Keeping busy is never a struggle in Galveston, where beaches, museums, and tours abound. You could spend weeks on this gorgeous island and still only scratch the surface.
The struggle is not in finding fun things to do in Galveston, but rather, in narrowing down that long list of attractions. To help, we’ve highlighted a few of the best things to do in Galveston TX:
5. Naval Museum
Take a walk through history at the Naval Museum. This educational center allows visitors to tour a WWII submarine & a WWII destroyer. Additionally, the museum offers stories, information, and more to try to paint the most accurate picture of what happened here in WWII. You can choose between a self-guided tour or a guided tour and tickets cost $6-13/person.
9. Rent Bikes by the Beach
10. Explore the Strand
11. Historical Homes
It’s no secret that Galveston has a very rich history and the homes here tell the stories. Though many homes have been damaged over the decades by hurricanes, there are many still standing. Taking a tour of the historic homes or even just strolling by them is a fun activity! Children may not enjoy this activity quite as much as the Water Park, but there is a lot to see and learn. Some notable homes are the Moody Mansion, the Menard House, Bishop’s Palace, and Ashton Villa.
12. Kemah BoardwalkJust a 35 minute drive from Galveston is a city called Kemah. Kemah is home to a boardwalk and lighthouse district filled with restaurants, shops, rides, and photo spots! Think Paradise Pier – only on a larger scale. This place is worth the trip!
13. Galveston Island State ParkSpend a relaxing beach day at Galveston Island State Park, which offers some of the best views of the bay. The sunrises are nothing short of spectacular. As such, a romantic stroll along the beach is arguably one of the best things to do in Galveston for couples — or, at least, couples who don’t mind an early start to the day. This local gem is a true paradise for avid birders, who enjoy observing the many species that gather here during the spring and fall migrations. Campers also love spending time here, as the park has dozens of campsites that face the beach. Other favorite activities include hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
Arguably the most underrated museum in Galveston, this free attraction can be found within the Galveston County Courthouse. One of many educational Galveston indoor activities, this attraction is the perfect addition to a jam-packed day in which you require something a bit low-key. The museum is part of the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Passport Program, as it houses the lens from the Galveston South Jetty Lighthouse.
Galveston has a thriving art scene, as you’ll quickly discover while browsing the thought-provoking works on display at the Galveston Arts Center. Contemporary styles dominate here, as do local works. Rotating exhibitions mean that there is always something new to see.
Surprisingly, this location provides some of the best things to do in Galveston with kids, as it regularly hosts classes and workshops for children. The weekly art club is especially popular among preteens, while adolescents enjoy expressing themselves during immersive art courses. While many classes require commitments spanning several weeks, several one-off workshops are available, such as block printing and working with red clay.
The Galveston Arts Center also participates in the popular ArtWalk, which is presented at least once every two months. Showcasing unique works and fun activities, this enjoyable event exposes residents and vacationers of all ages to Galveston’s remarkable artistic community.
Situated in a former Santa Fe Railroad station, the Galveston Railroad Museum encourages you to step back in time as you explore a variety of transportation artifacts. A favorite among toddlers and seniors alike, this charming museum is home to a variety of locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars.
Indoor exhibits largely focus on photography and oral histories, although there are some intriguing plaster statutes dressed in period garb. These tell the story of railroad life in Galveston nearly a century ago.
If you get the chance, take a ride in the open-air caboose known as the Harborside Express. This short, yet enjoyable journey lasts a mere fifteen minutes — but every moment is delightful.
17. Take Surf Lessons
If you’re eager for a thrill, look no further than Galveston’s top surfing instructors. No matter your age, physical fitness, or surfing experience, you can discover the joy of hitting the waves. There are multiple surfing schools conveniently located in Galveston, such as Good Vibes Surf Lessons and the cleverly named C-Sick Surfin’.
If you’re already an experienced surfer, don’t hesitate to grab a board and head for Pleasure Pier. While surf conditions can be inconsistent, you’ll have a great time if you hit the water on the right day. The views are always incredible, as is the camaraderie.
18. Embrace Beach Fashion
After a successful surfing expedition, reward yourself with a trip to one of Galveston’s wonderful surf shops. There, you’ll find not only high-end gear for hitting the waves but also, the best styles to show off as you explore the Seawall sidewalk.
There are plenty of other shops that sell beachwear, so keep your eyes open as you meander along Seawall and the Strand. From discount shops to high-end boutiques, there’s something for every style and every budget.
Galveston is a vibrant city with a lot to offer. Whether your idea of the perfect day out involves gorgeous architecture, a shopping extravaganza, or water-based recreation, you will be amazed by the wealth of opportunities that Galveston provides. Set aside time to do and see it all — you won’t regret embracing this gem of an island.