Great Escapes: Our guide to Galveston, TX

Planning a getaway? Check out Galveston, TX, a historic beach destination (a ~5-hour drive from Fort Worth).

Photo of a beach at sunrise

There’s always something happening on the barrier island.

Photo by @FTWtoday

Table of Contents

FTWtoday City Editor Kate, here. My family loves Galveston Island. Doesn’t matter how many other beach towns we haven’t been to, we are always down for a quick weekend jaunt to Oleander City. Whether you’re strolling down the Strand, touring historic homes, or eating Shipley’s donuts on the sand, the port town is always a great time. Use this quick guide for the perfect spring day in Galveston.

Why go:

  • Explore this coastal city that opens the Gulf of Mexico to all of Texas with activities for all types of travelers.
  • Like New Orleans in Texas, get wild at Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration (February 2-13, 2024).
  • Kick off spring with the Galveston Craft Show (Saturday, March 18-Sunday, March 19) at the Convention Center (5600 Seawall Blvd.) with handmade jewelry, home decor, and live music. Fun fact: When I was nine years old my grandad bought me a glass pendant at this fair and I still have it in my jewelry box.
  • Shovel it in at these three foodie spots — the Fancy, The Gypsy Joynt Cafe, and The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe.
  • Check out this vacation guide for more recommendations.
Photo of underground bunker at Fort Travis

Don’t get spooked on ghost tours or at historic sites like Fort Travis.

Photo by @FTWtoday

Act like a local:

  • Food: Nothing beats fresh seafood after a long day in the salty air. Shake off the sand and head to Gaido’s (3828 Seawall Blvd.) for the catch of the day + seasonal sides.
  • Drink: You might have to elbow some medical students out of the way, but Daiquiri Time Out (2701 Market St.) is worth it.
  • Outdoors: Take a walk along the seawall — DYK the city was raised 18 feet after the 1900 storm — or check the tides + splash in the Gulf.
  • Learn: Travel back in time with a guided tour. Climb through pre-storm monuments or get a little spooked with a ghost tour.
  • Listen: Ready to sit back for a slice of pizza and a little local music? Kick back at Sharky’s Tavern (504 25th St.) for a micro brew with a side of live music.
  • Explore: Catch the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula and get a little lost at Fort Travis Seashore Park.
Photo of a corner beach house.

There’s room for the whole family or a group of friends.

Photo by VRBO

Where to stay:

  • Vrbo: Coffee on the porch of this 3-bedroom, 3-bath cottage? Yes, please. Plus, the Ave. O Chateau is steps away from Pleasure Pier. (~$365/night)*
  • Airbnb: Keep it funky with this butterfly roof beach rental — known as the Cozy, Chic Beachside Bungalow — with three bedrooms and 2 baths. (~$369/night)
  • Splurge hotel: A vacation fit for a royal — treat yourself to a stay at the Grand Galvez, the queen of the Gulf. (~$367/night)
  • Save hotel: Be nice to your budget without compromising the location at Gaido’s Seaside Inn. (~$179/night)

By far, my favorite part of any trip to Galveston is stopping at La King’s Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlour on the Strand for a drink from the 1920s soda fountain and a big bag of candy for the drive home. Pro tip: Shuffle through the crowd on Fridays and Saturdays to watch the confectioners pull saltwater taffy on the original taffy puller.

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