Less than an hour’s drive south of Houston’s big city lights, Galveston Island is a Gulf Coast paradise and the perfect destination for a Spring Break getaway. This old port Texan town offers a great combination of coastal tradition and family fun to appeal to both the young and the young-at-heart. Whether your ideal spring break involves non-stop excitement on the boardwalk, kicking back on the beach with your feet in the sand, or exploring vibrant coastal gardens, Galveston has you covered. Here’s everything you need to know for an epic spring break trip to Galveston, Texas this year.
Sunshine And Tan Lines
As of March 13, all of Galveston’s beach parks are open! From the west end to East Beach and all along the Seawall, beachgoers can enjoy volleyball courts, horseback riding, helicopter tours, beachcombing, and sunbathing. The city’s largest, most developed public beach parks are Stewart Beach and East Beach, while the west end beaches like Jamaica Beach and San Luis Pass are less crowded and a bit more primitive for a quieter, more natural experience.
This spring, don’t miss the return of the Galveston Family Beach Challenge on Stewart Beach, where families can participate in obstacle courses, sandcastle building, giant-sized classic games, and limbo showdowns to compete for a $500 gift card plus tickets to popular Galveston attractions. The Galveston Family Beach Challenge will be held on second Sundays in March, May, June, July, and August and on Sunday during Labor Day Weekend.
For more beachfront amusement, spend some time strolling the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, a favorite spot for family fun with midway games, festival-style concessions, retail shops, and attractions, including the 100-foot tall Galaxy Wheel Ferris wheel and the Texas Star Flyer – the tallest swing ride in the Lone Star State.
Shop, Stroll, And Savor
Galveston’s Downtown Cultural Arts District is the perfect place to catch a little culture, cuisine, and maybe even an original souvenir or two! Carefully-restored historic buildings boasting remarkable Victorian architecture line Postoffice Street, Strand Street (“The Strand”), and the enclave in between. Here, you’ll find a collection of theaters, boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and museums situated around Saengerfest Park, a free, public recreation space featuring a life-size chessboard, an iconic Galveston mural, and family-friendly live entertainment.
The Great Outdoors
Galveston Island State Park is a popular spot for outdoor recreation. The park is nestled between the Gulf and the Bay, offering two different shoreline experiences. Visitors can take advantage of fishing, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, geocaching, and kayaking – all of which are free with paid park admission ($5 for adults, children 12 and under are free).
Attractions And Amusements
With Spring Break in full effect, even Galveston’s seasonal attractions are springing back to life. One of the best ways to see and do it all is with the Galveston Island Pass, an inclusive “passport” that allows pass holders to visit multiple Galveston attractions on one ticket at 40% off regular admission prices. Participating attractions include 61st Street Fishing Pier and museums like the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum and the Galveston Naval Museum at Seawolf Park, as well as island tours on land and water.
Beyond the Island Pass offerings, history buffs will appreciate a visit to the Galveston Historic Seaport and the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. For the ultimate in Victorian elegance, check out Bishop’s Palace, an 1892 castle on Broadway and 14th Street, open for tours every day but Tuesday.
For a vacation within a vacation, head to the rainforests of Asia and Africa or the oceans of the South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and the Caribbean at Moody Gardens! Visitors can explore an array of ecosystems in all their thriving glory within three large pyramid structures, including free-roaming animals, one of the largest aquariums in the state, 3D and 4D theaters, and a golf course. You can extend your Moody Gardens day visit to include a dinner cruise on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. Freshly opened for the season, consider a little adventure upgrade with the five-tier Sky Trail Ropes Course and zip line.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark is an icon of splashtacular fun on Galveston Island, but you’ll only be able to include this stop in your Spring Break plans if you’re aiming for a late-season visit. Schlitterbahn Galveston opens for the season on May 15. The 2021 Funday Bundle is a great way to maximize your waterpark day, with park admission and a meal included in the $49.99 entry fee. Schlitterbahn is home to 31 rivers, waterslides, pools, and chutes.