Galveston is known for its cruise port, but the island is far more than a place to depart for a gulf coast cruise.
Spend the day, the week, or even longer in Galveston, Texas, and you’ll enjoy a plethora of exciting activities, attractions, and things to do that fill you with long-lasting memories.
An exciting Galveston vacay is affordable, whether you’re in the state or driving in from across the country.
With so many fun things to do in Galveston, you owe it to yourself and your family to plan a getaway to the island.
There is stuff to do for couples, free things to do in Galveston, points of interest and Galveston attractions for children, historical attractions, fun in the sun, and so much more for visitors to experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the country.
There isn’t a shortage of places to visit in Galveston, Texas, that’s for sure.
How should you spend your time in Galveston, Texas?
Day and night, Galveston always has something to do that you’ll appreciate.
Check out this list of 24 of the top things to do on Galveston Island and plan the perfect itinerary for your getaway.
1. The Strand
The Strand is one of the first places to visit in Galveston.
View historic 19th-century homes, learn more about the history of Galveston, visit a museum, shop ‘til you drop at one of the area’s Galveston boutiques.
You may also socialize at one of the bars, or stop by for a bite to eat at one of the mom-and-pop diners located along The Strand, a five-block historic area located nearby the pier.
1894 Opera House is also located in The Strand district.
It doesn’t cost a dime to stroll about The Strand and the amazing scenery ensures that you enjoy yourself immensely.
Of course, with so much offered along The Strand, you’ll want to make your way inside a few of the shops and stops, so do come with cash in hand and a bit of knowledge about the offerings in the area.
It’s a relaxing scenery for anyone that wants to get out of the house and enjoy themselves with a variety of things to see and do.
The scenery is relaxing and laid back despite the crowds’ people oftentimes enjoying the same adventures as you’ve come to experience.
Address: 2100 Strand St, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-1633, USA
2. Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens isn’t a garden, but instead a 242-acre entertainment complex that has so much to offer its visitors.
It’s one of the best Galveston tourist attractions and a favorite for locals, too.
Plan to spend an entire day at Moody Gardens if you want to experience all that is offered here.
Although some people deem this one of the more expensive things to do in Galveston, most don’t mind the added expense since there is so much to see and do for everyone in the family.
Animal attractions at Moody Gardens include the Public Penguin Encounter and Giant River Otter Encounter, while the Aquarium Pyramid allows visitors to go underwater with their favorite critters.
The Reef Rescue Virtual Experience, the Rainforest Pyramid, a 3D theater and a 4D special effects theater, a Discovery Museum, and a ropes course and zip line are among the additional attractions and activities available.
Address: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554, USA
Schlitterbahn is one of the top tourist attractions in Galveston as well as one of the most enjoyable stops on any itinerary.
It’s the largest waterpark in Galveston, offering up an amazing time for anyone looking to beat the Texas heat.
For South Texas residents, Schlitterbahn is a summer tradition, delivering one of the best things to do in Galveston or the state.
Why not learn what the locals know and head out for an exciting day of fun in the sun?
Water coasters, water rivers, and water slides make up the park. There is something for all ages at Schlitterbahn.
You’ll find the world’s tallest water coaster, the MASSIV Monster Blaster, at the park, as well as Rohr!
Water coasters among the options available here.
Wave Lagoon is a popular attraction for Schlitterbahn visitors, but there are tons of other options to pick from while at the park.
They include a couple of heated pools, a toddler and kids play area, Torrent River, Soaring Eagle ZipLine, Torrent Beach, and Screaming Serpents.
Schlitterbahn has concessions and dining available on-site.
Address: 2026 Lockheed Rd, Galveston, TX 77554, USA
4. Bishop’s Palace
Bishop’s Palace is also called Gresham’s Castle.
Commissioned by Colonel Walter Gresham at the turn of the 19th century, the castle is one of the top points of interest for many Galveston, Texas visitors.
The Victorian-style home is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is open daily for public tours.
Guests enjoy a variety of treasures inside the home, including a phenomenal architectural design, stained-glass windows, and bronze dragon statues.
Visitors get the chance to explore the slew of historical pieces inside the home and learn more about the history of the state during the tour.
