Being from the Houston area, Galveston Island was often a destination getaway for our family. We made sand castles, watched our feet disappear in the slipping sands, body surfed and soaked in sunshine and salty air. I have a different appreciation for it now, especially since I have my own children, and I get to sit back and watch them enjoy many of the same things that brought smiles when my sisters and I were running along the same beaches.
My children now get a few extra attractions that we didn’t have… Schlitterbahn and Moody Gardens. We also embark on many of the tours that Galveston has to offer. Offered are the must-see tours of the Bishop’s Palace and Moody Mansion, as well as Ghost, Dolphin and Duck tours, The Oil Museum, Train museum and Airplane Museum.
On our most recent trip, we took in a little more appreciation of The Strand District and all its beautiful architecture. I also supported the local economy by shopping and tasting a few new restaurants. The Strand is where I was first introduced to Maggie’s (one of my most favorite shops ever!) that is now owned by and renamed Tina’s. Col. Bubbie’s Army Surplus — a huge warehouse of military history and supplies — is also located here and is a 5 star choice for any military or history buff. One of my most favorite destinations on a hot summer’s day is La King’s Confectionery. With 1920’s flair, it satisfies young and old taste buds alike with its amazing array of coffee, candies and ice cream! One block over and you are at Pier 21. At Pier 21, you can book your harbour tour, visit the theater to view the history of the The Great Storm of 1900, tour the Oil Rig Museum or eat at one of the waterside restaurants. For us, we peek over the pier looking for starfish or gawk at the giant cruise ships docked awaiting their next adventure.
Galveston Island’s vast array of Victorian Homes is an experience in itself. Simply drive up Avenue O and appreciate the architectural history of Galveston. It is beautiful if you take the time to look for it. Though Ike has done some damage that people are still recovering from, the new growth that has occurred is offering new delights to the seaside town. One of the great new projects is occurring on The Seawall where the old Flagship Hotel once stood. This hotel happens to be where my parents honeymooned in 1970! However, it was so damaged by Ike that they have demolished it and a new “attraction” is planned in its placed. There are many rumours being circulated for what is to come, from ferris wheels to restaurants. But with Tilman Fretitta, the CEO of Landry’s, The Kemah Boardwalk and Rainforest Cafe, anything is possible.
Just a few of the reasons I love Galveston.
- Father Troy Gately, the Priest that married us was BOI (born on the Island)
- It is only 1 1/2 hours to The Island. No planes involved.
- The sand is easy to walk on. I know it sounds weird, but Galveston sand is easy to walk on, fun to build with and great to watch the sunset from!
- La King’s ice cream cones….need I say more?
- Fascinating history. From it’s early pirate and Indian beginnings, to the heyday of the largest seaport in Texas, to the historic Balinese Room, and to the power of Hurricanes; Galveston is full of intrigue, fun, tragedy and resilience.
- The Beaches. They are easy to access. There are many to choose from. The water is warm and the waves are light and easy.
- Festivals! Mardi Gras, Dickens on The Strand, Festival of Lights, Lone Star Rally, Sand Castle Competition and so many more!
- Postoffice Street. Shopping, Restaurants, galleries…
- The Grand 1894 Opera House. Most people don’t even realize this wonderful theater exists!
- Schlitterbahn. This is such a fun place to go. My big kid (husband) loves it as much as the little ones do. I love that there is a lazy river guiding you around to each ride location. I also love that you can take your cooler in with snacks for the kids! Additional feature: it is open year round!
- Mario’s Ristorante on 61st. Oh, how I crave this restaurant! I have never been disappointed by any item on the menu. Plus, they have gnocchi. A potato dumpling served with Bolognese sauce. Dang it, now I am craving it again!
- Papa’s Pizza on the Seawall. Just the best pizza in Galveston. Bonus feature: it is next to Ben and Jerry’s for dessert!
- You can walk most anywhere in town. You can walk, run, bike on the Seawall. Walk the beach. Walk the strand. The Island is only 27 miles long and at its widest point, 3 miles wide. There is no excuse not to get a little exercise (unless you just ate at Mario’s and you are in a food coma…)
- My Dad lives On The Island! Yes, he is the main feature of our visits to Galveston Island. He owns a little bed and breakfast called Lost Bayou Guesthouse. It is located in the Historic Lost Bayou District and it is one of the homes that survived the flood of 1900 and then was put on stilts. Great place to visit. And of course, visiting my Dad is pretty cool too!
A few photos…
The Lost Bayou Guesthouse. It is located at 16th & Avenue L, just a few blocks from the Sea Wall and not far from The Strand. It is quaint and clean. If you like old homes, it has lots of charm and history. I also love going here because my Dad is the proprietor! However, I do need to mention that while his guests get to relax and enjoy themselves… I get to cook, do dishes, change my own sheets and clean the room when I leave…. though, I am not complaining, it is SO worth it!
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