Galveston was a little different than what we expected. I pictured an island like Siesta Key, FL and it turned out to be more like Bradenton, FL. Maybe it was the fact that most of the attractions were closed due to the off season or the refineries and ports dotting the horizon, but it seemed more of an industrial town than a tourist attraction. That being said, we did have a good time and have some great memories of Galveston.
The 3.5 hour drive form Lake Charles, LA to Galveston was unremarkable with the exception of our arrival. As we crossed over onto the island we ran into a wall of fog which we found out was fairly typical for that time of the year. It was spooky-foggy a couple of mornings during our stay but it burned off in the late mornings. The RV park was located on the bay-side so we were 30 feet or so from water. It was a pretty view but quite windy most of the time.
We immediately setup camp and headed downtown to see the things that were there to see. The twilight drive made the town look a little dreary and all of the ports and grain towers didn't help either. However, it was actually really nice.
Downtown (Strand St.) is about 5-10 blocks long interspersed with t-shirt shops and cool little stores. We happened across Brews Brothers (actually I found it on Yelp!) which only sold craft beers and some bar food. Kids were welcome so we indulged in a bunch of craft beer and some really good burgers and BBQ. Cathy found a new love... a tall-boy grapefruit shandy called Stiegl Radler. It was quite tasty! Afterwards we walked around Strand and noticed there were construction barricades and no parking signs littered about. We asked around and found out that the annual Dickens on The Strand festival was that weekend. It's billed as a "Victorian Holiday Festival" but more like an upscale Halloween for a adults. The hotels and RV parks were full of people dressed in garb from the 1850's. It was getting late by that time so we headed home and got the kids into bed.
Friday was a big school & work day trying to finish off the week. Hali and Lexi fished for awhile (she even caught a tiny fish with a lure). My new Mac had died so I dropped it off at the FedEx store before we headed to dinner at the pier. Dinner was really tasty but a little pricey for our tastes. It was the touristy part of town.
Afterwards we walked across the street again and back down the Stand. They were setting up for the festival and everything was free that night. So we walked about the vendor booths, talked with people dressed in costumes and listened to an ancient English folk band for awhile. By the time we bought some over-priced ice cream, it was getting late and chilly so we headed back home.
Cathy decided that Saturday would be a "lazy day" so we didn't plan anything. We had tried to book a couple of spots on a group fishing boat but there were not enough people so they cancelled both trips that weekend. So Hali and I got up Saturday morning and we ran around the corner and bought her a bunch of shrimp to fish with. I'm not sure why, but she only ended up fishing for 30 minutes or so. Much shorter than the 2 hours she fished the day before using only a lure! We sat around most of the day letting the kids play on the playground while we read and did other stuff that you'd do if you had a house.
Around 3pm or so I'd had enough of doing nothing and decided that we needed to do something. So we piled into the Jeep and just drove around the Galveston "strip" on the beach called the "sea-wall". Their beach runs 10 or more miles so it was quite a drive down the western part of the island.
Watch the video of us driving go-karts.
Since I was bored, I decided that the kids should drive some go-karts (they looked awesome!) so when we passed one I did a u-turn and we pulled in. Luckily the place was deserted so we had the track to ourselves. I rode with Lexi while Hali and Kira had their own karts. We were absolutely amazed with how well Kira did. It was like she'd been driving her entire life. She hit very few track corners and was speeding most of the time. It was so much fun that we decided to buy another go-around, this time Mom drove with Lexi while Kira and I shared one. Hali beat us both times! I immediately regretted my comment to let her drive the Jeep when she gets older.
After go-karts we went across the street for dinner at Jimmy's on the Pier. We had a cool waiter that liked the girls a lot and gave us a bunch of tips on what to do and see. They had a bunch of local beers and some really good food. Plus it was on a pier!!
Sunday was big day for us. One of my work friends, Geraldine, lives in Houston and invited us to spend the afternoon with her and her husband, Brian. She highly recommended the Children's Museum of Houston so we met them there at 2pm. Everyone had an absolute blast! It was such a great place for the kids and we only left when they were in desperate need of food. They were so busy that they even skipped snack and that never happens!
The had interactive science & chemistry exhibits, mechanical water fountains, cultural wings (Korean music, food and dress-up clothes), playgrounds and even pictures with the Grinch. However, their favorite was "Kidopolis", a kid-sized, hand-on "work land". This was an entire wing devoted to careers where kids could work in city government, be a TV reporter, drive an ambulance, work in a restaurant or a grocery store. The would get a Bank of America debit card (they were a sponsor of course) where they could deposit their paychecks they earned (they could just pick them off the walls) and buy extremely realistic foods from the grocery store. We literally had to drag the girls out after an hour or so and they almost talked us into letting them go back after we'd seen most of the museum. It was great time!! Check out the tons of great pictures in the gallery below
For dinner we went with Geraldine and Brian to a little pizza place before heading downtown to a park where they had light exhibits, ice skating and some sort of cultural festival. After a long day, we dragged ourselves back to the jeep for the hour drive back home and to bed.
Not much to say about Monday except that we found the coolest restaurant, Brick House Tavern + Tap on the east side of the island. It was like a cross between Cheers and a man-cave. They have one in San Antonio and we are definitely going to hit it.
Dates: December 4th - December 9th
RV Park: Bayou Shores RV Resort, Galveston, TX