Visiting Galveston Island- A Weekend Guide

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Roughly 50 miles southeast of Houston lies Galveston Island. In a little over an hour you can be out of Houston and enjoying this coastal town. While most people come here for the beach this historic town has so much more to see! The city is rich in culture and history. Galveston served as the main port for the Texas Navy during the Texas Revolution. And, during it’s golden era, Galveston was home to many of the states ‘firsts’. Some of those include the first post office, opera house, orphanage, telephone, electric lights, and the first medical college. All this history and immigration makes for amazing food, museums, and things to do here on this island. Grab the kids and enjoy a weekend visiting Galveston!

Leaving Galveston and heading to Houston?
Check out this post on the top ten kid friendly things to do in the heart Houston.

Walk along Galveston’s Historic Strand

102 20th St, Galveston, TX 77550
Leaving out of Galveston on a Caribbean cruise is no doubt one of the main reasons people visit. But, just footsteps away from the port is Galveston’s famous strip of shops, food, and museums. The Strand is full of historic buildings that survived the 1900 flood, which was deemed the worst natural disaster in US history. These building are full of color, have a historic background, and a vintage feel. You definitely don’t want to miss a stop here.

Indulge at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

2225 Strand St #103, Galveston, TX 77550
While you’re on the strand, eat your way through this real life chocolate factory. Choose from chocolate covered apples, fudge, and all the sweet treats your heart desires. The kids had so much fun watching them hand dip strawberries and taste testing all things chocolate. We ordered the caramel covered apple and it was incredible!

Explore the 1877 Elissa Ship

2200 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550
The Elissa was brought to Galveston from Greece in 1978 to begin its restoration process. Four years later it was complete and transformed into a floating museum. The Elissa is only one of three ships left in the world of her kind and still actively sails. The Elissa is the official Tall Ship of Texas and became a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

Hours: Open daily from 10-5 (the last entrance one hour before closing)
Admission: Adults $8, Kids (6-18), Children 5 and under are free

We told our kids it was a real life pirate ship and their excitement was through the roof. They learned lots of facts about the ship and it’s original crew and even got to see the captains quarters. Needless to say, they haven’t stopped playing pirate games since.

Relax on the beach/ Ferry Ride

You can’t take a trip to Galveston without stopping to relax on the beach. There are so many different sections of the beach for you to enjoy. Some of our favorites are The Seawall, Crystal Beach, and Stewart Beach.

If you have time, you can’t miss a ride on the ferry. This is such an inexpensive activity to do with the kids. If you can, plan your return around dinner time. Birds flock to the back of the ship just waiting to be fed so be sure to bring some scraps for them. During the summer months, the wait time can be a bit long so make sure to keep that in mind.

Visit La Kings Confectionery and Candy Shop

2323 Strand St, Galveston, TX 77550
Visiting La King’s is like stepping back in time. It is set up just like a classic old ice cream parlor. If you think soda fountains, ice cream sundaes, hand made taffy, shakes and malts, splits, floats and an array of sweets then you’ve got the right idea of this place. The employees dress in vintage parlor attire and hats and serve out all these delicious treats.

We couldn’t get enough of this place. We watched the taffy machine spin and spin while the taffy man threw out free samples for us to enjoy. Me and my husband, in classic form, enjoyed a hot fudge Sunday (with two straws), and the kids sat with their candy enjoying the environment of this place. If you come to Galveston you have to make it a point to stop in at this place.

Play at Pleasure Pier

2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston,TX 77550

This is a family friendly heaven of things to do. Ride roller coasters, play games, shop at the boutiques, and eat fresh seafood all while hanging out over the water.

This place is great with families with kids of all ages. They have rides that cater to almost every age range. From bumper cars and carousels to the coolest ferris wheel ride over the water you’ll ever experience this place has it all.

Ticket prices depend on height. Click here to find out what package/ tickets work best for your family.

Eat at Hubcap Burger Grill

2021 Strand St #3, Galveston, TX 77550
Voted as”Houston’s Best Burger” they’re now open on The Strand in Galveston. My son hates hamburgers and couldn’t get enough of their food. He kept saying, “These are SO good” and that says a lot coming from the pickiest kid in the world. If you like spicy, you have to try the hell fries. Just know, it lives up to it’s name. Just make sure you have something to sip on very close by.

Visit the Grand Opera House

2020 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550
The Grand Opera House is something to behold. It has survived countless storms that wiped out most other businesses in the area. Several local business owners and leaders in the community came together countless times to make sure this place stayed a Texas treasure. The Grand has been titled ‘the official opera house of Texas’ and is one of the few remaining opera houses of its kind.

Finding Neverland was a hit with our kids. We stopped in here shortly after visiting the Elissa and they got to continue on their pirate adventure.

San Luis Resort and Spa Galveston
Image credit: San Luis Resort

Sleep and Swim at the San Luis Resort

Every single time we stay a weekend in Galveston we stay at the San Luis Resort. This hotel is the perfect mixture of kid friendly and luxury. Not only are their rooms beautiful but they face the Gulf of Mexico.

From your balcony, look out over miles of endless ocean and watch an orange and pink sunset paint the sky. Their views truly make you feel like you’re off in the Caribbean somewhere.

The pool is hands down our favorite part about this hotel. Relax at the swim up bar while the kids splash away. The outdoor pool is heated so you can enjoy it during every season.

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