It’s affordable, although younger children may not appreciate the trip.
The self-guided audio tour ensures that you understand the purpose of every piece that you see inside the home.
Any Galveston Island travelers interested in the history of the state shouldn’t miss the chance to explore Bishop’s Palace.
Address: 1402 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
5. Stewart Beach
Stewart Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Galveston Island.
It’s located on one of the most popular strips in Galveston and offers tons of great amenities that visitors enjoy.
Lifeguards make sure everyone is safe as they swim and otherwise enjoy their beach fun, while there are concessions offering snacks and beverages to quench your thirst.
Showers are available, there is a playground for the kids and umbrella and chair rental is available.
This is a clean, comfortable, family-friendly beach, but you’ll need to leave the alcohol at your vacation home since the kiddos are around.
Located nearby Pleasure Pier, plan a stop by the beach before your cruise departure or on your way home from a day of excitement at the pier to complete the adventure.
Keep in mind there is a parking fee charged upon arrival at the beach.
Address: 201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
6. Pleasure Pier
Around 40 years ago, the Pier was destroyed by a hurricane.
Today, it’s been rebuilt as an entertainment complex for visitors and it’s certainly offered up plenty of enjoyment for many people over the years.
Pleasure Pier is a wharf located off Seawall Boulevard.
The pier opens to the gulf waters and offers an assortment of things to do before departing on a cruise or when you’re looking for a scenic day of fun.
This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Galveston.
Take your pick of 15 fun rides at the Pier, including the Iron Shark Roller Coaster, Cyclone, the Galaxy Wheel, Rock N Roll, and, of course, the kiddie carousel for the little visitors.
You’ll find the usual amusement park games and prizes along with the trailers of carnival-style fare like blooming onions, corn dogs, and lemonade.
Before you leave, stop by the three retail stores at the Pier to grab a few goodies to take home with you.
Bubba Gump Retail, Lolli & Pops Candy Shoppe, and Pelican’s bay offer something for every interest.
Address: 2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
7. The Bryan Museum
For visitors interested in learning more about the state’s history, The Bryan Museum offers an insightful tour.
It features a plethora of more than 70,000 pieces which include art and artifacts that detail more about the great state of Texas and the American West.
Regular exhibitions at The Bryan Museum include the Texas Frontier, the Spanish Colonial Era, and the Rest of the West.
There are also special events held at the museum throughout the year, which include guest speakers, exhibits, and other fun.
Virtual Reality is used to bring the Texas state history to life.
Adults and children alike using this display during their museum tour.
The Bryan Museum Library includes a collection of more than 6,000 titles that help provide readers better insight into the state’s history.
Stop by the Museum Shop before departure to grab a few souvenirs to take back home with you.
Address: 1315 21st St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
8. Hotel Galvez Ghost Tour
The Ghost Tour for Hotel Galvez guests is worth booking your Gavelston trip at this hotel.
Couples, families and groups of friends will all enjoy the ghost tour.
This tour has been featured on ‘Ghost Stories’ on the Travel Channel as well as on ‘Ghost Lab’ on the Discovery Channel.
If you believe in ghosts or have a burning curiosity into the paranormal, this is a tour that you don’t want to miss.
It’s also great for non-believers.
Held at night once each month, the Ghost Tour offers a 1 ½ hour tour of the most haunted places in Galveston, Texas, during which time you’ll hear many stories that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand.
It is what spooky nights are made from.
Although appropriate for all ages, use a case by case basis to determine if the tour is appropriate for children.
Packages are available for those who would like to add a three-course dinner at the Galvez Bar & Grill after the night tour. This is not a requirement.
Address: 2024 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
9. Moody Mansion
As you can see the luxurious cars driven by the Moody’s during the start of the tour, it’s immediately obvious that this wasn’t the average family.
Inside the Moody Mansion, you’ll hear a tale of tales that will keep you intrigued from start to finish.
The home survived a massive hurricane in the 1900s and the family played an important role in Texas history, all of which is revealed during your mansion tour.
A self-guided audio tour of the Moody Mansion allows you to enjoy the beauty and intrigue that each room offers.
