Galveston kicks off its summer vacation season during Memorial Day weekend, and if you’re making the 50-mile drive to soak up the sun along some 32 miles of beach, make sure to be on the lookout for upgraded beach parks, attractions—and, yeah, some mighty traffic. The island’s convention and visitors bureau is expecting more than half a million vehicles.
Besides your fellow sunburnt humanoids, here’s what to be on the lookout for in Galveston.
- Moody Gardens has a redesigned Aquarium Pyramid — a whopping $37 million renovation — but you can also check out its Discovery Museum, JAM: Journey through Amazing Music, and new films in its 3-D and 4-D theaters.
- Downtown Galveston’s new restaurants include Hearsay on the Strand, Shark Shack Beach Bar & Grill, The Wine Next Door, Mama Teresa’s Flying Pizza, Island Pour House Wine Bistro and the Marketplace at Peanut Butter Warehouse.
- The Tremont House hotel unveiled a new extended stay option, The Quarters, in 2017—it offers 14 luxury, extended-stay suites in both one- and two-bedroom options. Check them out at www.thetremonthouse.com.
- There's a new birding opportunity for those hoping to scope out some of the islands 300-plus species on the trans-Gulf migration route. Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council now offers trips to the islands top birding hot spots.
Upgraded Amenities at Galveston Beach Parks
Stewart Beach, East Beach and West End Pocket Parks 1 and 2 are open to the public with new amenities, including the following:
- Stewart Beach, East Beach and Dellanera Park now offer free sunscreen stations.
- New parking pay stations are located at 61st Street and 89th Street piers.
- Visitors to the beach parks can take advantage of restrooms, showers, beach chair rentals, volleyball courts, snack bars and other concessions, including horseback riding and helicopter tours.
- Head to galvestonbeachinfo.com to find the beach park that's right for you.
Memorial Day Ceremony at Seawolf Park
On May 28, The American Undersea Warfare Center at Seawolf Park will honor fallen servicemen and women in a special (and free) ceremony at its Memorial Plaza at 12:30 p.m.
The ceremony includes a welcome speech by retired United States Air Force Colonel Kelly Crooks, a presentation of the colors by the United States Marine Corps Color Guard, a national anthem performance, the Marine Corps League Galveston performing Taps, and a bagpipe rendition of the Song of Remembrance.
Amusement Park Details
- Schlitterbahn is open daily.
- The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park is open daily with buy-one, get-one-free all-day ride passes for active members of the military. Look for a new Shark Attack 5-D Theater ride.
- World Ocean’s Day Festival lands at Stewart Beach on June 8 from 4 to 8 p.m. with live music, hands-on activities a Marine Debris Art Contest and more. The family-friendly festival is free and open to the public, but Stewart Beach parking fees will apply. For details visit www.artistboat.org.
- Land and Sea Adaptive Sports Challenge heads to Sea Star Base Galveston, June 1 to 3.
- Galveston Family Beach Challenge days will take place on May 27, June 17, July 22, August 19, and September 16 at Stewart Beach.
- Sandcastle Days takes over the sand on Saturdays from June to August at Stewart Beach.
- Movie Nite on the Strand is happening the first Saturday of the month through October.
- Music Nite on the Strand is the second Saturday of the month through October.