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Houstonians adore the feeling they get hitting I-45 for a quick trip to Galveston, as downtown recedes in the rearview mirror and our problems are left behind. Once we get to the coast, we all, of course, have our secret island haunts.

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8 a.m.

The Sunflower Bakery & Café

Head to this family-owned café to fortify yourself for the day with a fried Gulf oyster Benedict. Grab banana bread to-go in case you need a snack later on.

9 a.m.

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Tree Sculptures Tour

Rent a bike from Island Bicycle Company and take a self-guided tour through the East End Historical District, home to 20 tree sculptures made from oaks killed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

11 a.m.

Galveston Island Horse & Pony Rides

Ride along the water toward East Beach’s sea-turtle and seabird sanctuary and natural lagoon.

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12:30 p.m.

Galveston Island Brewery

Along with craft beers, this local brewery serves muffulettas and Italian po-boys from island favorite Maceo’s Spice & Imports.

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1:30 p.m.

Babe’s Beach

Thanks to a recently completed nourishment project, the island has 15 blocks of new beaches running west of 61st Street, now called Babe’s Beach after former Texas state senator A. R. “Babe” Schwartz.

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3 p.m.

The Historic Strand District

Our must-haves: water taffy from LaKing’s Confectionary, ornaments from Christmas on The Strand, jellies and salsas from Old Strand Emporium, and vintage jewelry from Hendley Market.

5:30 p.m.

Galveston Helicopters

Newly opened Galveston Helicopters offers spectacular 22-minute tours of the island, two passengers at a time.

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6:30 p.m.

Ocean Grille & Beach Bar

We like our seafood with a view, and we like it local. Ocean Grille on the Seawall, which sources its fish from Katie’s Seafood Market, succeeds on both fronts.

8:30 p.m.

The Tremont House's Rooftop Bar

There’s no better spot in town for drinks. If the weather’s bad, the hotel's lobby bar (with live music) is a mighty fine spot, too. 

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