As you learn important details about the Moody family, their jobs, and their wealth, each room comes to life and envisioning yourself at the moment is not only possible but is something most visitors experience.
The colorful history of the Moody family is one that you don’t want to leave Galveston without learning.
Address: 2618 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
10. Galveston Island State Park
Galveston Island State Park is free to visit, located approximately 15-miles from the Pier.
It’s the perfect getaway located in Galveston, a great honeymoon retreat, or location for relaxation for the entire family.
Galveston Island State Park offers a plethora of exciting things for everyone in the crew.
It’s a must-see stop for anyone that enjoys the great outdoors and all that it offers.
Couples oftentimes choose Galveston and the state park as their wedding or honeymoon destination.
Divided into four separate sections, the state park is never overcrowded like some might think.
It’s the perfect stop today for families who hate the mounds of crowds who also want free Galveston attractions.
Camping is available for guests who want to prolong their adventure.
Beaches, beach-related activities, hiking, and other fun is available at the state park.
Address: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554, USA
11. Galveston Railroad Museum
Another one of the great Galveston attractions is another museum, this one filled with interesting artifacts worthy of a visit is the Galveston Railroad Museum.
First opened in 1983 on the old Santa Fe railyard and depot.
The museum houses an impressive collection of steam engines from various eras, as well as exhibits and information designed to entertain and educate anyone with an interest in locomotives.
Permanent and temporary exhibits help visitors better understand railroads and their history in the city of Galveston and the state of Texas.
The museum has more than 40 pieces of stock, the largest collection of dining car silverware in the Southwest, and a one-mile track.
On Saturday, the museum hosts a train ride for all interested visitors.
Address: 2602 Santa Fe Pl, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
12. The Grand 1894 Opera House
Beautifully restored and filled with immaculate decor, The Grand 1894 Opera House eludes its magical history when you step inside the doors.
It’s a Galveston tradition you should experience.
The chance to enjoy the majestic beauty the Opera House offers is alone well-worth buying a ticket to a show.
If you’re an Opera fan, you’ll appreciate the scenery and the acoustics even more.
Every show put on at The Grand 1894 Opera House is phenomenal.
On Sunday afternoon, catch the Galveston Orchestra Symphony puts on an amazing show.
Top-notch musicians sell-out shows quickly, so consider buying your tickets in advance.
Many other events and shows take place at the Opera House in addition to the Sunday show.
No matter who you see perform a show at the Opera House, it is an intimate experience that you’ll forever cherish.
Special events in Galveston, including a children’s camp, are also offered.
Address: 2020 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
13. Galveston Children’s Museum
The Galveston Children’s Museum is designed for children of all ages, but smaller children seem to thrive from their day of exploration at the museum.
Plan a visit for entertaining and educational family fun.
There is no shortage of fun things to explore at this Galveston museum, that’s for certain.
The Children’s Museum is filled with thousands of pieces of artwork, sculptures, toys, and structures, each offering children a story and an engaging experience.
The museum includes many exhibits, with both permanent and traveling exhibits available.
Special events also take place throughout the year.
Check the Children’s Museum Calendar of Events to learn what’s coming up at the center that you may enjoy.
This is the best activity for kids in Galveston.
Address: 2618 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
14. Seawolf Park
Have you ever wanted to get inside of a submarine without leaving Galveston?
Visit Seawolf Park in Galveston, Texas, and that opportunity is before your eyes.
But, this is only the start of the fun offered for visitors of all ages who plan a trip to Seawolf Park.
There are great fishing and crabbing for all ages to enjoy at the park, a playground for the kids, a picnic area, and lots of great history.
Once you’ve finished exploring the park, check out the museum.
Price is included in Seawolf Park admission, so why not stick around to learn more about Galveston, Texas’ great marine life history and view some pretty interesting artifacts?
Your trip to Seawolf Park and the accompanying museum certainly offer you great fun, but there is a ton of education thrown into the mix.
Many say this is one of the most fun things to do in Galveston and in the state of Texas.
Address: 100 Seawolf Park Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
15. Galveston Arts Center
There is a broad mixture of artwork available for viewing at the Galveston Arts Center.
