Summer is here, kids are out of school, and it’s time to take that perfect family vacation. These sweet summer months can make anyone crave a nice beach and some ocean waves (don’t forget that icy cold beverage in hand!).
Lounging in the sand, soaking up the sun, and reading a good book…oh wait, I think I just got caught up in a vacation dream from a past life, pre-kids. Now the beach involves constructing the biggest sandcastle, chasing tiny bodies in the water, and slathering sunscreen onto a squirmy toddler.
While the expectations we hold about vacations have vastly changed since having kids, one thing remains the same. We still crave that beach experience for ourselves and our growing family. My husband and his family enjoyed many a Florida beach vacation during his childhood. While Florida has undeniably beautiful scenery, the drive has been hard to brave in these early years with young kiddos. For the past three years we have ventured down to Galveston with my in-laws to enjoy the water, sand, and sun without the insane double-digit hour drive or battling an airport and flight with small children in tow.
Growing up, I had a bias against Galveston, believing the lore that it wasn’t very nice and not worth the travel. But Galveston has offered us wonderful respite from Dallas in recent years. A four-hour jaunt from Dallas (by car) with plenty of sand for our kiddos to play in, sun to soak up, and warm gulf waters to swim in—it fulfills all of our current family vacation desires in this season of life with small children.
Where to Stay
We’ve stayed at various rental properties over the past few years. I find the convenience of being close to the beach (within walking distance is important when you have a potty-training toddler in tow!) to be imperative when traveling with young children. We don’t have to lug all of our beach stuff very far and can come and go as we please. I’ve also found Galveston beach house rentals to be fairly reasonable in price! Other highly recommended locations:
- Diamond Beach Condos
- Pointe West Resort
- The Galvestonian
- Casa del Mar beach front suites
- San Luis Resort
What to Do
While the whole point of a beach vacation is to play in the sand and splash in those waves, everyone needs a break from the sun sometimes. We’ve found that Galveston has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and day trip excursions. One of our favorite stops while we are down there is the Children’s Museum, housed in an historical building and offering lots of fun and interactive activities for a variety of ages! Here are some other things to do with kids in Galveston:
- Pleasure Pier
- Children’s Museum
- Moody Gardens
- Galveston Railroad Museum
- Clay Cup Pottery Studios
- Texas Seaport Museum
- Seawolf Park
Where to Eat
- Rita’s Italian Ice (a refreshing treat after a day full of sun!)
- Tortuga Mexican Kitchen
- The Spot (five restaurants in one location meeting the needs of varying tastebuds!)
- Cafe Michael Burger
- Mario’s Pizza
- Nate’s Westend Seafood & Steaks
And a couple of places just for the parents!
A fantastic resource is the Galveston tourism website—easy to navigate and lists all of their retail and restaurant offerings. An older (but still valuable!) Dallas Moms resource is this Galveston family travel post from 2016. What I have listed above are all personal recommendations and places we have gone to while we in Galveston for our family vacations. Have you ever been to Galveston? What are some of your favorite places to go when you’re there? Share your recommendations in the comments below!