30 Awesome Things to do in Galveston – Plus More Tips, Like Where to Stay & What to Expect!

Galveston, TX is one our closest beaches and one of our favorite family road trip destinations! We like to venture down to the coast at least once a year, but we’ve been known to make the drive several times in under a year, too. Traveling to Galveston brings so much joy to my family and this destination holds such a special place in my heart. Growing up, I looked forward to our annual summer vacation to Galveston and I’ve kept the tradition going with my boys! Keep reading to learn more about these 30 awesome things to do in Galveston.

30 Awesome Things to do in Galveston

Be sure to click on each link for more information!

Go to the Beach

You can’t make the trip to Galveston without visiting the beach! We love spending the days splashing in the ocean and lounging under an umbrella while our boys play. There are several different beach areas in Galveston, the most popular seems to be along the Seawall Blvd.

Pleasure Pier

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, head to the Historic Pleasure right on the Seawall. There are restaurants, rollercoasters, rocking bands, and more! We love to go at nighttime when the sun goes down and the rollercoasters are all lit up with bright lights!

Rent Bikes

If you feel like a bike ride along the Seawall with views of the ocean next to you, then check out the four to six seater bike rentals right on the Seawall!

The Strand

The Strand is the downtown area of Galveston and known as the heart of the island. Here, you can find even more restaurants, bars, shopping and entertainment. I love walking along the streets, admiring the ornate buildings dating back to the 1800s.

Build a Sandcastle

For some reason, Galveston is the one place that I can build really good sandcastles! If you’re headed to the beach, bring some sand buckets and shovels for the kiddos! Be sure to check out the sandcastle competition if you’re visiting in August!

Shop at Murdoch’s

Murdoch’s is my favorite souvenir shop in the whole world! And I am being completely honest about this. This was one of my favorite shops to visit as a child and I love taking my boys here, too. They sell everything from beach gear to t-shirts, shoes to toys, and even alcoholic beverages! You may even come home with a hermit crab or two!

Go Crabbing

We have never found crabs at night like the ones we’ve caught here in Galveston! Grab a flashlight and head to the sand, you’ll be sure to find a few. If you wade in the waters, you might even stumble across some really big ones, so keep your eyes open!

Watch Dolphins

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Galveston and not seen at least one dolphin! We’ve watched them from our condo balcony, from the beach, and at dinner! Last weekend we watched them play in the bay right outside of the restaurant we were at (Fisherman’s Wharf).

There are also several different dolphin watching boat tours in the area, as well. Research shows the best time to spot dolphins in Galveston is June-September, but again we saw several in April!

LaKing’s Confectionery

If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, then look no further than LaKing’s Confectionery! From old fashioned sodas, to candy, to ice cream, they have it all. You can even watch salt water taffy being made here or try a new flavor if you’re feeling adventurous!

Fishing Pier

My boys have loved each time we’ve taken them fishing on the Pier! We haven’t been lucky enough to catch anything too big, but it’s always fun to watch the regulars around the pier reel in something!

Deep Sea Fishing

Galveston offers several deep sea fishing charters! It looks like so much fun, however I would be way too seasick to try this one out!

Historic Mansion Tours

I haven’t gone on a mansion tour since I was a kid, but I still remember the time we did this! These mansions are very impressive and well kept. I highly recommend a tour if you’re looking for something historical away from the hustle and bustle of the beach!

Ride a Trolley

For just a dollar (kids free), take a ride around Galveston on a trolley! There are two loops, one around downtown, the other travels from Stewart Beach to Moody Gardens!

Take Photos Around the Island

There are so many fun photo ops around Galveston! We love the Galveston postcard down near the Strand! The link above has several photo op recommendations for the best instagramable spots around the island!  

Pirates Legends of the Gulf Coast

This is a quick and fun activity for anyone that likes pirates! Here, you’ll learn all about the myths and legends of some of the pirates that were once in Galveston!

Moody Gardens

This is the perfect place to visit if there’s a rainy day at the beach or you’re recovering from a sunburn! Here you’ll find an aquarium, a rainforest, dining options, and more! We especially enjoyed the sharks, stingrays, and the jellyfish!