This is one of the best free things to do in Galveston if you enjoy art, a favorite for Galveston residents.
The great thing about this art center is that variety is the spice of life.
You never know just what you’ll find on display inside the art center and since it’s one of the cheap things to do in Galveston, why not plan a stop?
People often say they find strange, odd, and unusual exhibits and pieces of artwork on display here at this gallery, so keep an eye open near every corner.
It gives the chance to see something different than what you’re accustomed to and may even open your mind to broader interests.
Classes and courses for those interested in art are available.
If you’re near the island and enjoy art, signing up is worthwhile.
Classes take place on weekends so there is always time to participate.
Address: 2127 Strand St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
16. Galveston’s Own Farmers Market
Although visiting a farmer’s market may not be one of the first things you consider for a vacation, this farmer’s market is certainly worthy of your time.
You’ll find fresh, locally grown produce, which makes preparing your favorite dishes tastier than before.
Baked goods, fresh bread, jams and jellies, fresh herbs, salsas, honey, and cheese are also available from vendors at the Galveston’s Own Farmers Market.
A Young Gardener’s Program helps children and teens in and around Galveston learn the value of growing fresh vegetables in the garden.
Cooking classes are also held at the Farmer’s Market on weekends. The cooking classes are designed for all ages.
Visitors also find plenty of entertainment at the Farmer’s Market.
Various singers, bands, comedians, and other entertainers often come out to ensure guests enjoy their visit.
Address: 1315 21st St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
17. Big Reef Nature Park
Texas is home to a lot of nature parks. Galveston is home to a couple of them, including this favorite.
Although a bit off the beaten path, it’s worth the effort to find Big Reef Nature Park.
Spend the day at the nature park bird watching without ever getting out of your car if you prefer.
A variety of types, varieties, and species of birds can be seen at the nature park in Galveston on any given day including Seagulls, Black Skimmers, Shorebirds, and Egrets, among others.
Great hiking trails provide additional bird and wildlife watching opportunities for anyone in Galveston.
The East Lagoon Nature Trail is a particular favorite for not only Galveston locals, but visitors from around Texas.
Visitors may experience a tidal marsh, discover even more bird species, and enjoy water fun on this nature trail.
Fishing is a popular activity that many visitors enjoy when visiting Big Reef Nature Park.
Address: Boddeker Drive, Galveston, TX, USA
18. East End Lagoon Nature Preserve
What to do when you want to explore the great outdoors for free?
Another awesome adventure for people who enjoy spending time outdoors.
The East End Lagoon Nature Preserve is a family-friendly attraction perfect for those days when nothing sounds more relaxing than kayaking, fishing, bird- watching, or exploring the wildlife of Galveston, Texas.
Explore the natural beauty of the lands while at the lagoon.
There’s nearly 700-acres of land available to explore and enjoy.
Along the way, you’ll discover colorful flowers and a variety of plants and trails.
This is one of the best ways to spend a quiet, relaxing day on Galveston Island.
Since it’s located adjacent to East Beach, why not head over for a bit more fun-in-the-sun before or after your nature preserve adventure?
Address: Boddeker Rd, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
19. Historic Downtown Galveston
Historic downtown Galveston has everything that a visitor could want to see or do during a day, a weekend, or more on the island.
Don’t miss your chance to explore the remarkable scenery and history found in the downtown area.
There are 70-blocks of boutiques, shops, and restaurants to enjoy while in the area.
Old Galveston Trading Company and Hendley Market are two of the can’t miss area shops.
Since many of the best Galveston attractions are located in or near the downtown area, you know exactly what to see and can always stop by when you’re done with your itinerary if you prefer.
It’s better to plan time to explore downtown alone, however, since so much is there to see and do.
The downtown Galveston area provides a magical time for anyone who wants the adventure.
20. Galveston County Historical Museum
The Galveston County Historical Museum is a fun stop for any history buff but also offers excitement for anyone who wants to learn more about Galveston.
The museum offers visitors the chance to explore the many exciting historical pieces and learn more about wars and other events that took place in Galveston and near Galveston during the tour.
Galveston is filled with so much interesting history and the historical museum aims to tell as much of it as you want to hear.
