Visiting Galveston Island in the Winter

Is there really a “winter” on the island?

While we do get the occasional cold front, Galveston’s winter months are mild in temperature ranging from the upper 40s to the 60s and many locals are guilty of wearing their shorts year-round. And, what does this mean for you? It means this time of year is still a great time to visit and here’s why.

pictured: Holiday decoration in Historic Downtown Galveston

Great Coffee

While it might be trivial to some folks, finding a great spot for a hot cup of joe is critical to some when it’s chilly outside. And, Galveston now has several fun options for that coffee fix beyond Starbucks. The most popular local favorite is MOD Coffeehouse on Postoffice Street. It’s a “go-to” stop for students to study and locals to relax. Just a few blocks away, check out Galveston Coffee Roasters. And, another local pick is the Red Light Coffee Roasters on Market. Red Light Coffee Roasters is a small-batch coffee roaster that’s housed in a building that dates to 1862 and served as a bordello at one time.

Gumbo Time

Seafood should be on the menu during any visit to Galveston Island. And, during the winter months, gumbo is a must. Several locally-owned restaurants have their spin on their recipe and, of course, the roux is critical. Places that top the locals’ list for gumbo includes Maceo Spice & Import Co. on Market, Katie’s Seafood at Pier 19, Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar on Postoffice, Shrimp N’ Stuff on Ball Street and 39th and Avenue O, BLVD Seafood on the 28th and Seawall, and Bennos Cajun Seafood on 12th and Seawall. Try them all and pick your winner.

Winter Wonder Island
Lower Rates

Like many beach destinations, spring break and summer are the busiest time of year to visit Galveston Island. If you book your stay during the winter months you’re going to enjoy a lower room rate on your hotel room, vacation rental, or condo. And, generally, weekdays are always less than a weekend rate. Remember, Galveston is Houston’s playground making it a popular weekend destination for residents of the fourth largest city in the United States. Another tip is if you’re looking at a hotel, always book direct. This way, if you have a change of plans it’s much easier to rebook or cancel your stay.

Winter Wonder Island

Galveston’s major attractions are open year-round and a visit during the winter months eliminates any delay. If you’re staying downtown, the Galveston Railroad Museum is a fun stop. For history buffs, we recommend a stop at the Texas Seaport Museum, home of the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, and adjacent Pier 21 Theater. You’ll also want to tour The Bryan Museum, Bishop’s Palace, and Moody Mansion. Look for Ocean Star Offshore Oil Rig Museum at Pier 19. Further down the island is the popular Moody Gardens complex which offers a Rainforest Pyramid, Aquarium, 3D IMAX Theater, and Discovery Museum. You can easily spend a day at Moody Gardens.

Find Discounts

No Wait at Restaurants

A great meal is an essential part of any trip. And, Galveston has no shortage of delicious, locally-owned restaurants. Of course, you’ll see your favorite chains like Joe’s Crab Shack, Rainforest Cafe, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. but you’ll also be pleased with the variety of local spots. At some restaurants, like Rudy & Paco’s, owner Paco Vargas is often there to greet guests with his trademark greeting “Welcome Back Baby.” You can enjoy the view from harborfront restaurants at Pier 21 and beachfront restaurants on the Seawall with no wait for a table. And, of course, Galveston’s downtown is filled with choices.

milkshakes La King Confectionery
Winter Wonder Island
Sweet Treats

Since life is better with desserts, we thought we should share some favorites on the island including some off the beaten path. Most people know Sunflower Bakery for their breakfast and lunch menu but make sure you check out their desserts display. The lemon bars are a favorite of this author. And, just a few blocks away is Patty Cakes. While cakes are their specialty, you’ll love their scones, pies, and cupcakes. Another neighborhood choice is ShyKatz Cafe and Bakery on 15th and Avenue L. The desserts are always changing and you can even give them your recipe and they’ll make it for you. Make sure to add Gypsy Joynt on Market Street to your list. Their cakes and cookies are incredible along with the pie of the day. Lastly, if you love Mexican pastries then stop by Texas Star Bakery on 54th and Broadway.

These suggestions are just a sampling of things to do during your visit to Galveston Island. Make sure you include time to explore Galveston’s historic downtown for shopping and dining.
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Author

Christine Ruiz Hopkins Guest Blogger

Christine is a proud BOI, meaning she was “Born on the Island.” She was born and raised in Galveston and began working in the island’s tourism industry when she was 15 years old as a water slide attendant at the now-demolished Sky Rapids Water Slide at Stewart Beach.

For more than 25 years, she has worked in travel and tourism, promoting Galveston. Her tourism background makes her a bit of an expert on Galveston Island. She is the co-author of the newly released “100 Things to Do in Galveston Before You Die,” published by Reedy Press. Before the book, she has written more than 300 blogs on Galveston offering travel tips on what to see and do. Over the years, she's given hundreds of tours for visiting travel writers showcasing the sites on the island. Currently, she’s a Galveston guide for ToursByLocals.com.