Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual indicates every change in the sailing, angling, and hunting codes each year. We reviewed the 2019 issue of this magazine to extract the latest sailing, surfing, sightseeing, and fishing regulations in Galveston. Plus, we added a sightseeing guide for the first-timers visiting Galveston Island in Texas.
2019 Galveston Island in Texas – Sailing, Surfing, Sightseeing, And Fishing Guide
- General Information
- Fun Facts About Galveston Island in Texas
- Best Season for Sailing in Galveston
- Galveston Island and Texas Coast Sailing Guide
- Gulf of Mexico Surfing and SUP Fundamentals
- Best Surfing Season in Galveston Island
- List of the 7 Multi-Use Areas
- Surfing Codes in Galveston Island
- Extra Watersport-Related Codes
- Angling Regulations Overview
- Legal Fishing Tools
- Most Common Fish Type in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico
- Saltwater Fishing Codes for Those Angling in the Gulf of Mexico
- The Bag and Length Limit for Saltwater Fishing
- Top 4 Galveston Attractions That You Shouldn’t Miss When Sightseeing
- Legal Fishing Tools
It’s go-to when it comes to recreation. Galveston Island has been a public choice during recent years due to offering great sailing, surfing, sightseeing, and angling opportunities.
So, in this article of Sailingyes, we’ll tell you every detail about codes, regulations, and restrictions on sailing, surfing, and fishing. Plus, there will be a guide on sightseeing waiting for you at the end.
Full name: Galveston Island
Location: 50 miles (80.5 km) southeast of Houston, Gulf of Mexico
Coordinates: 29°17′08″N 94°49′38″W
County: Galveston County
Most populated settlement: Galveston City
Economy: based on tourism, health care, shipping, and financial industries
Fun Facts About Galveston Island in Texas
- The Island was named after Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez who never visited the Island himself.
- Some believe that the pronunciation of Galvez’ Town transformed into Galveston in time.
- The Port of Galveston was the capital of the Republic of Texas in the 1830s.
- Since it became one of the largest ports in the USA, people started calling it the “Queen of the Gulf.”
- Galveston Hurricane of 1900 destroyed everything on the Island. And it took almost 19 years to change things back.
- The Free State of Galveston was a nickname that referred to the illegal gambling businesses running the island. Gambling became a major attraction for visitors after the hurricane—up until the 1950s.
- The Island, however, is now one of the main tourist attractions in Texas not because of the casinos but the actual sightseeing potentials. Below you can find out what are the top 4 Galveston attractions in 2019.
Best Season for Sailing in Galveston
According to Weather Spark, starts are from late-March to mid-May and from mid-October to mid-November.
During the first phase (late-March to mid-May), the average temperature drops to 60- 70°F. Plus, the rainfall decreases to less than 4 inches while the precipitation chance remains 25-30%. However, the most important part is that from late-March to mid-May, there are 12-14 hours of daily sunlight available for the sailors. This is a very important factor as navigating a PWC is illegal from sunset to sunrise.
However, mid-October to mid-November is also a great period for sailing in Galveston Island. That’s because you get to have 10-12 MPH wind speed and an average temperature of 60°F. So, the period will make a great deal for summertime doings—especially sailing, kayaking, and kite or windsurfing.
Galveston Island and Texas Coast Sailing Guide
The TWPD boating codes apply to all boaters and sailors navigating on Galveston Bay, Offatts Bayou, and West Bay. So, the skippers must be aware of the TWPD codes and regulations before sailing on the Island. Below you can find a list of all compulsory actions and rules one must consider.
There’s no age limit on the Texas waters for skippers while there’s a TWPD-approved certified adult on the deck. So, if you have a person, 18 or older, who are passed the Boater Safety Test and is currently capable of skippering the vessel, age restricting laws are unnecessary to obey.
However, if the present adult is exempted from the license-related regulations, the current operator (of any age) is exempted, too.
Navigators 13 to 17 years of age can get behind the helm solo only if they have a TWPD-approved Boater Safety License. Otherwise, it’s NOT legal to allow a person who’s 13 or younger to operate a watercraft on their own.
TWPD urges all the skippers born after August 31, 1993, to own a boater safety license. This would approve that the overseer of the craft on the water can navigate it by the book.
