5 Thing to Do in Galveston That You (Probably) Haven't Thought of
August 12, 2019
by Lauren Carbaugh
It’s summertime here in the United States, and if you’re a Texas native like myself, you’ll find that staying cool is a challenge. One place that many Texans find themselves flocking to is, of course, beach towns like Galveston Island. If you’re like me, you’ve been to Galveston a dozen times and feel like you’ve worn out all of the fun stuff – hitting the beach, touring Moody Gardens, cooling off at Schlitterbahn, and eating at all of the usual (albeit delicious) restaurants along the Seawall. If you’ve never visited Galveston, however, keep reading anyway; once you’ve finished all of that fun, touristy stuff, you can keep the good times rolling with these unique activities. Some are perfect for parents looking to entertain their kids, while others are a little more adult friendly; either way, give one (or all) of these five fun ideas a try if you’re looking for something to do in Galveston that’s a little more off-the-beaten-path.
The Fantastic Galveston Race
If you’ve seen The Amazing Race and have always wanted to participate in something similar (sans the dangerous stunts), here’s your chance! The Fantastic Galveston Race takes its teams on a journey in the style of a scavenger hunt along the Historic Strand District. At the start of the race, each team receives a packet with a map and a puzzle to lead you to the first clue. As you go through the race, the clues will urge you to visit shops, museums, and restaurants that you may not have known existed. This activity is great in particular for groups of adults and families with older kids. Whether you’re new to Galveston or you’ve visited dozens of times, this experience is a great way to immerse yourself in the unique architecture, culture, and history of the island.
The Galveston Ghost Tour
This one’s perfect if you’re a history buff or lover of all things paranormal! Many people know that the Great Galveston Hurricane that struck in 1900 was dubbed the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. It killed thousands of the island’s inhabitants and left the island in ruins. Of course, where there are mass casualties, there are bound to be ghosts, and the Galveston Ghost Tour gives you the chance to meet a few. With stops at the Ashton Villa, the Sealy House, and other (literal) haunts, any skeptic is bound to be a believer after this tour.
Not into ghosts? No worries! Galveston has a history that’s just as provocative as it is tragic. For instance, the island was once the home of famous pirates, mobsters, and a scandalous Red Light District. The Galveston Ghost Tour delves deep into the island’s unique history, leaving tourists both informed and fascinated. All ages are welcome!
Galveston Island Brewing Company
Alright, so maybe you need to decompress a little after all that ghost hunting. What better way to unwind than with beer? Galveston Island Brewing Company is Galveston’s largest brewery, home to both year-round and seasonal brews. If you’re interested in learning more about these unique beers and how they’re made, you can take a tour of the brewery led by their very own Brew Master. The Tiki Wheat is my personal favorite, followed closely by the Citra Mellow.
Once you’re done with your tour, you can sit in the tap room, complete with beer lists and board games, or out in the yard area. If you’re hungry, the brewery offers delicious sandwiches from Maceo’s Spice & Import Co., a culinary staple on Galveston Island.
You may think this one is exclusive to adults, but kids are welcome too, and the brewery even has an awesome play area so parents can sip in peace; or, if you’re the parent of an adorable fur baby, bring him along! Dogs are welcome at Galveston Island Brewery Co., too.
Nature and wildlife tours
If you’ve ever taken the ferry to Galveston Island from Bolivar Peninsula, you probably were as I excited as I was to see dolphins surfing out amongst the waves. If that’s the case, you’ll be delighted to know that you can take a boat tour to see them in their natural habitat. With knowledgeable captains and an accommodating crew, Galveston Bay Watch offers 45-minute tours into the ocean so you can see dolphins up-close. The boats are propeller-free so as not to disturb the dolphins, allowing them to swim close to you. Drinks are also offered on board, and – get this – dogs are welcome, too! Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and FREE on your birthday. This makes for the perfect affordable and quick activity that the whole family can enjoy.
If you have a few hours to spare and you’re a lover of nature, wildlife, and art, here’s another informative tour that you’ll definitely enjoy. Artist Boat Eco-Art Kayak Adventures offers guided tours via kayak along Galveston Bay’s coasts, giving you the opportunity to learn more about different species of birds and fish, as well as the marshes and islands that they inhabit. The guides even bring along art supplies so that you can create your own watercolor painting of the ecosystems you’re learning about. For $75/person, you can enjoy this unique and educational tour with all equipment provided.
The Rooftop Bar at the Tremont House
So, you’ve had a long day hunting ghosts, exploring the Strand, and watching dolphins, and you’re ready to unwind and enjoy a nice cocktail – with a view. The historic Tremont House hosts a fabulous rooftop bar that sits four stories high, and here you can watch the sun set on the harbor while you sip on your favorite mixed drink, beer, or glass of wine. With soft music and lit torches, the atmosphere manages to be both relaxed and upscale. This activity is perfect for those looking to enjoy a kid-free evening after a busy day!