Summer Beach Vacation | Galveston, TX
My husband and I have been coming to Galveston, TX each summer since we were dating over 13 years ago. His parents grew up on the island and he came here as a kid so there is a ton of history and nostalgia. Even though I grew up going to the California beaches, Galveston now feels like coming home.
We do not own a beach house but rented the same home from Sand N Sea rental company for a better part of decade until last year. There were many maintenance issues that had been ignored over the years and as the kids got bigger we needed a bit more space.
We loved being right on the water but ended up finding a fairly new rental property in the community called Beachside last year and booked it. GOOD THING we did!! The last big storm wiped out the entire front deck of our former beach rental along with the dunes protecting the property.
The house we rented this year was amazing and we have already booked for next year. Cheeseburger in Paradise has one downstairs master bedroom with a huge bathroom right off the kitchen. Upstairs it has 2 more “master” bedrooms with king size beds and a cute kids room with two full size beds with twin trundles. There are 4 covered decks, downstairs shower and elevator!
The front decks were great place to relax after heading in from the beach which is accessible just at the end of the street over a wooden dune walkover. The other nice thing was each room also had private deck areas with chairs and on the 3rd floor chaise loungers.
Most of the time though the kids just eagerly waited here to head down to the beach which we did every day of the trip!
Fit Tips: Dress runs slightly large so size down if in-between
Since we have been going to Galveston for years we have our favorite spots but in the past few years we have started branching out and tried some new restaurants that we now LOVE!
This year it was obvious that staffing was a major issue in wait times and even closures (Benno’s is now closed on Tuesdays). In past years you would find a TON of employees around Galveston that are exchange students from European countries. With travel restrictions and just recent mask and capacity restrictions being lifted it has made it kinda a mess when it comes to eating out so if you are going this summer just know the waits are longer and the service a bit slower.
With all that said I’m going to share places we have gone over the decades we have been visiting the island to give you a ton of options for your family.
- Katie’s Seafood House Katie’s has such incredible food, last year was the first time we tried it but instantly fell in love. Everything is caught fresh with their own boats (even other restaurants in the area use their fish like Fisherman’s Wharf) and they have blue crabs! I thought I took a pic of my favorite dish but it deleted so if you go get the Golden Tile Italian style, it’s incredible!
- Jimmy’s on the Pier We nearly always go to Jimmy’s our first night on the island. The views from their rooftop restaurant are incredible and feeling the sea breeze whip through my hair immediately makes me feel relaxed. Unfortunately this year the wait for a table was about an hour and the service was slower than normal for our food and drinks. I’m a big fan of oysters so I get the combo po boy with fried oysters and shrimp (get the onions rings they are awesome!) along with a margarita, y’all I’m drooling now.
- Benno’s Cajun Seafood I still say this place is the BEST for blue crab, the only issues is it’s IF they have them available. This year they did not have blue crab all week which seriously broke my heart but if you are able to call and confirm that they are in I always get the garlic crabs. This is a plate of about 4-5 blue crabs doused in garlic butter with a French bread side. My husband likes the fried crabs but I find that the meat sticks to the shell too much.
- Tortuga Mexican Kitchen For years my in-laws took us to The Original Mexican Cafe and it was ok, but last year we found this Mexican restaurant and it’s my new favorite! They have great food, right on the seawall and darn good margaritas. Ask for the refried black beans for your side, delicious!!
- Fisherman’s Wharf This restaurant is owned by Landry’s and if you are a club select card holder you can get faster seating which came in handy because even at 4pm the wait time was 1.5 hours. When we were leaving around 6pm the lines and amount of people waiting was CRAZY! I mentioned that this was actually the 2nd year that the food for me was unimpressive. I got the Red Snapper with lump crab meat and it was incredibly dry and not good for the nearly $40 price tag. Many of my favorites (appetizer and main dish) that I liked have been removed from the menu to offer a reduced selection. Until they bring back the full menu with more robust staffing I would skip this restaurant.
- The Original Mexican Cafe It’s been a few years since we have been back to this famous tex-me restaurant but it will always have a warm place in my heart. My son’s first trip to Galveston he came down with hand foot mouth on the way to the island. He didn’t eat solid food for several days the the first “real food” he finally ate was the rice and beans from The Original Mexican. I still really like their chaupula plate.
- Way West Grill & Pizzeria On our date nights my in-laws typically order in pizza from this local place down in Jamaica Beach. I’ve only had it as leftovers and it’s pretty good so it must be awesome fresh!
- Number 13 Prime Steak & Seafood This is our date night restaurant that has incredible views of the Pelican Rest Marina. This is more of an upscale dining experience but the food and ambiance is amazing. Their seafood tower is soo good but even if you aren’t that hungry it’s impossible to say no to the complimentary warm popovers. I highly recommend making reservations in advance or you can walk up and grab a drink on the casual terrace. I get the trio with lobster, shrimp and filet medallion.
My kids are now 6 and 9 but have been coming to Galveston every year since they were babies and as I mentioned previously my husband grew up visiting this beach so we have scouted out a ton of kid activities on the island and here are great places to take kids.
Magic Carpet Golf Last year was the first time we took the kids to play mini golf and while they loved it they also fussed at each other about who was winning, it’s hot etc. This year we had hopes that it would be better, nope. So great place for kids that love mini golf I’m not sure if those are my kids lol!
Galveston Children’s Museum This basement Children’s Museum was our go-to for rainy days for YEARS when the kids were younger. They have tons of fun hands on play like a fishing boat, dress up stage, building area and art room. As my kids have gotten older I feel like they have aged out of this activity but it is a great stop for younger ones.
Moody Gardens Rainforest & Aquarium Pyramids Up until last year this was a MUST do on our Galveston list but after we had seen the aquarium for 8 years straight and then they had much of the rainforest pyramid under construction last year we skipped it this year.
La King’s Confectionery When I posted a pic outside of this famous candy shop I had so many of you message me and say it’s one of your favorite stops too! We always get root beer floats and it’s super fun to be there when the salt water taffy is getting pulled since they will throw a few samples into the crowd!
Fit Tips: Tank size down if in-between, L // Shorts tts, 12 // Sandals size up 1/2
Pleasure Pier I wish I could say good things about the Pleasure Pier because we have had so many great years riding the log ride, frog jumper and ferris wheel but this year was a TOTAL bust! We waited in the longest line I’ve ever seen for the log ride. After about 25 minutes waiting in the sun the ride broke and shut down. The ferris wheel had also been shut down weeks prior and was still awaiting confirmation for reopening. If you are headed to Galveston this summer I would HIGHLY recommend calling to see what attractions are closed.
Shopping the Strand Let’s be real after all the eating I do in Galveston I need some major steps to walk it all off! This area of historic downtown has some of the cutest shops including a toy store my kids love, a Christmas shop where about half our ornaments are from and some adorable boutiques that I find the coolest stuff in!
Spending Time at the BEACH
Honestly this is the entire reason we come to Galveston!! Spending time with my kids on the same beach that my husband grew up visiting is the most special time of our year. From babies making sure they weren’t eating the sand to now bigger kids making their own sandcastles and dominating the waves on boogie boards it’s the best!
Since I LOVE being out at the beach for as long as possible we learned a few years ago how amazing Cabana Life swimsuits hold up to the dark sand but also protect my kids from sunburns. All their styles (swimwear and clothing) has SPF 50 built in. My kids love the long sleeve rashguard styles so when my “sunscreen” timer goes off I have less body parts to dry and get new sunscreen to adhere to!
Once again it’s been an amazing trip to the beach. While it’s not as popular as Port Aransas or as clear of water as Florida it’s our favorite place to come every year.