Hello everybody, last week we had a fabulous trip to Galveston Island and I wanted to share our adventures with you! Galveston Island, only being 5 hours away from us, is a fun, quick getaway, beach spot for us. Thanks to the Mississippi River, Texas beaches may not have crystal clear aqua water, but make no mistake Texas beaches are still beautiful fun beach getaways! Galveston Island is a great destination with more to offer than just its beaches.
When we first arrived to Galveston I was excited to check out Bishop’s Palace, also known as Gresham Castle, which is located in the historic district of town. I love touring beautiful historic homes and this one certainly lived up to my expectations! This beautiful mansion’s construction was completed in 1893, where Walter and Josephine Gresham and their 9 children lived.
Costing $250,000 to build, its estimated value is now 5.5 million. This gorgeous home is filled with ornate carved wood, gorgeous painted ceilings, stained glass windows, as well as antique furnishings and chandeliers.
Being built completely out of stone, this house withstood the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane. The Greshams graciously opened their home to many survivors who were homeless. Eventually the family moved, and in 1923 the Roman Cathoic Diocese of Galveston bought the house which served as residence for Bishop Christopher Byrne. In 1963 the mansion became open for tours to the public. It’s definitely a lovely stop that the entire family should enjoy.
After Bishop’s Palace, we went over to the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa.
Built in Scotland, Elissa was originally launched in October of 1877. She also sailed under the Swedish and Norwegian flags and eventually made her way to the Texas coast in 1985. In 2011 the U.S. Coast guard deemed her not seaworthy anymore. So $3 million was raised by the Texas Seaport Museum for her renovation. In 2013 the renovation was complete and she returned to her sailing adventures in 2014. When she’s not at her port she runs a series of sails and is currently one of the oldest sailing hulls in operation today.
Its fun to walk around on a ship with such great history, you can also go below deck and check out all the ship’s features. Be sure to explore the Texas Seaport Museum next door which is full of interesting history.
With several restaurants near Elissa we settled on Willie G’s Seafood and Steaks. We loved the big windows overlooking the water, the modern atmosphere, attentive waitstaff, and the incredible seafood! I recommend the Texas shrimp cocktail for sure!
After the kids were tucked away into their hotel bed we went to the bar in the Hotel Galvez. Opening in 1911 this hotel is stunning inside and out!
This cozy little bar has a great wine list, cocktails, and upscale bar food.
Besides the bar, the hotel has lots of nooks to sit and relax, but eventually we went outside. With lush green grass, adirondack chairs, and just past the sea wall a great ocean view, it’s an incredible spot to sip a drink and stare off into the beautiful sea.
The next morning we woke up bright and perky, ready for a beach day. We started with a walk along the sea wall and began to plan our day.
The sea wall runs along a large portion of the beach. Its construction was complete in 1904, 4 years after the devastating 1900 hurricane that destroyed the island and was the worst hurricane in all of U.S. history. An estimated 8,000 people lost their lives with some saying the death toll was closer to 12,000.
I remember visiting Galveston Beach as a child being annoyed by the road and the sea wall. Now I’ve grown to love it. The sea wall protects the city, is full of history, and walking along the sea wall you get incredible views of the Gulf. You see lots of people out and about, walking, jogging, and biking, having fun, enjoying the view. It’s part of Galveston’s charm.
Skipping breakfast, we decided on an early lunch to kick off our fun day at Bubba Gump which is located on Pleasure Pier.
We ate upstairs on the patio with beautiful beach views!
My beach babies barely finished their lunch and left us at the table to run down to the beach. They were excited for salty sandy fun!
I want to give Galveston a big shout out for the amazing condition of the beach. I mean it looked so good! Brian was amazed, we didn’t ever remember the beaches looking this good. I googled and sure enough Galveston just completed a $19.5 million beach renovation. They dredged out extra sand from the Galveston shipping channel and pumped it along the beach, giving us nice fluffy sand to play in and creating a much longer shoreline. What a real treat the beaches were!
Above, another fantastic view taken from the patio of Bubba Gump Shrimp. You can tell how lovely the beaches looked. With the seawall to your left the amount of beach will vary. This is a great spot. In the distance the blue building is Murdoch’s, a souvineer and snack shop…I’ll tell ya more about that in a bit.
We finished lunch and ran down to the beach to meet our kids. That’s Brian way back in this photo, taking a photo of Ashley. Haley also loves the beach but is not a fan of my camera. You can see her all the way to the right in her pink UV shirt. Her UV shirt is like SPF 500 or something. Chance of getting a tan zero.
We splashed and had fun!
We soaked up the sun and I annoyed Ashley by taking lots of photos. She’s trying to build a sand castle here…go away you annoying mom!
After lots of beach fun Ashley, who is obsessed with all sea creatures started begging for a pet crab.
