The island city of Galveston, Texas may not be what visitors expect when they first think of The Lone Star State. This is exactly why Galveston is the perfect place to find yourself on vacation. Travel is about discovering the unknown and opening yourself up to new ideas, places, and concepts. Far from the inland ranches and plains that play host to cattle and cowboys, Galveston takes a turn for the tropical and invites guests to come and indulge in coastal elegance and entertainment that’s entirely unique to this fun-filled destination. Whether you’re in the mood for trips down Pleasure Pier, dotted with rides, games, and attractions, or you’re more in the mood to lounge on the beach and watch the waves roll in, Galveston provides a dynamic landscape in which to do it all at your own pace.
Galveston is also a great place to visit when you’re looking for a destination that offers up a wide variety of options in a setting that speaks to small-town ambiance. In total, Galveston covers only a little over 200 square miles of land and sea and just over 50,000 residents call it home year-round. While Galveston is charming, don’t be fooled by its size. For all it’s quaint, coastal appeal, Galveston is a place that promises an impressive collection of opportunities for exploration. It’s a common misconception that the best approach to Galveston is just to see what you encounter. While this works to some extent, there are several tours and visits that are worth booking in advance when you want to make the most of your time. From haunted hang out’s to inspiring encounters with marine life, here are 5 activities you’ll be happy you booked when you’re heading to Galveston for something different.
Sunset Cruise: Galveston Water Adventures
For all the fun it provides, Galveston has a romantic side that shouldn’t be ignored. Make sure to make time for a sunset cruise around Galveston Harbor with Galveston Water Adventures. By day this company offers up some of the most thrilling jet boat rides around but as the sunset colors begin to streak across the sky, guests are invited to unwind with a glass of Champagne. Sit back, relax and sip your way through the sunset on this 2-hour, leisurely float that takes you past the Galveston skyline and provides unsurpassed views of the watery horizon.
Ghost Tours of Galveston Island
Brought to you by Dash Beardsley, this walking tour is one you won’t want to miss if you’re a traveler with a passion for the supernatural. Galveston has long been a destination that has enchanted and mystified visitors both for its natural beauty and inclination to be a place where people claim to encounter forces of an other-worldly nature. When you’re looking to combine the best of historic insight into Galveston with ghostly background, this tour is the one for you. Tours are approximately 1.5-hours in total and focus on The Strand which is Galveston’s most historic street and downtown area. As you explore The Strand with Dash Beardsley, you’ll enjoy narration that includes stories, background and paranormal insight into some of the most popular destinations in Galveston.
Bay Watch Dolphin Tours
From ghostly encounters to witnessing the beauty of Galveston’s marine life, booking your place on a Bay Watch Dolphin Tour is an incredible way to get acquainted with the fantastic creatures that call these waters home. Tours depart from Pier 21 near 2100 Harborside Drive between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm 7-days a week. When you book a ticket with this family-owned tour company, you’ll enjoy a 45-minute safe and comfortable ride onboard a vessel that’s designed with animal protection top of mind. Touring on this jet boat that’s built without propellers means guests can get a close look at dolphins in their natural habitat without running the risk of harming these highly-intelligent and beautiful marine mammals.
Segway Tree Carvings Tour
Galveston has endured its fair share of hurricanes over the years and with every damaging storm, the city looks inward towards its collective resilient spirit. Impressively, this city always finds a way to make something great out of what’s seemingly impossible. Recent hurricanes left a large number of toppled or damaged trees in its wake. Instead of clearing them out, carvings of faces where artistically worked into the trunks, turning damaged goods into something beautiful and fun to find around the city. Because these creative finds are dotted across the island, one of the best ways to see them all and learn as you go is to book a spot on a Segway Tree Carvings Tour. You’ll hit the road in comfort and innovative style alongside a knowledgeable guide who can show you where to find the tree carvings and deliver up insightful information along the way. These 2-hour tours are put on by SegCity Galveston and excursions depart from 519 25th Street.
Sitting in grandeur at 1402 Broadway Avenue J, Bishop’s Palace is one of the most impressive structures that call Galveston home. Sprawling over 19,000 square feet of land, this Victorian mansion remains the crown jewel in the crown that is Galveston’s historic district. Construction was finished on this towering feat of architecture in 1892 and today, it’s one of the must-tour spots in Galveston if only for the chance to wander the halls of a building that stands for the extraordinary extravagance that marked the Victorian era of construction. Feel free to be amazed by the authentic furnishings, paintings and echoing rooms that await complete with intricate stained glass windows and European-inspired details.
Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Ryson Vacation Rentals, she enjoys writing and sharing about Galveston in the hope others will pack up and head out on Texas-bound adventures of their very own.