Eat Fresh Seafood

My favorite activity anywhere on the coast is eating fresh seafood! There are so many dining options in Galveston! Our favorite is Fisherman’s Wharf! We love to come here for dinner and take in the sunset and watch dolphins play in the bay!

Watch the Sunrise or Sunset

There is nothing better than a Texas sunrise or sunset! The link above has the best spots around Galveston to take one in!

5D Shark Attack Experience

My boys really enjoyed this a few years ago! I sat it out because I get super motion sick, but they had a blast. It also makes a fun photo op at the beach! This is located across the street from the Pleasure Pier and this is also where we purchased the tickets!

Watch a Cruise Ship Depart

Several cruise ships depart from the port in Galveston. Sunday is a popular day to watch the cruise ships depart. Head to the port area or grab an outdoor dinner and watch one set sail!

Go Surfing

We haven’t surfed in Galveston ourselves, but we’ve watched several try it out! We prefer to boogie board. Whether you surf or prefer to chill on a boogie board, the waves here in Galveston are excellent to ride!

Hunt for Seashells

If you visit Galveston, you’re sure to find some shells on the shore! The photo above is what we found on a February visit to the coast!

Magic Carpet Mini Golf

Mini golf at the beach is one of our absolute favorites! This course is so much fun and we love all of the fun beach themes. Plus, the views of the ocean while you’re playing can’t be beat!

Get a Massage

I love being pampered on vacation. If you’ve spent the day at the beach, treat yourself to an evening massage or spa treatment!

Schlitterbahn Water Park

Waterparks are some of the best summertime entertainment options, especially in the Texas heat. Rent a cabana and have a blast on the many waterpark rides while beating the heat!

Galveston Historic Seaport

Take a walk around the historic seaport and tour the 1877 Elissa. My boys loved exploring the tall ship! If you like history, you’ll love this stop. The Texas Seaport Museum is very educational, too!

Seawolf Park

You can find Seawolf Park on Pelican Island. This park has a fishing pier, picnic areas, and a playground. You can also see a WWII submarine, the USS Cavalla!

Galveston Helicopters

If you want to see Galveston from above, check out the Galveston Helicopters Tours! They fly right over the ocean on their seven mile tour!

Ferry to Bolivar Peninsula

The ferry to Bolivar Peninsula takes about 18 minutes and is completely free! It’s a very peaceful ride and you might even spot dolphins on the journey! You can hit the beach in Bolivar, hunt for shark teeth, and even shop or enjoy the local restaurants!

Galveston Naval Museum

Tour a submarine and destroyer from WWII right at the Galveston Naval Museum! Tickets are $13.00 for adults, $8.00 for kids.

Where to Stay

We love to stay at Seascape Condos when we visit! We’ve been staying here for over ten years and I can’t imagine visiting Galveston and staying anywhere else. These condos sit right on the beach side and are so spacious and well kept.

Click here for my latest review on Seascape Condos for more information and photos!

What to Expect

It’s very true that Galveston Island is not known for white sand beaches and clear blue waters. It’s often pretty hot and humid here in the summers, it is Texas after all. But, it is still a fun family destination! We’ve taken our boys to beaches all across the US and even in the Caribbean. They will tell anyone that asks that Galveston is their number one favorite beach destination! It can get really crowded in the summertime, especially around the holidays (Memorial Weekend, July 4th, and Labor Day Weekend). I prefer visiting in April, when the humidity is lower and the crowds are smaller. My boys like the summer better because the water is warmer! This is a place that is fairly close to us, so we keep going back year after year. I have forty years of cherished memories here and hope to make many more! If you haven’t been, you should give it a chance. Just lower those expectations, Texas doesn’t have beaches like Florida does.

Seascape Condominiums – The Best Place to Stay in Galveston, TX

Galveston Island is the closest beach to us in north Texas. We like to travel down to the coast a couple of times a year. And we only stay at one place, Seascape Condominiums! It’s the best place to stay in Galveston!

The view from the balcony!

We’ve been staying at Seascape for over ten years now. Our first visit was when my oldest was almost two. Now he’s twelve! My boys LOVE this place. It holds so many special memories for us.

