We have been terrible about scheduling family vacations. This year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to travel to new places as a family.
My mind was saying “The Dominican Republic!” but my bank account said “No girl, head down to Grand Isle.” (Not to knock Grand Isle, it is super cute in it’s own right!)
Then it came to me. Galveston!
Just 4 hours away from Lafayette, Galveston Texas has everything we wanted. Beach, yummy food, fun attractions, and an attitude that says “You go ahead and order that pina colada! It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and will be back!
Where to stay
Air B&B – We chose to stay in an Air B&B. We were able to bring our dog, Luna the Wonder Terrier, and had a precious cottage to ourselves. Our host offered bike and kayak tours to his guests. There were tons of options in Galveston to choose from!
Where to go
There are several public beaches in Galveston. We chose to hit up Seawall Urban Park because it was open later and we had Luna the Wonder Terrier with us (dog friendly beach!), but there are so many options! Now, the crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches of the Florida coast this is not. But, there are sand, shells, and water and the beaches were quite clean. We visited Galveston mid March, so it was a little too cool to go in the water, but seashell hunting made for a fun afternoon! Don’t forget your Mox and your Keens!
Downtown Galveston/The Strand
We drove around for the better part of a day exploring and checking out the amazing street art! It was definite feast for the eyes and reminded us of Austin and New Orleans.
L.A. Kings Confectionary
I’m not a candy person, but this place was absolutely amazing. They had every type of candy that you could dream of. In addition, if you time it right, you can be there for the “taffy pulling” and watch how the taffy is made! That, plus coffee and ice cream made everyone’s afternoon just a little sweeter.
Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast
My 4 year old, Kael, was looking forward to this all day. It is a wax museum and pirate ship replica with a “be your own tour guide” aspect. He was a big fan of the pirate’s treasure he got at the end, but nearly climbed on top of my head for the whole tour because he was so freaked out by the wax figures. In retrospect, this may have been a little more fun for an older child. Like my husband. He loved it. I did not get to hear most of the history because of my little spider monkey. #momsgonnamom
The Kemah Boardwalk is an all day excursion. There are rides, carnival games, an aquarium, an arcade, shopping, multiple restaurants and often live music. There is a water attraction, so definitely bring a bathing suit and your sunscreen. This was the highlight of the trip for my son. Between winning an awesome Spiderman toy at the arcade and riding ALL the rides, he was in Heaven. It was a treat for all ages!
A family member didn’t mention this to us until we were on the way home, but you can take a ferry into Galveston, sometimes cutting 30 minutes off your trip. It’s free and 30 minutes less in the car. That is worth gold, in my book. Plus, I am told that you can sometimes see dolphins!
Where to shop
Located on The Strand, this place has some of the most interesting things that you could ever find. From religious items, to crystals and stones, to children’s books, there is something for everyone!
Also found on The Strand, Skinational is an oasis of all natural skin and body products. I found this amazing Mechanic Soap Scrub for my husband that we now use as an alternative to all those weird chemical filled things that he was using to get oil and grease off his hands. Plus, my feet need serious pumice work and this stuff does the job!
Style & Trend
Style & Trend is located on the Kemah boardwalk and is where I headed when the boys hit the arcade (the arcade is not my jam). They have makeup and skin products as well clothing. I found a killer deal on Kismet cosmetics and reloaded my supply of “Hey Baby” lipstick.
Where to eat
Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack Restaurant
Ok, don’t take my Cajun card away, but I got boiled crawfish. In Texas. And it was really really good. We found this place after our day on the Kemah boardwalk and it did not disappoint. There was live music featuring music by Louisiana artists and about Louisiana things. I didn’t try the gumbo because I haven’t totally lost my marbles, but everything we had was surprisingly delicious! And, for a little up charge, we got a special alligator cup for my tiny Cajun and he was tickled.
Wait. Hold up. Cajun Greek? In Texas??? Hear me out, I would never steer you wrong. I take eating VERY seriously. This place was so good, I had to talk my husband out of eating there for every meal. They did this Cajun proud. It was super authentic and the combination of Cajun and Greek food is remarkably tasty. I had the crab cakes which were out of this world-I nearly licked the place. Joe had a shrimp wrap that he told every person we met about in great detail. Even my 4 year old cleaned his plate, which is an absolute miracle.
The Mosquito Café
We visited this place for breakfast twice and I was super sad that we didn’t try their lunch and dinner. This place has a fun and light atmosphere with a patio that is dog friendly! Try their smoked salmon and caper plate as well as their pancakes! Also, their apple pecan salad was to die for!
The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe
This family restaurant has an ever changing menu with seasonal items and locally sourced ingredients. And, a coffee cup bigger than your head. This, plus their lovely patio, makes for an awesome stop for any time of day
Shrimp N’ Stuff
The Avenue O location of this Galveston staple happened to be right down the street from our Air B&B, so I walked down to pick up our dinner with Luna the Wonder Terrier. Their boiled shrimp was out of this world and had me wishing for more. In addition, they carry some local Galveston brews which I definitely treated myself to.
I’m probably aging myself, but this place is like the Graham Central Station of Lafayette past, with food. And, no obnoxious techno music in the restaurant. There are 5 venues in here, though The Spot was where we visited. The rest are bar areas. Try the seared Tuna tacos! I had to physically block my plate from my 4 year old or else he was going to eat my entire plate.
For Next Time
Hi. My name is Amanda and I am an obsessive list maker. I have a problem and I know it.
I had a ton more places to visit that we just could not get to.
Here are a few places that we’ll be hitting up on our next visit!
Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Taste of the Strand-A culinary tour
What are your favorite Galveston haunts?
Leave them in the comments with the hashtag #islandtime and start planning your next family vacation to Galveston!