Family Travel

5 min read

Galveston Gems: 25 Kid-Friendly Escapes for Family Fun

Imagine pirate ships and treasure hunts on an island oasis—Galveston awaits with 25 unforgettable adventures that'll make your kids' eyes sparkle brighter than a Gulf Coast sunset. Ready to unlock the magic?

Tobi Miles
September 27, 2022

You and your family will have a great time on a trip to Galveston. History fans have their pick of over a dozen museums. They can explore everything from a tall ship from 1877 to an ancient railway wagon and even an offshore oil rig.

Birdwatchers and wildlife watchers will have a field day exploring the several state parks and natural reserves. Galveston is a fantastic destination for families because it has so many fun things to do.

For fun in the sun with the kids, take a trip to Galveston and check out the Pleasure Pier or the Water Parks. . People often think of Galveston as a great place to have a family vacation only during the summer, when the weather is nice for water activities and seeing historical sites. The city has a number of delightful festivals and events throughout the year.

The Spanish count Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid inspired the naming of Galveston, a city on an island off the coast of Texas. The city's Victorian-era architecture and wide views of the Gulf of Mexico make it a popular vacation spot. If you believe Galveston might be a great place for your next family vacation, here are some fun things to do there with the kids.

1. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

Map It: 2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 855-789-7437 | Website | Hours: Friday 4 PM - 10 PM, Saturday 12 PM - 10 PM, Sunday 12 PM - 9 PM | Entrance: $27.99 | Age Group: All Ages

Galveston is home to the historic pleasure pier.  It features 15 different rides, including one roller coaster. You'll also find carnival games and gift stores. It was first opened to the public in the summer of 2012. The Pleasure Pier is home to Texas' one and only Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which is focused on waterfront fun and entertainment, unlike any other Gulf Coast destination.

The Pleasure Pier provides top attractions that are perfect for families. Spend the day enjoying rides,  games, retail shops, and a large selection of dining establishments.

2. Moody Gardens 

Credit: Moody Gardens

Map It: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554 | Phone: 409-683-4200 |  Website | Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $60 | Age Group: All Ages

Moody Gardens is a golf course and hotel with educational attractions. The non-profit location has a mission to inform and enthrall people about wildlife, nature, and conservation.

Make sure to check out the "One Day Value Pass" if you go. With this, visitors have access to all of the pyramids, a 3D show, one 4D theater show, the 20,000 Leagues Theater, the Colonel paddlewheel boat, and more!

Related Read: 55 BEST Things To Do in Galveston, TX

3. Galveston Island Horse and Pony Rides 

Credit: Galveston Island Guide

Map It: 1929 Boddeker Rd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-256-0663 |  Website | Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11 AM - 6 PM | Entrance:$60+ | Age Group: All Ages

Galveston Island Horse & Pony Rides (GIHPR) is a family-friendly, locally owned, and operated trail riding business. They are happy to have been in operation since July 2015.

They love horses, helping others, and having a good time at the beach. A special herd of horses and a close-knit group of talented horsemen make up the GIHPR family. Their objective is to offer a special, enjoyable, and instructive horse experience that is unmatched.

The trail they use circles the sea turtle and seabird nesting habitat at East Beach by following the coastline! The trail continues around to the ship-channel side of the park after passing past the South jetty at the island's furthest southeast point.

On one side of the ride is a stunning natural lagoon teeming with wildlife, while on the other is a tranquil beachfront. Dolphins can frequently be seen playing in the ship channel.

4. Rainforest Pyramid 

Credit: Shutterstock

Map It: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554 | Phone: 409-683-4200 | Website | Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $24.95+ | Age Group: All Ages

You will visit the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas as you enter through a tree-top canopy entrance in this uncommon, up-close, and interactive adventure. Over 1,700 exotic plants and endangered animals, such as Giant Amazon River Otters, ocelots, Komodo dragons, and other reptiles, will be present.

As you stroll the trails through the large enclosure, saki monkeys, cotton-top tamarins, and sloths roam freely, with a variety of birds flitting amongst the trees!

The addition of occupants that live within a new European Bee Colony, Decomposers Gallery, Leafcutter Ant exhibit in the Sunrise Gallery, and more will complement the existing flora, free-roaming birds and animals, and contained exhibits.

As they travel through the Upper Canopy and Conservation Huts and then through the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas to the Nightfall Gallery for fresh vistas and information, visitors will be completely immersed.

This attraction is a true celebration of the world's rainforests' plants, animals, and other living forms.

Related Read: 15 Best Beaches in Texas for Families

5. Palm Beach at Moody Gardens

Credit: Moody Garden

Map It: 8928, 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554 | Phone: 409-683-4200 | Website | Hours: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $20 | Age Group: All Ages

At Palm Beach at Moody Gardens, one of the most well-liked places to visit during the summer in Galveston, you can relax in the sun and hang out by the pool. Unwind in a spa that's the size of Texas, float down the lazy river, and spend the day basking in the sun.