The code applies to all personal watercraft captains and those skippering a motorized, above-14-feet vessel. Crafts that are under 14 feet in size, windblown, and/or having less than 15 horsepower are exempt from the code.
Note: navigating on private waters requires NO license.
Plus, since June 1, 2017, operators of party boats navigating on inland waters, carrying more than 6 passengers, and are larger than 30 feet must own a TWD-approved Party Boat Operator License.
However, skipper owning a USCG Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel License (aka OUPV) do not need to have the Part Boat Operator License.
Equipment Codes Table (2019 Edition)
This is the table showing every detail about the compulsory equipment regulations according to the 2019 TWPD report.
Find the column to the right which applies to your vessel. A dot (•) in that column indicates a speciﬁc applicable requirement. A letter indicates either a speciﬁc exception to the requirement or speciﬁc additional requirements for the associated equipment.
Note: the meaning of each letter is explained under the table.
POWERBOATS (Including electric motors)
SAILBOATS (If any type of propulsion)
|MANUALLY PROPELLED (No motor or sail)|
PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES
One Type I, II, III or Type V wearable device for each person on board.
|PWC||Class A||Class 1||Class 2||Class 3||Class A||Class 1||Class 2||Class 3||Canoes, punts, rowboats, sailboats, rubber rafts, racing shells, rowing sculls, kayaks, and other paddle craft|
|One additional Type IV PFD (throwable device) onboard||·||·||·||·||·||·|
|One type of B-1.||·||D||D|
|Two types of B-1 or one type B-2.||·|
|Three types B-1 or one B-2 plus one B-1.||·|
|Red and green sidelights, white masthead light and stern light.||·|
|Red and green sidelights and white all-round white light.||·||·||·|
|Red and Green lights and stern light.||F||F||·||·||F|
VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS
|Federal waters and waters under USCG authority.||E||·||·||·||·||·||·||E|
|Inland waters under State authority.|
|Whistle or horn, or some other sound-producing device||·||·||·||·|
|Whistle and a bell.||·|
|BACKFIRE FLAME ARRESTOR||·||H||H||H||H|
|EXHAUST WATER MANIFOLD||·||·||·||·||·|
|ENGINE CUT-OFF SWITCH LANYARD||I|
A: Does not apply to canoes, kayaks, punts, rowboats, rubber rafts (regardless of length) or other vessels under 14 feet in length when paddled, poled, oared, or windblown.
B: PFDs MUST be properly worn by all occupants.
C: Passengers under 13 years of age must wear a Type I, II, or Type III wearable PFD while underway on vessels less than 26 feet in length.
D: Fire extinguishers not required on outboard motorboats less than 26 feet in length, of “open construction” with no permanently mounted gas tanks.
E: Visual distress signals not required on boats under 16 feet in length, unless operated between sunset and sunrise.
F: If sidelights and stern light are not practical, it must have and exhibit at least one bright light, lantern, or ﬂashlight from sunset to sunrise in all weather.
G: Applies to all vessels, except a vessel of “open construction,” using as fuel any liquid of a volatile nature.
H: Backﬁre ﬂame arrestor not required for outboard motors.
I: Cut off switch or lanyard must be attached to the operator, operator’s clothing, or operator’s PFD, if equipped.
J: Rearview mirror of a size no less than four inches in width and height must be present when towing a person unless an observer, other than the operator, 13 years of age or older is present onboard and acting in that capacity.
Title & Registration
According to the 2018-2019 Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual, you MUST avoid purchasing a used vessel/ boat or outboard motor without receiving an original title (signed on the front and back) along with a bill of sale from the person(s) listed on the title or from their legally documented representative.
That’s because having the title application, bill of sale, and either a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) for new vessels/boats and outboard motors or an original signed title for used vessels/ boats and outboard motors is compulsory to obtain title in applicant’s name.
Plus, if your watercraft falls into one of the three categories below, titling is vital.
- All motorized vessels, regardless of length (including any sailboat with an auxiliary engine);
- All non-motorized vessels (including sailboats) 14 feet in length or longer
- All internal combustion (gasoline/diesel/propane powered) outboard motors.
