Just 45 minutes east of Houston lies Galveston Island. Rooted in deep history and Victorian culture, Galveston offers a variety of summer and year-round activities the whole family can enjoy. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder people flock to the Island every year. Planning a summer trip? Need a weekend getaway? Look no further for the top to-do list of Galveston attractions.
1892 Bishop’s Palace: Located in the East End Historic District is the Bishop’s Palace, an architectural treasure revered for its Victorian and Chateauesque styles. The building of the palace was completed in 1892 and was the home to Colonel Walter Gresham, his wife Josephine, and their nine children. After the 1900 Storm, a severe hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 and resulted in thousands of deaths and decades worth of damage, the Bishop’s Palace was one of the few buildings left standing. You can partake in this piece of cultural history through daily guided and self-guided tours. For a more intimate experience, the Galveston Historical Foundation offers private and behind the scenes tours.
The Grand Opera House: In 1894, Galveston saw the construction of this building, another icon that would later become a nationally-recognized historic site. In 1993, it earned the distinction of “The Official Opera House of Texas.” The Grand Opera House hosts musicals, operas, symphonies, choruses, dance performances, a kids festival, and other events throughout the year.
The Strand: Just minutes from the beach in downtown Galveston is the Strand, a stretch of 36 historic street blocks filled with quirky and elegant shops and delicious dining. Walking through the Strand district transports you to a time of Victorian-era styles. Whether you spend the day exploring the shops and restaurants or are just looking to wind down after a day at the beach, the Strand is a Galveston must-see.
Schlitterbahn Water Park: For a summer activity that everyone in the family will enjoy, a popular Galveston attraction to adventure to is the Schlitterbahn Water Park. With rides including the Dragon Blaster, Faust and Furious, and Thunder Tub ( to name a few), the adventure-seeker in your group may have trouble deciding which one to choose first. Whether you’re sitting back in an inner tube, floating the Torrent River, or unleashing your inner pirate at the Treasure Island Kids Play Area and Pool, Schlitterbahn offers something for everyone.
The Beach: A drive down Seawall Boulevard reveals the long stretch of beach in Galveston Island. Park in the many spaces along Seawall Boulevard and enjoy a quick dip in the ocean. Galveston also offers other beach parks for those looking for something a little more off the beaten path.
Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid: Explore the vast oceans of the world through the Aquarium Pyramid’s four different exhibits at Moody Gardens. Learn about the unique behavior of sharks, take in beautiful coral, and watch sea creatures swim above you in the walk-through tunnel. A favorite and delicious tradition for many families is to enjoy some Dippin’ Dots beaded ice cream after the tours.