Available throughout the summer months are attractions like the lazy river, water playground, slides, and splash pad. Palm Beach at Moody Gardens is a well-loved vacation spot.

Your loved ones will enjoy spending time together at the club's private beach. You have the opportunity to relax with a refreshing drink by the pool or to sink your toes into the soft, white sand on one of the nearby beaches.

6. Seawall Urban Park  


Map It: 801 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-797-5000 | Website | Hours: 6:00 AM - 11:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $4+ | Age Group: All ages

The majority of beach activities in Galveston are clustered along Seawall Boulevard, which is a well-known thoroughfare. This urban park extends for more than ten miles.

The seawall is perfect for taking a leisurely stroll along the water while taking in the beautiful views. In addition, there is a nearby amusement park that offers a variety of dining options in addition to a gift shop.

Seawall Urban Park Beach is home to the nation's longest stretch of continuously paved pavement. This makes it an ideal destination for those who take pleasure in activities such as running, biking, or even just people-watching.

Related Read: 20 Best State Parks In Texas

7. Galveston Duck Tours 

Credit: Galveston Duck Tours

Map It: 2415 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-789-5035 |  Website | Hours: 10:30 AM - 6:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $30 | Age Group: All Ages

A ride on the Galveston Duck Tour provides visitors with a unique perspective of Galveston Island in and out of water. In the duck, you'll go a total of 40 blocks along Seawall Boulevard.

During the course of this hour-long excursion, you will travel in both directions along Seawall Boulevard. In addition to that, you will be journeying along historic and well-known streets.

8. Seawolf Park 

Credit: Wikipedia

Map It: 100 Seawolf Park Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-797-5114 | Website | Hours: Open 24 Hours | Entrance: $6+ | Age Group: All Ages

A memorial to the USS Seawolf, a Sargo-class submarine accidentally demolished by American forces in 1944 during World War II, is called Seawolf Park. Seawolf Park is located on Pelican Island.

The park features a playground, picnic areas, and one of the island's busiest fishing piers. The USS Cavalla, a WWII submarine, and the USS Stewart, one of only three destroyer escorts in existence, are among the park's other tourist attractions.

Northwest of the park's fishing pier, you may observe the wreckage of the S.S. Selma, the largest concrete ship ever built and a World War I tanker.

9. Galveston East Beach

Credit: TripAdvisor

Map It: 1923 Boddeker Rd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-797-5111 | Website | Hours: Friday - Sunday 9 AM - 6 PM | Entrance: $15 | Age Group: All Ages

Galveston, Texas's East Beach is the best beach to visit if you want to have a good time! East Beach, which is located near the island's extreme eastern extremity, has a pavilion, boardwalk, and stage for entertainment. You'll also find restrooms and showers.

Nearby the beach also provides chair and umbrella rentals plus a children's playground. If you're feeling hungry there are food stands and other facilities. Alcohol is allowed at East Beach, in contrast to the majority of Galveston's beaches.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Corpus Christi

10. Galveston Island State Park


Map It: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554 | Phone: 409-737-1222 | Website | Hours: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $5 | Age Group: All Ages

The beach and bay sides of Galveston Island State Park both include a variety of activities that will appeal to beachgoers of all types. You have the option of swimming, fishing, and having a picnic.

People come from far and wide to spend time here bird watching, hiking, and mountain biking through the beautiful surroundings. Paddle your canoe along the water, or set up camp in one of the nearby campgrounds. Try your hand at geocaching, spend some time in nature, or just relax.

11. The Strand Galveston

Credit: TripAdvisor

Map It: 2100 The Strand, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: N/A  |  Website | Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 5 PM | Entrance: Free | Age Group: All Ages

The trendy Strand District features a diverse offering of retail establishments. It also serves as the location of a number of other historical sites. Both museums and art galleries will be accessible to you during your time at "The Strand".
In addition to that, you can find a number of eateries that have earned a good reputation. The Strand takes its name from the historically significant Strand Street, which is where it is located.

12. The 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

Credit: Ryson Vacation Rentals

Map It: Pier 22 Suite, 8, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-763-1877 | Website | Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM | Entrance: $20 | Age Group: All Ages

In order to start restoration work, the Galveston Historical Foundation transported the 1877 square-rigged iron barque ELISSA from a scrapyard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston in 1978. By 1982, GHF employees and volunteers had finished the restoration and turned this remarkable, historic ship into an operational floating museum.

The 1877 Tall Ship is currently only one of three ships of her kind that are still in service. ELISSA welcomes more than 40,000 guests each year. She also represents the historical origins of the Gulf Coast as a bustling waterfront and the Official Tall Ship of Texas. ELISSA is a National Historic Landmark.