Galveston is our happy place!

What Makes Seascape So Great?

Beach Access – The location to the beach is the absolute best! If you’re familiar with Galveston, then you know that most of the hotels are located across the street from the beach. So on beach day, if you’re staying anywhere else, you have to lug all of your stuff across the busy Seawall to get access to the beach. Seascape Condominiums is actually one of the few places that sits right on the beach side! That means, you simply walk outside and over the boardwalk, and you’re on the beach!

The boardwalk from the grounds to the beach!

I love the convenience of being just a short walk back to our room or the restrooms by the pool. I cannot imagine having to go back and forth across the four lane road. There’s many reasons that we love Seascape Condos, but the location right on the beach is number one for me!

Seascape Condos sits right on the beach!

Space – Staying in a condo is always much more spacious than a hotel room! The units have several different floor options, but the one we return to year after year has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and full kitchen, plus two balconies! It’s very spacious for our family of four and we’ve even stayed there with friends and have easily slept up to eight with the bunk beds in the hallway and the sleeper sofa!

One of the two balconies in this unit!

Living room


Bunks in the hallway

Master bedroom

Master bathroom


Second bedroom


An added bonus is having a washer and dryer! I don’t particularly like doing laundry on vacation, but having a dryer is a game changer! We use the dryer for our beach towels, so each day they are nice and dry for us. We sometimes even throw our swimsuits in the dryer to remove sand and dry them for the day. There is nothing worse than putting on wet swimsuits in the morning!

Washer and dryer in the master closet

Pools – Our favorite place at Seascape Condos is the pool area! There is a large swimming pool and it’s even heated in the winter! There’s a kids pool and two hot tubs. One hot tub is open to anyone above the age of six. The other hot tub is more secluded and is only for adults age twenty-one and older. The landscape around the pool is beautifully maintained and there are plenty of lounge chairs and picnic tables! You’ll also find restrooms and vending machines near the pool area.

We love the pools!

I’ve taught both of my boys how to swim in this pool!

Safety – Finally, we always feel really safe when staying here! There is a guard that is stationed at the entrance of Seascape. These guards are on sight twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They monitor the vehicles coming in and out and only registered guests or condo owners are permitted. They also walk the grounds several times per day to ensure that everyone is safe and behaving appropriately.

You cannot get onto the grounds without a special gate code!

The pool area and beach area are only accessed with a special gate code that you receive upon check in. So, the beach in front of the hotel is essentially only used by guests from Seascape Condos. And guests are required to wear a bracelet while staying at Seascape to ensure that only registered guests/owners are on site and using the facilities and pools.

View of the pools and beach from the room

Seascape Condominiums Information

  • Website: Seascape Condos
  • Address: 10811 Termini-San Luis Pass Rd, Galveston, TX 77554
  • Phone Number: (409) – 740 – 1245

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Galveston, be sure to check out Seascape Condominiums! This is one of the few destinations that we keep returning to. The units are the perfect size for families of all sizes. The grounds are stunning and the location on the beach is ideal!

If you plan to visit Galveston, Texas, you should check out Seascape Condos! It's the BEST place to stay on the island!
Nothing is better than a gorgeous Texas sunset at the beach!

Favorite Family Beach Destinations & Why We Love Them

There’s nothing like a trip to the beach, especially for a busy family! While we love adventuring, hiking, and exploring, it’s sometimes really nice to plan a low-key vacation to a beautiful destination. And then, when you get to that beautiful destination, it’s perfectly alright to do absolutely nothing except enjoy where you are and who you’re with! I think that’s why we love going to the beach. It never involves too much planning and we usually return feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I’m including some of our favorite beach destinations, both in the US and south of the border. This doesn’t cover every beach we’ve visited, but it’s a nice start if you’re getting ready to plan a trip to the beach!

United States

The US has some fantastic beach destinations, some more unique than others! I am fascinated with the different landscapes from coast to coast. Below are just a few of our favorite beaches in the United States and why we love them!

