11 Things to Do in Galveston With Kids

Updated On August 1, 2023

Galveston is an island off the coast of Texas.

It’s a popular vacation destination, with more than 7 million visitors each year.

If you have kids, you’ll love the stunning beaches and family-friendly activities.

If you are heading to Galveston with kids for vacation or are simply looking for fun activities nearby, you’ll love this list.

Things to Do in Galveston With Kids

Galveston Seawall
Galveston Seawall

1. Hit the Beach

First, on our list, you can’t go to Galveston without spending a day at the beach.

The Galveston Seawall is more than 10 miles long and is considered the longest sidewalk in the U.S.

The Seawall was built after a devastating hurricane destroyed much of the city in the late 1800s.

The wall began its life in 1902 and has been expanded over the years.

You can stroll the seawall itself for a great view of the Gulf.

You can also swim at one of the seawall’s beaches.

When hunger strikes, there are many restaurants and food stands on and near the beach.

You can also picnic on the beach.

Swimming, surfing, soaking up the sand, and strolling the beach are a few of the popular activities at the beaches.

Pleasure Pier
Pleasure Pier

2. Get Your Thrills at Pleasure Pier

Pleasure Pier is located on the Seawall.

It’s an amusement park with a unique claim to fame.

It has many rides that bring you right over the Gulf waters.

You’ll find the thrilling Iron Shark Rollercoaster and the Cyclone for thrill seekers.

Younger children can enjoy the Carousel and Big Wheelin.

In addition, you’ll find plenty of midway games to enjoy.

There are also midway-style food stands and restaurants to satisfy your cravings.

The 5-D Theater Ride brings the big screen to life.

You can make an adventure through a dark mine, or tangle with a Megalodon shark.

In addition to a 3-D Screen, the theater incorporates seat movements and environmental effects to make you feel like you are really there.

Galveston Island State Park
Galveston Island State Park

3. Go Natural at Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park is something you shouldn’t miss, particularly if you are a nature lover.

The park offers both bay and coast beaches.

You can enjoy the water by swimming, kayaking, fishing, or simply kicking back on the beach.

The park even provides trails for kayaking or canoeing.

Hike or bike the 4 miles of trails.

While you are exploring, be sure to take advantage of the photo blinds and observation platforms.

You can take the boardwalks through marshes and dunes, and enjoy the forest.

Check out the ranger programs to learn more about the local wildlife, and see how many species of coastal birds you can spot while at the park.

Galveston Seaport Museum
Galveston Seaport Museum

4. Visit the Galveston Seaport Museum

The Galveston Seaport Museum’s Ship to Shore exhibit allows you to put yourself in the shoes of an early immigrant to America.

You’ll learn what it was like to make the voyage from other continents to America, and what the seaport was like in the 1800s.

The ELISSA is a tall ship that set sail in 1877, and the top attraction at the museum.

It was brought from Greece and restored in the 1980s.

Today, it’s one of only 3 ships like it that still sail the waters.

The ship functions as a museum and frequently sails with visitors regularly.

Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens

5. Spend a Day at Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens offers three pyramids, each with its own theme.

The Aquarium Pyramid features a 1.5 million gallon tank.

You can learn about oceans around the world.

The pyramid features aquatic habitats for the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, the South Atlantic, and the North and South Pacific.

There’s a coral reef lab, and you can spend some time having a penguin encounter.

The Rainforest Pyramid features rainforest habitats in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

There are more than 1,700 plants and animals you can see and learn about.

You’ll see monkeys, Komodo dragons, River Otters, and more.

A variety of tropical birds fly through the trees.

The Discovery Pyramid features a Sharks in Depth exhibit.

You’ll learn about sharks’ anatomy, behavior, and habitats.

The experience is hands-on, which helps kids learn.

The Deep Sea exhibit brings you up close and personal with the creatures of the ocean depths, including squids and octopuses.

You’ll also learn all about bio-luminescence, which allows these deep sea creatures to give off their own light.

Moody Mansion
Moody Mansion

6. Take a Tour of Moody Mansion

Moody Mansion was built in 1885.

It features 4 stories and a stunning 28,000 square feet.

The tour includes 20 rooms and is restored to reflect the time period.

You can choose a self-guided tour or a guided tour.

