View of church steeple, rooftops and Gulf in the distance.This year’s family spring trip was to Galveston, Texas for Easter weekend. This is roughly a 5-hour drive from home, so we enjoyed two full days and three nights on the island. This was be our first pleasure trip into Texas as a family. We found an Air B&B cottage next to Galveston’s “Silk Stocking” district, midway between the beach and downtown. The rental is pet-friendly and has a fenced backyard so our dog Woody traveled with us. He enjoyed walks around the neighborhood and exploring Kempner Park just two blocks away. Considering the city’s maritime past, there are lots of connections to New Orleans and south Louisiana. We found many things familiar, but also discovered many new and interesting characteristics that truly set Galveston apart.

Trip Prep 

Once we settled on Galveston as our destination, I started searching for library books, reading travel blogs, and listening to Galveston-related podcasts. I found some real jewels which I’ll share here. Using these resources, and after reserving our accommodations, I built a web-map of attractions we may wish to see during our stay. The points on this map are pulled from a Google Sheet, as I’ve created for previous trips to Nassau Bahamas, to Burnsville NC, and a wish list of campgrounds in Texas. I like these maps because they are geographically specific, enabling us to make efficient use of our vacation time. The information is always available on our cellphones and we can share with friends and family. By now you’ve guessed that as an urban planner I like learning about the history of places and people.

View my Interactive Map


  • Red = our accommodations
  • Blue = historic or cultural attraction
  • Green = park or outdoor attraction
  • Orange = eateries

Tourist Attractions Map

Researching History & Culture 

1904 map of Galveston Tourism and history information about Galveston was easy to find online, and I soon found myself listening to J.R. Shaw’s Galveston Unscripted podcasts. Beginning in 2021, Shaw has dozens of episodes, and his guests have deep knowledge of various aspects of the island’s history, architecture, and attractions. The interviews tend to last 40 to 50 minutes. J.R. has created a free resource of self-guided audio tour recordings, most lasting no more than 8 minutes and these are displayed as pin points on a map. I borrowed from J.R.’s technique, creating my own pin map of Galveston island attractions that are of interest to me, and linking each to websites or audio podcasts with more information. Galveston Unscripted was inspired by podcast interviews by a mentor at during the early 2000’s. (I’ve not been able to locate the repository of these older podcasts which Shaw mentioned during one of his GU shows.) has its own set of resources for visitors including a blogs section, a self-guided tour section and more. The site seems to have loads of free content, but on the whole the website seems to load slowly, which I find off-putting.

I searched my local library system here in Louisiana, but despite Galveston’s proximity, I was surprised to find almost no history or travel guide books aside from one children’s book.

S.I.T. is the Seawall Interpretive Trail consisting of 70 concrete benches – formerly plain and ugly – now decorated with colorful tile mosaic artwork.

Getting Around 

Our accommodations are two blocks from the trolley line on Rosenberg Ave. (25th Street) which links us both to the seawall beach at Pleasure Pier and also to The Strand and Seaport area downtown. A second trolley route runs for miles up and down Seawall Blvd. I doubt the trolleys will be dog-friendly, so we’ll likely be driving everywhere. Regrettably, we did not get an opportunity to ride the trolly.

Trip Recap 

All agreed that our family trip to Galveston was terrific. The lodging was wonderful in comfort, cleanliness, peacefulness and in location. The weather was what should be expected in spring: not hot, but generally overcast and windy. Fortunately our intent was to experience the area’s architecture, culture, history, food…and sure, to walk on the beach a bit. We achieved all of these things, wishing we had time for more.

The Air B&B House 

Our Air B&B Our recently renovated Air B&B cottage was perfect for us. Master bedroom was spacious and comfortable. Fold-put beds for the boys were adequate, not a “real” mattress but still better than the old pull-out sofa. Kitchen and baths were clean and adequately stocked. Fenced yard was great for our dog, and the host did not impose an additional pet fee. We enjoyed meals at the backyard table and played cornhole. There is a gas grill, but we didn’t get a chance to use it. Televisions were of course there, but there was no subscription programming (one was connected to an OTA antenna for poor reception of a few local channels.) I recommend guests bring a TV streaming stick or connect a laptop via HDMI as we did to utilize our own streaming service accounts.