Orange Beach, Alabama

Beautiful beach sunset

This is our most recent beach vacation, and even though we’ve been traveling to Orange Beach for over twelve years now, we still enjoy each and every visit! This is one of those places that has beautiful white sands, emerald waters, delicious food, and isn’t very crowded if you plan your trip out right! The past two visits to Orange Beach have been in March and April and the crowds were basically non-existent. It looks a little different during those peak summer months, though. We love Orange Beach because we keep it super low-key and chill. You can find us hanging out at the beach, boogie boarding on the waves, warming up in the hot tub, and trying new seafood restaurants each evening. The boys love that we start each day with no major plans!

My favorite boys at one of our favorite places!
Those waves though!
Our most recent family photo, Orange Beach 2023.
These boys stayed in the ocean for basically three days straight!

Things to do in Orange Beach:

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Jereme walking along the tide pools at Haystack Rock

I have wanted to visit Cannon Beach for forever and I finally got the chance last March over our spring break. We visited as part of a Pacific Coast Highway road trip and we all agreed that we wished we would’ve had more time here at this beach. We adored the little beach cottage we stayed in and the town is super quaint and welcoming! The tide pools made my whole life and the boys still talk about having bonfires on the beach in the evenings. We have big plans to return to Cannon Beach and stay at the exact same cottage one day!

The first ever tide pools and starfish I’ve seen in nature!
We were all amazed at the marine life!
It was a little chilly at this beach, but we still loved it!
Bonfires on the beach at night!

Things to do in Cannon Beach:

Folly Beach, South Carolina

Under the pier right next to the hotel

Folly Beach was our first ever trip to South Carolina and it was a great one! We loved the hotel we stayed at and I highly recommend it for families! Folly Beach is also known for amazing finds, like shark teeth and shells. So if you have kiddos that love sharks or shells, check this destination out! I also loved the proximity to Charleston and some of the plantations and historical sites in the area. Overall, this is a really fun family destination. South Carolina is such a beautiful state!

Sandcastles are always fun
These boys love swimming!
Our first full day in South Carolina!

Things to do in Folly Beach:

St. Pete’s Beach, Florida

That water & rainbow!

This destination has it all! You can visit just to relax at the beach all day, but there’s also a vast amount of water sports, shopping, & dining! We visited a few summers ago and the boys still ask to go back. We had a blast parasailing, sliding on some of the inflatable slides outside of the hotel, relaxing, and eating amazing seafood! The water is also stunning and so blue! It was a little crowded, but we were there during the peak summer months, so that’s to be expected when you’re visiting just about any beach in Florida! The hotel really made the stay worthwhile and we didn’t even leave this resort much because it truly had everything! We also really enjoyed the beach’s proximity to Tampa.

Parasailing right outside the resort
The boys loved these slides!
We made s’mores on the beach every night!
And spent the days in the water!

Things to do at St. Pete’s Beach:

Galveston, Texas

There’s nothing better than a Texas sunset!

If you live in Texas, then visiting Galveston is a must since it’s in our state! Even though Galveston is not known for white sand beaches and clear, blue waters, it’s still my kiddos’ favorite beach destination! We always have such an awesome time when we visit. I think my boys love it so much because it doesn’t require a lot of driving to get there and it holds such special memories for us. We’ve visited for just a weekend and even stayed once for ten days!

Annual Galveston family photo
We always stay at Sea Scape Condos!
Mini Golf at Magic Carpet Golf

Things to do in Galveston:


There’s something really special about those all-inclusive beach resorts in the Caribbean and our family has had many wonderful experiences visiting Mexico! So far, we’ve had the chance to take our boys to Cozumel, Cabo, and Cancun. Each destination offers many excursions and activities that are fun for all ages! The resorts in Mexico make it so easy for travelers and usually have people assisting you upon arrival to find the perfect excursions for you family!

Cozumel, Mexico

Love the water and those palm trees

We really love this little island. Jereme and I have traveled to Cozumel at least five times on our own and with our kids. The people are amazing and we have made many special memories exploring the island. I cannot get over the water! It’s so clear and you can literally see fish swimming everywhere, right from the shore!

