Plan a Fun-Filled Summer Close to Home
by Tonya Kerr
photos by Yvette Michelle Photography
Luckily, Houstonians don’t have to travel far or break the bank to enjoy a vacation close to home on Galveston Island!
Whether it’s for a few days, or even the whole week, Galveston offers endless possibilities! From lounging on the beach to exciting adventures to incredible restaurants and shops, this coastal resort city beckons everyone at every age.
Galveston Railroad Museum
With one of the largest restored railroad collections in the southwest, and one of the five largest in the country, the Galveston Railroad Museum showcases railroad memorabilia and exhibits, as well as more than 40 pieces of restored locomotives. A star attraction at the Galveston Railroad Museum is the Harborside Express. www.galvestonrrmuseum.com
Lone Star Flight Museum
Enjoy a spring break visit to the Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM) and glide through the story of flight in Texas. Your spring break flight plan will include a climb into the cockpit of a Curtiss Jenny or P-51 Mustang and an experiential tour through history in the Heritage Gallery and Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. You’ll coast through the collection of historic aircraft in two 30,000 sq. ft. hangars. www.lonestarflight.org
Pleasure Pier, Kemah Boardwalk & Downtown Aquarium
In Galveston, your kids will spend hours riding 16 rides and playing midway games on Pleasure Pier over the ocean waves of the Gulf. Another day, take the family for the adventures of Kemah Boardwalk with rides, restaurants and shops to keep everyone happy all-day long. Carry all that sea-loving fun into Houston’s Downtown Aquarium and use your pass for a day of underwater amazement and rides galore. www.pleasurepier.com
One of the “hottest coolest times in Texas”. Schlitterbahn Galveston boasts the tallest water coaster in the world along with an exciting collection of water rides to thrill the entire family. Water slides, wave rivers, and water coasters with free tubes and free parking. And the best part, picnics are welcome! www.schlitterbahn.com/galveston
Galveston Beach Parks
Stewart Beach, East Beach and West End Pocket Parks 1 and 2. Visitors to the beach parks can take advantage of restrooms, showers, beach chair rentals, volleyball courts, snack bars and other concessions, including horseback riding and helicopter tours. To see all the amenities in one spot, visit www.galvestonbeachinfo.com.
Galveston Water Adventures
Catch a ride on Galveston Water Adventures’ Jet Boat SPINTIME for a thrill-seeking adventure on a custom-built jet boat across the Galveston Harbor. Galveston Water Adventures also offers eco-tours and sunset cruises aboard the open-air tour boat, Cruise-N-Time. www.galvestonwateradventures.com
Moody Gardens, Galveston Island!
Most don’t realize that Moody Gardens attractions are open to the public as well as guests of the acclaimed resort. You’ll find a tropical themed destination wonderland for families, tucked just to the north of the Seawall and overlooking the beautiful Galveston Bay. Meet penguins, sharks and so much more at the newly renovated and world-renowned Aquarium Pyramid. An authentic rainforest adventure, Sky Trail ropes course and a zip line into the white sand beaches of Palm Beach will keep kids busy for hours on end. The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, Discovery Museum and 3D & 4D theaters will thrill and amaze while the Spongebob SubPants Adventure will tickle everyone’s funnybone. Resort guests will enjoy beautiful views, play golf, indulge at the spas, and spend whatever free time you have left at the indoor and outdoor pools, as well as family-friendly special events. www.moodygardens.com
The Strand in Downtown Galveston
A short walk through Galveston’s Historic District, includes the Strand and Post Office Street, with art galleries, antique shops and renowned restaurants. Most are in restored 1900s-era buildings with brick streets and a feel that you’ve stepped back in time. Don’t miss the candy shop and old-time soda fountain for a family-style treat. www.galveston.com
Sea Turtle Tours
Some tours book up months in advance, and the forethought is worth every moment on a free Sea Turtle Tour at the NOAA Fisheries Galveston Laboratory. These tours happen every Thursday ages 6 and up. For more information, visit www.galvestonlab.sefsc.noaa.gov
1877 Tall Ship ELISSA and Texas Seaport Museum
Walk along the decks of the 1887 Tall Ship ELISSA as part of your tour of the Texas Seaport Museum. The Ellis Island of the West, Galveston welcomed 133,000 immigrants into the United States. Check out the adjacent movie theater for a look back of the Storm of 1900, which still ranks as the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history. Plenty of incredible story-telling and artifacts make this a must-see attraction. www.galvestonhistory.org