Galveston Island Things To Do


Nestled on the Gulf Coast of Texas lies an island that boasts a wide array of activities for all ages. Galveston Island, also known as the "Playground of the South," is a destination that promises to deliver fun and adventure for everyone. From its rich history to its pristine beaches and bustling attractions, there's never a dull moment in this vibrant city. Whether you're planning a family getaway or a cruise out of the Port Of Galveston, Galveston Island has everything you need to create unforgettable memories. Check out our guide below on the top Galveston Island things to do, including helpful tips for Galveston cruise parking!

About Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a barrier island located off the coast of Texas. The island measures 30 miles long and spans just under three miles at its widest point. It's home to over 50,000 people and attracts millions of visitors each year. Galveston Island is a beautiful and intriguing place to visit, but it also has a rich history that makes it even more fascinating. 

The island was first discovered by the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca in 1528, however, the island was officially named after another Spanish explorer, Jose de Evia, who landed on its shores in 1783. 

In the mid-1800s, Galveston became one of Texas' largest ports and was known as "The Wall Street of the South." It saw tremendous growth during this time with numerous businesses opening up on the island. Such industries included banking, shipping, and cotton trade among others.

Despite its bustling economy and prosperity throughout much of its history, there were several natural disasters that rocked Galveston's foundation over time. In particular, the Great Storm of 1900 which remains one of America's deadliest hurricanes ever recorded took thousands of lives leaving behind destruction beyond comprehension.

Aside from its historical significance, Galveston Island offers visitors an array of natural beauty with beaches stretching along the Gulf Coast. There are also plenty of outdoor recreational activities available like fishing charters or kayaking tours through local marshes and bayous. It is also home to the Port of Galveston (on the eastern end) - one of the busiest ports in the nation, with cruise, cargo, and commercial business development opportunities. It is the fourth busiest cruise port in the U.S.

Whether you're looking specifically for activities before or after your cruise from the port, or simply planning a visit for the weekend, our Galveston Island things-to-do list has something for everyone!

Galveston Island Things To Do Before and After Your Cruise

If you're planning to take a cruise out of the Port of Galveston, there are plenty of fun things to do before and after your trip on Galveston Island.

Take a stroll through the historic Strand District where you can shop for souvenirs or enjoy some delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants.

For history buffs, be sure to visit the incredible Moody Mansion which was once home to one of Texas' richest families. You can also check out The Bryan Museum which houses an extensive collection showcasing Texas and Southwestern history.

After returning from your cruise, extend your stay in Galveston by visiting beautiful beaches like Stewart Beach or East Beach where you can soak up the sun or try exciting water sports activities such as parasailing or jet skiing.

Another popular attraction is Pleasure Pier - an amusement park located on a pier over the Gulf waters offering thrilling rides and carnival games for all ages!

Make sure not to miss out on these amazing experiences while in Galveston!

Parking at the Port Of Galveston

Galveston Wharves parking (on Galveston Island) is an important consideration for anyone planning to embark on a cruise from this popular port. The Official Port Of Galveston Parking lots offer discounted Galveston cruise parking for those who need to park their vehicles while they're away - before, during, and after the cruise. You can rest assured that your vehicle will be safe, as the Port of Galveston Police patrol the lots 24/7. With the online reservation system, you can book your cruise parking in advance and ensure that you will have a spot when you arrive. 

The cruise terminals are conveniently located directly across from The Strand - a historical shopping and restaurant district. Once you park your car, you can also choose to ride the Island Transit system to visit attractions across the island - before or after your cruise. There are so many things to do on Galveston Island, you may want to plan to arrive a few days before your cruise departure or extend your trip when you return. 

Family Activities on Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a perfect destination for families looking to enjoy the Gulf Coast vibe without traveling too far from Houston, or for those that are in the area before or after a cruise out of the Port of Galveston. There are plenty of family-friendly things to do on Galveston Island that cater to all age groups.

One of the top attractions for families is the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which boasts thrilling water rides and a lazy river. For animal lovers, Moody Gardens offers an aquarium, rainforest pyramid, and a 3D theater.

Families can also explore history at The Bryan Museum or take a ride on the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier with its roller coasters and carnival games.

If you're feeling adventurous, rent bikes or surreys along Seawall Boulevard and pedal your way through stunning views of the ocean while enjoying some quality time with your loved ones.

With so many things to do in Galveston Island for family entertainment, there's no shortage of exciting things to do together.

Activities For Adults in Galveston Island

Galveston Island is not just a family-friendly destination, but it also caters to adults looking for fun in the sun. Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, Galveston has something for everyone.

For thrill-seekers, there are plenty of water activities to choose from like jet skiing, parasailing and paddleboarding. Take a sunset sail on a yacht to see breathtaking views of the Gulf Coast.

If you're looking for more relaxing activities, take a stroll along The Strand Historic District and visit art galleries or indulge in some retail therapy at the unique boutiques. Relax with your favorite drink while enjoying live music at one of the many bars on Seawall Boulevard.

Foodies will love exploring Galveston's culinary scene featuring fresh seafood and local cuisine. Visit restaurants like Gaido's Seafood Restaurant or Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar for delicious food paired with stunning ocean views.

For history buffs, visit attractions such as The Bryan Museum which offers an extensive collection of artifacts chronicling Texas' history. You can also take a ghost tour through historic buildings to learn about haunted tales from the past.

Galveston Island may be known for its family-friendly attractions but don't let that fool you – there are plenty of adult-oriented things to do in Galveston Island too!

Galveston Island Things To Do By Season

Galveston Island is a year-round destination, with activities that appeal to visitors in all seasons. 

In the summer months (June to August), tourists can enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking. They can also take a dip at the beach or visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark for some family-friendly fun. Late summer into fall is the peak of hurricane season, which means there will likely be less cruise travelers on the island. 

In the Fall (September to November), visitors can experience the island's spooky side by taking part in ghost tours and haunted house attractions. They can also attend festivals like the Galveston Island Shrimp Festival or Oktoberfest on Pier 21.

Winter (December to February) brings cooler weather but plenty of festive cheer. Visitors can explore the city's historic district during Dickens on The Strand, which celebrates Victorian-era Christmas traditions. Moody Gardens transforms into an icy wonderland with its annual IceLand exhibit, featuring ice sculptures and holiday lights.

Spring (March to May) means it's time for outdoor events like Music Nite on The Strand and ArtWalk downtown. Tourists can also witness spectacular bird migrations at Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary or catch fish during prime fishing season.

No matter what time of year you choose to visit Galveston Island, there will always be something exciting waiting for you!


Galveston Island offers a variety of exciting activities for visitors of all ages and interests. From exploring its rich history and indulging in family-friendly fun to experiencing thrilling adventures and relaxing by the beach, there's truly something for everyone - and don’t forget to plan ahead for Galveston cruise parking with the Official Port of Galveston Parking