Historic Galveston Island is one of Texas' oldest and most popular coastal vacation destinations. Thanks to a variety of kid-friendly attractions, activities and events, it is also a perfect spot for a family vacation. Featuring miles of beaches, the nation's first "convertible" water park, a variety of outdoor activities, museums, shops, restaurants and more, there is something for kids of all ages on Galveston Island.
What kid doesn't like spending a day at the beach? As an island, Galveston is literally surrounded by beaches. Within the city limits, there are several public beaches with amenities maintained by the City of Galveston. Along the island's western end are miles of unimproved beachfront. Whatever you're looking for in a beach, odds are you'll find one to your liking on Galveston Island. Additionally, strolling or biking along Galveston's famed Seawall is a great way to view Galveston's Gulf beaches.
Hang Out at the Pleasure Pier
The Galveston Pleasure Pier is a great place to spend a day with the kids while visiting Galveston Island. Built out over the Gulf of Mexico, the Galveston Pleasure Pier features carnival rides, midway games, shops, eateries and lots of other fun-filled activities for kids and families.
Kids love water parks, and on Galveston Island there is one you can visit in summer or winter. The world's first 'convertible waterpark,' Schlitterbahn Galveston is open year around. However, it is during the heat of summer that the park's cool, clear water feels most refreshing. Whether looking for a thrilling ride on a watercoaster or hoping to just relax in a wading pool, there are plenty of ways to cool off from the summer sun at Schlitterbahn Galveston.
Visit Moody Gardens
With its twin pyramids towering above the bay shore, Moody Gardens is an unmistakeable part of Galveston's landscape. Those pyramids are just part of magnificent Moody Gardens. With attractions that include several aquariums, an IMAX theatre and even a rainforest, Moody Gardens is a must see for Galveston visitors. Moody Gardens visitors can also take tours of Galveston Bay aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. Concerts are staged at Moody Gardens throughout the summer season as well.
See the Tall Ship Elissa
Home to the 1877 tall ship Elissa, a national historic landmark, the Texas Seaport Museum tells the seaborne history of Galveston, which was known as "The Ellis Island of the West" in the 1800s. In addition to the Elissa, one of the main attractions is the Pier 21 Theater, which shows the panoramic documentary film, "The Great Storm," which documents the 1900 hurricane and its aftermath. Several other unique exhibits and displays help stitch together Galveston's long and colorful history.
Spend the Holidays With Charles Dickens
In a town known for its history, it only makes sense to ring in the holiday season with characters from Christmases past. Such is the case with Galveston, where the annual Dickens on the Strand event helps usher in the month of December and kicks off the holiday season. Dickens on the Strand transports revelers back to the time of Charles Dickens for a weekend by providing non-stop entertainment on six stages, parades, street musicians, carolers and more – all dressed as characters from Dickens’ novels.
Saltwater fishing is a popular summer pasttime up and down the Texas coast. Galveston has a variety of angling options and venues. Bay and beach fishing is available to both fishermen with or without boats. There are also a number of piers and jetties for non-boaters and several access points and ramps for kayak fishermen and boating anglers.
Encompassing 2,000 acres on Galveston's west end, Galveston Island State Park has provided visitors with a location for an array of outdoor recreational activities since it opened in 1975. Popular activities within the park include swimming, fishing, bird watching and camping. Campsite with water and electricity, a fish cleaning station, outdoor showers, two-lane boat ramp, and 4 miles of hiking/mounting biking trails are among the amenities within Galveston Island State Park.