Jakarta island hotels branch: 10 fun things to do in Galveston, Texas with kids

Go to the beach


With 32 miles of beaches, Galveston Island is an outstanding family beach destination. Each of Galveston’s seven beach parks has a different personality. Whether you want a festive beach with lots of services and amenities or an uncrowded natural beach, Galveston has it.

Seawall Urban Park is home to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (see below) and the longest continuous sidewalk in the U.S., which makes it great for biking, running or walking. Stewart Beach was named one of the 10 Best Beaches for Families by Family Vacation Critic in 2013.


Have an adventure


That baby I took to Galveston is now fifteen years old! On our next trip, he is sure to have his eye on some of the adventurous activities

on Galveston beaches. Parasailing, jet boating, wave running, paddle boarding, surfing and flyboarding are a few of the fun rentals, lessons and tours we can try.


Galveston Island State Park


Galveston Island State Park was named one of the top 5 “Best Gulf Coast Beaches” by Travel Channel in 2013. It’s your best option if you enjoy a more natural, and perhaps less crowded beach experience. Hiking, biking, fishing, paddling and camping are popular here. Birdwatchers flock (pun intended) to Galveston for its outstanding bird watching opportunities.

Check the website or ask when you arrive about ranger programs, which include nature talks, star parties, paddle tours and art programs. Galveston Island State Park has a nature center where you can learn more about the park’s unique ecology. Kids can participate in a Junior Ranger program!


Moody Gardens


Moody Gardens is an aquarium, museum, theater and water park and adventure park in one! BONUS: it’s educational! All exhibits have an emphasis on education and conservation.

Buy a 1- or 2-day pass that gets you unlimited access to nine fun activities or purchase activities a la carte. My kids will love the zip line, ropes course and water park (open seasonally). The aquarium, rainforest and museum will be great low key activities for the whole family.

The aquarium will be closed from late August through November 2016 for renovations. Look for a new and improved aquarium with new exhibits and surprises (like penguins!) soon.


Pleasure Pier


Pleasure Pier is a classic seaside amusement park, complete with roller coaster, ferris wheel, carousel and other fun attractions. Try your skill at one of the Midway games or sample your favorite amusement park foods.


Schlitterbahn Galveston Island


Schlitterbahn has earned its reputation for being one of the most exciting water parks anywhere, and you’ll find it in Galveston. Water slides, pools and play zones have been designed for all ages and interests. Whether your family loves big thrills or a lazy day by the pool, Schlitterbahn has it


Take a tour


Galveston has a long list of fun tours on land and sea for families. On land, check out an art tour, ghost tour, bike tour or an Amazing Race-style tour. On sea, choose from a dolphin tour, fishing tour, kayak tour, paddle wheel tour and others. If you can’t choose, get both land and sea on a Duck Tour!


Visit a museum


Galveston has great museums to fit a variety of interests. Here are a few of the top rated museums for families in Galveston.

Tall Ship ELISSA is a restored, three-masted ship that still sails! It is part of the Texas Seaport Museum, a short walk from the cruise dock and Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. It’s is a good place to learn about local maritime history and get a first-hand experience on a beautiful ship.


Lone Star Flight Museum is a top rated museum that houses an award winning collection of vintage airplanes. Depending on your interest in historic planes dating back to the 1930’s, you could spend an hour or all day. If you REALLY love planes, consider booking a ride in one of the planes. Airplane rides are available for teens and adults for an additional cost.


Galveston Railroad Museum and Terminal is a must for train lovers. It houses full-size engines and cars, an elaborate model train, plus related historical exhibits. Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum looks especially interesting! Offshore oil is a huge local industry, and there aren’t many other places where you can explore a real oil rig. Ocean Star is a retired rig, within walking distance of shore via pedestrian bridge. Tours are self-guided, with lots of family-friendly exhibits.


Galveston Children’s Museum is a slam dunk for families with preschool and elementary age kids. It is loaded with hands-on science and art activities in an air-conditioned building near the Strand historic district.


Bishop’s Palace


Bishop’s Palace is a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion, and one of the most popular activities in Galveston. The American Institute of Architects has named it one of the 100 Most Important Buildings in America. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, so you can spend as much or as little time here as you would like.

Bishop’s Palace is not the only historic mansion tour in Galveston. It is one of eight historic buildings open for tours.


Explore Downtown and the Strand


The Strand is the historic section of Galveston that survived the 1901 hurricane that destroyed much of the city. Today it is a family-friendly shopping district full of local shopping and dining. It’s a great place to get an ice cream cone and soak up the spirit of Galveston!

Get your Galveston Island Pass


If you’re exploring multiple attractions, get your Galveston Island Pass and save up to 40% off retail price when select four or more venues. For a list of attractions.


Singapore opening: Galveston Island

Beaches, historic buildings, million dollar mansions, fairground rides and delicious seafood can all be enjoyed on a day out on Galveston Island, Texas.


Galveston’s Strand Historic District, centred around the five blocks between 20th and 25th street near the wharf, is a wonderful reflection of the architectural styles popular in the mid- to late 1800s when the city hit its zenith. You can stroll under the high canopies of many shop fronts with their wrought iron balconies perusing the antiques, gifts, T-shirts and all manner of other goods, or take some refreshment in one of the cafes along the way.


We ventured into La King’s Confectionery shop where glass cabinets filled with chocolates of all shapes and sizes and multi-coloured candies flank a long seating area. Here you can indulge in a soda, milkshake or float made in a 1920s soda fountain, which is served from behind a marble counter on the other side of the shop.


In the Red Dirt Shirts company we learned how the idea for these unusual terracotta-coloured T-shirts came about when Hurricane Ike hit Hawaii in 1992, turning the proprietor’s stock of white T-shirts the colour of the red earth churned up by the storm. The owner saw an opportunity for a unique dying process and today sells his Red Dirt Shirts in Arizona, Utah and Hawaii as well as Texas.


Galveston’s history is also reflected in the many Victorian houses on the Island, a number of which are open to the public. We visited the Moody Mansion built in 1895 by the British architect William Tyndall for local socialite Narcissa Willis. After her death, the house was sold to W.L.Moody, a wealthy businessman who moved in with his wife and four children. The Moody family lived there until 1986 when it was turned into an historic museum. Some of the rooms are absolutely delightful and a guided tour of the house gives an interesting insight into the life of this Victorian Texas family.


Another historical house worth a look is the Bishop’s Palace, a mansion built in 1893 for the lawyer and politician Walter Gresham and his family. This house was purchased in 1923 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston and became the residence of Bishop Christopher Byrne until 1963. Both houses survived the hurricane of 1900, reputedly the deadliest in US history, which killed more than 10,000 people.


If historical buildings do not interest you, there are plenty of other activities to do in Galveston, such as spending a few hours on one of the Island’s beaches to the south, or enjoying a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants along Seawall Boulevard. There is a pleasure pier near the main beach area with fairground rides, amusements and eateries.


We elected to go on a short harbour tour with an amusing commentary from the boat captain, during which we saw two or three dolphins surfacing near the boat, probably out of curiosity which was an added bonus.


The Railroad Museum is great for train enthusiasts, with its many late 19th and early 20th century rail cars (some of which you can step inside) and the lovely Santa Fe Union station building with its white, plaster figures of people sitting or standing awaiting the arrival of their train.


Other places to visit on Galveston Island, depending on your interests, include Seawolf Park with its World War II submarine and destroyer, the restored 1877 tall ship Elissa, which you can climb aboard and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig, which is now a museum.


We finished our day with a delicious seafood dinner at Olympia Grill on Pier 21, the waterfront dining and entertainment area near Galveston’s historic harbour.