Located a mere 45 minutes from Houston on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Galveston is a relatively small city island with much to offer. With miles of coastline, a myriad of fun activities, impressive architectural marvels, and a fascinating history, it’s no wonder that it’s Texas state’s most visited beach destination. While there are a number of ways you can enjoy Galveston, here’s an itinerary for perfect beach day for less than $100.
What to see and do
Miles of sand and surf all but guarantee a perfect day in Galveston, but should you look for something away from the coast, you can make your way to Galveston’s iconic Pleasure Pier (individual ride tickets start at $4) for thrilling seaside roller coaster rides, nostalgic midway games, and an immersive 5D theatre ride. Summer evenings at Pleasure Pier offers a jam-packed roster of outdoor movie nights and live entertainment. To explore further afield from the coast, rent a beach cruiser from Island Bicycle ($8 an hour, $25 daily) and leisurely pedal around Galveston to marvel at the Victorian mansions that make up the East End historical district and the Silk Stocking District. Stop by the Bishop’s Palace (adults, $12), a National Historic Landmark and the American Institute of Architects’ 100 most important buildings in America, to discover the wonders of this 19,000-square-foot Chateauesque-style home with stained glass windows, bronze dragons, and a collection of fireplaces from around the world. Continue to Galveston’s historic downtown Strand district where you can shop for antiques and unique gifts to take home. If you’d rather brush up on your history than shop, check out the Texas Seaport Museum (adults, $12) or the Galveston Railroad Museum (adults, $10) at nearby Pier 21.
What to eat
Southern food, Tex-Mex, and seafood reign supreme in Galveston. Start your day off right at Mosquito Cafe, voted Galveston’s best breakfast by the city’s residents. The plain ol’ breakfast of three eggs any style served with hickory-smoked bacon or sausages, toast, and choice of cheesy grits, roasted potatoes, or fresh fruit ($9.49) or crustless quiche with Italian sausage, swiss cheese, apples, and sweet bell peppers ($9.99) are both excellent choices. To tackle the hunger after a day frolicking in the sun, head to Millers Seawall Grill where you can dine on generously-portioned dishes with views of the Gulf. Sample a bowl of gumbo soup ($9.99), a shrimp po’ boy ($10.99), or the 16: a signature shrimp special with sixteen fried or grilled shrimp, hush puppies, and a choice of sides ($15.79). To cool down, treat yourself to a scoop or two of Hey Mikey’s homemade ice cream (single scoop, $3.75), a source of pride for the locals lucky enough to call Galveston home. If it’s top-rated seafood in a casual setting you’re looking for, pull up a chair at BLVD. Seafood where you can indulge in seared scallops ($16), shrimp and grits ($24), and a variety of fresh seafood sampler platters.