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If cooler temps have you singing the winter blues, look to the horizon and head for the beach! Just in time for your spring and summer getaways, Galveston Island will offer travelers plenty of new reasons to visit in 2022, including wider beaches, new attractions, renovated hotels and more.
Here’s a look at new things to do on the island this coming travel season:
Galveston’s famous seawall is sporting wider, replenished beaches thanks to a $27 million sand nourishment project completed in the fall of 2021. Babe’s Beach, located just west of 61st Street along the seawall, will receive a half-mile of new sand, widening the beach to provide for more recreational space for visitors and storm surge protection for businesses and residents. The project is the result of a partnership between the Galveston Park Board, the City of Galveston’s Industrial Development Corporation, the Texas General Land Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The historic Seawall beach, east of 61st Street, is expected to be renourished in 2023.
Galveston’s Historic Seaport recently received 2021 a $2.5 million upgrade that includes a new interactive attraction. The venue – which chronicles Galveston’s history as the second-largest immigration port in the United States as well as the story of seaborne commerce in Texas – features Ship To Shore, allowing visitors to follow in the footsteps of the early immigrants who traveled to Galveston in the 1880s. This new attraction will provide an interactive experience based on authentic and documented personal stories of immigrants landing in Galveston, utilizing a digital membership card that personalizes the journey to each visitor.
The 1877 Tall Ship Elissa is much more than an artifact from a bygone era. The Official Tall Ship of Texas is a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail annually during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to the Galveston Historical Foundation and the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who keep her seaworthy and train each year to sail her, the Elissa brings guests for sails during two weeks April 8-22. The six-hour sails in Galveston Bay showcase the athleticism and coordination it takes for the volunteer crew to maneuver the ship. The Elissa is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company. She carries nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in surface area. From her stern to the tip of her jibboom, she measures 205 feet.
The 2,000-acre Galveston Island State Park on the island’s west end spans the beach and the bay. For the last three years, the beachside portion of the park has been closed for renovations. It is expected to reopen this fall. Visitors to the park can expect to see new multi-use campsites with water and electrical hookups, a new hiking trail at the beach, a boardwalk to access the beach, a variety of shelters for group activities, gear rentals, a new headquarters and a remodeled Nature Center on the bay. The state park offers opportunities for guests to fish, camp, hike and birdwatch.
Exciting changes inside the Rainforest Pyramid will allow guests to experience life in a whole new way as they journey from the treetops to exploring what occurs beneath the surface of the Rainforest Floor. Existing plants, free-roaming birds and animals and enclosed exhibits will be enhanced with the addition of inhabitants that dwell within a new European Bee Colony, Decomposers Gallery, Leafcutter Ant exhibit in the Sunrise Gallery and more. Visitors will be fully immersed as they trek through the Upper Canopy and Conservation Huts on through the rainforests of Asia, Africa and the Americas to the Nightfall Gallery for new perspectives and insight. A tribute to the plants, animals and all life within Rainforests of the World. This new $1.7 million enhancement will be complete in May 2022.
Guests at Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark will notice changes throughout the park when it reopens just in time for Spring Break on March 12. The children’s water playgrounds and many of the park’s slides are undergoing makeovers and others are receiving equipment upgrades like new wave generators. Additionally, the park is investing more than $100,000 in landscaping. Thrill-seekers will notice improvements prior to entering the park with a new Fast Lane product and a front gate expansion that includes four additional entry points. Inside the park, guests will be more comfortable with new furniture throughout the park and remodeled restrooms. Lastly, although coolers are still welcome, guests will notice an overhaul in our restaurants with remodels and expansions, new menus and a brand-new food truck featuring delicious street tacos.
The fourth busiest cruise port in the U.S. will see major developments through 2023. Most significant is the construction of a new Royal Caribbean terminal that will be home to the Oasis-class ship Allure of the Seas when it opens in 2022. The $110 million project is underway at Galveston’s harbor. Norwegian Cruise Line will call Galveston home for the first time in fall 2022 when the Norwegian Prima sets sail from the island. Carnival Cruise lines will add the Excel-class ship Jubilee to its line up in 2023. The ship will sail seven-day Western Caribbean trips from Galveston.
ABOUT GALVESTON ISLAND
Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is the birthplace of Juneteenth and home to popular amusements such as Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island go towww.visitgalveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.