Note: trailers are registered/titled through the applicant’s local county tax ofﬁce.
Moreover, any vessel navigating on public waters of Texas must be registered. The titleholder should get the Texas Certificate of Number before letting the craft legally sail across Galveston.
Crafts that do not require the registration card are under-14-feet sailboats, and non-motorized watercraft including canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and rubber rafts.
Any vessel owning the registration card of another state that will leave the Galveston Island in less than 90 days is exempt from this rule.
Below you can see the fees for registration, getting the Texas Certificate of Number and Title.
CERTIFICATE OF NUMBER (registration ID card)
|Transfer of Ownership (any Texas-registered vessel)||$11|
|Replacement Certiﬁcate of Number Card Corrected||$11|
|Certiﬁcate of Number Card||$11|
TEXAS CERTIFICATE OF TITLE
|Certiﬁcate of Title- Vessel / Outboard Motor||$27|
|Certiﬁcate of Title- Transfer of Vessel / Outboard Motor||$27|
|Certiﬁcate of Title- Vessel / Outboard Motor||$27|
|Certiﬁcate of Title- Correction Transaction||$27|
|Certiﬁcate of Title- Bonded Title||$37|
|“Quick” Title (To expedite the replacement of lost or destroyed titles only||$64|
|Less than 16 feet in length (Class A)||$32|
|16 feet but less than 26 feet in length (Class 1)||$53|
|26 feet but less than 40 feet in length (Class 2)||$110|
|40 feet or more in length (Class 3)||$150|
|Livery Boat less than 16 feet in length (Class A)||$32|
Slow, No Wake Zone in Galveston Island
Wake Zones indicate that the vessels in such an area must always keep the ideal speed. So, you should not cause a wake more than idle speed. The No Wake Zones in Galveston Island are:
- All boat dock/launch areas.
- The canal connecting the bodies of water known as Offatts Bayou and Lake Madeline.
- The area between day-markers ten (10) and eleven (11) in the entrance into Offatts Bayou to day-marker twenty-eight (28) in Offatts Bayou.
- The entire beachfront from the shoreline to fifty (50) yards out.
Jamail Park and Mooring
Mooring any watercraft at the public boat ramp called Jamail Part is limited to 15 minutes. It’s illegal to moor a boat more than this time limit, and the vessel MUST leave 15 minutes past when it first became moored.
Unlawful Practices for PWCs
These are actions that are prohibited by Texas boating codes.
- You Must not operate a PWC at night.
- You can’t navigate such a craft within 50 feet of another PWC, motorboat, vessel, platform, person, object, or shore except at headway speed without creating a swell or wake. (Headway speed—slow, idle speed, or speed only fast enough to maintain steerage).
- operate a PWC and jump the wake of another vessel recklessly or unnecessarily close.
Gulf of Mexico Surfing and SUP Fundamentals
In short, “If you can surf in Galveston, you can surf anywhere.” It’s a popular saying among the surfers who opt to surf on the Texas coast. The reason why they believe so is that the currents are slow, choppy, unpredictable in the area most of the time. And this simple fact makes surfing so hard that only the A-grade surfers can handle it.
However, wind and kite surfing enthusiasts find the Texas coast the finest spot as the zone is exposed to strong winds all the time. However, it’s not easy to determine the right spot and period for surfing in Galveston—especially when it comes to first-timers.
So, below you can find a guide on the best surfing seasons coupled with a list of the most consistent spots on the Island.
Best Surfing Season in Galveston Island
November and December are the windiest months of the year with the average wind speed of 12 MPH. So, if you’re a kite or windsurfing fan, this period is the best season. This is the time where most of the nonmotorized, aquatic recreational device owners opt to come to Galveston Island for watersports activities.
However, the windy period lasts until the late-April of each year with a slight drop in the wind speed (10 MPH on average). So, you get to have 6 months of blowy weather conditions for your surfing attempts.
Where to Surf?
You should opt to surf in one of the spots mentioned below.
- Along the Seawall, where there are 15 rock jetties and several fishing piers.
- The breaks near 25th Street, and the 37th, 47th, 51st, and 61st Street jetties.
