Located on the gorgeous Gulf Coast of Texas, Galveston is a coastal community that’s quickly become one of the lone star state’s favorite family-friendly destinations. Its unique island location makes Galveston a Texas city unlike any other, offering more than 30 miles of sandy beaches, a flourishing arts and culture scene, top-rated dining and shopping, and an incredible variety of local tourist attractions.
If you’re planning a vacation to Galveston, you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do and see, with options to suit the entire family. Here are our top picks for seven tourist attractions in Galveston that are sure to be a hit with your entire crew:
1. Baywatch Dolphin Tours
Not many people think of dolphins when they think of Texas, but the city of Galveston is host to a growing community of these playful mammals. Baywatch Dolphin Tours is a family-owned and operated business just outside Galveston’s Historic Strand District, setting off from Pier 21 and offering guests up-close experiences with the bay’s resident dolphins. Your family will enjoy an informative tour aboard a special, dolphin-safe boat that allows you to get unbelievably close to the dolphins in their natural habitat.
2. Galveston Water Adventures
Make the most of Galveston’s waterfront location by booking any one of the many experiences available through Galveston Water Adventures. Everyone in the family can enjoy their favorite water activities, ranging from relaxing dolphin tours to thrilling jet boat rides. With Galveston Water Adventures, there’s something for every family member to enjoy, no matter how young or old. If you’re planning a big family getaway, you can even book a private boat event in the bay.
3. Pier 21 Theater
Dive deeper into Galveston history at the Pier 21 Theater. Managed by the Galveston Historical Foundation, the Pier 21 Theater offers three films about the city’s history. Learn about the nation’s most devastating natural disaster in The Great Storm, a film about the 1900 Hurricane that killed 6,000 people on the island. Learn about the swash-buckling pirate past of the island in The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte, and don’t miss Galveston – Gateway on the Gulf documenting the island’s important role as America’s second largest immigration processing center, often referred to at the “The Ellis Island of the Southwest”.
4. Buster’s Old Time Photos
Put a unique spin on a Galveston travel souvenir with photographs from Buster’s Old Time Photos, a local photography studio that offers a great variety of vintage-style costumes and props. Your family can choose from a range of styles and looks, ranging from timelessly elegant to fun-loving and humorous. Dress up as cowboys and cowgirls of the Wild West or choose something from another era of Texas history, then let Buster’s professional photographers capture the good times in photographs that will last forever.
5. Haunted Mayfield Manor
If your family enjoys good-natured, spooky fun, the Haunted Mayfield Manor is sure to be a hit. Open to visitors ages 11 and older, this creepy haunted house attraction is open year-round, serving up a scary-good time. Haunted Mayfield Manor has been named one of USA Today’s Best Spooky Houses in the USA, offering a one-of-a-kind experience that includes both talented actors and several reportedly authentic ghouls and ghosts. Taking the tour through Haunted Mayfield Manor’s twists and turns is a thrilling adventure that your family won’t forget.
6. Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast
Long before Galveston was a popular tourist destination, it was known as a favorite island for some of the most famous pirates to sail the seven seas. Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast is a year-round exhibit that delves deep into the city’s pirate history, offering a fully-immersive experience that includes several local “pirates.” For younger family members that are particularly interested in the pirate life, a Pirate Day Camp provides a full day of educational activities, arts and crafts, games, and role-playing fun.
7. Zipp E-Bikes
Explore the best of Galveston on two wheels with Zipp E-Bikes, an electric bike rental service that offers tours led by experienced local guides. Your family can cruise along on comfortable electric bikes, discovering the city’s hidden gems and secret pathways that you’ll never find on foot. There are even bike options available with safety seats for small children, so nobody has to miss out on the fun.
Plan a Galveston Experience that’s Fun for the Whole Family
Hoping to plan a family-friendly vacation that’s filled with good times and great memories? Choosing Galveston as your destination is a great place to start, especially with the wide array of family experiences, unique shops, restaurants, and events to enjoy. There’s always something going on in Galveston, and you’ll find no shortage of fun family activities.
As a proud part of the Galveston community, Mitchell Historic Properties is your source for all the best things to do and see in our friendly island city. Check out our blog to learn about everything this coastal community has to offer, including more information about the best shopping, dining, and tourist attractions in Galveston, TX.