She eventually wore us down so we headed over to Murdoch’s which is just a short walk down the beach. No trip to Galveston is ever complete without going to Murdochs! They have great souvineers and beautiful beach views!
So we walked into Murdoch’s looking like sea monsters, frizzy tangled hair, covered in sand and salt water, trying to look as classy as we can.
We bought these 2 cuties. This is Shelly on the left and Pearl on the right. We took the kids back to the hotel and Ashley researched everything known to man about Hermit crabs while we left for dinner.
It’s not a blog post unless I forget to take a photo of something right?
Well this is us heading up the stairs at the San Luis Hotel to The Steakhouse restaurant. We walked inside, it was dark, quiet, and I started stuffing my face with wine and food and completely forgot to take any photos. I will say it was a great dining experience and I’d love to stay at this hotel next time, the pool looks incredible!!
The next morning the girls begged to ride rides at Pleasure Pier.
You can walk on a small portion of Pleasure Pier without paying, but to actually go inside you will need an arm band. For those like me who have no interest riding rides you can get a walk-on bracelet for pretty cheap. I recommend this, even if you hate rides the pier is fun! Plus there are snacks and great ocean views!
There are rides for all ages. Bumper cars, swings, a log ride, roller coasters, a carousel and more.
You can grab a snack and watch your kids from these awesome Texas rocking chairs…
or take selfies with the beach in the background!
Once my kids finished spinning and spinning (seriously why do kids want to spin in circles so much?) we headed to lunch at our favorite spot. The Spot!
The Spot is a relaxed counter service restaurant with yummy food and amazing beach views!
We had fish tacos and shrimp kisses. Shrimp kisses are a big thing in Galveston. Seriously they’re in so many restaurants here. I think it’s just bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheese. We’re major bacon addicts, so being at the beach we ordered these at multiple places…at least 3 places I remember.
Having no solid plan we walked a few minutes back down to Murdoch’s. We just like the place! Murdoch’s has 2 shops connected by a covered patio with beach views.
And what do ya know available adirondack rocking chairs over looking the ocean. Score!!
This was just one of those perfect unexpected moments ya know? Sometimes the things you don’t plan end up being the best moments you cherish. We probably sat in these chairs 2 hours. It was just so nice and Brian got us some slushy margaritas and it got even better!
Finally I was pried up from my rocking chair and we decided to look for a new adventure. That adventure would be Schlitterbahn. Half-day admission starts at 3:00 PM and that gave us more than enough time to have waterpark fun. 3-4 hours at Schlitterbahn and I’m good, especially with no lines.
Dinner was at Fish Tales, another favorite of ours. You can dine inside or out, both experiences are great. FYI Fish Tales is located directly across the street from Pleasure Pier.
We still had our Pier arm bands from earlier in the day, so after dinner we spent a little more time at Pleasure Pier before heading back to the hotel. Pleasure Pier at night is a really cool experience!
Our last day we packed up and spent some time viewing the beach but staying dry and sand free this time.
The rip currents along the Galveston beach can be strong, these jetties help break up the current. Interesting fact I learned on this trip is the rocks that form the jetties are made of pink granite from Marble Falls, which is in central Texas which we love so much.
We said bye bye to the beach and sea birds and went inland to breakfast at the Mosquito Cafe.
I loved the food here! It was creative and healthy yet still felt indulgent. We ordered these incredible breakfast bowls and cough cough a few mimosas.
Look below at the water level during Hurricane Ike! That’s crazy!!
We needed to get on the road, but not quite ready leave we drove to the end of the island.
With lots of exciting history here, you can sit along the rocks and view barges and ships entering the channel. Other people were around viewing as well but it still felt quiet and peaceful. After relaxing here a bit rain eventually started to come down and we had to say goodbye to the ocean.
We did end up stopping for a little lunch at the Kemah Boardwalk which is sort of on the way home between Galveston and Houston. Kemah is a fun stop that we have been to many many times. But I won’t go into it now too much as it deserves its own blog post.
We had to bring our crabs with us to lunch, they could’t stay in the hot car. We want pet crabs, not cooked crabs. So this might be the first time crabs have ever dined at a nice seafood restaurant without being on the menu! They were a hit at the restaurant….and we kept them away from the chef.
You’ll be happy to know the crabs have been upgraded to a larger cage. Ashley was concerned the shells were too small for the crabs so she bought larger shells. I’m excited to announce Shelly has already switched to the larger shell when were weren’t looking, and Pearl seems ok in her small efficiency shell for now. Hey.. if you have any hermit crab tips for Ashley leave them in the comments!
There is actually lots more to do in Galveston we just ran out of time. Ride the free ferry, visit Moody Gardens, take a cruise, visit the many awesome restaurants, and explore the beautiful beaches farther from the sea wall. Thank you Galveston, we had a wonderful time and your beaches looked beautiful!! Until next time!