If surfing in summer, surfing is permitted at the west end of the island at the beach access roads and between the Flagship pier and 53rd Street. These parts are called “multi-use areas” and have specific codes to be followed by the surfers. (See below).
Amateurs and beginner should surf at the area near the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier at 25th. That’s because the waves in this spot are slow and controllable, making it easier for the beginners to handle the situation. However, the 37th street is, by contrast, the finest spot for performance-oriented activities due to its more hard-hitting waves.
List of the 7 Multi-Use Areas
- That area from the west end of East Beach Park to the east end of Stewart Beach Park, including the area known as the “Special-Use Area of Stewart Beach.”
- That area south of the seawall from the west side of the 17th Street groin to the east side of the 21st Street groin.
- That area south of the seawall from the west edge of the Galveston Flagship Pier at 25th Street to the east side of the 29th Street groin.
- That area south of the seawall from the west side of the 29th Street groin to the east side of the 39th Street groin.
- That area south of the seawall from the west side of the 39th Street groin to the east side of the 53rd Street groin.
- That area south of the seawall and westerly of a line drawn perpendicular to the seawall and three hundred (300) feet west of the westerly end of the T-head of the 61st Street Fishing Pier, to the centerline (extended) of 89th Street located approximately three hundred (300) feet east of the easterly end of the T-head of the Gulf Coast Fishing Pier.
- That area south of the seawall and westerly of a line drawn perpendicular to the Seawall and three hundred (300) feet west of the westerly end of the T-head of the Gulf Coast Fishing Pier, to the end of the seawall, and from the end of the seawall to the most westerly corporate limits of the city.
Surfing Codes in Galveston Island
According to Galveston, Texas – Code of Ordinances, A multi-use area shall mean a defined area of beachfront that allows the use of hard-bottomed, nonmotorized, aquatic recreational devices including surfboards, hard-bottomed boogie boards, wind-surfers, kayaks, surf-skis, surf boats, canoes, or other aquatic devices that are specifically approved by the Galveston Beach Patrol for use in multi-use areas. These devices shall not be allowed within fifty (50) yards of the shoreline in areas outside of the multi-use areas.
Illegal multi-use activities are:
- Activities are done in spots which are not a multi-use area during the period May 15 through Labor Day of each year only.
- Closer than 100 feet of either side of the rock groin at 10th Street at any time.
- Closer to the fishing piers at 61st Street and 91st Street in that submerged area.
- It’s not legal to lay or leave any surfboard upon the sidewalks of the Seawall if it’s restricting pedestrian passage.
- Any surfing contest without the approval of the park board director or his designee is illegal in Galveston Island.
- Life Guards
- Having surf leashes is compulsory on all surfboards entering Surfing Areas 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, during the period May 15 through Labor Day of each year, only. Surf leashes are not required in Surfing Area 6 at any time
How to Know if an Area is a Multi-Use one?
All areas designated as multi-use have a sign indicating “DESIGNATED MULTI-USE AREA. SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK.” So, any spot without such a sign is not a multi-use area and, therefore, not treated as such.
Extra Watersport-Related Codes
Kayak Renting: A) all the rental kayaks must be of the “sit on top” variety. B) you must operate this craft only on beach areas designated “multi-use” by the city council. C) renting a kayak to a person under 16 is NOT legal. D) kayakers must remain at least one hundred feet from all rock jetties, piers, and structures that extend offshore. E) wearing a PFD at all times is obligatory.
Waterskiing: towing or attempting to tow any other person upon water skis, upon an aquaplane or upon any other device designed to support and carry a person over the surface of the water is NOT legal in the Canalway which connects Offatts Bayou and Lake Madeline. So, waterskiing prohibited on Offatts Bayou-Lake Madeline Canal.
Angling Regulations Overview
Everyone angling on Texas public water must own a license. You can get a license online or purchase one from TWPD-approved places. (Visit TWPD official website for a list of places to buy such a license).
If you own private waters, fishing requires no license. However, ﬁshing on privately-owned waters or in public water from private land without the permission of the owner or the owner’s agent is illegal.
Any angler, 17 and older, must carry a verifiable ID such as the driver’s license or personal identiﬁcation certiﬁcate issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Nonnative fishers must have similar documents issued by the agency in their state or country.
