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Galveston in January
Why it is a great time of year to go, and things to do!
I never thought I would like Texas, and had no real desire to travel there. My first time staying in Texas changed my mind quickly! We decided to visit Galveston during January of 2015. At that time of year in PA we were used to 20 degree temps and lots of snow. The 65-75 weather in Galveston felt wonderful to us! I could get away with a t-shirt and jeans or capris the whole time we were there!
This time of year is a very low tourist season in Galveston. We felt like we were the only ones at our resort, and never had to wait to get into any attractions. It just so happened to be restaurant week when we went. Even still we never had trouble getting reservations or slow service at restaurants. The only downside is not as many touristy attractions were opened, but those were mostly just the water parks anyway which we were not interested in. Even with a few things closed, there is plenty to do whether as a couple or with children.
Where we stayed
We found a new, amazing resort to stay at thru Booking.com. I went through Booking.com because they seemed to have the best selection of resorts for that area, and Booking.com guarantees the best prices for any type of property and no booking fees!
We chose a Holiday Inn Club Vacations Beach Resort, right on the beach (NOT bay side – ocean side!), just outside of town. It was the perfect location – far enough away from the more populated resort area in town to be completely peaceful. The resort had a huge outdoor pool and hot tub. The only downside was there were no restaurants or activities. It was more like a big, fancier hotel with all suites. The big plus was that it was right on the beach, and gave fabulous views of both the water and the gorgeous Texas sunsets.
I was a little nervous as it grew closer to our trip about the fact that it was a Holiday Inn. I was not sure what we were really getting for only a little over $100 a night even though we chose a “King Suite.” However, as soon as we opened the door we Could not believe how roomy our suite was! It was the size of a small apartment, with it’s own private balcony facing the beach. We had a complete kitchen, living room with dining space, a HUGE bathroom with both a stand-up shower and separate jacuzzi tub, and a nice big bedroom with a closet. I would say we got quite the deal money-wise! In the photos, our room was in the half of the resort that comes out a little further on the right, about 3 floors up.
Things to do
While you might not want to get into the gulf water at this time of the year, we did not mind the outdoor hot tub. My husband did try the pool one warmer evening too. Even if you do not want to brave water activities, there are still many things you can do in Galveston in January. Here are some of our adventures:
With the sandy beach areas being a spacious, good size (as they do say, “things are bigger in Texas!”), we had plenty of room to fly our big kite. The breeze from the water and weather we had made our kite soar beautifully. We flew it on the beach at our resort, as well as in Surfside. *We also thought it was totally cool you can drive ON the beaches there!
Long romantic walks on the beach
We also enjoyed many pretty walks on the beach during both sunset and sunrise. During our walks, we noticed there were many seashells. We could not get over how big the seashells we found were.
One of the things we did in town was take a tour through Bishop’s Palace. If you like amazing architecture, you will love walking through the dramatic rooms in this Victorian Style house from 1892.
Just before our trip started I surprised my husband with a Groupon for fishing on “Pier 65.” This is one of the piers located on the coast towards the middle of town. The fishermen at the pier said it was not the best day for fishing, but since my husband was anxious to use his Groupon we tried anyway. While he used his fishing pass I wandered around and took photos. There were some neat birds to spot, and a nice view of the coastline. Something else I might suggest that we did not try is “Pleasure Pier” not far from Pier 65. It is known as a fun activity for families since it features rides and amusements.
Explore the surrounding areas
Only about an hour directly South down the coast from Galveston was Surfside Beach. The real reason we drove to this area was because I set us up with a guided horse ride on the beach, and this is where they
wanted us to meet them. We arrived in the area earlier than planned, and hoped to get breakfast. There was not much around, but boy, did it turn into an adventure! We saw a little shack with a sign that advertised breakfast, so we stopped to see what was offered. We went in and realized it was a Surf Shop that was also a church, and did have a few small dining booths. Bingo’s Surf Shop was something we never seen before! Bingo himself gave us a tour, and told us many stories of his adventures surfing in competitions around the world.
The adventures didn’t stop there! We found the spot we were supposed to meet our horses, but were still early so we decided to fly our kite on the beach. There was hardly anyone there, but we did notice for the first time than you are allowed to drive ON the beach! We thought this was pretty cool. So there we were, flying our kite with our car pulled up near the water…..
Horse rides on the beach
Finally, our horses arrived. We had a lovely, over 2 hour ride up and down the coast. While we rode, we saw dolphins swimming along in the water! It was my favorite part of the whole trip!
We like to explore antique malls and thrift stores, and Galveston has plenty of those! We came across a big one, “Antique Warehouse,” in the middle of town. This antique mall was 2 story highs, and had many rooms full of all kinds of items. It had a unique history of being a brothel back in the day.
Our last day in Galveston turned out to be the only rainy day, with some serious fog in the morning. Made for a creepy backdrop as we explored a WWII submarine and battleship at Seawolf Park. Seawolf park does offer picnic and fishing areas, but we were there to explore the WWII stuff which my husband is really into. At an affordable $10 per person, we climbed through the WWII submarine, the USS Cavalla, and one of only three destroyer escorts in the world, the USS Stewart. There were also memorial walkways dedicated to fallen WWII Navy members around the sub and ship.
Galveston boasts of many different restaurants and fast-food joints. Of course being on the coast of Texas the Seafood selection is fresh and plenty. It just so happened that it was “restaurant week” while we were there. Restaurant week, or weeks, usually takes up almost the entire month of January (this year being the 6th-21st). During this week many of the restaurants offer meals at a discount. We decided to take advantage of this one evening, and have a date night out at a fine-dining restaurant recommend throughout the week by locals we met. Fisherman’s Wharf is well-known for it’s seafood. It sits right on the edge of the bay, and has a gorgeous view. We enjoyed watching the pelicans and dolphins in the bay as we ate. I wish I took more photos!
We also enjoyed the Mexican cuisine. I highly recommend Tortuga Mexican Kitchen.
As mentioned, these are very few of many things you could do around Galveston in January. Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, or just a warm escape from winter weather, we highly recommend Galveston.
Thank you for reading!