Want to know one of the best parts about living in Texas? The weather keeps every season open for outdoor fun, even beach fun! If you haven’t had a chance yet to escape your busy schedule, here is your reminder for a quick getaway, and with plenty of FREE things to do in Galveston, it definitely made the top of our list.
Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. Rich with history, this town is great for a solo getaway, girls’ trip, or even a full-on family vacation!
Galveston, widely known for its 32 miles of beautiful Gulf beaches, has the longest continuous sidewalk in America on its beachfront Seawall Boulevard, making room for a wide variety of FREE outdoor activities. Enjoy the beach by swimming or playing beach volleyball or hit the pavement for biking or running. Watching a breath-taking sunrise or sunset on the Seawall is priceless. While the seawall beaches are open year-round and FREE, Galveston does have a handful of other beaches that might cost a few dollars to enjoy. As of 2022, Stewart Beach costs between $12-$15 per vehicle, East Beach costs between $12-$15 per vehicle, West End’s Pocket Park 1 is $15 to park, and West End’s Pocket Park 2 is FREE! Visitors to the beach parks can take advantage of restrooms, showers, beach chair rentals, volleyball courts, snack bars, and other concessions.
After Hurricane Ike, optimistic island residents worked with area sculptors to transform damaged oak trees into breathtaking tree sculptures that are now the focus of the Galveston Tree Sculptures Tour. The 30-plus sculptures are tucked into gardens and nestled in side yards throughout the island’s East End Historic District for the public to enjoy and find. A guide for your FREE self-guided tour can be found here.
Galveston’s Bolivar Ferry is well known across the Lone Star State. This FREE and roughly 20-minute ride each way between Port Bolivar and Galveston is an entertaining diversion from the beaches and historic districts that are the biggest Galveston tourist draw. Be on the lookout for dolphins as they love to follow the ferry between the peninsula and Galveston Island.
The downtown area offers an intriguing selection of shops, restaurants, galleries and museums within a perfect radius for self-guided tours. The Victorian architecture of Strand Street, widely known as The Strand, makes for a charming stroll. Saegnerfest Park at 23rd and Strand is a FREE family park home to a life-size chessboard. Be sure to also check out the art galleries and shops found on Postoffice Street.
Galveston is one of the top locations for novice and expert birders in the United States. With more than 500 species of birds residing, wintering, or migrating through southeast Texas, the Galveston Bay Estuary is the largest and most productive on the Texas coast. A FREE birding brochure can be downloaded here that will guide you to the island’s nature hotspots.
With so many FREE things to do in Galveston, it’s definitely worth staying on the island to explore it all! We had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the cutest shotgun cottage rental while in town and couldn’t resist sharing this perfect spot.
Just five blocks from the Seawall made it a convenient walk to catch all of the surf and sand, while still far enough away from the busy spots in town for quite evenings. You can discover more about this rental HERE.