Many artifacts, presentations, and films help depict the area in old-time fashion, giving you a glimpse of what life what like during some of the most memorable occasions in history.
What you learn during a visit to the historical museum will stick with you for a long time in the future.
Address: 722 Moody Ave, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
21. Moody Gardens Golf Course
What’s a vacation without a few rounds of golf?
For most travelers, golf is an exciting pleasure they enjoy while on vacation.
On Galveston Island, many golf courses make golfing simple, but some courses are simply better than the rest.
And so, we present to you Moody Gardens Golf Course, by far one of the best in the area.
Moody Gardens underwent a $16 million renovation several years ago, creating a luxury course unlike anything else on the island.
The golf course includes an immaculate clubhouse where special events often take place.
Golf Digest even names this course as one of the best in Texas. That’s for you to decide.
If you enjoy golf, schedule time to play a round or two at Moody Gardens while in Galveston.
Address: 1700 Sydnor Ln, Galveston, TX 77554, USA
22. O’Malley’s Stage Door
When the sun goes down and you want to unwind adult-style, Galveston Island has several clubs and bars to help you have fun in the process.
O’Malley’s Stage Door is one of the areas top clubs.
It’s been a part of Galveston Island for more than 12 years now so it certainly is doing something right.
For starters, O’Malley’s is located riverfront so the scenery outside is just as nice as it is inside.
Not only can you head to O’Malley’s when you’re hungry and get a great meal (sandwiches are especially popular on the menu,) there are more than 100 beers on tap to choose from, including local favorites.
Big-screen TVs show all the games, there is a dartboard to enjoy, and the friendly bartending staff and welcoming environment ensure that you have nothing short of a good time while at O’Malley’s.
Address: 2022 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550, USA
23. Lone Star Flight Museum
Perfect for a Saturday out with the family, the Lone Star Flight Museum has two simulator bays for visitors to enjoy the thrill of flying a plane without leaving the ground.
The museum includes warbird rides and a plethora of learning and educational opportunities.
Many permanent exhibits provide insight into the history of aircraft and flying.
The museum also has several airplanes on display that visitors can explore.
Anyone with an interest in flight is sure to have an amazing time exploring this larger than life museum.
Address: 11551 Aerospace Ave, Houston, TX 77034, USA
24. Old City Cemetery
Old City Cemetery is the municipal cemetery in the city and one of the best places to visit in Galveston if you like the unusual and odd side of life, as so many people do.
Although it appears to be just one cemetery, it’s actually seven different cemeteries combined that were built during the past 176 years.
Although maybe not the usual stop on a vacation, a tour of the cemetery is right up your alley if you love the strange and unusual things in life or what to send a bit of spookiness through your veins.
Once you learn the history of the cemetery, this stop on the itinerary becomes even more exciting.
If going to the cemetery by yourself doesn’t quite sound appealing, check out some of the tours available with local companies.
They’re usually available during the week and on the weekends so there are plenty of opportunities to explore the cemetery and hear some of the fascinating stories.
It’s also pretty affordable so it doesn’t put a dent in your Galveston budget or your plans.
You’ll name this as one of the top fun places in Galveston after the tour is complete.
Address: Broadway & 43rd Street, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550, USA
Start Planning Your Trip To Galveston
Texas is home to many great cities and towns worthy of a visit.
But, the heart of Texas sits in Galveston and it’s one of the first places to explore during any trip to the Lone Star state.
No matter what state you travel from, Galveston, Texas will leave you with long-lasting memories and great impressions.
It’s one of the top places to live and places to go in Texas and a tourist hotspot with good reason.
Galveston is one of the top vacation spots because it offers so much to satisfy every visitor.
Now that you know what to do in Galveston, it’s time to plan the perfect itinerary for your getaway.
No matter what type of things you enjoy, Galveston, Texas offers a collection of things that are sure to make you happy.
Some people say that Galveston, Texas is one of the most beautiful places in America and while we tend to agree, we’d much rather you form your own opinion after a visit.
Any time of the year, Galveston has so much for you to explore and enjoy at your leisure.
There is a ton of free stuff to pick from, and, of course, lots of cheap activities as well.