UPDATE 2017: This post has been updated for Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston. The IronKids Fun Run is on Saturday, April 1 at 10 am at the large white tent near transition. You can register on site on Friday from 12 – 7pm and Saturday from 8 – 9:30am. If you also need places to eat, be sure to check out this article filled with our favorites.

what are some fun things to do in galveston

Galveston is one of our favorite family destinations, so it’s a great venue for an Ironman 70.3, especially if you’re traveling with kids in tow. Not only is there so much to do, but is it a great spectator race to boot. I lived in Texas for quite a few years, so am writing from personal experience. We have been to Galveston many times and always have a great time. I’m sure you will, too.

First and foremost, there are the beaches! Great for walks, splashing around, relaxing, and sand castle building. Try East Beach – one of the best known – Galveston Island State Park, Palm Beach at Moody Gardens, or StewartBeach.

what to do on galveston island

Sunrise on Galveston Island. Photo credit Galveston Island Tourism.

But, if you don’t feel like heading to the beach, there is really no reason to leave the race site area. Here are some options:

  • If you are staying at Moody Gardens Hotel, they have a spa, golf, pool, and lots of activities on site.
  • The Ironman Village and surrounding area is packed full of family fun.
  • If you have kids age 3-15, don’t miss the Ironkids Fun Run on Saturday, April 9, at 10AM. There is on site registration or you can register on line. It’s a great event to make the kids feel a part of the action.
  • Then there is Moody Gardens! It is a bit of a pricy ticket, but well worth it no matter what age kids you have. An all-attraction pass can be bought on line at a discount. Attractions include:
    • the Aquarium Pyramid, which is a 1.5 million gallon aquarium teeming with creatures from around the world
    • the Rainforest Pyramid, which includes an up close and interactive experience with endangered plants and animals, including my favorite, the Amazon River Otter
    • then, there are a variety of theatre experiences including MG 3D, 4D Special FX and Ride film theatre.
    • the Thirst Pyramid houses the Discovery Museum which has visiting exhibits. Now on exhibit is “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah”.
    • Your all day pass also will also get you out on the water on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.
Moody Gardens and the Pyramids in Galveston

A view of Moody Gardens and the Pyramids.

  • Right across the parking lot from Moody Gardens is Schlitterbahn Indoor WaterPark. There is something for everyone here and good for some family fun.

    GAL3photo 3

    Schlitterbahn Indoor Waterpark.

  • If you do venture to other parts of Galveston Island, you will be glad you did. Downtown Galveston has wonderful restaurants and great shopping. You will find antique shops and fine shopping both in the downtown area and around the corner in the sea wall area. Galveston also has a unique historical story and beautiful buildings to visit. We recommend starting at the Visitors Center to pick up a map and start exploring from there.

    are there fun things to do in downtown galveston

    A view of downtown Galveston.

  • Finally, no trip to Galveston is complete without a trip to Pleasure Pier. A full on beach waterfront pier. You will find traditional beach rides, midway games, and food.
what to do on galveston island

A view of the pier. Photo credit Galveston Island Tourism.

So, there you have it. This should keep you plenty busy before and after the race. You can also check out a few other suggestions from our friend and resident Texas expert, Rebecca Darling of R We There Yet Mom. Have a great time and enjoy Galveston and the race!!