This is an article detailing things to do in Galveston with kids.
Known for its sandy beaches, Galveston is a popular tourist attraction for Texans and non-Texans alike. It’s also just an hour from Houston making it one of the more popular weekend family getaways near Houston. If you’re looking for a quick getaway or you’re looking into Texas family spring break ideas, there are plenty of things to do in Galveston with kids.
Things to Do in Galveston With Kids
Video courtesy of Galveston.com.
Explore Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens is a place where kids can learn about science and animal life through its many interactive exhibits. Featuring three visually-stunning pyramids, families can learn about marine life through the aquarium exhibits or learn about the tropical plants, insects, and animals that call the rainforest their home.
The Discovery Pyramid features hands-on children’s activities for kids to learn about science through experience. In addition to the exhibits housed in the three pyramids, families can enjoy several other fun activities, such as a splash pad for the kids, a zipline, a white sand beach, or golf. These are just a few of the activities your family can enjoy at Moody Gardens.
Splash at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark
Of course, the beaches are the main draw but the ocean isn’t the only aquatic thing you can do with kids in Galveston. Open year-round, Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark features several thrilling water attractions that will keep your family entertained all day. With open and enclosed water slides, a lazy river, and a lounging pool, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Families can rent a private cabana to relax throughout the day and enjoy a picnic. There’s even an area of the park that transforms into an indoor waterpark during the colder months, so even if you’re visiting Galveston at the peak of winter, you can still have some summer-feeling water fun.
Be Entertained at the Historic Pleasure Pier
Galveston’s Historic Pleasure Pier, located on the Seawall, is a must-do on the list of things to do in Galveston with kids. Featuring a roller coaster with an incredible view of the Gulf of Mexico and several other rides, this amusement park provides hours of entertainment. Kids will also have fun with the carnival games and parents will love the souvenir shops. Because of its location on the Seawall, it’s an especially ideal place to watch the sunset over the water at the end of a fun-filled day.
Enjoy a Private Beach
The public beaches of Galveston are a blast but it’s hard to beat the privacy and cleanliness of a private beach. Strolling the beach, fishing, or looking for shells in a limited-traffic beach is one of the top things to do in Galveston with kids. There are a few ways to gain access but the most surefire way is to rent the right beach vacation rental in Galveston.
[Please note: we were hosted for this stay but all opinions are our own.]
Book one of the awesome options available with Vacasa to find a clean, nicely appointed option for your family. We stayed in this 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom house located in Beachside Village. It was more than enough room for our family of four and had everything we needed including an outdoor area to rinse off the sand. It also included an entrance to the beach that was exclusive to our neighborhood.
[You can see more of our weekend adventures on Instagram.]
Vacasa has properties of all sizes like this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath haven that is also located in Beachside Village and this 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom retreat located right outside of Galveston. All of these options come with access to a private beach but if you Vacasa as options without the beach access or even closer into the mainland with no beach view at all. Whatever your preference, Vacasa has options!
Highly recommend this as one of the things to do in Galveston with kids.
Learn Nature at Galveston Island State Park
If you want to add a little nature to your things to do in Galveston with kids, be sure to stop by Galveston Island State Park. The park sits on 2,000 acres of beaches, dunes, wetlands, campgrounds, and hiking trails, giving your family several options for fun and relaxation. Several species of wildlife call the park home, and many people especially enjoy birdwatching there.
Enjoy a picnic, go fishing, or bring some bikes to ride. Canoeing and kayaking are also fun options. You can even stay overnight, camping at one of the campgrounds or renting a beach cabin.
[If you decide to go camping, checking out these options for the best camping sleeping bags for kids!]
Sail on the Port Bolivar Ferry
Drive your car onto the Port Bolivar Ferry and cross the water between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula. You’ll enjoy the breathtaking view as you and your family ride across the water. Kids love to watch for dolphins jumping in and out of the water or bring bread to feed the seagulls who have just been waiting for you to bring them their next meal.
The ferry is free to ride making it one of the top things to do in Galveston with kids. Once you get to the Bolivar Penisula, there are plenty of things to do like visiting the Bolivar Lighthouse or Fort Travis, the first fort established by the Republic of Texas to protect the entrance to Galveston Harbor. Ride back to the island in the evening and enjoy an unforgettable sunset.
Cruise The Galveston Seawall
Galveston’s Seawall is probably one of the most notable things to do in Galveston with kids. It was built to help protect the island from the devastation caused by hurricanes and runs ten miles along the coastline. Several places along the Seawall feature stunning painted murals and cool statues.
Your kids will love walking along the beach to look for seashells and sand dollars. Or watch the sandpipers running in and out of the water, looking for their next meal. If you get to the beach early enough, you can watch the sunrise. Dip your feet in the water, or sit and relax while the kids play in the sand building sandcastles.
Learn at the Galveston Railroad Museum
Take your kids on a trip into the past at the Galveston Railroad Museum. The museum features a rich collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia that tell the history of railway travel in the area. Your kids will surely be fascinated by the steam and diesel engine train exhibits, and the whole family will love a trip on the Harborside Express, an open-air caboose that takes you on a tour along Harborside Drive.
The museum is also the site of the re-created 1932 Santa Fe Depot. The museum hosts several special events throughout the year, giving you the opportunity to learn more about the history of train travel.
Be Creative at the Galveston Children’s Museum
For a fun and educational experience to add to your things to do in Galveston with kids, there’s nothing like the Galveston Children’s Museum. Featuring a number of engaging and interactive activities, kids can learn about science and creativity through safe and educational hands-on experiences. Kids might build a robot or explore wood-based construction. There’s even an opportunity to learn about health through a simulated doctor’s office. The goal of the children’s museum is to give kids the opportunity to exercise their creativity and discover important concepts on their own through play. Parents appreciate the way their kids get to have fun while learning at the same time.
See Marine Life with BayWatch Dolphin Tours
Your kids will never forget taking a boat tour and seeing dolphins up close in their natural habitat. Galveston BayWatch is a family-owned and operated business, and it’s very affordable for a 45-minute tour. In addition to seeing the dolphins jump and play, you’ll hear about the history of dolphins in the area, giving your kids both fun and educational experience.
BayWatch’s boats have a covered interior and feature no propellers, which make them safe for marine life, so you know that the dolphins are protected. Dolphin viewers are encouraged to take pictures to capture the memory of these fascinating sea mammals.
Galveston Island is one of the top vacation destinations for families with kids in Texas, and for good reason. From the beaches, the food, and the attractions, with activities for all ages all year round, there are plenty of fun things to do in Galveston with kids.