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Area Attractions

vacation rentals in galveston on the beach

FOR MORE THINGS TO DO IN GALVESTON, VISIT: https://www.galveston.com/

Galveston offers 32 miles of world-class beaches, superb restaurants, incredible amenities, marvelous downtown shopping, numerous antique stores, incredible art galleries, fabulous entertainment and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country.

Recommended attractions include: Jamaica Beach (amazing family-friendly beaches); The Broadway Beauties: 1859 Ashton Villa, 1892 Bishop's Palace, 1895 Moody Mansion which portray early 20th century family life among Galveston's elite; The Grand 1894 Opera House ranked among the nation's finest historical theaters; the Texas Seaport Museum & 1877 Tall Ship Elissa highlighting the history of the Port of Galveston; The Great Storm documentary detailing the 1900 hurricane which killed 6,000 and changed the Island's history; the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum; the Railroad Museum in the restored Union Depot; Harbor Tours offering dolphin watching; Moody Gardens featuring an aquarium pyramid, a 3-D theater, tropical rainforest pyramid, and a ridefilm theater; and the year-round Schlitterbahn Waterpark - the first facility of its kind, and a wonderful family destination.

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Bryan Museum

Opened in 2015, The Bryan Museum, located in the historic Galveston Orphans Home in Galveston, Texas, US, houses The Bryan Collection, one of the world's largest collections of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to Texas and the American West. Assembled by J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan, the collection spans more than 12,000 years, with pieces ranging from ancient Native American cultural artifacts to modern twenty-first century objects.

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens began in the mid-1980s with a horse barn, a riding arena with a hippotherapy riding program for people with head injuries and an extraordinary vision to create an island tourist destination.  Today, Moody Gardens is one of the premier educational/leisure facilities in the Southwest. It also provides horticultural therapy, education and employment for persons with a wide range of physical and emotional disabilities.

Since its inception in 1983 and adoption of an eight phase master plan in 1985, Moody Gardens has illustrated through its various attractions numerous innovative and creative programs - resulting in a visitation count of approximately 2 million visitors annually.

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Bishop's Palace

The house was built between 1887 and 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham, his wife Josephine, and their nine children. In 1923 the Roman Catholic Diocese Of Galveston purchased the house, and, situated across the street from the Sacred Heart Church, it served as the residence for Bishop Christopher E. Byrne. After the diocesan offices were moved to Houston, the diocese opened the mansion to the public in 1963, with proceeds from tours being used to help fund the Newman Center, operating in the basement, serving Catholic students at the nearby University Of Texas Medical Branch.

The Strand

The proximity of the Cruise Ship Terminal to Galveston's historic downtown district provides an opportunity to embark on a brief adventure prior to or following a cruise. The downtown area offers an intriguing selection of shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums within a perfect radius for self-guided tours.

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TEXAS' HIDDEN TREASURE

Galveston captivates visitors that come to call with her natural beauty, eccentric charm and traditional Texas-style Hospitality -- because Galveston is genteel, gracious and captivating. Galveston is the beautifully preserved hidden treasure of the Lone Star State. Come unlock the history, romance and beauty that lies within. Explore every nook and cranny because you are her guest and Galveston loves sharing her treasures with you.

Whether you prefer to stroll down quaint alleyways by foot or trot through the streets in a carriage, all paths lead visitors on an unforgettable journey back in time. You'll be entertained and enlightened by knowledgeable guides giving tours on foot, by carriage, by van - even by boat!

BEST BEACHES

Of course, one of the most popular things to do in Galveston is to hang out at the world-class beaches.  For the best family fun beaches, there is no better place on all of Galveston island than Jamaica Beach, which is located just minutes west of downtown Galveston.  Jamaica Beach has the cleanest, nicest, most pristine beaches in all of Galveston.