According to the 2018-2019 Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual, “in addition to the criminal penalty for hunting and ﬁshing violations, the department will seek the civil recovery value for the loss or damage to wildlife resources. Failure to pay the civil recovery value will result in the department’s refusal to issue a future license, tag, or permit. Hunting or ﬁshing after failing or refusing to pay civil restitution is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $500 – $4,000 ﬁne; punishment in jail (not to exceed one year); or both.”
Violating fishing codes in Galveston may result in:
- be ﬁned for misdemeanors
- Class C – $25-$500
- Class B – $200-$2,000 and/or 6 months in jail
- Class A – $500-$4,000 and/or 1 year in jail)
- be ﬁned for state jail felonies ($1,500-$10,000 and/or up-to 2 years in jail)
- face automatic suspension or revocation of licenses for up to ﬁve years
- forfeit hunting gear, including ﬁrearms, used to commit a violation
Note: taking, killing, or disturbing sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico is NOT legal. If you accidentally catch a sea turtle, call (866) 887-8535 for information on how to help without injuring yourself or causing further injury to the animal.
Legal Fishing Tools
TWPD has some regulations about the tools and devices anglers utilize to catch the fish. Below you can find a table that includes all the information about fishing tools in Galveston Island.
(The table is based on the 2018-2019 Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual).
|For nongame fish and crabs, crayﬁsh, and shrimp.
It must not be greater than 14 feet in diameter.
In SALTWATER, nongame ﬁsh may be taken for bait purposes only.
|CRAB LINE||No Restrictions|
|CRAB TRAPS (Saltwater Only)||Only six crab traps at a time may be ﬁshed for non-commercial purposes.
May only remove crab traps from the water during the period from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
|DIP NET||For taking NONGAME ﬁsh and crabs, crayﬁsh, and shrimp.
Helping the landing of ﬁsh caught by other legal devices.
In SALTWATER, nongame ﬁsh may be taken for bait purposes only.
|FOLDING PANEL TRAPS||For crabs only.
The overall surface area (including panels) may not exceed 16 square feet.
|GAFF||For helping the landing of ﬁsh caught by other legal devices, means, or methods.
Fish landed with a gaff MAY NOT be below the minimum, above the maximum, or within a protected length limit.
|HANDFISHIN||For taking channel, blue, and ﬂathead catﬁsh in freshwater only. No person may intentionally place a trap (including such devices as boxes, barrels, or pipes) in public freshwater to take catﬁsh by handﬁshing.|
|JUGLINE||For use in FRESHWATER and taking NONGAME ﬁsh, channel catﬁsh, blue catﬁsh, and ﬂathead catﬁsh only.|
|OYSTER DREDGE||It may not be more than 14 inches in width|
|PERCH TRAPS||Legal only for taking NONGAME ﬁsh and crayﬁsh and shrimp.
It may not exceed 18 cubic feet.
Must have a mark with a ﬂoating visible orange buoy not less than 6 inches in height and 6 inches in width.
The buoy must have a GEAR TAG valid only for 10 days attached.
Must have a degradable panel.
Buoys or ﬂoats may not be made of a plastic bottle(s) of any color or size.
It is unlawful to place any type of trap within the area where the pass empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
|SAND PUMPS||For manual operation and non-commercial purposes.|
|SEINE||Legal only for taking NONGAME ﬁsh crabs, crayﬁsh, and shrimp.
It may not be longer than 20 feet.
It shouldn’t have mesh exceeding 1/2-inch square.
For manual operation only.
In SALTWATER, nongame ﬁsh may be taken by seine for bait purposes only
|SHAD TRAWL||Legal only for taking NONGAME ﬁsh and crayﬁsh and shrimp.
Shad trawl should not be longer than 6 feet or with a mouth larger than 36 inches in diameter.
It should have a funnel or throat and must be towed by boat or hand.
|SAIL LINE|| Nongame ﬁsh, red drum, spotted seatrout, and sharks may be taken with a sail line.
Using more than one sail line per ﬁsherman is illegal.
The sail line must always be attended the line is ﬁshing.
Sail lines may not be used by the holder of a commercial ﬁshing license.
