Heading out on vacay soon? Check out my Galveston Vacation Tips to get the most out of your stay! We’ve been to Galveston as a family multiple times, and it’s still one of our favorite places to vacation. It’s really affordable, the atmosphere is super laid back, and the water is nice and warm!
I’m going to cover things to do, best food to eat, some tips to help you save money, and more in this post. If I didn’t answer your questions in the post, leave your questions in the comments and I’ll respond ASAP!
Galveston Vacation Tips
Galveston was one of our favorite vacation spots! It’s got all the best things: the ocean, chill beaches, awesome shopping, and even a Ferris wheel! Galveston is so much more than just a beach town, and actually has some really cool historical sites to see as well. We’ve taken the time to sit down and list our favorite Galveston Vacation Tips so you can make the most out of your trip.
Where to Stay
This is one of the most important Galveston Vacation Tips. You NEED to stay in a beach house rental on the ocean. Don’t rent a condo, or stay in a hotel room. Rent. A. House. Don’t try and find one right in town, either. We used HomeAway.com and searched and searched for a house. We ended up staying about 20 minutes outside of Galveston (on purpose) and it was the BEST location. We were right across the street from the ocean, and since it was farther out the beach was basically all our own for our entire vacation. We got a nice, fully furnished house, with three bedrooms that slept 9 people, for seven nights, for about $1300. We didn’t book through HomeAway.com, we just ended up contacting the rental company for the house directly and got a better rate. Keep in mind you will need to put 50% down when you book, and then pay the other half by 30 days before your stay.
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Where to Shop
This is an important one for us when we go on vacation. We really love to shop, and as much as we love to hit the regular beach stores like Wings, we also like to find some niche shops and hit those too. Downtown Galveston has a shopping district, and it’s amazing. There are shops that make handmade candy and ice cream in front of you, dozens of antique shops, specialty stores and more! The shopping district is right by the port where all the cruise ships come in, so there’s a lot to look at! Keep this in mind though, when you’re planning to go shopping, that you can be swamped by cruise ship tourists waiting for their boat. There’s also tons of restaurants in this area too. Keep in mind this area is very large, but is also meant to be walked. There’s meter parking everywhere, but it’s limited. If you want to go to the coolest Nautical Salvage Store ever, go check out Pieces of Ship. It’s basically how we decorated our room. It’s amazing and the prices are incredible.
What to Do
We can’t have a list of Galveston Vacation Tips without telling you some fun spots to hit up or things to do! Besides the beach and shopping, there’s a ton of fun things to do. Pleasure Pier is the big amusement park scene in the image for this post. It’s pricey, but is basically like a year-round fair. There’s restaurants, fair food, carnival games, and rides all right over the ocean. If that’s not your thing, you can always go on a dolphin sight-seeing tour! This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Keep in mind the boats are small (see the above picture), and it will be HOT, but it’s a ton of fun. You get to ride around in this adorable little boat in the ocean, and watch for dolphins. Tickets for this can be found downtown near Landry’s. Also, unless you have incredible leg strength, and don’t mind being hot and uncomfortable for an hour, do NOT try a surrey bike ride. It’s not cool. It’s not fun. It’s just hot and painful. You’re welcome.
Moody Gardens is also another option. It will take you at LEAST all day to go through Moody Gardens. It’s broken up into 3 different “pyramids” and each pyramid has a different theme. The Rainforest themed pyramid is hot and humid. The animals run loose (no, I’m not exaggerating) so prep your kids, if you have kids, before going in, so they don’t try and chase a wild bird or just reach out and pet a monkey. The aquarium is huge and is full of a lot of interactive activities too. The third pyramid has things like a 4D theater, a regular IMAX theater, a restaurant, gift shop and more. It’s the best pyramid to cool down in.
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There’s also a really cool Acorn House that’s just neat to see that’s outside of Galveston. If you’re into cool architecture, you may want to go take a picture with it! They’re been working on remodeling it recently, so I can’t wait to take a new pic when it’s all re-done!
Where to Eat
Also another important thing to bring up on this list of Galveston Vacation Tips: food. We basically base our vacations around food, so this is an important tip. Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant was one of our favorites. My husband loved their Lobster Ravioli. Shrimp N Stuff downtown was a fun little hole-in-the wall restaurant that was really good and had awesome prices. Awesome southern food cooked fresh. Landry’s is also amazing. It’s expensive, but has a really cool experience. There’s an old ship outside that’s not a replica, that you can observe up close. The restaurant is right on the water too, so it’s a nice experience, and is downtown. Ben & Jerry’s also has a location in Galveston as well, so we enjoyed getting to go in and be served by the scoop! The Rainforest Cafe is cool and has an awesome indoor river ride you should definitely do! Food there is pricey (because you’re paying for the experience too), nd the Galveston location isn’t as cool as the one in Disney Springs, but still super cool.
Where to Find Shells
This is a question we always look up when going to a new beach. Here’s the deal about Galveston: unless you go in the winter, you most likely won’t find many shells. We found some, but not many. Fall and Winter is when there are the most shells to be found there, and right after a storm. There ARE tons of crabs, though, so watch out for that. Oh, and if you take walks at night, watch out for the beach opossums. Long story.
Okay, I know this is really geeky to add, but we LOVE Pokemon GO! Galveston is a HOT SPOT for Pokestops and Gyms. You will also find tons of water type Pokemon while you’re there too. Both Downtown, and near Pleasure Pier are major hot spots for Pokestops and Gyms. Take advantage of this if you play!
Those are all our best Galveston Vacation Tips! If you have any to add or have any questions, feel free to comment! If you head there on vacation, give the ocean there a hug and tell it we miss it. Yes, really.