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11 Reasons Galveston, Texas Makes the Perfect Day Trip

Galveston, Texas is one of the most popular coastal cities in the Lone Star State. The sandy beaches here draw many Texans to the island every summer. However there is more to Galveston than just the beach. Explore the historic architecture, learn something new at the great museums, or have some fun at the water park all found in Galveston. Have the best experience on a day trip to Galveston, Texas.

The Beach Beach in Galveston
Credit: Beach in Galveston by Tara Schmidt

The Beach

The beach is undoubtedly the most popular attraction drawing people to Galveston. There are over 32 miles of beach on Galveston Island, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot to spend a beach day here. The beaches in Galveston vary from natural, secluded beaches to more popular beaches full of amenities and services. Stewart Beach, although crowded on summer weekends, is a popular beach destination for families visiting Galveston. Or choose to lounge on a spot of beach by the Seawall Urban Park, which runs along the beach to protect the city against hurricanes and surges. The Seawall is a popular spot to visit itself, since it’s 10 miles and is known as the longest continuous sidewalk in the world.

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA
Credit: 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA by 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

Visit one of the oldest sailing vessels that is still in operation, ELISSA. This 1877 Tall Ship known as ELISSA, can be found at the Texas Seaport Museum. Visit the museum to climb aboard ELISSA and view her historic decks. ELISSA is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark. To learn more about this antique vessel, spend time in the museum and watch a film on ELISSA’s history and restoration process.

Historic Pleasure Pier Historic Pleasure Pier
Credit: Historic Pleasure Pier by Facebook.com

Historic Pleasure Pier

Visit the historic Pleasure Pier for a fun-filled time on the 16 different fair rides. This boardwalk amusement park not only has rides but also shops and various concessions for all to enjoy. Enjoy a thrilling water ride, a leisurely carousel spin or even nostalgic attractions like bumper cars and carnival games. For thrill seekers, the 200-foot swing flies guests over the ocean. Nighttime is a great time to visit Pleasure Pier, since the rides are covered in lights and live music is typically found on the pier.

Bishop's Palace Bishop's Palace
Credit: Bishop's Palace by 1892 Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace

This architectural marvel has become a popular destination for those visiting Galveston. Bishop’s Palace was once a residential home that was built from 1887 to 1892. The castle-like exterior and Renaissance-style architecture draws visitors into its beautifully adorned interior. Inside guest will find high ceilings, fireplaces, and beautifully-carved woodwork details. Find Bishop’s Palace in Galveston’s historic district. This beautiful home has grown as one of Galveston’s truest architectural treasures.

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark
Credit: Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark by Schlitterbahn Galveston

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark

This massive water park, spanning 26 acres, is a perfect place for a family getaway no matter what time of year. Enjoy the outdoor attractions to cool off during the summer but also explore the 70,000-square-foot indoor water park during the Texas winter. Enjoy a relaxing experience on the lazy river or seek thrills on the tube slides or water coasters. Complete with a secluded beach, wave pool, cabanas and kids areas, Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is sure to please everyone in the entire family.

The Strand Historic District The Strand Historic District
Credit: The Strand Historic District by J R Gordon

The Strand Historic District

Head to Galveston’s downtown area to view art galleries, enjoy a great meal or indulge in the numerous shops here. Known as the Strand Historic District, the area’s buildings boast Victorian and Greek architecture that makes for the perfect photo op. From souvenir shops to beach bars to incredible restaurants, the Strand Historic District is a great place for a date night or a girl’s shopping trip.

The Grand 1894 Opera House The Grand 1894 Opera House
Credit: The Grand 1894 Opera House by The Grand 1894 Opera House

The Grand 1894 Opera House

After a long day on the beach and a perfect dinner on the Strand, watch a show or performance at The Grand 1894 Opera House. Even if there are no shows running during your visit to Galveston, The Grand is still regularly open to tours. This opera house has endured numerous hurricanes, therefore it has grown as a cultural icon in the Lone Star State.

Moody Gardens Moody Gardens
Credit: Moody Gardens by Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens

If you intend to visit Moody Gardens, make sure to allot an entire day here. This complex is huge and deserves hours of your attention. Complete with an aquarium, botanical garden, playground, pools and two theaters, this educational oasis makes for a perfect visit for all ages. You can even stay at Moody Gardens, since there is a full hotel, spa, golf course and even a convention center here too. Moody Gardens is recognized by its pyramids, one is the 13-story Rainforest Pyramid while the other is the Discovery Pyramid that has over 40 interactive science exhibits. To say the least, there is plenty to explore at Moody Gardens.

Galveston Island Railroad Museum Galveston Island Railroad Museum
Credit: Galveston Island Railroad Museum by Galveston Railroad Museum

Galveston Island Railroad Museum

Learn about the history of locomotives at the Galveston Island Railroad Museum. View the large collection of steam and diesel engine trains along with freight trains and passenger trains. Visitors can even take a ride on one of the historic trains. There are permanent exhibits at the Galveston Island Railroad Museum along with various family-friendly events throughout the year.

Moody Mansion Museum Moody Mansion Museum
Credit: Moody Mansion Museum by Texas Independence Trail Region

Moody Mansion Museum

Take a tour of the Moody Mansion, a Victorian-style home built in 1895. The home’s details are extravacate, such as stained glass windows, decorative tiles, stencil work and intricate woodwork. The Moody family lived here for 80 years before opening the home up to the public. The guided tours take visitors through 20 different rooms through the four-story home.

Galveston Island State Park Galveston Island State Park
Credit: Galveston Island State Park by Galveston Island State Park - Texas Parks & Wildlife

Galveston Island State Park

To get away from crowded beaches and museums, choose to spend some time at Galveston Island State Park. This 2,000-acre park is perfect for a camping trip or simply a picnic. Hike, bike, fish and bird watch in this Gulf Coast gem. Beach dwellers will find plenty of beach space while birdwatchers should head to the wetlands and estuaries to view a variety of avian life. Cabins are available to rent but there are also hookups for RVs and sites for tents too.

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