At the Galveston Historic Seaport, visitors are greeted by the 1877 ELISSA. Make sure to check out and enjoy this encounter with Galveston's maritime past.

13. Texas City Museum 

Credit: ABC 13

Map It: 409 6th St N, Texas City, TX 77590 | Phone: 409-229-1660 |  Website | Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM | Entrance: $5 | Age Group: All Ages

Consider taking a quick trip to the Texas City Museum in Texas City for an excursion that will help you unleash your inner explorer.
The Children's Discovery Room of the Texas City Museum offers a variety of activities for kids.

The museum includes puzzles, games, and crafts for all ages, as well as the chance to spend quality time with the family, with interactive displays on the petro-chemical business and information about Texas City's prehistory. Every last Friday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m., stop by the room to participate in an afternoon family activity.

14. Pelican Island 


Map It: Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-797-5000 | Website | Hours: Open 24 Hours | Entrance: $6+ | Age Group: All Ages

To the north of Galveston is the small, picturesque Pelican Island, which is connected to the city by a bridge. Popular destinations like Seawolf Park, the Galveston Naval Museum, and Texas A&M Galveston are located on the island.

Two centuries of history can be found on Pelican Island. It began as a little, wind-whipped sand mound. It was the location of a small fort during the Civil War and afterward served as a shipyard, immigration station, and fish and oyster factory.

George Mitchell, a businessman from Galveston, bought a sizable plot of property and donated it to Texas A&M University in 1965.
Today, it's a great site to take in more of Galveston's natural splendor and discover some intriguing facts about the US, Texas, and island history.

15. Galveston's 61st Street Fishing Pier

Credit: Visit Houston

Map It: 6101 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77551 | Phone: 409-744-8365 |  Website | Hours: Open 24 Hours | Entrance: $12 | Age Group: All Ages

Galveston's 61st Street Fishing Pier is one of the best family-friendly activities. They have fun things for the whole family to do, like rent fishing poles and bait, and even have refreshments available. The entrance to the pier is located within the shop beneath Jimmy's. You can rent bikes and fishing gear. They also sell souvenirs, clothing, food, and bait.

16. Galveston Children’s Museum Learning Center


Map It: 2618 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-572-2544 |  Website | Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 9:30 AM - 5 PM, Sunday 12 PM - 5 PM | Entrance: $10 | Age Group: All Ages

The Galveston Children's Museum is a wonderful place to spend the day. It is packed with exciting and fascinating interactive exhibits. Thands-on programming for children of all ages (especially those between the ages of 2 and 10).

They are an independent, non-profit organization that believes in the transformative potential of play-based, child-initiated learning and exploration to improve the lives of children everywhere. Children who enjoy building and are naturally inquisitive in the inner workings of common objects develop into more capable problem solvers.

Your kid will have a great time dismantling displays, reassembling them, and learning by doing. The displays at the children's museum will stimulate your child's innate curiosity, creativity, and curiosity about the world around them.

17. Galveston Railroad Museum


Map It: 2602 Santa Fe Pl, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-765-5700 | Website | Hours: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $12 | Age Group: All Ages

Visualize yourself spending an entire day with trains. Take a ride in a caboose, have lunch in a vintage dining car, and explore a variety of train vehicles.

At the Galveston Railroad Museum, we have a variety of information on the trains and railroads that helped shape America into what it is today, making for an entertaining and informative visit.

In the four-acre rail yard, you'll find five tracks worth of railway cars to explore and learn about. They offer the greatest collection of railroad dinnerware and a theater dedicated to model trains.

The railroad museum also has a button-activated light show and crossbucks for the kids to enjoy.

The mission of the Galveston Railroad Museum is to preserve, study, and repurpose the museum's historical facilities and equipment.

Galveston RR Museum hopes that this preservation can be utilized in educational and interactive events. These events help benefit the local community by promoting railroading and transportation.

18. Clay Cup Studios 


Map It: 2219 Postoffice St, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-762-2529 | Website | Hours: Wednesday 12 PM - 7 PM, Thursday 12 PM - 8 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM - 8 PM, Sunday 11 AM - 5 PM | Entrance: $12+ | Age Group: All Ages

Clay Cup Studios is the name of interactive art studio that is located on Galveston Island. The community, the family, and the friends are what the studio is all about.

You have the option of going to a class, summer camp, or event during regular business hours. You may visit the studio anytime and choose from a wide range of creative materials there. Honor the birth of a kid or an adult with an art party at Clay Cup!

