Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

July 21, 2012 6:00 AM

If you’re feeling landlocked and craving a seaside escape, a visit to Galveston — less than a five hour drive from Dallas-Fort Worth — might be just what you’re looking for. Although the trendy island resort boasts 32 miles of sandy beaches, this isn’t your ordinary Texas beach town. Galveston is an island full of magnificent Victorian architecture and charming southern hospitality with myriad activities to please everyone from history buffs to thrill seekers. So if sun-bleached beaches and gentle coastal breezes are beckoning you, head down south to a perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

Getting There

Head down to Houston on I-45 south from the DFW area taking exit 1A–TX-342 getting you to Galveston in around 4.5 hours. For a scenic 40-mile journey along the coast, travel the Bluewater Highway by taking exit 46B–US-59 out of Houston to Victoria TX 288-TX 332, following the route until you see the exit for the Bluewater Highway CR-257, which will take you into Galveston in around six hours.
Along with the listings below, visitors to the area should also check out the new Pirates Museum, Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Water Park, and take a tour through some of the grand Victorian homes including Bishop’s Palace.

the strand Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

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The Strand Historic Downtown District
2100 Strand
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 765-8728

The Strand is a lively area situated across from the wharf, between 20th and 25th streets offering five blocks of Victorian buildings filled with restaurants, museums, art galleries and unique shops. Another historical venue located just up 23rd Street is the Postoffice Street Arts & Entertainment District with more of the same, which can be easily explored by foot or horse-drawn carriage. These historic districts offer as much to do at night as they do during the day including live theater, weekly concerts, outdoor films, ghost walks, bars and plenty of great food options, making this area the perfect go-to spot during your stay.

texasseaportmuseum elissa Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

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Texas Seaport Museum and Ship Elissa
2100 Harborside Drive
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 763-1877

Price: $8 adults/$5 ages 6 to 18/free children younger than 6

Come aboard this floating museum and National Historic Landmark for a peak into the high seas adventures of a restored barquentine sailing vessel. Built in 1877, Elissa, with her three masts and nineteen sails, is one of the oldest functioning sailing ships in the world. Freely explore the ship, including the deck, galley, crew’s quarters and captain’s den, then head over to the museum to trace your roots from those who came to America through this “Ellis Island of the West.”

galveston ferry Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

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Galveston – Port Bolivar Ferry
502 Ferry Road
Galveston, TX 77550
(361) 749-2850

Price: free

One of the best attractions in Galveston happens to be free — a round-trip ferry ride from Galveston to Port Bolivar where you’ll be treated to spectacular bay views along with sightings of dolphins, porpoises and various sea birds along the way. Bring bread and hang out in back to feed the gulls, or check out the observation deck for the best views in town. Park for free and hop on, or take you car on-board for sightseeing at Port Bolivar.

screen shot 2012 06 21 at 4 37 46 pm Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

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Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
2501 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston Island, TX 77550
(855) 789-7437

Price: $16.99 adult day pass/$13.99 child day pass (includes rides)/$10 adults/$8 children (entrance only)/$4 individual ride tickets

Newly opened in time for the summer is Galveston’s $60-million entertainment destination jetting out 1,130 feet over the Gulf of Mexico, filled with rides, a 100-foot-tall roller coaster, midway games, entertainment, shops and food venues including Texas’ first Bubba Gump’s Seafood Restaurant and Market. Enjoy a leisurely ride on the old-fashioned double-decker carousel, but if you’re the adventurous type, go take a flying leap across the Gulf on the Revolution.

Related: Fun For The Road Car Games For Your Next Road Trip

olympia grill Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

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Olympia, The Grill at Pier 21
Harbor House Hotel
21st & Harborside
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 765-0021

Price: $5 to $32

The Olympia is the perfect place where both adults and kids will enjoy not only a great selection of Mediterranean-inspired food, but also some of the best views on the island. The restaurant serves excellent seafood, meats, burgers, gyros, meze plates, vegetarian options and also offers a children’s menu. Enjoy lunch specials, great happy hours and weekend brunch. The atmosphere just can’t be beat. Adding to the restaurant’s ambiance is the weekend entertainment, including a belly dancer who’ll get everyone swaying and shouting “Opa.”   

wyndam grand Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Galveston

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The Hotel Galvez
2024 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 765-7721

Price: $199

Neither torrential rains nor hurricanes can take down this stunning Galveston landmark that has reigned as queen of the Gulf for more than 100 years. Situated across from the seawall and only a mile from the Strand, this Spanish Revival beauty has welcomed many famous faces through its grand entrance, from former President Franklin Roosevelt to Frank Sinatra. The hotel features a fabulous pool with a swim-up bar, a restaurant, a spa and private golf course access, plus it offers bike rentals and a courtesy shuttle around town.

Road Trip Rules – Prep For a Safe And Fun Road Trip

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With a passion for adventure, Ilene Jacobs has spent 25 years traveling around the globe. A native of Dallas,Texas, she has also lived in Europe studying and working in marketing and tourism. Ilene is constantly researching interesting places to visit and enjoys sharing her findings with her readers. Her work can be found at