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DINING AND NIGHT-LIFE

The chance to consume heaps of fresh seafood is a given in Galveston. But the island's restaurant and beverage scene is also surging with array of new foodie delights, from steak houses and taco stands to coffee bars and daiquiri shacks, giving visitors plenty of mouthwatering options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One of the most buzzed about entries is celeb chef Ricky Craig's hoppin' burger joint Hubcap Grill, which serves a rebrand of the landmark Harborside Mercantile. While Harborside Mercantile was widely praised for their delicious seafood options, fans of Craig's creations continued to request Hubcap Grill's signature burgers, which come loaded with all the fixin's along with fresh chuck beef, homemade toasted buns, a special mayo sauce, twice-fried, fresh cut fries and more.

Tex-Mex may not technically be the official food of the Lone Star State, but Taquilo's Tex-Mex Cantina could convince you otherwise. The eatery, owned by the long-standing Galveston Restaurant Group, is dishing out its own signature fajitas, nachos and super-strong margaritas to hungry diners in downtown Galveston—at reasonable prices and with a lovely patio.

Just a short drive away is Gypsy Joynt, where delectable food and top-notch concerts are in perfect harmony. Formerly located in Massachusetts, the hip café, which was ranked as one of the world's best small music venues by the LA Times, now plans to bring that same heat to our island town. The menu, best described as bohemian and eclectic, features an array of pizzas, burgers and wings along with organic offerings and gigantic desserts. At night, it becomes one of the best live music spots on the island, drawing in performers like blues artists Corey Harris and Guy Davis, Lafayette's Pine Leaf Boys and funk-reggae group Jordan Weller and The Feathers.

Down the block from Gypsy Joynt you'll find the new Daiquiri Time Out (DTO for short). Here, co-owner Brad Stringer (a veteran of Houston joints like Johnny's Gold Brick and Boheme) oversees a bar brimming with craft cocktails concocted with fresh juices and house-made spirits.

Galveston Coffee Roasters is also drawing rave reviews from Houston to Galveston and back. A self-proclaimed mom-and-pop shop on 23rd Street, the coffee bar offers in-house roasted varieties of java, custom blends from across the globe and wholesale options roasted weekly, available in a hot cup o' brew or as a pound of beans to take home.

BIRDING

Galveston Island is one of the top locations in the country for birding. It has a rich variety of habitats - beaches, wetlands, grasslands, woods, ponds, and bays - in a small area that are home to many common year-round species, as well as numerous others that visit briefly or for part of the year.

Birds visit en-route from and to Central and South America, north in the spring, south in the fall. Most pass on through after stopping for food and rest, but some spend their summers on the Island and breed locally. Galveston in fact sits astride the 95th meridian, the dead center of the trans-Gulf migration route, and is just at the point in the circum-Gulf route where many birds veer northward.

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GALVESTON HISTORIC PLEASURE PIER

For decades, the historic Pleasure Pier served as a tourism catalyst for Galveston's Seawall Boulevard and the Texas Gulf Coast. More than 40 years after the original Pleasure Pier was destroyed by Hurricane Carla, Landry's has transformed the Pleasure Pier into a world-class amusement park for all ages.

Originally built in the late 1940s as a recreational facility for the military, the Pier was turned over to the city after World War II and named Pleasure Pier. The Pleasure Pier operated as an iconic family destination until 1961, when Hurricane Carla hit Texas. In 1965, the Flagship Hotel, then the only hotel in the nation built entirely over the water, opened on the site, but was severely damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008. In 2012, the Pleasure Pier reopened as a nostalgically-themed amusement park — representing a return to glory for the Pier.

The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier rivals similar parks like Chicago's Navy Pier, the Santa Monica Pier and Coney Island's Luna Park. In 2013 Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards recognized the Pleasure Pier as one of the world's top-five seaside parks. The approximately 1,130-foot pier extends over the Gulf of Mexico at 25th Street and Seawall Boulevard and is home to Texas' first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, a number of shops, entertaining midway games and 16 rides, including gentle rides for young visitors and exhilarating coasters for thrill seekers.

EXTREME WATER SPORTS

Whether you are looking to blast out of the water to over 37 feet in the air, swim like a dolphin, or just cross flyboard off your bucket list, Extreme Water Sports has you covered!

Experience the flyboard at Extreme Water Sports in the bay waters of Galveston Island. They offer several levels of flight training, introductory flights, as well as sales and service.

