Just an hour’s drive from Houston is a small island that is one of “The Best Beaches in Texas” according to USA Today. This place is Galveston Island, Houston’s playground, and it’s full of surprises for visitors who want to enjoy a quick escape to recharge.
♦ ♦ ♦
What to Do
Well, where to start? For those who want to enjoy the sun, venture to Galveston’s recently replenished beaches. Galveston has just completed a $19.5 million beach nourishment project widening the beaches by up to 150 feet from 12th to 61st streets, including the beaches in front of Hotel Galvez. This definitely provides good reason to put some sand between your toes. New beach activities include horseback riding at East Beach and helicopter rides at Stewart Beach. Active travelers may also want to give stand up paddle boarding or surfing a try. By the way, visitors can choose from four harbor excursions at Pier 21.
History buffs should put The Bryan Museum on their itinerary. This new museum offers a one-of-a-kind collection of Southwestern United States artifacts and historic documents and is located just a few blocks from Hotel Galvez.
Other favorites include historic homes like Bishop’s Palace and Moody Mansion. Or watch a historic documentary at Pier 21 Theater and take a tour of the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa at the Texas Seaport Museum. Visitors should also check the schedule for The Grand 1894 Opera House. There is no place like it to watch a favorite Broadway show or performer.
Families should plan a trip to Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark. There is more than a day’s worth of activities at these family friendly attractions.
Events & Festivals
Downtown Galveston’s Saengerfest Park is host to free movies and concerts weekends March through October. Movie Nite is the first Saturday of the month and Music Nite is the second Saturday.
Upcoming events of interest include the Galveston Historic Homes Tour (May 5-6 and May 12-13), Galvez Wedding Vow Renewal (June 9), Galveston Cajun Festival (June 15-17), and the 32nd Annual AIA Sandcastle Competition (August 25).
In the fall, plan ahead for Galveston Island Wild Texas Shrimp Festival (September 28-29), the 21st Annual Artoberfest (October 20-21), the 37th Annual Island Oktoberfest (October 26-27), Lone Star Motorcycle Rally (November 1-4), Hotel Galvez Holiday Lighting Celebration (November 23), Downtown Lanterns & Lights (November 24-January 1), and the 45th Annual Dickens on the Strand (November 30-December 2).
Where to Escape
The Spa at Hotel Galvez is a perfect retreat if you want to experience a little tranquility and pampering. The spa is known for its rejuvenating massages, facials and body treatments. And, make sure to arrive extra early to enjoy the Relaxation Room and indulge in the lavender champagne. Weekends tend to book up so schedule appointments in advance by calling 409.515.2100.
Weekend visitors should take advantage of the relaxing ambiance in the Galvez Bar and Grill which is host to a jazz duo every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. Then top the night off with a cocktail at The Rooftop Bar at The Tremont House which is open daily in the evenings.
Where to Dine and Unwind
Galveston Island is home to a variety of locally owned restaurants that pepper Seawall Blvd. as well as The Strand District, Postoffice Street and Pier 21.
Hotel Galvez & Spa offers Galvez Bar & Grill that specializes in local seafood and Texas-sized po-boys. Ask about their seafood special of the day, which the chef purchases daily from Katie’s Seafood Market at Pier 19. And, make sure the legendary Sunday Brunch at Hotel Galvez is included in the weekend itinerary. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is considered one of the Top 100 Brunches in the United States by OpenTable diners. Take the hotel shuttle to Galvez’ sister property, The Tremont House, and enjoy martinis at the 1888 Toujouse Bar and drinks with a view at The Rooftop Bar.
♦ ♦ ♦
Where to Stay
Hotel Galvez & Spa®, A Wyndham Grand® Hotel, has been a mainstay in Galveston since 1911. The hotel is the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast and offers a full-service restaurant, spa and pool with a swim-up bar. Guests will enjoy the historic charm of the hotel and the grandness of the hotel lobby, bar and loggia.
Hotel Galvez & Spa offers a courtesy shuttle to its sister hotel, The Tremont House, which is located in The Historic Strand District. Hotel Galvez is also one of the few hotels to offer courtesy bicycles for guests.