Galveston has some of the best attractions in Texas, from historic mansions and amusement parks to outdoor fun activities like birdwatching, fishing, and dolphin sightseeing.
At Galveston, you will explore history-rich museums, hitch a boat ride or enjoy ship rides.
Whether you are there for a honeymoon or a family getaway, here are some of the top attractions in Galveston.
1. Moody Gardens
Moody Garden is one of the must-go places in Galveston.
The center has a hotel, spa, golf course, and several family-friendly attractions and events.
Next, experience rainforest vibes with the Rainforest Pyramids.
This interactive experience lets you and your family see endangered plants and animals from Africa and Asia.
You’ll get up and close here with Saki Monkeys, an impressive display of birds, Giant Amazon River Otters, and so much more flora and fauna.
Other breathtaking experiences in the Moody gardens include the 3D and 4D theatres and dinner cruises in the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.
2. The Moody Mansion
The Moody family was one of the wealthiest families in Texas, whose wealth stemmed from cotton farming.
It later spread to banking, insurance, ranching, and hotels.
You can relive their lives by visiting the Moody Mansion, a 20-room, four-story mansion built on 28,000 square feet of land.
The home is in America’s history books, appointed a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark by the government in 1967, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
Take your family or vacation buddies on a tour of the mansion. The place offers family and group packages, while children under 5 years go through them at no cost.
3. The Historic Strand District
Commonly known as The Strand, this tourist attraction is the heart of the coastal Island.
It features century-old Victorian-style buildings that display heritage and craftsmanship.
The scenic town brings together tourists from all over the world who descend here to dine, make merry and shop.
Bring your family and friends to The Stand, which now houses:
- antique shops
- art galleries
- souvenir shops
- and candy shops
You can have the time of your life at the local nightclubs and entertainment joints like the Pier 21 Theatre and Texas Seaport Museum.
The Pier 21 Theatre showcases The Great Storm, a film based on the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston and transformed the lives of many residents.
4. Gresham’s Castle
Gresham’s Castle, better known as the Bishop’s Palace, is another historic landmark that makes Galveston a tourist hub.
The highly decorated Victorian-style house was designed and built by famous architect Nicholas Clayton J. for lawyer and legislator the late Walter Gresham.
Marked as one of the Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks, the steel and stone mansion survived the 1900 hurricane intact, making it one of the best examples of the excellence and briskness of Victorian-style buildings.
The house was built with a lot of artistry and creativity and features irregularly shaped stones and carvings of animals, birds, people, and more.
5. Stewart Beach
If you look forward to recreational and outdoor activities in Galveston, you cannot miss Stewart Beach.
The public beach is located where Broadway Avenue touches the Seawall and presents a secure and well-guarded place for your family and friends to have an ocean experience.
With easily accessible parking spaces, pavilions, washrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, and concessions, you will undoubtedly have a good time here.
The adults can enjoy refreshing ball games at the beach volleyball courts as the kids play in the children’s playground.
Stewart beach prides itself as one of the top kids-friendly public beaches in Galveston, thanks to regular supervision by expert lifeguards. It is also alcohol-free.
6. The Pleasure Pier
Are you looking for an amusement park to hype your family and friends in Galveston?
The Pleasure Pier is one of the most famous amusement parks, with family-friendly activities like rollercoaster rides, midway games, balloon artistry, and mascot appearance.
While the fun side of Pleasure Pier supersedes all other aspects, the facility represents Galveston’s resilience and bounces back after being hit by one of America’s worst storms, Hurricane Carla.
The present-day amusement Park sits on the remains of its predecessor, brought to the ground in 1961.
The Gulf coast destination is full of waterfront fun activities, savory seafood, exotic dishes, retail shops, live music, kid’s corner activities, and more.
Enjoy scenic gulf views aboard the Galaxy wheels and marvel at the Texan sunsets with the High Power Telescopes.
7. The Bryan’s Museum
The Bryan’s Museum is one of the best places to visit in Galveston to learn the seaport’s history in Texas and West America.
It is housed in the Galveston Orphan’s Home and contains a collection of historical artifacts, pictures, documents, and artwork collectively known as Bryan’s Collection.
Named after Billionaire and collector J.P Byan, the Bryan Collection includes 12,000-year-old artifacts, cultural objects, and documents.
Enjoy the thrill of a modern museum with wall-mounted tablets to provide all relevant information about any piece of art on display.
8. The Grand 1894 Opera House
If you are a performing arts enthusiast, you must visit the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston.
The non-profit performing theatre is open from Monday to Saturday, and you can attend self-guided or guided tours.
Still, you can catch seasonal festivities and performances in the vast auditoriums, including:
- acoustic bands
- opera performances
- and shows from local and foreign musicians
Located on Post Office Street, the Victorian-style building is home to fun kid’s activities, musical and theatrical performances.
On the outside, large windows display engaging concerts and shows.
Experience Broadway hits, holiday specials, and unforgettable entertainment all year round on the theatre’s grand wooden stage.
9. Galveston Naval Museum/Seawolf Park
The Galveston Naval Museum lets you and your family revisit World War II and learn how the US Naval protected the country.
The education center offers visitors a grand tour of the WWII USS Cavalla submarine and the marine training ship USS Stewart Destroyer.
The Seawolf park has many kid-friendly activities, including fishing and crabbing. There are scenic picnic areas that you and your team can rent to hold private celebrations.
Sitting on a small land, the Seawolf Park allows you to discover the history, play with nature, fish, and have an up-close view of the cruise liners, coast guard cutters, shrimp boats, and oilers.
10. Bird Watching
Galveston island is home to various bird species that you can watch from several birding locations.
Popular birds in the coastal city include:
- White Ibis
- Blue Heron
- Black Skimmer
- Quaker Parakeet
- Great Egret
- Hooded Merganser
- and the Roseate Spoonbill
Birding locations include East End Lagoon Nature Preserve, Galveston Island State Park, Texas A & M Wetlands, San Luis Pass, Piers 19 and 20, and Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary.
Enjoy delightful sights of birds on the island and your way to and from the island.
There are many things to do in Galveston, from outdoor activities on the beautiful beaches, birdwatching, and amusement parks to learning Texas’ history from the various museums.
Start planning your trip for the best time in Galveston.
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