The guided tour is about 2 hours long and gives you access to the 1st and 3rd floors, which aren’t normally open to the public.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark
Schlitterbahn Waterpark

7. Make a Splash at Schlitterbahn Waterpark

The entire family can cool off at Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

The rides are clearly marked with a thrill level, so you can be as wild or mild as you want.

The Bahnzai Pipeline is a large body slide that offers plenty of excitement.

Work up your courage and take the Dragon Blaster, which is known as an uphill water coaster.

You can also race against your friends at the Infinity Racer mat slide.

Relax or go for a swim at the Kristal Bay beach on the Kristal River.

You can also tube down the Kristal River.

For a longer experience, the Transportainment River System connects all three rivers.

You can ride through the entire park, without leaving your tube.

Young kids can enjoy the water playground at Tiki Tikes and The Torrent Beach Kids Area.

The entire family can kick back at the Blastenhoff Heated Pool, which features a swim-up bar.

Galveston Railroad Museum
Galveston Railroad Museum

8. Visit a Unique Museum

Galveston has several unique museums that your family can enjoy.

The Railway Museum was once the Sante Fe Railway Station.

It has one of the largest restored railway collections in the U.S. On Saturdays, you can even ride a train.

You’ll find plenty of exhibits and more than 40 locomotives.

If trains aren’t your thing, consider the Lone Star Flight Museum.

You can see a variety of aircraft.

You can even take a flight with a Warbird ride.

Prefer to keep your feet on the ground?

Try the Max Flight flight simulator.

The Ocean Star Drilling Rig and Museum also offer a unique experience.

It features the Ocean Star offshore drilling rig, which operated until 1984, and dug more than 200 wells.

You can go on a self-guided tour or the rig, which includes plenty of videos and interactive exhibits for you to enjoy.

Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch
Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch

9. Take a Dolphin Tour

Galveston offers a variety of dolphin tours.

The Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch is an educational experience for the family.

The tours are about an hour long, and allow you to learn about the history of the harbor and the ship itself.

Kids under 5 ride for free.

Baywatch Tours are about 45 minutes long.

You’ll board a pontoon boat and ride the Galveston Harbor.

It’s a great way to spot dolphins and learn about the area.

Dreaming of a unique experience?

GTX Charters allows you to book a boat for a few hours up to overnight.

Stay in the harbor, or book a 6-hour tour to sail the entire coastline of the area.

Galveston Arts Center
Galveston Arts Center

10. Experience the Arts

Galveston has a thriving arts scene.

The Galveston Arts Center offers contemporary art exhibits and classes for people of all ages.

For an experience geared toward children, check out Clay Cup Studios.

You can create your own art with a variety of mediums.

You can try your hand at canvas painting, pottery making, making your own candles, or attending an art workshop.

If you choose to make your own clay cup on vacation, the cup can be shipped to you after firing.

Galveston Children's Museum
Galveston Children’s Museum

11. Learn at the Galveston Children’s Museum

We’ve already covered a few museums, but the Galveston Children’s Museum deserves its own spot on the list.

Kids love the Our Town exhibit, which allows them to pretend to play.

You’ll find a fishing boat, a market, and a pizza-making station.

The Kids Clinic allows children to be doctors for stuffed animals.

They can also learn about health care and their bodies.

Lego lovers will enjoy the Building Zone, which includes building stations and a Lego wall.

Budding artists can create art with paint, clay, and more.

Kids can be the star of their own show with the Now Starring You exhibit, and take things apart and reassemble them at the Tinker Workshop.

The museum also features outdoor exhibits, which vary based on the seasons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Galveston beaches good for kids?

Yes, Galveston beaches are safe and great for kids.

However, the ocean does pose some risks.

There have been very few shark attacks in the area.

However, you should watch out for jellyfish.

What is Galveston famous for?

Galveston’s claim to fame is its thriving port.

The port is a hub for immigration and trade.

It’s also the busiest port for cotton exports world wide.

Should I bring my family to Galveston for vacation?

Galveston is a very family-friendly city with plenty of things for the entire family to do.

If you enjoy beaches, nature, history, or art, you’ll have a great time in Galveston.

Why aren't Galveston beaches blue?

You are unlikely to find crystal clear blue water at Galveston beaches.

This is because the Mississippi and other rivers feed into the gulf, bringing in a lot of mud.

The waters are also relatively shallow, which also contributes to muddy waters.

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