Sail lines may be used seven days a week
|SPEAR GUN||For NONGAME ﬁsh only
Not a legal means to take ﬁsh in a community ﬁshing lake.
|THROWLINE||For NONGAME ﬁsh, channel catﬁsh, blue catﬁsh, and ﬂathead catﬁsh only.
It must be used with a valid gear tag attached. Gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date set out.
|SPEAR||For NONGAME fish only.|
|TROTLINE||Nongame ﬁsh, channel catﬁsh, blue catﬁsh, and ﬂathead catﬁsh. Red drum, spotted seatrout, and sharks caught on a trotline may not be retained or possessed.|
|TRAWL (Individual Bait-Shrimp Trawl||Only one trawl per boat.
Must have an individual bait-shrimp trawl tag in one’s possession while trawling.
It must not be greater than 20 feet in width between the doors. Mesh size must not be smaller than 8-3/4 inches over a consecutive series of ﬁve stretched meshes.
Boards must not be larger than 450 square inches each. Nongame ﬁsh (EXCEPT those species regulated by bag or size limits) taken incidental to legal shrimping operations may be retained.
|UMBRELLA NET||Only for taking NONGAME ﬁsh and, crayﬁsh, and shrimp.
The net should not have within the frame an area that exceeds 16 square feet.
|MINNOW TRAP||Legal only for taking NONGAME ﬁsh and crayﬁsh and shrimp. The trap may not exceed 24 inches in length.
The throat may not exceed 1 inch by 3 inches. GEAR TAG (pg. 99) valid for only 10 days must be visibly attached.
|GIG||For NONGAME ﬁshing only|
Most Common Fish Type in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico
When angling at the Gulf of Mexico, you should expect to catch Amberjack, Gag, Gray Triggerfish, King Mackerel Southern Zone (Gillnet), Black, Yellowmouth, Scamp, Yellowfin, and Red Groupers, as well as Red Snapper.
However, when trying to catch some fish in Galveston Bay, the “Big 3” game fish species (i.e. redfish, specks, and flounder) will be waiting for you.
Saltwater Fishing Codes for Those Angling in the Gulf of Mexico
According to the 2018-2019 Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual, “It is unlawful to anchor or moor a vessel, barge, or structure for a period exceeding two consecutive days within the area in Cedar Bayou between a department sign erected where Mesquite Bay ﬂows into Cedar Bayou and the department sign erected near the point where the pass empties into the Gulf of Mexico.”
In addition to that, Outdoor Annual also states that “anglers ﬁshing more than 9 nautical miles off the coast of Texas are in federal waters and are subject to rules and regulations that may differ from those in state waters. One example is the federal requirement to use non-stainless circle hooks when ﬁshing for reef ﬁsh.”
The Bag and Length Limit for Saltwater Fishing
TWPD urges all the fishers on the Gulf of Mexico to follow the bag and length limit to preserve the under-water life of Texas. According to this code, each angler can only catch a restricted amount/number of fishes per day. Below you can see what are the specific limitations for fish types in the Gulf of Mexico.
|Fish Type||DAILY BAG LIMIT||LENGTH IN INCHES|
|Triggerﬁsh – gray||20||16||❌|
|Grouper – black||4||24||❌|
|Mackerel – king||3||27||❌|
|Snapper – red||4||15||❌|
Top 4 Galveston Attractions That You Shouldn’t Miss When Sightseeing
Moody Gardens (3 Pyramids)
If you approach the Island form the Offatts Bayou, soon you’ll see 3 giant pyramids on the right. These fascinating structures form the Moody Gardens, which is believed to be the main reason why many families visit the Island each year.
However, this is a 242-acre amusement park with hotel & attractions including an aquarium, zip line & paddlewheel boat. So, the 3 pyramids are just the tip of the iceberg—pone intended.
Each of the pyramids is a themed environment offering new experiences to visitors of all ages. The two smaller ones are the Discovery and Aquarium Pyramids while the bigger one is the Rainforest Pyramid. Below you can find out more about each pyramid.
The Discovery Pyramid:
Being the smallest in the group of three, this toddler- and the kid-friendly museum is a must-see. There are several fun exhibits like the Dora/Diego that you can attend with your children. And the best part is that the kids can touch the stuff in the museum. So, no more try-to-keep-them-away thing will bother you!
