7 Reasons to Day Trip to Galveston
When you live in the Houston area, there’s no excuse for boring weekends – not when you have an island playground right in your backyard. With Galveston being so close to the city, it’s easy to visit this charming yet adventure-packed beach town over and over – for an entire weekend or just for the day.
Here are 7 reasons Galveston Island should be on your day-trip list:
#1 It’s A Quick Trip
Nothing beats being able to wake up in the morning, hop in your car and be on the beach watching the sunrise within an hour’s drive from home. Galveston Island’s location just 50 miles south of Houston makes it one of the quickest and convenient day escapes you can make.
#2 Beaches for Miles
Just because Galveston is close, doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice on experience. G-town has all the sea breezes and sandy vibes you could want in an island getaway, including 32 miles of beaches and several beach parks to choose from – each with their own personality. For a good time, head to East Beach (where alcohol is permitted) for its party atmosphere, live concerts, and big annual festivals. For a quiet, relaxing outing, head to the West End and Galveston Island State Park beaches, where the location several miles from main tourist points creates the perfect place for a picnic or hike. Or, plant your sun chairs and umbrellas along any of the Seawall beaches for the best people watching in town and easy access to restaurants and shops.
#3 You Can REALLY Get Outdoors
One of the best things about Galveston is that it allows you to really get outdoors. From surfing and standup paddle boarding to kayaking, jet-skiing, flyboarding and even deep-sea diving, the water provides plenty of opportunity for adventure. Not fond of the waves? You can also take a group to for a game of sand volleyball, zipline at Moody Gardens, go horseback riding along the shore or take a helicopter ride over the Gulf of Mexico…to name a few options.
#4 Historic Culture
Galveston’s Victorian architecture and historic sites are some of the best in nation and the island’s storied past makes these attractions even more fascinating. Did you know Galveston was once considered the Wall Street of the South and one of the wealthiest cities in the country? You can still walk the streets of what used to be Galveston’s banker’s row when visiting the island’s downtown shopping district, The Strand. You can also see remnants of the island’s extreme wealth by touring popular historic mansion museums like Bishop's Palace and Moody Mansion. And really, that’s just the beginning. Galveston is home to dozens of museums that chronicle its encounters with the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, its place as the second busiest immigration station in U.S. history, its devastation after falling victim to the Great Storm of 1900 and its resurgence as an elite early to mid-20th century tourist destination visited by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Tip: Take a bicycle ride through Galveston’s East End Historical District and Silk-Stocking District to view one of the largest collections of preserved Victorian architecture in the country.
#5 Galveston is an Artsy Town
By this point, you can see that Galveston has truly mastered the art of eclecticism – somehow maintaining a synergistic identity as a relaxing beach getaway/outdoor adventure/charming historic town. Well, add artsy to the list. Not only is Galveston home to tons of art galleries (centered on Postoffice and its surrounding streets), it’s popular Artwalk event draws visitors from across the state every six weeks. Also on Postoffice Street, The Grand 1894 Opera House is a fabulous place to see a live show with no seat further than 70 feet from the stage.
#6 SEAFOOD. Need I Say More?
If you love seafood, you’ll love all the tasty, fresh-off-the-boat options Galveston provides. Even better, no two restaurants serve this island staple the same way, creating a deliciously diverse array of foods influenced by the many groups of people who migrated through the island during its immigration era – and beyond. For a must-visit eatery, dine in at Gaido's Seafood Restaurant, a family-owned establishment that has been on the island since 1911.
Tip: Visit Katie’s Seafood Market at Pier 19 to pick up some fresh seafood to take home. Not only has the shop been the focus of its very own National Geographic TV show, the market allows you to create your own sea-to-table menu with its selection of shrimp, crab, Texas redfish and more.
If you like a crowd, grab some friends and head to any of the major events and festivals that keep Galveston lively weekend after weekend. From the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation to the Galveston Food & Wine Festival (April), Annual Historic Homes Tour (May), AIA Sandcastle Competition (June), Brewmaster’s Craft Beer Festival and Galveston Island Wild Texas Shrimp (September), there’s plenty to see, sip and do all year round.