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Galveston Island is home to one of the most beloved beach stretches along the Texas Coast. The barrier island lies just 50 miles from Houston and boasts a full array of year-round family fun activities. From outdoor adventure parks and educational attractions to tasty seafood spots and a thriving arts scene, Galveston beckons visitors of all ages and is the perfect place for a multi-generational vacation. Bring the grandparents and the kiddos down to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico for endless fun in the sun. To help you start planning, here are our top 7 kid-friendly things to do in Galveston.
Hop aboard a family bike and pedal along Galveston’s famed Seawall. Jungle Surf Rentals offers both 4 and 6 passenger bikes, perfect for the whole family. Enjoy the ocean views and sea breezes or pedal hard to find an ice cream shop or afternoon sweet treat as reward!
Schlitterbahn Galveston Water Park
Looking for an adrenaline rush with your aquatic fun? Take a break from the beach and head to Schlitterbahn Galveston, where you’ll find the thrilling MASSIV Monster Blaster ride, plus more low-key, all-ages fun like a lazy river, a heated pool with a swim-up bar, and water slides galore (including the world’s tallest water coaster).
The Strand District
Galveston’s historic Strand District is the island’s main commercial district, set a few blocks inland from the beach. Before the great storm of 1900, this district was thriving like a little Wall Street with banks and businesses filling the Victorian-style buildings. Today, the area remains vibrant, but with visitors roaming the streets exploring everything from quirky boutiques to impressive art galleries.
Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid
When you drive over the I-45 bridge onto Galveston Island, tell your kids to look out the window to the right. They’ll see the 3 tell-tale pyramids of Moody Gardens. The big blue one is the Aquarium Pyramid, a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium that’s home to all kinds of mesmerizing sea life featuring everything from sharks and penguins to the fascinating Jellyfish Gallery.
Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid
Families travel to Galveston from all over country solely for a visit to Moody Gardens. It’s an exciting and educational tourist destination with enough things to see to keep you occupied for days. Perhaps the most popular stop at Moody Gardens is the Rainforest Pyramid. Your kids will be oohing and ahhing as they spot everything from Komodo dragons to endangered Giant Amazon River Otters, while strolling the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Moody Gardens Palm Beach
When you’ve tired of the main beach stretch along the Seawall, hit the OTHER beach on Galveston Island—Palm Beach at Moody Gardens! The only white sand beach in the area also comes with a splash pad, lazy river, and waterslides.
Families have been flocking to this tasty and cheerful seafood joint on the island for decades. Located right along Seawall Boulevard, the restaurant is famous for its gigantic fish tale sculpture on the outside and decadent Shrimp Kisses on the menu inside. One bite into those shrimp stuffed with pepper jack cheese and wrapped in bacon, and you’ll be booking your table for another trip back.
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Every great beach destination needs a bustling boardwalk or pier. Galveston’s Pleasure Pier juts out from the main Seawall stretch of the island and into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Thrill-seeking kids will love spinning 230 feet above the sea on the Texas Star Flyer or zipping down the 40-foot water slide on Pirate’s Plunge. Enjoy endless waterfront fun and some great seafood restaurants too!
Pier 21 Theatre
When you need a break from the sun, pop into the Pier 21 Theatre. This cozy theater shows two great films, each twice a day. The family will be entranced viewing The Great Storm, about the game-changing hurricane that hit the island in 1900, or captivated watching The Pirate Island of Jean Laffite, showcasing one of the island most infamous residents.
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