AAA Travel Tips / Houston Off the Beaten Path: Day Trip to Galveston

Houston Off the Beaten Path: Day Trip to Galveston

AAA/Laurie Sterbens
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
July 23, 2019
If you're planning a trip to Houston, you can find plenty of fun things to do and great places to eat without venturing far from your hotel. But here's a tip: Set aside time during your vacation for a day trip to Galveston, where you'll find charming historic districts, beautiful beaches and, of course, great Gulf seafood, all just an hour's drive from downtown Houston. Here are just a few things to see during a visit to this picturesque seaside destination.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens

The Elissa

Pier 21, Number 8
(409) 763-1877
Make your way downtown to the wharf where you’ll find the Tall Ship Elissa at the Texas Seaport Museum. This three-masted sailing ship was built in Scotland in 1877 and is said to be one of the oldest ships still sailing. After carrying a variety of cargos around the world during her merchant vessel days, she was rescued from a scrapyard and restored by preservationists. Now you can walk the decks of this National Historic Landmark, view a theater presentation of her story and learn more at the adjacent museum.
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Fried shrimp and oysters at Fish Tales.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens

Fish Tales

2502 Seawall Blvd.
(409) 762-8545
Delicious Gulf seafood is a must during a visit to Galveston. Get your fix with lunch at Fish Tales, a family-friendly spot across the street from Galveston's Historic Pleasure Pier. Start off with their signature Shrimp Kisses before digging into fresh fish cooked "your way"—blackened, broiled or sautéed—or choose from a menu of specialties such as Red Snapper Pontchartrain, with crawfish tails and white wine mushrooms sauce, or Redfish Mardi Gras, with Creole chipotle cream sauce, andouille sausage, crawfish, shrimp and poblanos. Not a fan of fish? No worries—steaks, pasta, sandwiches and salads round out the menu. Ice cream specialties are the perfect seaside dessert.
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Wreckage of the SS Selma, a World War 1 concrete tanker, is one of the sights on the Galveston Harbor tour.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens

Galveston Harbor Tours

2200 Harborside Dr.
(409) 763-1877
Whether you're a history buff or you really just want to see dolphins at play, Galveston Harbor Tours has you covered. Narrated tours of the historic Port of Galveston depart several times a day year-round from the Texas Seaport Museum. Relax in the shade aboard the 50-foot Seagull II or find a seat on the upper deck for a 360-degree view and primo wildlife spotting.
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The Moody Mansion is among the many historical homes and buildings in Galveston's historic districts.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens

Historic Districts

Galveston Island Visitors Center, 2328 Broadway
(888) 425-4753
If you love historic homes and buildings, you're in the right place. With more than 60 structures in the National Register of Historic Places, Galveston has one of the largest concentrations of 19th-century buildings in the United States. The Strand Historic District includes historic commercial buildings downtown that are now antique stores, souvenir shops and restaurants. Galveston is also home to a large number of spectacular Victorian homes as well as some Greek Revival structures. Stop by the Galveston Island Visitors Center for maps and information for a self-guiding tour.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens

Moody Gardens

1 Hope Blvd.
(409) 744-4673
If you're looking for fun things to do with kids, you can't miss with Moody Gardens. This seaside resort complex has so many attractions that you could easily spend an entire day or more here, but fortunatelyday trippers can pick and choose among individual attraction tickets. Take a ride on the Colonel Paddlewheel boat, challenge yourself on the ropes course and zip line, view marine life in the Aquarium Pyramid, see exotic creatures in the Rainforest Pyramid, or see an exciting show in the MG 3D or 4D Special FX theaters. Warm-weather visitors can enjoy Palm Beach, which features a wave pool, lazy river and splash pad.
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