Plus, the attendance fee is half the other two pyramids and you can cut back on the budget—just in case. However, the most popular part of this museum is the SpongeBob Subpants’ Adventure. (It includes a 4D show for kids and adults).
Note: The Discovery Pyramid is not a good choice for groups that consist only of adults. You’d better off without visiting this place if there are no kids or toddlers with you.
Aquarium at Moody Gardens:
Located at 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554, this outstanding aquarium is an extraordinary underwater life exhibit. There are hundreds of fish types such as jellyfish, stingrays, and starfish stocked in the tanks.
But the most noteworthy part of visiting the Aquarium Pyramid is that you get to touch the fishes. Yes, you read it right. Some tanks have no cover and all you need to do is to gently put your hand in the water to see how touching a fish feels.
The tickets are $65 but you get to have great exhibits of seals, sea lions, and 2 different penguin exhibits on top of all the fish and other ocean tanks.
Friendly Advice: follow the fish paths so that you don’t miss any of the exhibits.
being within the walking distance to the other 2 pyramids, the Rainforest is home to sharks, seahorses & other animals. This attraction features a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium. And you may even want to exclude visiting the Aquarium at Moody Gardens as this one will be amusing enough to satisfy you.
This is a place to bond with different animals and be a quest in their environment. If you’re an animal lover, this pyramid will be the ultimate fun things-to-do in Galveston Island. That’s because some of them are free in the parking area and you may have the chance to get close to them.
Note: the entry fee is $25 per adult and the walking path will take approximately 1-2 hours to finish. So, you’ll pay the fee for a 2-hour walk within nature, visiting the spectacular animals such as monkeys, sharks, and sloths.
Being only 400 miles away from the Aquarium at Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn is a water amusement park with outdoor attractions open seasonally and heated indoor park open year-round.
In case you’re a water-activities fan, this park will leave you out of breath. There are nearly 31 unalike attractions/doings available for people of all ages. And you get to experience some of the most fun on-water events too.
Check out their website as they allow you to filter the doings by their intensity (or thrill) level, ride type, age and physical requirement, and park section. Plus, they have separate maps for indoor and outdoor waterparks available on their website so that you know what’s what before setting things off.
It’s located at 2026 Lockheed Rd, Galveston, TX 77554, operating from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.
At 100 Seawolf Park Blvd, Galveston, you can find this city park for fishing (sunrise to sunset), picnicking, and touring 2 retired naval vessels on display. The park is on the Pelican Island right n front of the west end of Galveston Island. So, you need to take the Pelican Island Causeway to have access to it. (Or get there with your PWC).
For angling fanatics, rental rods are accessible year-round and you can also opt to buy baits for the local supply shops in the area. However, bear in mind that the park is under control of the TWPD and, therefore, you’ll need a fishing license for angling. Plus, the Bag and Length Limit is applicable in the area for each specific fish type.
However, the main reason why many first-timers like Seawolf Park is having 2 naval vessels on display. You can check out the interior of submarines and warships to see what it would be like to live in such tiny spaces to protect your country!
On the south end of the Island, at 2501 Seawall Blvd, here’s an old-fashioned waterfront amusement area with rides for all ages, games of skill & boardwalk eat. A quick-and-dirty tip for visiting the Pleasure Pier is to enjoy scenic views, fun rides & games, and bumper cars all day long. And at the end of the day, eat some ice cream, win toys, ride the Ferris wheel, and drive back home as a thrilled child!
The park is also home to several events each week, spicing things up enormously. (Landry’s Select Club Weekend, Live on Stage, Homeschool Day, and Crawfish Crazy Weekend just to name a few).
There’s also a 5D theater ride across the street, offering to different movies—the Mysterious Underworld and the Shark Attack. But the tickets are cost-effective ($7) so that you can even watch both in a row.
Extra Fun Things to Do in Galveston That You Didn’t Know About
Most of the attractions introduced so far are located in or around the Moody Gardens. So, you can tell the first-timers will spend their time in this district for the most part. However, the good news is that there are even more things to do in this section of the Island than you could imagine.
