The final day of our Spring Break trip was a drive to the sunny beaches of Galveston. The only problem we encountered, however, was a very cold, overcast blustery day!
It had been years since we’d been to Galveston, before the hurricanes that have ravaged the area in the last few years. When our children were young, we had taken a trip and stayed at The Flagship Inn, which was built on piers over the water. All that’s left of the hotel is a skeleton now, but we enjoyed our stroll down memory lane anyway.
The beaches on the east side of Galveston Island were overflowing with Spring Breakers. If anyone had asked “Where the Boys Are,” the east side would have been the answer!
We chose to go to the west side beach in hopes of having a more kid-friendly environment. We went to the state park beach, bought a day pass, then returned to a commercial area and bought some souvenirs (mainly blankets!). We returned to the beach and found a nice area near a (clean!) restroom building that wasn’t at all crowded.
After the sandcastle was carefully enclosed in a wall of sand columns, we convinced the boys they were hungry and headed back to find a restaurant. Salsas gave us hearty Mexican food, and with full tummies and a few souvenir T-shirts, we headed back to Houston, a fun if chilly day to end our vacation.
One day of our Spring Break trip was spent at Kemah Boardwalk, between Houston and Galveston. As we planned our trip and researched things to do in the Houston area, this was one that stood out. Covering 42 acres, it is packed with things to do for all ages, and the weather was absolutely perfect the day that we were there.
The focus of Kemah Boardwalk is the numerous rides if affords. One price for anyone at least 48” tall ($19.95) gives a wristband that permits the wearer to access all rides, from the iconic Ferris wheel to the “Inverter” to the “Drop Zone” – a 140-foot slow rise/sudden drop ride. For those younger ones who are shorter than 48” there is a $14.95 wristband. There are a number of rides for “the little people,” like a beautiful carousel, a mini-Ferris wheel, and the Boardwalk Bouncer. There is also a 10-minute train ride around the park that all can enjoy.
Kemah Boardwalk isn’t just an amusement park, however. It also includes games and caricaturists, sidewalk entertainers and a number of shops. Whether looking for clothes or Christmas decorations or home décor or gifts, the shoppers should be able to find something to affect the wallet!
The Kemah Boardwalk Inn offers 52 rooms for those who might like to take advantage of the area overnight.
And for those who rate their destinations by the cuisine offered, Kemah won’t disappoint. There are chain restaurants, like Saltgrass Steak House, Joe’s Crab Shack and Landry’s Seafood, and the Lighthouse Buffet and RED, a sushi and hibachi grill.
We opted for the excellent food at the Aquarium. It has a staircase from the ground floor to the upper level restaurant that wraps around a floor-to-ceiling circular aquarium, plus there are other aquariums filled with sharks and coral and eels and many kinds of fish.
There is also a Stingray Reef area on the ground floor that visitors can walk through (for an additional price) to touch and feed stingrays and see piranhas, tarantulas, and more!
Can you tell we loved the Kemah Boardwalk day? Everyone was tired and happy at the end of the day – and ready to go again on a future trip!
The many displays, ranging from astronauts’ suits to the inside of a space capsule, exercise equipment to flight simulators, fascinated all of us, regardless of age. We tried on astronaut’s helmets and learned about the various space missions, tried out a simulator and browsed through the gift shop.Several movies were available to watch, and live shows in the cafeteria kept everyone entertained. Sponge Bob was there, and a huge yellow python got “up close and personal”! There was also a diving show outside the cafeteria, with talented penguin-dressed high divers.
The lines for special displays and the tram tour of Johnson Space Center were exceptionally long, but we hope to return for a follow-up visit when it is NOT a vacation time for Texas schoolchildren! Everyone really enjoyed the day in spite of the crowds and deemed it a definitely-worthwhile trip.