Galveston is Great for Family Reunions - My Family Travels

Beach house rentals on the Texas coast make a successful Galveston family reunion fun and affordable. That’s because planning and enjoying a small family reunion at many of America’s top coastal resorts is easier when there are large vacation rentals to book.

The Galveston Texas beach is empy first thing in the morning when lifeguards arrive to patrol the shore.
The Galveston beach will be empy first thing in the morning when lifeguards arrive to patrol the shore. Photo by F. Muhammad for pixabay.

Are your family members scattered between Portand, Maine and Portland, Oregon, as well as points in between? You may need to plan a get-together at one convenient location to commemorate that special birthday, anniversary or life celebration.

What’s Special About Galveston for Family Reunions

Galveston offers 32 miles of white sand beach — just 50 miles south of the fun city of Houston.

In its long and colorful history, Galveston has been an Indian burial ground, a pirate base, the world’s leading cotton port, a haven for gamblers, bootleggers and prostitutes, and now, a restored and lively Victorian-era resort town. Although much of the island was leveled in 1900 when a hurricane and tidal wave killed nearly 6,000 residents, a landmarked historic district remains.

There’s more to do in town than strolling by the many shops, galleries and restaurants on the Strand. Enjoy a trolley ride along the seawall ($1). Island Carriages runs horse-drawn carriage tours of the exceptional East End and Silk Stocking Historical districts.

Known for its temperate weather, Galveston remains a popular year-round tourist destination, with peak rates in summer and on weekends. Having said that, if you have time, by all means stay longer and explore other family-friendly destinations in Texas.

Galveston Family Attractions for a Family Reunion

Pyramid at Moody Garden, Galveston, Texas.
The discovery pyramids at Moody Gardens are full of wonders and natural science displays that will keep all ages engaged for hours. Photo c. David Mark for pixabay

Today, the busy city stretches from the beaches on Galveston Island to the fun Kemah Boardwalk with its rides, waterfront restaurants and many attractions. Head inland and call on the vineyards of Haak Winery for a tasting or an outdoor concert if you’re with older or adult children.

On the Gulf Coast, explore Galveston’s more natural side on the Bolivar Peninsula. The barrier formation is 27 miles long and separates Galveston Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. Fondly known as “The peninsula,” it is home to the Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, Caplen, Gilchrist, and High Island communities. Kids will enjoy the short ferry ride to visit the Bolivar Peninsula.

Severe weather has tested this coastal resort’s resiliency. Hurricane Ike did lots of damage in 2008. The city was finally rebuilt and things reopened more quickly after 2017’s Hurricane Harvey barreled up from the Gulf of Mexico. Hopefully, your reunion will not encounter inclement weather.

Tips for Planning Your Galveston Family Reunion House Rental

Now that you’re set on the Galveston area, keep in mind that renting a house that will accommodate several generations under one roof is very economical. Not only that, your extended family will take advantage of a house rental to spend more time together and have privacy as well.

Decide with other family members how many bedrooms and bathrooms everyone will need. (Most rental vacation homes have one or more sofabeds and roll-aways for extra kids.)

Tip: Allow as much flexibility in your rental dates as possible.

Several real estate agents I interviewed for this story mentioned that since large rental homes (5-6 bedrooms) are rare, they are often booked far in advance. However, they also mentioned that many families register their homes for rental only after the January 1st deadline each year.

That means you’ll have the most choices of rental homes if you call the recommended agents early in the year.

Combine a Cruise from Galveston with a Family Vacation Rental for a Sea and Land Reunion

Carnival cruise ship in front of warehouses at the port of Galveston, Texas.
Galveston is a popular homeport for Carnival Cruise Lines, and many Galveston family reunions start or end with a multignerational cruise. Photo by RD Law for pixabay.

Did you know that Galveston ranks #4 in popularity for U.S. cruisers? It’s also within a day’s long drive for about 30 million people, some of whom might be your relatives. That convenience makes mixing a family cruise with a land vacation a win-win for your family.

Galveston Wharves, busy almost daily, is expecting 255 sailings during 2023. The port already hosts Royal Caribbean and MSC cruise lines, in a newly upgraded terminal that uses solar power for electricity. Another terminal is being renovated for use this December by Carnival, for their new ship Carnival Jubilee. The Carnival Jubilee is the largest ship that Carnival has ever sailed from Galveston in their 20 years using it as a homeport. Its size should provide plenty of stateroom options at all price points for family members.

Expect brand new terminals in the future to cope with the expanding market at Galveston Wharves.

Galveston Family Reunion Vacation Rental Details and Resources

Galveston has many fine hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs and all sorts of vacation rentals for before or after a cruise, or as a standalone vacation. If you’re staying for at least a week or have a large group to book accommodations for, we recommend the following local agencies.

Recommended Rental Agents
Sand N’ Sea Properties: 409/797-5500
Coldwell Banker Realty Rental Homes in Galveston

Contact Visit for the latest event information so you don’t schedule your reunion on the busiest day of the year.

Five Other Beach Destinations for Family Reunions

Here are my six top beach destinations for family reunions. I chose them because they are easily reachable, have enough varied activities to please most kids, parents and grandparents. Fortunately — yet hard to predict — all offer fair weather almost year-round.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Newport Beach, California
San Diego, California
Sanibel/Captiva Islands, Florida
Virginia Beach, Virginia
• Galveston, Texas

Galveston not right for you? Once you’ve reviewed the “virtues” of each of my favorite destinations, discuss them with other family members. You have to determine how convenient they will be for all parties, and decide whether you’re heading East or West. Let us know where you decide to go in the Comment field below!

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2 Replies to “Galveston is Great for Family Reunions”

  • Celeste Hedequist

    Galveston is a great place for family reunions. If you’re looking for a fun and affordable place to host your family reunion, Galveston is definitely worth considering!

  • Hotelier Syl

    The article on My Family Travels about Galveston being a great destination for family reunions is informative and inspiring. It highlights the various attractions and activities in Galveston that make it an ideal choice for bringing families together. From the beautiful beaches and historic sites to the family-friendly accommodations and dining options, Galveston offers something for everyone. The article also provides practical tips and suggestions for planning a successful family reunion, including recommendations for group activities and accommodations. The personal anecdotes and experiences shared by the author add a relatable touch and make the article engaging to read. If you’re considering organizing a family reunion, this article will certainly give you valuable insights and ideas for creating memorable moments with your loved ones in Galveston.