\You don’t need a real reason to head to the coast during the Texas summer — the cool breezes and sparkling Gulf waters are usually enticement enough. But, in case you’re looking for a little extra motivation, here’s ­­10 excuses to head to Galveston Island this vacation season. 

1- Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark to reopen in May

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is scheduled to reopen May 22 after closing last year due to the pandemic. The reopening will coincide with cosmetic updates at the park, which will be sporting brighter colors on its family slides, Wolfpack and Thunder Tub attractions. Additionally, the park’s Pointe Pizza restaurant has been remodeled and will feature a new menu. For details, visit schlitterbahn.com/galveston.

2- Galveston Beach parks are open!

While seawall beaches are open year-round, the island’s largest public beach parks — Stewart Beach and East Beach — open seasonally. The 2021 beach season kicked off in March, offering a variety of special amenities. 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. For more information, visit galvestonbeachinfo.com.

Pleasure Pier

3- Popular Galveston attractions open this summer

Many of Galveston’s popular attractions will be open daily during the summer months. At Moody Gardens, visitors can experience a living rainforest with free-roaming animals at the Rainforest Pyramid, and one of the largest aquariums in the state at the Aquarium Pyramid, and a golf course are among numerous other attractions. The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park will be open daily. The island’s many historic mansions and museums, such as The Bryan Museum and Bishop’s Palace, are also open throughout the season.

4- Stewart Beach to host monthly Galveston Family Beach Challenge

Giant battleships, huge bean bags and limbo showdowns are coming to Stewart Beach this summer for the return of the Galveston Family Beach Challenge. The challenge, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on second Sundays May through August, as well as the Sunday of Labor Day weekend — will transform a portion of Stewart Beach into a gigantic obstacle course, allowing families to compete in life-size versions of classic favorites like giant Jenga and dominoes, sack races and sand castle building. Participants will have the chance to win the grand prize of a $500 gift card plus tickets to popular Galveston attractions. For rules and to register in advance, visit galvestonchallenge.com.

5 - Galveston Offers 2,000-plus vacation rentals and plenty of hotel options

With thousands of beach houses and vacation rentals available on Galveston’s 32-mile coast, booking a remote stay may be closer than you think. If you’re looking for a vacation rental, the island offers everything from beachfront mansions and waterfront condos to historic cottages and luxury high-rises. If you’re more of the resort sort, you can choose among seaside, bayside or downtown hotels (from historic to modern) to make your summer getaway special.

6- Visit Galveston app features new African American history tour

In Galveston, you can explore African American history in living color thanks to a new interactive tour app offered by the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. The tour, found on the new Visit Galveston app, allows visitors to take a self-guided journey to learn about the island’s many historically black institutions and monuments celebrating black accomplishments. To access the tour, visitors can either download the Visit Galveston app on Android or Apple devices, or visit the website at galveston.visitwidget.com. The African American History Tour itinerary can be taken as is or customized based on a person’s interests and time allocation. For more information, visit visitgalveston.com.

The Strand

7 - Cultural experiences in Galveston’s Downtown Cultural Arts District

The Galveston Downtown Cultural Arts District, an official cultural district designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts, offers an intriguing selection of theaters, shops, restaurants, and museums that are well worth visiting. The Victorian architecture of Strand Street, widely known as The Strand, makes for a charming stroll as you shop for unique finds or grab sweets at LaKing’s Confectionery. Saengerfest Park at 23rd and Strand is a free family park home to a life-size chessboard, Insta-worthy selfies in front of an iconic Galveston mural and regular live entertainment. Be sure to also check out the district’s 20-plus art galleries, displaying fine art, sculpture and photography in beautifully restored historic buildings. Many can be found on Postoffice Street.

Galveston Island State Park

8- Free summer activities at the Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor activities that are free to participate in. While each person over 12 must pay a $5 entry charge to get into the park, families can enjoy beach combing, geocaching, kayaking, birding, nature field trips and fishing at no cost. For more information, visit tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/galveston-island.

9 - Galveston’s steel-wheeled trolleys to return this summer

Galveston’s street cars have been out of commission since Hurricane Ike in 2008. Three of the historic trolleys have been restored and will be back in service this summer. Riding a trolley is a wonderful way to view Galveston’s historic architecture and get from place to place while in the Historic Downtown District.

The Bishop's Palace

10- Save with the Island Pass

Galveston Island provides visitors with a special passport to adventure and savings with the Galveston Island Pass. The pass allows visitors to experience multiple Galveston attractions on one ticket and save 40 percent off regular admission prices. For more information and to purchase a pass, visit GalvestonIslandPass.com.

For more information on Galveston Island go to visitgalveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.

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