The Galveston Island Big Bucket List

white painted structure with green palm trees in the front

From its amazing history to just playing on the beach, there’s always something to do in Galveston! Here’s my ultimate list of the best things to do on the island!

Galveston Island is a 27-mile long barrier island, south of Houston, on the Gulf of Mexico. It has a long history of prosperity, pirates and destruction from the storms of the Gulf. The miles of open beaches make it a popular tourist destination during the Summer, warm winters and numerous festivals in the Historic Downtown assure that Galveston has a steady stream of visitors year-round!

white painted structure with green palm trees in the front
Photo by Pixabay on

While the beach is the most popular attraction on the island, there are plenty of great venues, museums and events to make Galveston a great destination!


1. Spend a day exploring all there is to do at Moody Gardens! Moody Gardens is easy to find thanks to the 3 big pyramids! The Aquarium Pyramid takes you on a journey of discovery of the amazing animals that live in the ocean! They also have penguins, seals and sea lions! In the Rainforest Pyramid, you walk through a jungle complete with monkeys and tropical birds flying over head! The Discovery Pyramid has exhibits and fun, 4-D Movies! There is also a beach and pool area and cruises on the Colonel Paddlewheel!

2. Artist Boat Take a leisurely kayak tour of Galveston Bay, where you can see fish, stingrays, maybe even dolphins.

3. Take the FREE Ferry from Galveston to Bolivar Peninsula, 1000 Ferry Rd. Here’s a tip, park your car in the FREE parking lot and just walk on the Ferry to skip the sometimes long lines to ride on the Ferry. Stand near the back of the boat to see dolphin jumping in the wake!

4. Baywatch Dolphin Tours Ride in an open-air boat to see the dolphins that call Galveston home!

Galveston Island Mardi Gras Festival

5. Visit the Historic Strand District Enjoy the shops and restaurants on this Historic part of the island! The Strand is also home to Galveston’s Mardi Gras Festival and Dickens on the Strand!

6. Tour one of the Historic Homes on the Island, like Bishop’s Palace or Moody Mansion. Prior to the Great Storm of 1900, Galveston had some of the most beautiful homes in the state! Tour these amazing homes that have withstood the trials of time!

7. Play on East Beach Galveston’s Party Beach, East Beach offers great sand, surf, volleyball courts and Summer concerts. It’s also the only beach that sells alcohol, but still fun for families, too! It’s also the home of the AIA Sandcastle Competition each year!

8. Galveston Island State Park Stretching across the island, the state park has access to both the beach and the bay. Each weekend there are ranger-led walks to learn more about the nature on the island!

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum in Galveston Texas

9. Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum A really interesting museum on the Harbor-side of the island!

10. Tour the Galveston Naval Museum on Seawolf Island Take a tour of the USS Cavalla, a WWII submarine! While you’re on the island, don’t miss a walk out on the pier, and learning more about it’s history!

11. Galveston Party Boats Take off on an offshore fishing trip for a day, or even a 3-day tuna safari! Summer and Fall fishing in Galveston is amazing!

12. Galveston Railroad Museum See a multitude of old trains, and the kids will love a ride on the Harborside Express Caboose Ride!

13. Galveston Historic Seaport and the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa Learn more about the history of the island and take a tour of the Elissa!

14. Visit the Bryan Museum An amazing museum not just for the the history of Galveston, but for exhibits on the American West.

15. The Galveston Island Pleasure Pier Walk the boardwalk, play games and ride some terrific rides out over the water!

16. Schlitterbahn Waterpark A great waterpark, with thrilling rides and an indoor part for cooler weather!

17. 61st Street Fishing Pier A paid fishing pier, they even rent poles and tackle, everything you need!

18. Stewart Beach Galveston’s Family Friendly beach, with lifeguards, a playground, chair and umbrella rentals and plenty of great sand and waves!

19. Galveston Island Horse and Pony Rides Ride along the surf at sunset for an unforgettable experience!

Galveston Duck Tours Texas

20. Galveston Duck Tours Take a fun tour around the city then hold on as the amphibious bus plunges into Offat’s Bayou for a tour around the bay! Pets are even allowed on these tours!

21. Galveston Slingshot Rentals I haven’t done this yet, but it’s top on my list for my next trip to Galveston! Who needs to rent a golf cart when you drive one of these!


Raw oysters at Nick's Kitchen on the Seawall in Galveston.

Redfish Pool Bar at Nick’s Kitchen Right next door to Gaido’s, and on the Seawall, Nick’s offers a much more casual dining experience, or keep cool in the pool bar!

Shark Shack Beach Bar and Grill Well, it’s actually located on the Strand, but I love their food, especially their crab cakes!

Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant Step back in time to the 1940’s for a wonderful dinner! Don’t miss the Red Snapper, their signature dish!

Shrimp ‘N’ Stuff One of our favorites for the portions and the price, everything on the menu is incredible!

The Spot Great beachfront patios right on the Seawall! We love their shrimp and burgers!

Mosquito Cafe Everything on the menu is just amazing!

The Cajun Greek A fun and festive restaurant!

Sunflower Bakery and Cafe A breakfast must when you’re on the island!

Miller’s Seawall Grill The best shrimp and grits!


Hotel Galvez in Galveston Island Texas
Just my all-time favorite!  New owners are completely remodeling it back to it's 1900 glory!  We love that they have complementary bikes for guest!  Be sure to take the ghost tour, too!  Here's a tip, at check in, if you want, ask for the haunted room!

The Galvez Just my all-time favorite! New owners are completely remodeling it back to it’s 1900 glory! We love that they have complementary bikes for guest! Be sure to take the ghost tour, too! Here’s a tip, at check in, if you want, ask for the haunted room!

Galveston has so many amazing VRBOs! And honestly, nothing is better than having access to a washer and dryer when at the beach! On our most recent visit, we stayed at the Galveston Beach Lodge, with 2 cute beach houses, just 2 blocks from the beach and close to Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn!

Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!


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