A guide to Galveston's best new attractions for a fun beach getaway
With historic roots and a renewed energy, Galveston remains a favorite getaway for many Texans. Sure, it may not be as exotic or luxurious as Belize or Cabo, but it’s a lot more affordable.
Plus, Galveston is home to 32 miles of beaches open year-round for recreation, so no matter how many times you’ve been, you probably haven’t even seen half of it. And 15 blocks of new beach located on a stretch of the Seawall west of 61st Street were unveiled last fall. But there's so much more to do than lounge on the beach.
Aside from the obvious play time beaches are known for, new attractions are popping up around the island.
The latest is the world’s tallest water coaster, aptly named Massive, at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, which sends riders on downhill and uphill experiences. Another popular beachfront attraction is the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park, which stands over the Gulf of Mexico and boasts 16 thrill and amusement rides, live entertainment, games, food, and a full-service restaurant.
Moody Gardens is one of those family-friendly attractions everyone has heard of, but there are new dimensions being added all the time. This family adventure resort is one of the most visited attractions and truly is a piece of paradise. It features a par-72 golf course, Discovery Museum, 3-D and 4-D theaters, water park, ropes course and zip line, historic paddlewheel boat, and the famed Moody Gardens Hotel.
The island’s newest green space, Hendley Green Park, provides a place to relax after taking in the shops and various attractions in historic downtown Galveston. The mini-park includes a central lawn for outdoor recreation and seating that's perfect for picnicking, thanks to the grove of 30 newly planted oak trees. The area also has accompanying tables and umbrellas, helping keep you (and your picnic) in the shade.
Galveston has definitely stepped up its water adventure game too. Galveston Helicopters at Stewart Beach offers five exciting tour options that showcase different views of the island, from the beach to the bay. And thanks to Extreme Water Sports, the island now offers fly boarding, where flyers strap on a jet-pack device and hover up to 35 feet above Offatts Bayou.
New to East Beach, Galveston Island Horse & Pony Rides offers horseback riding along the shore for a romantic experience. Galveston Water Adventures on Pier 21 has a new sunset cruise, a perfect way to escape responsibilities on land for a evening, and Sea Scout Base Galveston hosts sailing adventures on Sundays.
When it comes to finding a spot to lay your head after a long day at the beach, Galveston has plenty of options, of all price ranges.
For a nicer, luxury stay, check out Hotel Galvez and Spa, the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast. The pool and swim-up bar make this popular among travelers, not to mention the complimentary shuttle and courtesy bikes for guests to explore the island.
The San Luis Resort Spa & Conference Center, a 32-acre beachfront hotel and spa, is another favorite. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, grab a refreshing cocktail at H20 Ultra Lounge, complete with fire pits and a drink menu full of tropical martinis.
The Tremont House is a boutique-style hotel located in the heart of downtown. The hotel features a unique rooftop bar with great views of the city and live jazz music in the 1888 Toujouse Baron on Friday and Saturday nights.
The sprawling island also boasts a number of charming bed and breakfasts and family-friendly houses and condos as well. You’ll find lodging accommodations fit for you and the entire family (should you choose).