Think a beach vacation isn’t in your budget? Think again. Limited funds or not-you can still squeeze in a great Galveston vacation on a tight budget thanks to the long list of cheap or free attractions and the hidden savings in lodging around town.
Lodging that Won’t Break the Bank
Hotel costs take the biggest bite out of your vacation funds but a little pre-planning can ensure that you get the most for your money. For instant savings, book your lodging through Galveston.com. In addition to receiving discounts and savings on your hotel, you will be sent coupons valued at over $500 to use at area attractions, restaurants and shops. It’s a win-win. For even more hotel savings, consider booking a mid-week getaway. Not only will you save money each night, but you will also enjoy lighter crowds at beaches and attractions.
Savvy budget travelers know to look outside the box when shopping for the best deals and that includes lodging options other than hotels. Vacation rental sites like Homeaway are ideal for families looking to save money and have room to spread out. Most homes and condos will also feature full kitchens, so you can plan to cook your meals at home and save on eating out.
For the best deal on lodging on the island, pack your tents and head to Galveston Island State Park. Premium beach sites with water and electricity are only $25 per night, plus a $5 entrance fee for anyone over 12. Imagine falling asleep at night with the sound of the waves as your lullaby and waking up to the sun rising over the beach. What you give up in luxury, you will gain in outstanding views and fun camping memories.
Activities That Are Easy on the Pocketbook
The quick and easy way to save money on activities in Galveston is to purchase a Galveston Island Pass. Passes are available exclusively at GalvestonIslandPass.com and offer up to 40% off when you choose to visit four or more popular attractions like Moody Gardens or the Galveston Railroad Museum. Best of all, you are able to handpick the attractions that appeal to your family and the more you choose, the greater your savings.
Galveston also offers a long list of activities that are low cost or completely free of charge.
- Ride the Ferry. The ferry is free to ride for both foot passengers and vehicles. If you are staying in Galveston, you can park at the terminal and take the roundtrip ride while the kids enjoy feeding the seagulls and watch the pods of dolphins that play in the wake of the boat.
- Galveston Tree Sculpture Tour. Hurricane Ike destroyed many homes and landscapes in 2008, but it did not destroy the spirit of hope in the residents of the East End Historic District. With the artistic eye of area sculptors, damaged trees were transformed into 30+ creative and whimsical sculptures. Pick up a guide to the trail at the Visitor’s Center and set out to hunt for the sculptures that are tucked into gardens and side yards of the historic homes.
- Movies, Music and More on the Strand. The Strand, Galveston’s famed tourist avenue was onlce known as the Wall Street of the Southwest. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its outstanding collection of 19th century architecture, today The Strand is the heart of downtown offering shopping, dining, museums, entertainment, accommodations and nightlife. It is also an ideal location for free family fun. Saegnerfest Park at 23rd and Strand is a courtyard that is home to a life-sized chess set and the site for frequent live performances and movies under the stars. Grab your blankets and chairs for a free family friendly movie on the first Saturday of every month. Live concerts are performed from 6 pm to 9 pm on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.
- Spend the Day at Seawolf Park. Seawolf Park is best known for the WWII submarine and destroyer escort that are berthed in the harbor, but there is so much more inexpensive family fun to be had in the park. A fishing pier, playground and picnic area make this ideal location to spend the entire day. Tickets to the USS Cavalla submarine and USS Stewart destroyer are just $5 for adults and $2 for children. Fishing is $6 for adults and $3 for children.
- Visit the Long List of Museums. Galveston has no shortage of museums, and many of them have very low admission costs. Downtown near the Strand is home to the Galveston Railroad Museum, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, Pier 21 Theatre, Texas Seaport Museum and Tall Ship Elissa, and Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast. These museums range in price from $2 to $8.
- Get back to nature at Galveston Island State Park. Outdoor activities are plentiful and free at the state park where a $5 for ages 12 and up will buy you a ticket to a variety of happenings. Families can enjoy kayaking tours, bird walks, fishing clinics, and other educational events.
- See a live demonstration. Kids are fascinated by the way things work, and can get a good glimpse of the action a two area locations. La King’s Confectionary offers daily salt water taffy making demonstrations on their equipment that has been used for over a century. Bomdiggidy Glass Gallery also offers free daily glass blowing demonstrations.
- Spend the day on the beach. Galveston’s Seawall Beach includes the longest continuous sidewalk in America, and that means there is plenty of room for free beach fun. Stroll along the seawall or grab a game of beach volleyball. Play in the sand and surf, or challenge your family to a sandcastle building contest. If you time it right, you can catch a breathtaking sunset over the ocean, a Galveston feature that is completely free every single day of the year.
To learn more about the budget-friendly options in Galveston, visit www.galveston.com to find links for lodging, special events and more attraction details.