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22 Fun & Best Things to Do in Galveston, Texas

View of beach umbrellas and Pleasure Pier amusement park on Galveston Island Texas

Galveston, Texas, isn’t like most beach destinations. Sure, it’s got the beach (duh – it is still a beach destination), but there’s more to it than that. The historic pier is lined with rollercoasters, expensive carnival food, and seagulls dive-bombing the $30 shrimp cocktail you just ordered – but there are also dolphin tours, naval museums, and stunning American architecture.

At first glance, the “things to do in Galveston” list looks similar to every seaside town’s “to-do list.” That is, until you add in a ghost walking tour, World War II battleships, and Galveston’s rich historical background and colorful houses.

I live within 1-2 hours of Galveston, and as a teenager, I visited many times with my friends and family. There are tons of things to do in Galveston, and if you know where to look, you’ll find it’s an awesome vacation destination.

So, take a deep dive into the following guide and find a mixture of your average beach town activities with a fair amount of history and a dash of something eccentric. Hopefully, you won’t be disappointed!


  • Most significant landmark – Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
  • Best park – Galveston Island State Park
  • Best free activity – Going to the beach
  • Best activity for kids – Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston
  • Best activity for adults – Partying on East Beach
  • Best food – Gaido’s
  • Best nightlife – Ghost Tours around Galveston
  • Best all-round accommodationThe San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center

Best & Fun Things to Do in Galveston, Texas

1. Act Like a Kid Again at Pleasure Pier

View of beach umbrellas and Pleasure Pier amusement park on Galveston Island Texas
Mark Taylor Cunningham /

Address: 2501 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX

What good beachside town to-do list wouldn’t include a trip to a pier? Guilty as charged, but the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier truly is the icon of Galveston Island, so it’s only fair that it kick-starts this list.

Pleasure Pier is Texas’ version of the famous Santa Monica Pier in California. It’s a bona fide American adventure park on wooden legs! The pier’s history dates back to the 1940s. After a brief time as a recreational facility during World War II, the pier quickly grew to become a full carnival midway, complete with fishing facilities and an aquarium.

It would even go on to become a hotel. As the years went on, the pier suffered damage from multiple natural disasters and hurricanes, including…

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