19. The Bryan Museum 

Credit: Wikipedia

Map It: 1315 21st St, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-632-7685 | Website | Hours: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM, Thursday 10 AM - 7 PM | Entrance: $14 | Age Group: All Ages

This beautiful museum holds one of the largest collections of historical items. It also holds records, and works of art pertaining to Texas and the American West. The roughly 70,000-item collection contains 20,000 rare books and over 30,000 documents in Spanish, German, French, and English.

There are 30 saddles, 250 antique firearms, several hundred spurs, and a sizable collection of fine art. Religious art, folk art, and portraits also cover the walls, as well as extremely rare maps and artifacts.

You'll find old "cowboy" chaps, Native American stone tools, arrowheads, and a Spanish mission bell.

With a focus on the Spanish influences in the area, the Bryan Museum gives a wonderful history of Texas and the American West. This is a museum that anyone would love.

20. Stewart Beach 

Credit: Ryson Vacation Rentals

Map It: 201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-797-5189 | Website: Website | Hours: Friday - Sunday 9 AM - 6 PM | Entrance: $15 | Age Group: All Ages

Stewart Beach can be found close to the intersection of Broadway and the Seawall. Stewart Beach offers a broad variety of attractions.  The beach is staffed by lifeguards who have received extensive training.

It provides a variety of activities that are appropriate for the whole family. Play volleyball, giant Jenga, and cornhole with the family. You'll also find playgrounds to keep your kids busy for hours.

The Family Vacation Critic ranked Stewart Beach as one of the "10 Best Beaches for Families". This marks its status as Galveston's most popular and family-friendly beach area.

Stewart Beach has all of the facilities that are necessary for a day of enjoyable activities at the beach with your family.

21. Galveston Go Karts and Fun Center 

Credit: Galveston Fun Center

Map It: 9402 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554 | Phone: 409-740-6878 | Website | Hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Daily | Entrance: $12+ | Age Group: Best for 13+

This amusement park offers a winding go-kart track in addition to an indoor arcade with video games. Other attractions include bumper cars and a climbing wall. In addition to its indoor game arcade featuring some of the most up-to-date games, the Alveston Go Kart & Fun Center features an outdoor go-kart track as one of its attractions.

If you're looking for an exciting new experience, this is it. You should put on your racing outfit and go over to Galveston Go Cart & Fun Center for a go-kart fiesta. The Axe Throwing, Bumper Cars, Virtual Reality, and Indoor Arcades all come with Huge Prizes!

22. Galveston Trolley Station 


Map It: 413-499 20th St, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 409-765-3500 | Website | Hours: Friday - Sunday 10 AM - 8 PM | Entrance: $1 | Age Group: All Ages

The Galveston Trolley is a method that is both enjoyable and inexpensive for touring the city center of Galveston. Take advantage of the fun hour loop around downtown for just one dollar per person.

The trolley offers a convenient and comfortable way to travel along the seawall. During the hottest part of the day in the summer, you can participate in this sport to cool off.

While riding the trolley, you won't have to worry about the surrounding traffic. This means you can sit back and enjoy people-watching at your leisure.

23. Schreiber Park 

Credit: Visit Galveston

Map It: 3134 83rd St, Galveston, TX 77554 | Phone: 409-797-3700 | Website | Hours: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM Daily | Entrance: Free | Age Group: All Ages

The neighborhood residents often refer to Schrieber Park as "Rocket Ship Park." This is because the park is filled with many interesting rocket ship structures all over the place.

A dog park and picnic areas are both located in this area for your convenience. Prepare your lunch and snacks in advance. Therefore, you can then head over to one of their numerous picnic tables for a park lunch!

Kids will adore the Playground and Splash Pad in Shrieber park. Don't forget to check out the Walking Trail.

24. Fun Town Water Park 

Credit: Funtown Water Park

Map It: 995 Noble Carl Dr, Crystal Beach, TX 77650 | Phone: 409-684-1755 | Website | Hours: Sunday - Friday 11 AM - 7 PM, Saturday 11 AM - 10 PM | Entrance: $12+ | Age Group: All Ages

With two slides, a lazy river, and a concession stand, your kids will have the most fun! Fun Town Water Park is located in Crystal Beach.

You'll find two enormous water slides, a lazy river, and a ton of room for picnics. Many other amenities can be found in Fun Town. Although it's not a particularly large water park, this facility is unbeatable for a fun family outing on a tight budget.

25. Baywatch Dolphin Tours

Credit: Galveston Island Guide

Map It: 2100 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550 | Phone: 832-859-4557 |  Website | Hours: 10 AM - 7 PM | Entrance: $10+ | Age Group: All Ages

BayWatch Dolphin Tours has been providing clients with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see dolphins in their natural environment since 2005. Guides have extensive backgrounds in studying dolphins and use that knowledge to give insightful tours.

This is a great activity for families in Galveston, as it is suitable for children of all ages.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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