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Things to Do in Galveston: Before or After Your Cruise

Think you need to live on the East or West Coast to be close to a cruise ship departure port? Think again! Carnival offers several wonderful cruises that set sail from Galveston, Texas, in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. From Galveston, you can cruise to several destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and even the Panama Canal.

 carnival triumph docked in galveston texas

Although the main attraction will be your cruise vacation, why not take some additional time to extend your trip and experience all that this fun-loving Texas town has to offer? Whether you choose to arrive a day early or spend the night in Galveston after you disembark, you’re sure to enjoy your time in this laid-back resort community.

Where to Shop

If you’ve forgotten the sunscreen or are hoping to grab a new bathing suit before your cruise from Galveston, you’re in luck. This mid-size city has plenty of places to shop. You’ll find lots of beach-themed shops for souvenirs along the water on Seawall Boulevard as well as gifts and unique, local boutiques.

harbor in galveston

Downtown Galveston also features blocks of walkable shops, including some great antique stores that are perfect for browsing through treasures. Galveston is an island, but back on the mainland, you’ll find outlet malls along I-45 if you’re in the mood for some heavy-duty bargain hunting or retail therapy before or after your trip.

What to Eat

It would be a shame to travel to Galveston and miss out on your chance to eat boatloads of fresh, local seafood. Fortunately, area restaurants have you covered. You’ll find all your favorite fish and shellfish prepared any way you like, and you can’t go wrong with the catch of the day or famous Gulf shrimp.

: street vendor hands making tex mex tacos

Not into seafood? No worries! Galveston’s other major cuisine is Tex-Mex, and sampling a plate of tacos or a stuffed burrito is a must-do on any foodie’s list when it comes to eating in the Lone Star State. These hearty dishes will add some spice to your life — with or without added hot sauce.

What to See and Do

Galveston has a long history as a beach resort, and it presents a charming combination of sun, sand and sightseeing to cap off a weekend getaway at the beginning or end of your family cruise.

Postoffice Street Art Galleries

Galveston’s art scene is alive and well, and you can take in a wide range of painting, photography and sculpture in the Postoffice Street arts district. You’ll get a look at some up-and-comers, as well as established artists.

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

No American beach resort town would be complete without a waterside park, and Galveston’s is a landmark. Classic carnival-style rides — including a Ferris wheel and roller coaster — overlook the refreshing water. You can also eat all the ice cream and cotton candy you want, try your hand at the midway games, or duck into some shops to beat the heat.

pleasure pier at galveston island

Seawolf Park

This low-key park features a playground and lovely picnic areas. It’s the site of a former immigration entry point, and it still houses some old Navy ships. There’s the U.S.S. Cavalla, a submarine, and a destroyer escort, the U.S.S. Stewart. You can take a tour of these ships to get a sense of what it took to be a seaman in wartime, or you can pack a picnic and just enjoy the sun and scenery.

Seawall Urban Park

If you can never get enough fun in the sun, you can always squeeze in an extra beach day during your stay in Galveston! Simply cross Seawall Boulevard to step down onto the soft sands that lie beyond the country’s longest continuous sidewalk. You can sunbathe, wade into the water, or just people-watch to your heart’s content.

woman journals as she lays on the beach

No matter what your taste, there’s something in Galveston that’s sure to appeal to your sense of adventure. The sheer variety of restaurants and activities makes this port of call one to enjoy, so be sure to take your time to explore before or after your Carnival cruise!