offers a five-tier ropes course and zip line.
If you’re looking for a little more excitement than the beach, purchase your tickets to Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Galveston’s Schlitterbahn is divided into three sections, Wasserfest (the indoor area), Blastenhoff, and Surfenburg. You can plan your visit based on the ride type and thrill level on their website. And we highly recommend renting a private cabana or luxury lounger. These amenities are only available during the summer season.
These suggestions are just a sampling of things to do during your visit to Galveston Island. Make sure you include time to explore Galveston’s historic downtown for shopping and dining.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Mary Beth Bassett
by Visit Galveston
by Karla Klay
by Captain Michael "Sharky" Marquez
by Kristine Rivers
by Visit Galveston
Christine Ruiz Hopkins Guest Blogger
Christine is a proud BOI, meaning she was “Born on the Island.” She was born and raised in Galveston and began working in the island’s tourism industry when she was 15 years old as a water slide attendant at the now-demolished Sky Rapids Water Slide at Stewart Beach.
For more than 25 years, she has worked in travel and tourism, promoting Galveston. Her tourism background makes her a bit of an expert on Galveston Island. She is the co-author of the newly released “100 Things to Do in Galveston Before You Die,” published by Reedy Press. Before the book, she has written more than 300 blogs on Galveston offering travel tips on what to see and do. Over the years, she's given hundreds of tours for visiting travel writers showcasing the sites on the island. Currently, she’s a Galveston guide for ToursByLocals.com.