Galveston, TX 77551
Galveston Island | Major Attractions
Galveston Island is home to some of the best attractions Texas has to offer, from adventure resorts and water parks to historic mansions and fascinating museums. The variety found on the island is rare for a destination that is just two-and-half miles wide!
Fun on the Water
Galveston has 32 miles of sparkling Gulf waters for visitors to explore, making it a great destination for outdoor activities like surfing, swimming, boating or simply lounging on the sand. For easy access to restaurants and surf shops, visitors flock to Galveston’s Seawall Beaches while the island’s five public beach parks – Stewart Beach, East Beach and three West End Pocket Parks – provide special amenities like events, concessions, outdoor showers, restrooms and more. The Galveston Island State Park is a popular place for kayaking, birding and nature exploration, offering access to the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. For a twist, the non-profit organization Artist Boat offers guided kayak tours that also feature a watercolor painting demonstration. On Galveston Harbor, visitors can board the Seagull II for a relaxing harbor tour and dolphin watch.
Beach | Galveston Island
World Class Adventure
Galveston’s newest major attraction brings the glory of the island’s famous history into the present with world-class amusements at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the pleasure pier features thrill rides for adults and kids, midway games, shopping, live music and entertainment and a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant. The pier stands in the same location a pleasure pier stood in Galveston during the 1940s.
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
On the West End of the island, visitors to Galveston will find a cluster of family and adventure attractions all within walking distance of each other. The first, Moody Gardens, is a 245-acre resort complex known for its large glass pyramid buildings.
One of the most visited places in Texas, Moody Gardens has an Aquarium Pyramid and a tropical Rainforest Pyramid that houses more than 1,000 species of plants and free roaming animals – such as monkeys, sloths, and birds from rainforests around the world. Moody Gardens also has 3-D, 4-D and Ridefilm theaters, a golf course, a kid’s water park, historic paddlewheel boat cruises, and a AAA-rated four diamond hotel.
Schlitterbahn | Galveston Island
Right next door, Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is open year round with an outdoor and indoor park. The indoor park was named the best indoor water park in the world by Amusement Today. Nearby is also the Lone Star Flight Museum, where visitors can see and even fly in rare historic aircraft from World War II.
Much of Galveston’s appeal is tied to its history, an aspect the island’s tight knit tourism community works to preserve. Popular historical attractions on the island include the 1892 Victorian mansion Bishop’s Palace and the 1895 Moody Mansion. Both historic homes are open for tours regularly. Galveston is also home to four nationally recognized historic districts, including the popular East End Historical District where completely restored historic homes line the streets. Within the district, the Galveston Island Tree Sculptures have become a popular tourist draw. These sculptures – made from neighborhood Oak trees destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008 – are nestled in yards for the public to find and enjoy. Another historic district, the Downtown Historic Strand Seaport District, is located across the street from the Galveston Cruise Terminal. The Strand is lined with Victorian buildings that house quaint boutiques, shops, restaurants and attractions. A couple blocks over, Postoffice Street is home to art galleries, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues such as The Grand 1894 Opera House.
Galveston’s fascinating history can be further explored in the island’s impressive museums. In downtown, the Galveston Railroad Museum boasts of one of the largest restored railroad collections in the southwest with more than 20,000 railroad items while Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast lets you explore the island’s history of pirates and the notorious Jean Lafitte. At Pier 21, visitors can take in views of Galveston Harbor while learning about the island’s rich legacy of seaborne commerce and immigration at the Texas Seaport Museum and 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA. At the nearby Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, you can take a leisurely, self-guided tour through a retired jack-up oil rig that now serves as a museum and educational facility.
Texas Seaport Museum | Galveston Island
Galveston, TX 77551