Galveston: Going Beyond the Beach. As the days become longer and the weather warms, spring break is the perfect time to get the whole family outdoors. Whether you’re a beach lover aching for days at the seaside or an adventurer seeking out historic explorations, Galveston Island offers the perfect setting to shake off some winter blues and soak up the spring sunshine.
Enjoy bike rides along the coast, fly a kite at the beach, organize a soccer game – there is lots of space to play on the beach during the spring. The water temperature may be a tad too cold to frolic in the waves but there are many other attractions to (re)discover in Galveston. With big-hearted hospitality, Galveston is home to a historic immigration port, sea creatures, Victorian architecture, a thriving maritime industry and much more.
Rent a bike from one of the many Island bicycle rental companies and take a self-guided tour through the East End Historical District. Travel back in time to the 19th century in over 50 city blocks. The architecture of the East End Historical District reflects a variety of styles and periods ranging from small, simple cottages to large, elaborate houses. If you like stately homes, don’t miss the exquisite Bishop’s Palace – listed as one of the 100 most significant buildings in the United States by the American Institute of Architects and don’t miss the splendid Moody Mansion. You can download a map of this beautiful neighborhood from www.eastendhistoricaldistrict.org.
The East End Historical District is home to 20 tree sculptures made by local craftspeople which were carved from oaks killed by Hurricane Ike in 2008. You can download the map from www.galvestonislandguide.com/galveston-tree-sculptures/amp/
Find the Best of Art & Culture and the Quirky
Meander along The Strand and the prominence of Galveston in the late 19th century, when it was the country’s second busiest port, surpassed only by New York City. The avenue of 19th century warehouses now houses shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Don’t miss out on all the cute boutiques, antique shops and art galleries on Post Office Street. Get a glimpse of The Grand 1894 Opera House, the meticulously restored opulent and intimate performing arts venue. Also worth a visit is Nautical Antiques & Tropical Décor, which sells salvaged ship parts (anchors, steering wheels, portholes) and nautical gear. Many people say Galveston is haunted, and appropriately a store called Witchery sells paraphernalia — crystals, tarot cards and things related to the eerie and unexplainable.
Food for Thought
For a quick bite head over to the Star Drug Store for some comfort food made on a griddle in the middle of a U-shaped marble slab and get your sweet tooth fix at La King’s Confectionary. The counter of hand-made sweets is endless and the kids will surely thank you.
If you like skylines and bay views, head to the Rooftop Bar in the Tremont House Hotel – a 1879 building where you can enjoy views of the harbor and the elaborate facades and cornices of neighboring structures. Heaters and blankets are on hand for chilly weather.
Out of the Water
For maritime culture and for dolphin tours, stroll over to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 21, home to three museums that are enjoyable to all members of the family. There are several boats offering harbor tours, dolphins and other marine wildlife tours. Enjoy the local cuisine by dining at one of the many seafood restaurants that are open for lunch and dinner.
For a light evening of entertainment, you can uncover the chilling past of Galveston’s “haunted” hotels, harbor happenings, cemeteries and Victorian mansions with the Ghost Tours of Galveston.
A trip to Galveston is a treasure trove of historical locations, quaint streets and beautiful buildings made famous over the centuries. Explore Galveston beyond the beach.