Iberostar Cozumel Resort
Shopping in town
Chicken nuggets on the beach

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Grand Fiesta Americana

Cabo is one of my personal favorite destinations in Mexico! I love the how the desert meets the ocean here. And watching whales right from our hotel balcony was a truly amazing experience. It’s not always the best place to swim in the ocean and finding a hotel where this is available involves some planning. But it’s such a beautiful destination and there’s something here for everyone to enjoy!

Look at these fish right off the shore of the resort
My boys loved swimming with them!

Cancun, Mexico

Family photo in Cancun!

Cancun is a wonderful place to visit, especially since the international airport is located here! We’ve actually only stayed in Cancun once as a family, but it has been one of our favorite vacations to date! On our first night here, we were able to help a local group release baby sea turtles back into the ocean and this experience is one that I will never forget!

Swimming in Cenote
Day at the resort
Swimming with dolphins
Mayan Ruins

We use the fabulous travel agent, Alexa Spahr to book our trips to Mexico and beyond. She comes highly recommended and has helped us book several trips. She really works within your budget and travel dates and it’s always been such a smooth and easy process with her help. You can contact Alexa via email at alexa@travelwithalexa.com and be sure to check out her website www.travelwithalexa.com. If you reach out to Alexa, please let her know I sent you her way!

As you can see, beach destinations can be a low-key and relaxing trip, but there are also a ton of activities to explore! We like a nice balance, so we’ll usually spend a day at the resort and then a day packed full of excursions and continue that pattern! If you’re interested in planning a trip to the beach and are in need of any ideas or recommendations, please reach out! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, so leave me a comment. I’d also love to hear about your favorite family beach destinations!

What I Packed for the Beach

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Since we changed our spring break plans very last minute, I thought I would share some of the items that I packed for the beach that turned out to be extremely useful.  Consider this a pre-made packing list for your next beach getaway!

For the Road Trip

This fits right in the floorboard of the car between the boys and is easy to carry to the room when we arrive!

If you’re wondering what we take on our road tripping adventures, you might be surprised that it’s not much. I tried all the fancy gadgets at one point and felt like they all got in the way! Now days, we keep it pretty simple.

  • Snacks – We never leave for a trip without a basket of snacks! Not only is this super helpful for those long stints of driving, we usually have plenty to last us in the hotel for our whole stay!
  • Gatorades – Boxes of Gatorade are easy to pack in the car and we also usually have several leftover that we can drink while we’re in the room!
  • Phone chargers – I make sure to pack a charger for each of us. This way we all have one, there are extras if one stops working, and the boys aren’t ever arguing about whose turn it is to charge their devices!
  • Screen shot of hotel confirmation – I always make sure to either take a screenshot or print out the hotel confirmation for my records. Another word of advice, you can call the hotel ahead of time to make sure that they have your reservation on file!
  • GPS – We typically use the maps on our phones for directions to wherever we are going, which is another reason we need to bring along our chargers.
  • Bag of Quarters – We encountered a toll road right as we got close to Orange Beach. I knew this ahead of time, so I made sure to have a bag of quarters. I like bringing quarters along for multiple reasons, which includes money for tolls, money for the hotel vending machines, money for laundry if it’s needed, and finally having money if we need to air up our tires for any reason!
  • Pillows & Blankets – My boys are pros at sleeping in the car on our road trips. So we like to have travel pillows and blankets for them. We also bring along our own pillows to sleep with at night to ensure that we get a good night’s rest!
  • Portable Car Battery Jump Starter & Jumper Cables – Jereme has a portable battery charger that we bring along with us on our travels. It’s mostly just extra security to ease anxiety after having car trouble one time several states away from home. This one includes a set of jumper cables.

In My Beach Bag

This photo makes me want to go to the beach! Also, I got an underwater camera for Christmas & I never even used it on this trip lol!

I feel like I haven’t had to pack a beach bag in forever! And when I was going through the one I already have, I realized it was full of summer stuff that we never really needed. So, I cleaned it out and started fresh with things that I knew we would need and that my boys would want and actually use!

