Welcome Winter Texans! Now that you've escaped the cold winter by heading south, it's island time! Galveston Island's tropical climate and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico provide the relaxing escape you've been longing for. Yet, you'll feel right at home with the small town culture and southern hospitality found on this historic island.
Exploring in Galveston is easy to do as the island offers 32 miles of beaches, world-class attractions and adventure opportunities, one of the largest collections of Victorian architecture in the country, a charming historic downtown and plenty of award-winning restaurants.
And, if you're looking to meet fellow long-stay visitors, branch out to the many Winter Texan exclusive events offered throughout the season. You can learn about these events, special savings and other ways to make your long-term stay in Galveston more enjoyable by stopping by the Galveston Island Visitor Information Center located inside Ashton Villa.
There's an incredible number of wonderful things to do on Galveston Island that are either completely free of charge, or extremely affordable! Take a look at few below!
Galveston Island Pass
Get your passport to adventure and savings with the new Galveston Island Pass. Load your pass with four or more participating attractions and save 40% off regular admission prices. This is a great deal as the pass is good for 30 days after purchase. Galveston Island Pass is available online at www.galvestonislandpass.com.
Stay Mid-Week and Save!
If you're looking for a way to save on accommodations, consider staying mid-week. Rates in Galveston are significantly lower for those choosing to book their overnight stays Sunday through Thursday. Click here to check other lodging options, rates and availability.
Galveston Tree Sculpture Tour
After Hurricane Ike, optimistic island residents worked with area sculptors to transform damaged oak trees into breathtaking tree sculptures that are now the focus of the Galveston Tree Sculptures Tour. The 30-plus sculptures are tucked into gardens and nestled in side yards throughout the island's East End Historic District for the public to enjoy and find. Click here for an interactive tour.
Movie & Music Nights on The Strand
Grab your chairs, blankets and pillows and head to Saengerfest Park in downtown Galveston for a free family-friendly movie or concert under the stars. Films are held the first Saturday of each month beginning at dusk. Concerts are held every second and fourth Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. Both events run March through October. For more information, visit the Galveston.com calendar.
Ferry Ride + Dolphin Watch
Galveston's Bolivar Ferry is well known across the Lone Star State. This free and roughly 20-minute ride each way between Port Bolivar and Galveston is an entertaining diversion from the beaches and historic districts that are the biggest Galveston tourist draw. During this voyage, you can also get a close look at graceful dolphins as they swim by. For details, click here.
Stroll the Strand
The downtown area offers an intriguing selection of shops, restaurants, galleries and museums within a perfect radius for self-guided tours. The Victorian architecture of Strand Street, widely known as The Strand, makes for a charming stroll. Saegnerfest Park at 23rd and Strand is a free family park home to a life-size chessboard and is often home to live entertainment. Be sure to also check out the art galleries and shops found on Postoffice Street. Check out current downtown events by clicking here.
Held every six weeks, ArtWalk is a free event where Galveston's downtown art galleries open their doors to the public for an evening of art viewing, live entertainment and refreshments from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. The Galveston Arts Center hosts this event March through November. For a schedule, vist our interactive ArtWalk section.
Enjoy Seawall Beach
Galveston has the longest continuous sidewalk in America on its beachfront Seawall Boulevard, making room for a wide variety of free outdoor activities. Enjoy the beach by swimming or playing beach volleyball or hit the pavement for biking or running. Watching a breath-taking sunrise or sunset on the Seawall is priceless.
Old-Fashioned Taffy-Making at La King's Confectionery
La King's Confectionery in downtown Galveston is sure to make your trip to the island that much sweeter. Not only can you delight in homemade old-fashioned candies and ice cream, you can watch it being made. The shop hosts free salt water taffy-making demonstrations daily during peak tourism season. For more information, click here.
Galveston is one of the top locations for birding in the United States with more than 300 species of birds that migrate through the island during spring and fall migrations. This free birding brochure will guide you to the island's nature hotspots. Moody Gardens and the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council host a series of free "Birding 101" classes to educate and excite people about the bird life on the island. For more information, visit www.moodygardens.org.
Galveston Island State Park
The Galveston Island State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor activities that are free to participate in. While each person must pay a $5 parking charge to get into the park, families can enjoy kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, nature field trips and fishing clinics at no cost. Many activities require advance sign-up. The park's Nature Center is open on Saturdays and Sundays March through November showing nature displays and videos pertaining to the park's plant and marine life. For more information, visit fogisp.wordpress.com.
Fishing in Galveston
In Galveston, anyone with a Texas fishing license can fish for free! From beachfront fishing to offshore overnight fishing, you can enjoy a variety of fishing on this island. Don't forget to bring your catch to local restaurants. Many will turn your fresh catch to an unforgettable dinner. For more information, please click here.
Visit Galveston Museums
Galveston is home to many affordable museums that highlight science as well as Galveston's unique history. A new pirate museum, Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast, recently opened on the Strand. Downtown is also home to the Galveston Railroad Museum, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, Pier 21 Theater, Texas Seaport Museum and the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA. These museums range in price from $2 to $8. The nearby Rosenberg Library Museum on Sealy Street is free!
Free Parking at Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Waterpark
At any tourist destination, parking can be a pain. But Galveston is an exception! Adventure resort Moody Gardens and family fun paradise Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark both offer visitors free parking. For more information on these attractions, visit www.moodygardens.org and http://schlitterbahn.com/gal.
Galveston's Beaches: So Many to Choose From!
Summer fun on the island is just around the corner. So when the temperatures soar in the weeks and months ahead, what’s the best Galveston beach to hit the waves? Read more.
Up for a Challenge? Galveston to Host Family Beach Competitions
Family fun is taking on a new meaning this spring and summer at Galveston’s East Beach with friendly competitions between families. Read more.
Hamilton Loomis to Lead Harmonica Workshop at Galveston College
Blues extraordinaire and island native Hamilton Loomis is returning home this spring to conduct a two-day blues harmonica workshop at Galveston College, and he wants you in on the action. Read more.
GHF Homes Tour Returns May 6, 7, 13, & 14, 2017
Galveston Historical Foundation opens the doors to Galveston’s architectural history through public tours of privately owned homes for the first two weekends each May. The 2017 event will be held May 6,7, 13, & 14. Read more.
Grab Your Camera. Spring Migration is Happening Now!
Spring is in the air. That means hundreds of migrating birds are heading north across the Gulf from Central and South America. Read more.
Spring Break Galveston: A Hotspot for Family Activities
If you’re looking for some fun things during Galveston Spring Break 2017, there’s no need to look any further. We’ve put together this list of must-do activities for families and children of all ages to plunge into. Read more.
7 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Galveston
You’ve just landed in Galveston for some much-needed R&R and glance out the hotel patio window at the Gulf of Mexico. And it's raining. Never fear! Read more.
FeatherFest Takes Wing This April
The FeatherFest Birding & Nature Festival, scheduled for April 6-9 and celebrating its 15th anniversary, has grown into one of the preeminent events of its kind in North America. Read more.
Moody Gardens Offers New Attractions, Discounts for Spring Break
Spring break is almost here and Moody Gardens is offering new attractions, experiences and discounts to provide an enjoyable daytrip or extended vacation at one of the most popular tourist destinations in Texas. Read more.
Spring Break on a Budget
It’s that time of the year when the sun’s rays provide the perfect backdrop for dancing, partying and flirting during the annual freedom pilgrimage called Spring Break Galveston. It takes place March 1 - April 30. Read more.