beach guide for galveston tx

BeachBox Guide to Making the Most of Your Galveston Vacation

You hit confirm. The trip is booked. Now all that’s left to do is plan what you’ll do in Galveston during your BeachBox stay. Whether you’re taking a long weekend to recover from your 9-5 or planning a saltwater-and-sun family getaway, Galveston Island stocks enough variety to satisfy everyone in your BeachBox crew.

At your home away from home, you’ll have your pick of sandy beaches, access to a thriving cultural scene and a variety of tasty local eateries to choose from. Toss in a mix of art galleries, museums, fishing, waterparks and front-row seats to some of the most spectacular ocean views in the region, and pretty soon the question becomes “what shouldn’t we do during our BeachBox stay?” The good news: you can’t go wrong. But we don’t want you wondering if you’ve taken full advantage of your getaway, so we asked our local team for their top picks. What follows is our guide on how to make the most of your BeachBox stay, visiting Galveston. 

 

1. Enjoy a Leisurely Beach Day at Tipsy Turtle 

Nothing says BeachBox like a leisurely day at one of Galveston’s most beautiful beaches. So, pack up your bags (and kids, if you have them) and steal away to Tipsy Turtle for some saltwater and sand. It’s easy to set up camp for the day. You can bring your own tent or simply rent beach chairs and an umbrella from the beach concierge at Tipsy Turtle. When you’re ready for refreshments, mosey up to the Seaside Bar, Galveston’s only true beach bar and grill. Be sure to play a game of corn hole, enjoy live music or take in the stunning views from their elevated ocean deck. It’s the perfect backdrop for family memories. Bonus, you can come and go as you please! This Galveston parking is free all day. 

 

2. Visit La King’s Confectionery and Walk the Strand

If you need a reason to venture out from your BeachBox home, here it is: a near endless array of sweet confections and rich chocolates are waiting to satisfy your taste buds over at La King’s Confectionery. If the candy counter isn’t enough to tempt you, step back in time and experience the days gone by with a live saltwater taffy demonstration. Throughout the summer and on weekends, La King confectioners pull, spin and package taffy on their century-old machines. BeachBox insider tip: come ready to catch warm samples!  

With candy in hand, stroll the Strand. The historic downtown district dates back to the 1830s, when it rose to prominence as a bustling port locale. While damage suffered during the Civil War and later the great Galveston hurricane of 1900 threatened its viability, recent revitalization efforts have restored its charming ambience. The Strand brims with original Victorian architecture that now houses a plethora of museums, shops, restaurants and art galleries. 

guide to vacations in galveston tx

3. Cruise the Seawall and end at Jimmy’s on the Pier for Happy Hour  

If you’re up for adventure, rent a bike for the day and explore the Seawall Urban Park. The nation’s longest continuous sidewalk offers mile after mile of glorious ocean views you won’t want to miss. See a beach you like? Park your bike and sunbathe or take a quick dip before continuing on your way. The festive sidewalk is busiest throughout the downtown and historic districts, but by mile seven, you’ll start escaping the crowds. When you’ve worked up an appetite (and we’re sure you will), head over to Jimmy’s on the Pier for happy hour. Some say Jimmy’s offers the best view on the Island. 

galveston tx vacation guide

4. Eat at Darlene’s Shrimp Shack

Fried shrimp, need we say more? No, but we will. Darlene’s Shrimp Shack is one of Galveston’s best kept secrets. The water-to-table food truck is conveniently located off of 61st Street and is stocked daily with fresh caught, wild Gulf shrimp (we’re talking morning-of fresh, y’all). Hit up Darlene’s on your way into or out of town and enjoy their fun, new outdoor seating area overlooking the water. BeachBox insider tip: try the garlic parmesan shrimp basket!

5. Savor Fine Dining at Vargas Cut & Catch

For a more upscale dining experience, snag a reservation at Vargas Cut & Catch. Local restaurateur, Paco Vargas, crafted the menu around his family’s love for the classic American Steakhouse. Whether you’re craving savory steaks or fresh seafood, the 5-star reviews speak of the evening to come. Don’t forget to end the night with a mouthwatering Paco Dome—a delicious chocolate coffee cake topped with roasted cinnamon that’s hiding under a chocolate dome (go ahead, please, you’re on vacation). BeachBox insider tip: everything is delicious.  

6. Plan a Family Fun Day at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier 

Ferris wheels, rollercoasters and a boardwalk pier, oh my! A recent addition to Galveston’s lineup of attractions, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a nostalgic boardwalk-style amusement park that extends more than 1,100 feet over the Gulf of Mexico. Packed with rides and carnival-style games, it has something to offer for little kids and thrill seekers alike. Come early and beat the crowds or ride the Ferris Wheel as the sun fades into the ocean. You won’t be disappointed! 

galveston pleasure pier guide

7. Cool off at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark 

Boasting 26 acres of waterpark activities, Schlitterbahn might just be the coolest place to cool down on Galveston Island. It’s home to the world’s tallest water coaster, MASSIV, at 81 feet 6 ¾ inches tall, and the award-winning, triple-river system, Transportainment. If careening down water coasters isn’t your waterpark style, Schlitterbahn has more than 30 other attractions for your enjoyment, from water slides to kid pools and racing hills. Best of all, the linger-and-stay theme park is geared entirely around families. Schlitterbahn does not charge for parking and tubes, and they even allow guests to bring in their own food. 

If you’re staying at BeachBox during the winter, don’t worry. Select sections of the waterpark transform into an indoor park in the cooler months, guaranteeing family fun no matter what time of year your Galveston, Texas, vacation takes place.  

8. Explore Moody Gardens  

There’s a reason Moody Gardens is constantly listed in Texas “Best Of” lineups. Known for its three iconic pyramids, the educational destination uses creative nature exhibits to teach visitors about conservation and wildlife. While there’s lots to see and do, start with the Aquarium Pyramid. Kids can explore the touch tanks, participate in encounter programs and see marine life from the Antarctic, Pacific, Great Barrier Reef and more. Afterwards, take a walk through the Rainforest Pyramid and see the Discovery Pyramid’s rotating exhibits. If you have time, head to the Palm Beach waterpark for a quick cool down on its white sands and lazy rivers. 

9. Find Inspiration on a Galveston ArtWalk

If you’re looking to refresh and recharge during your BeachBox stay, join a Galveston ArtWalk. These inspirational walks take place every six weeks in the heart of the historic district and are as colorful as the city itself. Grab a latte from MOD Coffeehouse as you explore local art galleries and antique shops, connect with store owners and support local businesses. When your feet need a break, your BeachBox home is waiting! View the upcoming ArtWalk venues and dates here.

 

10. Close out your trip with Cocktails at DTO 

Before you turn in your BeachBox key, make sure you stop by DTO. The bar’s casual, laid-back atmosphere and craft cocktails are perfect for unwinding. Ask for the secret menu and order the Mani Pedi. It’s expensive, but self-care is where vacation’s at, after all. BeachBox insider tip: No food is served here. Go to Hearsay on the Strand for dinner beforehand just a couple of blocks away! 

Let the Good Times Roll 

With your itinerary in hand, the vacation countdown is officially on. Can’t fit all the fun in on one trip? We’ve got you covered. With 32+ properties to choose from in Galveston, Surfside and Kemah, we’re ready when you are.    

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