The following, therefore, is a list of 5 extra fun doings within 10 miles to the Moody Gardens to help you make the most of your stay in this district.
Become the Legend of the Gulf
Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast at 2313 Harborside Dr, is an interactive themed hunted house. It’s the place to see the ghosts and pirates in historic downtown Galveston.
The place contains the deck of a pirate ship, a captain’s cabin and actors portraying the notorious Jean Laffite and his brother Pierre. So, it would be like watching a movie in real life.
There’s also a gift shop in the area with pirate and ghost-themed books, costumes, toys, and games as well as paranormal equipment.
The admission fee for adults is $10 while kids 5-13 can attend the adventure for $6.75. (Toddlers under 5 are free-of-charge).
Visit La King’s Sweet Territory
Within the walking distance to the Pirates and Ghosts, at 2323 Strand St, an old-school candy maker is offering traditional sweets amid a 1920’s soda fountain & arcade games – called La King’s Confectionery.
The owners believe that “La King’s Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlor is a throwback to the 1920s when folks came out to enjoy a treat and visit. We cordially invite you, your family and friends, to Galveston, to experience the atmosphere of days gone by.”
They offer more 50 old candies made with original old recipes to bring back the nostalgia of being in a candy shop. But That’s not even that; they have an old-fashioned soda fountain drink, made with their special Purity ice cream. And this is a must-try as La King’s own the title of the first ice cream manufacturer of Galveston Island!
If you’re a sweet tooth, attend their Toffy Demonstration event on the weekends. This is a custom-like program allowing the customers to watch how taffy being pulled, spun out and packaged.
Go on a Tour with Ghosts!
At 1522 Seawall Blvd, you can spook up yourself on a bus. And if it sounds creepy wait to hear the theme! The Galveston Ghost Bus Tours offers a bus ride with audio/video displays about ghosts. Yes, you read it right. This company shows you interviews with real local people who claim to have encountered paranormal activities on the Island. After all, being haunted is what Galveston is known for.
Although it’s not going to be an informative trip (as ghosts are—you know—not real), the whole ride is absolute fun. You will have the chance to drive by some of the famous attractions while listening and watching spooky stories.
It’s highly recommended doing when it comes down to rainy days. The buses are all air-conditioned and you’ll face no weather-related issues while having the tour.
Refresh Yourself in a Spa
Walking around all day long, trying to get to the destinations, dealing with the time limits, and trying to have fun will tire you. But don’t worry at all as Galveston knows how to make it up for you. Just head to one of the 2 luxury spas on the Island and get yourself refreshed in the drop of a hat.
The Spa at the Hotel Galvez at 2024 Seawall Blvd, offers treatments, including herb and floral extracts, essential oils, and minerals spanning the seven seas. So, even a single visit will be enough to remove all the toxic energies and rejuvenating your body and soul. Plus, the Mediterranean-inspired décor will boost the relaxation and boost the treatment processes for you.
There are seven separate facilities in this spa such as massage rooms, hydrotherapy room, Vichy shower room, and couple’s massage room. But the Relaxation Room, outdoor Meditation Garden, and a private lounge for parties are also included to keep the customers satisfied.
If, for any reason, this one is not your cup of tea, head to the Spa San Luis at 5222 Seawall Blvd. This place has combined the traditional treatments with the essence of nature, taking the spa experience to a whole new level.
Since the spa is in a hotel, you can opt to spend the night in a luxury room and double the joy after treatment. (The rooms’ prices start from $178).
Drink the Galveston Local Beer
Galveston Island Brewing at 8423 Stewart Rd, is where you can taste the very traditional beer of this Island. The owner, Mark Dell’Osso, is a former tugboat captain and of course a beer expert. So, the drinks you grab at his place are far from being a normal homemade brew.
Just visit the place on a rainy day and let the bartender serve you with a special beverage and make you forget about the bad weather. Or, grab a drink on a boring weekend day, get a card/board game from their great selection. And start having fun with a friend or a nice stranger right away.
- Legal Devices, Methods & Restrictions. (2019, August 14).
- (n.d.). Galveston, Texas – Code of Ordinances Chapter 8 – BEACHES AND WATERWAYS.
- (2019). Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Annual, 25-31.