Nothing says summer vacation like fun in the sun and refreshing water adventures, and on Galveston Island both abound! Galveston is the perfect spot for a wide variety of exciting activities for families who are looking for splashy fun off the beaten path.
Set Sail on Schooner Sundays from the Galveston Sea Star Base
Families can get a fresh start to the day and set sail on a schooner boat as part of an event called Schooner Sundays offered by the Galveston Sea Star Base. The massive sailing beauty leaves Offats Bayou just after noon each Sunday and sails out to destinations beyond Galveston causeway. A licensed captain and “spot tracker” is aboard the ship, so families can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. www.ssbgalveston.org
Jet Boat Thrill Rides + Dolphin Tours at Pier 21
For families looking to get their adrenaline pumping, there is plenty of opportunity to cool off on the sparkling waters of Galveston Harbor with a Jet Boat Thrill Ride from Pier 21. On this 20-minute, thrilling jet boat ride passengers experience intense speeds, right angle turns and “The Hamilton Spin,” a maneuver that spins the boat 360° on its axis throwing a head-high wall of water into the air – and onto passengers! Visit http://suntimewatersports.com. For more fun on Pier 21, take a Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch boat ride to take advantage of the harbor’s cool breezes.
Ride the World’s Tallest Watercoaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark
If that isn’t enough of a thrill, families can be one of the first to ride the world’s tallest watercoaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston. Called MASSIV, the German word for massive, the water coaster will be in place in time for the waterpark’s 10th Anniversary celebration this summer. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island is home to more thrill rides than any other Schlitterbahn Waterpark, making it the perfect home for this record-breaking ride. MASSIV features four uphill sections with six blaster jets, a translucent section that will make riders visible from the river below and a triple drop ending into a landing pool— a never-done-before thrilling finale to the ride.
Parasail Over the Gulf of Mexico
Families can catch some airtime and parasail over the Gulf of Mexico with flights offered by Caribbean Breeze Parasailing. Caribbean Breeze offers 15-minute parasailing flights daily throughout the spring and summer months. The excursions take visitors one-to-two miles offshore via boat, allowing them to parasail up to 500 feet over the water. For more information on Caribbean Breeze, or to make reservations, visit www.galvestonparasail.com.
Take the Family Flyboarding
To combine the feeling of flying with a refreshing splash of water, take the family flyboarding! Like a scene out of futuristic movie, flyboarding allows flyers to strap on a jet-pack device and hover up to 35 feet above Offatts Bayou. Extreme Water Sports has brought this fast-growing sport to the island and offers rides lasting from 20 to 60 minutes starting at $99. Each ride includes one-on-one training with a professional, certified instructor. For details, visit www.exremewatersportsgalveston.com.
Go on a Paddle Board Excursion
Families can hit the waves in Galveston on a paddle boarding excursion with Ohana Surf & Skate. Ohana offers an extensive selection of stand-up paddle boards for all skill levels as well as experienced instructors to guide participants along the way. Lessons include one-on-one instruction on the beach and in the water. For those who prefer to surf, Ohana also offers gear and lessons. For details, visit www.ohanasurfandskate.com.
Go on an a Kayak Adventure at the Galveston Island State Park
If you’re looking for outdoor water adventure, head west to the Galveston Island State Park— a great place for kayaking, birding and nature exploration. Offering access to the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay, the 1,200-acre state park hosts many examples of barrier island habitats explored easily from the beach or by walking trails. The park also offers free, regularly scheduled activities, including kayak tours, beach and surf explorations, bird walks, nature field trips and fishing clinics. You can also get your heart pumping and creativity flowing on a kayak tour offered through Artist Boat. The two- and four- hour tours include an opportunity to paint a watercolor picture of the scenic view. For details, visit www.artistboat.org.