  • Beach bag – The bag I took was kind of too small & we all ended up having to carry our towels. So I upgraded to this one when we got home & love it! The cooler is going to be so nice!
  • Sunscreen – Sunscreen is so very important, every single day, but especially at the beach. My whole family loves the Neutrogena brand because it goes on smooth and doesn’t burn or irritate our skin when we reapply.
  • Chapstick with SPF – I am someone that has a freckle on my lip and I don’t want anymore. So, this chapstick has been a game changer for me!
  • Sunglasses – We made sure to bring sunglasses for all of us! I recommend buying a cheap pair for the beach, I swear someone always loses theirs in the ocean when we travel to the beach!
  • Waterproof phone case – This is another product that I love because I am able to get out in the water with the kids and take fun photos and videos without worrying about my phone getting ruined. I kept my phone in this case most of the time on the beach to protect it from the sand, too!
  • Goggles & Snorkels – We got these goggle and snorkel sets for this beach trip and the boys loved using them in the ocean and at the pool!
  • Extra beach towels – For some reason I have never taken extra beach towels with us, but this time I did and it was a game changer! We were only at the beach for three full days, so having two days with fresh towels was great! On the last day, we were able to reuse the towels from the first day after hanging them outside to dry.

Health & Beauty

I have learned to be very intentional when packing for longer trips in regards to health & beauty. Make sure to bring your usual day and nighttime beauty routine items and don’t forget any of the medications that you or your kiddos might need. There is nothing worse than feeling ill on vacation, so we make sure to have headache meds, allergy pills, and tummy ache medication too!

  • First aid kit – I am so thankful we invested in a first aid kit. My oldest seems to always get a scrape, burn, or splinter! This travel kit is perfect for the beach, hiking, camping, or any kind of traveling!
  • Sunburn relief gel – Hopefully you’ll never need this, but we make sure to bring ours on every outdoor adventure! We like to keep it in the refrigerator so it’s nice cold if we need it for a burn!
  • Face moisturizer – This is the face moisturizer that my dermatologist recommended for everyday use! I try to use it each night and morning.
  • Tanning foam – You can bet that I bring along this tanning foam since I cannot lay out and get a natural tan anymore! I put it on right before bed and actually sleep with it on all night and then rinse it off in the morning. I usually only need to reapply once on vacation! I buy the dark tanning lotion.
  • Tanning firming lotion – I use this firming body lotion any time I am going to be in shorts or a dress! I buy the medium to dark tone.
  • Medications – Bring along all the medications that your family might need! I usually just pack a large Ziploc bag full of anything we might use during the week. I always make sure to include something to help me sleep, like Tylenol PM or Benadryl because I have a really hard time sleeping in a new place.  

Family Photo Outfits

Family beach photo 2023

I usually always bring along at least one matching family outfit for photos. Several people ask how I go about coordinating these outfits. I always start by picking out what I am going to wear first. Then I find tops for the boys that will match me. I take screenshots of what I have picked out to make sure they all somewhat match before purchasing. I usually also send the screenshot to one of my best friends to check out and send me feedback, too! Thank you Amy D!

This is how I ensure all the pieces will match!

Swim Suits

I brought along three different swimsuits for this trip and loved how I felt in all of them! All of these had great coverage and were comfortable for a day of lounging and playing in the ocean!

Miscellaneous Items

These items are kind of random, but totally useful and I am so glad that we had them with us on this trip! And this is just one more reason I love road tripping! I can take so many things with us when we drive verse flying.

  • Travel Steamer – My dress really needed to be steamed after I packed it. It was full of wrinkles, but this travel steamer worked great! Just be careful not to fill it with too much water, it leaks when the water is past the fill line.
  • Cordless Vacuum – I use this on all of our road trips to remove crumbs mostly, but this time I used in both the car and in the room for sand! You know everyone and everything is always covered in sand when traveling to the beach. I cannot stand sand on my feet in the hotel or anywhere near the bed! This came in so handy!
  • Cell Phone Camera Stand – This is the stand I use for all of our family photos! I highly recommend if you want to try to take some of your own photos with your phone! It’s easy to use and easy to pack! This one fit in my beach bag and we also take it on hikes with us and it fits in my hiking backpack.

I hope you find all of these items as helpful and useful as we do! What items to do you take to the beach that I need to add my list? I’d love for you to leave a comment for any must haves that we need!

Happy travels, my friends!