Their staff of certified Instructors is there to help guide you through the steps necessary to take your own personal flight, and can even teach you some of the more complex stunts and maneuvers as your skills improve. The event staff can custom tailor a program for your group, plan a company team building event, or even schedule a demonstration by their Aerial Acrobatics Team to perform for your event.

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SCHLITTERBAHN WATERPARK

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is a 26-acre oasis of thrilling waterpark adventures. The third waterpark in the Schlitterbahn family of parks features more than 30 attractions designed in the Schlitterbahn tradition of ride innovation. The park also features the next generation of the award-winning Transportainment® river system that combines three unique rivers into one endless floating adventure.

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is not only an excellent and thrilling destination for summer fun; it also opens early for Spring Break and stays open late through December. How do they do it? Convertible technology! The Wasserfest area of Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, voted the World's Best Indoor Waterpark, transforms to create an indoor waterpark retreat for guests all-year-long.

The 70,000 square-foot indoor waterpark offers more than a dozen heated water adventures including four tube slides, three speed slides, three kids' activity areas containing a variety of children's water elements and pint-sized slides, a secluded beach, a heated pool, a man-made surfing wave, and the Torrent® tidal wave river.

The Soaring Eagle

Want a bird's eye view while soaring over the park!? For a small charge, waterpark guests can glide above the park, flying more than 100 feet in the air, on a two-person gondola for 1/4 of a mile. It is the best way to take your waterpark experience to new heights!

Great Food Options

Even though you may bring your own picnic to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, the park also boasts a wide variety of delicious foods. The Funnel Cake Factory provides a list of creative concoctions for our sweet tooth swimmers, like red velvet, cookies n' cream and loaded funnel cakes. Guests looking for something more savory get their fill at BBQ Haus with BBQ Nachos and slow smoked BBQ brisket, pork and chicken. The Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza at Pointe Pizza is a must for all, and a beer served up at a chilling 29 degrees at Blizzard Bar is always refreshing for adult guests.

Premium Cabanas

Schlitterbahn's premium cabanas create a unique and relaxing experience. Guests enjoy a common meeting ground for their party and experience private seating, lounge chairs, catering, tableside service, dedicated lockers and hammocks.

GALVESTON WATER ADVENTURES

Galveston Water Adventures offers an adrenaline-filled rush with its custom-built jet boat ride on board the SPINTIME, along with eco-tours and sunset cruises on board the CRUISE N TIME,  and private events.

Jet Boat SPINTIME

The entire family will enjoy the thrill and excitement of right angle turns, accelerated speeds, and "The Hamilton Spin", a maneuver that spins the boat 360° on its axis throwing a head high wall of water into the air.

Along with providing thrills and chills, the boat is ecologically friendly with internal propellers that can't damage sea grass or harm other forms of marine life.

Their jet boat operators are master captains licensed through the United States Coast Guard and must go through an extensive hands-on-the-water jet boat training program before operating the Sun Time Watersports. You are in safe hands!

Ride lasts 25 minutes and holds 11 passengers. Hours vary seasonally. The minimum age is 4 years old. Women who are expecting should not ride. People with a history of neck and/or back injuries should not ride. The jet boat is not handicapped accessible but we are able to make exceptions on a casa by case bases. Passengers will be required to sign a waiver. Price is $30 per person, plus tax. Book online here.

Eco-Tours

Join Galveston Water Adventures for their one hour tour of Galveston's Harbor to see birds and marine life. They are usually able to get a close up view of playful dolphins jumping. The tour is aboard Cruise-N-Time, their twin engine open-air tour boat.

The tour lasts one hour and holds 37 passengers. Hours vary seasonally. The boat is wheelchair accessible. Price is $12 plus tax. Kids 12 & under are $8 plus tax. Infants are free. Book online here.

Sunset Cruises

Join Galveston Water Adventures for their two hour sunset tour of Galveston's Harbor. Guests are welcome to bring snacks, beer, or wine (no glass) aboard to make the trip more enjoyable. Perfect for couples that want to sip champagne and watch the sunset, or a group of friends just looking for something different to do, the trip will not disappoint. The tour is aboard Cruise-N-Time, their twin engine open-air tour boat.

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GALVESTON BUCKET LIST THINGS TO DO:

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