Silk Stocking District Home Our lodging was just one block west of the Silk Stocking District featuring a collection of historic and ritzy homes, and also near the high school football stadium, Kepner Park and two icons of community history the first “colored high school” and what is believed to be the first AME Church in the state. Walks with my dog around the neighborhood and to the park and back were scenic and enjoyable.

Galveston Beach 

We visited Seawall Beach briefly on several days. The weather was sunny and warmest on our arrival day and the beach was active with people though not crowded. Parallel parking along the seawall requires hourly payment via app. Some free parking exists in parallel spaces across the street, but surface lots are paid parking also. We enjoyed walking along the beach and out onto the rock groins, and we dipped our toes into the water but being late March it was still quite cold. Cloud cover was prevalant on subsequent days and the wind picked up even more so beach activities were curtailed.

Pleasure Pier We did enjoy Pleasure Pier for several hours on our second day in Galveston. The boys enjoyed many of the rides, dad rode a few (too many), and we all got soaked riding the log flume on our last ride. We walked home wet. I did ride the Texas Star Flyer which swings riders around 200 feet in the air. I was fine while it was rotating slowly, but as it sped up and centrifugal forces came into play old dad got uncomfortable, a feeling made worse when I looked down to see the top of the Ferris wheel…

Historic Downtown 

Walking, window shopping and eating at a restaurant in The Strand downtown area was enjoyed by all of us. The architecture and historic markers were beautiful and interesting, highlighting the street’s history as “the Wall Street of the Southwest.” Views of Galveston harbor included the Mosquito Fleet of shrimp boats from our patio table at Katie’s Seafood restaurant. We saw dolphins swimming through the harbor and sculpture along our walk. The boys especially enjoyed the free arcade upstairs of the axe throwing establishment. Playing most of the games really was free! Lunch one day at the outdoor Brewchachos Tex-Mex restaurant was fun and delicious, though quite spicy.

The Strand historic building

On subsequent days we did more walking downtown and driving through the East End Historic District enjoying the views of grand historic homes. Most of the churches in downtown Galveston were spectacular also. Of particular note were the multiple buildings designed by noted architect Nicholas Clayton including “Old Red” medical college, First Presbyterian, Bishop’s Palace, St. Patrick’s Catholic, Hutchings & Sealy Buildings, and many others.

The only “museum” we got to visit was the free exhibits on the top floor of the public library. They were quite interesting, recapping the devastation of the 1900 hurricane and showcasing area politicians and socialites. My wife and I toured this Saturday morning as our sons continued to sleep… I hated that we missed the Bryan Museum of Texas History, but it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and of course Easter Sunday.

Bolivar Ferry 

Bolivar ferryWe exited I-10 at Winnie and proceeded down to the coast to enjoy the scenic drive down the Bolivar Peninsula through Crystal Beach to the ferry. Though windy, at least the day was mostly sunny and we enjoyed the ferry ride (no toll either direction) across the ship channel to Galveston. This was a first for our sons. On the return trip home we stuck to the mainland route which saved about 30 minutes though tolls were incurred.

The Food 

Seafood was enjoyed twice (at Shrimp N Stuff and Katie’s) and Tex-Mex once during our holiday in Galveston. The Air B&B’s kitchen allowed us to enjoy a leisure breakfast each morning. We purchased some steaks at the Kroger intending to grill them in “our” backyard, but ended up eating such a large and late lunch that day that we simply weren’t hungry so the steaks came home with us in the cooler.

Kepner Park One afternoon mom crafted a delicious charcuterie board of cold-cuts, cheeses, crackers and fruit which were purchased at Kroger. We carried this with us as we walked two blocks to Kepner Park where we dined on a picnic table under the shady oaks and played cards. Our dog of course joined us and was well behaved, though he did keep an eye on some squirrels and noisy grackles.

The above and additional photos from our trip are provided in the gallery format below where you can click to enlarge and zoom in.