We live close to Galveston and we have friends that have a beach house there which is why we do visit at least once a year.  However, we tend to avoid the beach due to pollution concerns.  It is easy to find out the latest fecal counts at the beaches on the island but it is harder to find the most recent data on chemical pollution that occurs after chemical fires, oil leaks, barge crashes, and flooding events of Houston.  Whatever goes into the storm drains in Houston makes it way to the ship channel and Galveston Bay.  In addition, compared to beaches we have been to in other states, they just are not clean. Thus we prefer to do non-beach things in Galveston.  And, when we do go to the beach, we always bring an extra trash bag to pack up the trash we find.

My friend and I recently put a list together of all the things we have done with our kids and some things we still need to do as we are making a point to explore all the non-beach things we can.  And some stuff is free!

The following is a long list of places to visit in Galveston that do not include the beach:

African American Museum (museum might be closed, looks like it was open prior to Harvey, but people still go take pictures of the art on the outside)  

3427 Sealy Ave, Galveston, TX 77550


1859 ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH (oldest German catholic church, not open for tours)

2202 Avenue K, Galveston, TX 77550


1859 ASHTON VILLA (historic home from 1859, not open for tours)

2328 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550


1838 MICHEL B. MENARD HOUSE (historic home from 1838, not open for tours)

1605 33rd St, Galveston, TX 77550


1892 BISHOP’S PALACE (aka Gresham’s Castle & can go inside) 10-5 daily, $14 adult, $9 kids

1402 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550


Moody Mansion (can go in) 10-6 daily, adults $12, kids $6

2618 Broadway – Galveston, TX 77550


Rosenberg Library (oldest operating library in TX) 9-9 Mon-Thur, 9-6 Fri & Sat, closed Sunday

2310 Sealy St, Galveston, TX 77550


Pier 21 Theater (3 different films to see) $6 adults, $5 under 18, showtimes vary
2100 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550


The Bryan Museum (10-5, closed Monday adults $14, students $10, under 11 $5)

1315 21st Street  Galveston, Texas 77550


Galveston Naval Museum (9-6 daily, $10 adults, $5 kids up to age 11)

100 Seawolf Parkway  Galveston, Texas 77550


Galveston County Museum (closed, reopening in 2020, was free, not sure if it still will be)

722 Moody Ave, Galveston, Texas 77550


Galveston Arts Center (11-5 Tues-Sat, 12-5 Sun, closed Monday, free)

2127 Strand, Galveston, Texas 77550


La King’s Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlour (Taffy demo at 11am & 1pm daily) ice cream sodas and major candy store

2323 Strand StreetGalveston, Texas


Galveston Historic Trolley System (11-7 Mon-Thur, 10-10 Fri-Sun, $1 adults, kids free, exact change) go here for the map and route information


Baywatch Dolphin Tours (daily tours from 10-5, $10 adults, $5 for kids 12 & under) fun tour of the harbor, dolphins often follow the shrimping boats, tickets purchased from their booth on the day of tour starting at 9:30am.


Galveston Railroad Museum (10-5 daily, adults $10, 12 & under $5), lots of old trains and have a small train you can take a ride on.  Offer themed train rides during the holidays.


1877 Tall Ship ELISSA at the Texas Seaport Museum (10-5 daily, adults $10, under 18 is $9), sometimes they also periodically have visiting tall ships in addition to the ELISSA and they also run special tours periodically.


Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center (10-5 daily, adults $10, 7-18 $6) they occasionally run special educator events, special tours, and offer educational programs.


Galveston Duck Tours (they have 6 tours per day during the summer but only 2-3 during offseason that can change, $20 adults, $15 children)


Moody Gardens (10-6 during the school year, 10-8 during summer, prices vary depending on the type of pass or single exhibit) they offer discount value passes online $69 all day to everything or $89 for two days to everything.  Sometimes deals can be found online. They do occasionally have homeschool days or other special education days with discount rates.


Galveston Island State Park (open daily, adults $5, children free) check the state park website for closures and for ranger program information.  There is a picnic area, camping area, and trails. The park has gulf and bayside portions.


Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston (has winter hours and summer hours, rates vary depending on the season) can find online deals and discount tickets sold at HEB. In the winter, part of the park is indoors.  This is a water park that allows you to bring in coolers and your own food or you can purchase theirs. Sometimes they run special deals that include food and admission


Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (ride hours are seasonal and can change, so check their website, rates also vary depending on if just walking the pier, single-ride ticket, or passes).  They run homeschool and school days as well as special group educational events.


Street/Mural Art

  • Greetings From Galveston, Saengerfest Park, 23rd and The Strand
  • I love Galveston, Strand and 24th
  • Sea Turtle, Menard Park, 28th & Seawall Blvd.
  • Band shell at the park, 2222 28th St.
  • The Kindness Project, 22nd & Postoffice
  • See-Wall Mural, 27th Street and Seawall Blvd (on the seawall, seen from the beach from 27th to 61st, much of it is very faded due to damage from Harvey)
  • Bank Building, 25th & Market
  • Coca-Cola, 22nd & Church
  • Education is Our Road to Freedom, 37th & Ball
  • First in Galveston, 35th & Broadway
  • Galveston Ice, 21st & Harborside
  • Koi, 2213 Postoffice
  • Performances of Years Past, 20th & Market
  • St. Vincent’s House, 28th & Postoffice
  • Unlock your Mind to the World, 51st & Sealy
  • Untitled, 515 22nd St. 

SIT Seawall Interpretive Trail 

There are art benches along the seawall between 6th & 10th streets


Galveston Tree Sculptures (map)

  • 511 17th Street
  • 628 14th St.
  • 1508 29th St
  • 1124 37th St
  • 1620 Sealy
  • 20 South Shore Drive
  • 823 25th Street
  • 1508 29th Street
  • 828 Ball
  • 1302 Ball
  • 823 25th Street
  • 5701 Avenue S ½
  • 1717 Ball
  • 1228 Sealy
  • 1415 Ball
  • 718 41st Street
  • 1609 Postoffice Street
  • 4017 Avenue M ½
  • 1428 Church
  • 1028 Winnie
  • 1302 Ball
  • 4510 Avenue L
  • 1702 Winnie
  • 1615 Ball
  • 1316 Ball
  • 1823 Avenue L
  • 1820 Winnie