Need a fresh idea for the kids? How about a place to unwind? All the reasons to visit Galveston

Sure, you’ve heard of social distancing -- but how about ‘coastal distancing?'

Inside the Galveston Railroad Museum.
Inside the Galveston Railroad Museum. (Photo provided by Galveston Island)

Can you believe 2020 is almost over?

As we inch closer toward a new year, you might be wondering what to do around town lately, especially if you’re a parent -- not to mention, all the parents who’ve had to turn into homeschool teachers over the course of the year.

If you’re looking for some fresh ideas, we have you covered. For example, once you’ve exhausted all your safe, local activities, have you considered checking out a regional destination?

Think about a place like Galveston.

Whether you’re looking for a way to liven up your kids' day-to-day routine, supplement their online learning experiences or just take a relaxing getaway, Galveston just might be the spot.

Here are some reasons why:

It’s a destination for ‘edu-tainment.'

If you want to bring history to life, you can truly make Galveston your classroom. The island is full of rich Texas history, and offers fun, educational attractions for hands-on learning.

For all those aforementioned parents who are now homeschool teachers, balancing the desire to keep kids interested and engaged with the need to continue their education can be a challenge. So why not take a “road-school” approach?

In Galveston, you can visit sites of interest and real experiences to jump-start kids' interest in state and regional history, geography and art, as well as the core curriculum subjects.

Galveston has a wealth of destinations for families who want to try this approach, including ...

The Galveston Historical Foundation

This island institution manages some of the city’s best sites.

Want to visit and board the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA? It’s a floating, sailing museum — one of only three of her kind of these ships left sailing in the world.

Or how about checking out the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, which the foundation also manages? It’s a meticulously preserved time capsule of Victorian architecture, offering educational field trips with a focus on history, math and science. Your kids will love it (and so will you!)

The Texas Seaport Museum

Home of the ELISSA, this museum also houses the Galveston Historic Seaport, which compiles immigration records from Galveston’s time as one of the main national immigration ports — second only to Ellis Island in New York City.

The Galveston Historic Seaport is home to the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA.
The Galveston Historic Seaport is home to the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA. (Photo provided by Galveston Island)

If you have children who are elementary-aged, they’ll love learning about the immigration experience during Galveston’s heyday as an immigration port, and older kids may benefit by using the foundation’s records as a jumping-off point to do family genealogy research, learning about their own roots, or tracing the journey of one of the immigrants coming through the port of Galveston.

The Bryan Museum

We’re not sure what’s cooler — the Bryan’s extensive collection of art and artifacts from the American Southwest, or the building itself, a former orphanage and a survivor of the Great Storm of 1900.

Whether you’re supplementing state history lessons by showing your “students” some artifacts from the region’s first native settlers, or viewing the Bryan’s huge, immersive Battle of the Alamo diorama, this museum offers a wonderfully immersive experience. It brings events and people to life in a way you’ve never seen.

You can even view relics from the building’s time as the Galveston Orphans Home.

Inside the Bryan Museum
Inside the Bryan Museum (Photo provided by Galveston Island)

Moody Gardens

Anyone need a dose of excitement with the science lesson of the day? The Moody Gardens pyramids just might be the ticket.

As the home to plant and animal life from Asia, Africa, and South America, as well as offering lectures and guided tours, the Gardens showcase age- and grade-appropriate content for a wide range of young scholars.

Want to go a step further?

Go to Moody Gardens' website and you’ll find a ton of supplemental activities — you know, so that some of this stuff “sticks” for science class next year.

And if you’re still thinking about all the cool history lessons you took in earlier, the Moody Mansion — another Great Storm survivor — provides a cool glimpse into what life in Galveston was like more than a century ago.

This year, students in fourth and seventh grades are admitted to the Moody Mansion free of charge in order to help with their studies in Texas history.

Self-care is incredibly important right now.

But hey, we’re not all home-schooling this fall. Not all of us have children.

Still, odds are, you’re feeling the weight of this year.

Luckily, Galveston is home to many wellness and recreation destinations where you can safely unwind and recharge. There’s something so spiritual about being near water and just hearing the waves.

When was the last time you visited Galveston?
When was the last time you visited Galveston? (Photo provided by Galveston Island)

It’s increasingly important to take care of your mind and body, especially during a tumultuous 2020.

So if you, or you and your family, are the adventurous type(s), consider learning how to stand-up paddleboard. Perhaps voyage out for some kayaking at the Coastal Heritage Preserve or go hiking in the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve. These are fun and naturally “socially distant” activities.

If you’re not feeling so ambitious, or you’re on the fence about some of those ideas, how about sunrise yoga on the beach? You could also rent a bicycle and ride through the historic districts. Or who could turn down a day at the spa? Hotel Galvez & Spa and Spa San Luis have both taken considerable safety precautions in the wake of COVID-19.

Some of these ideas are intended for the whole family, or you could venture out on a weekend date with your partner. (We’re thinking of the spa idea specifically -- a luxurious staycation for mom and dad, anyone?)

And, if you’ve discovered a newfound love for cooking in 2020, you’ll definitely want to explore one of the local seafood markets before you head home.

Regardless of what you and your family are looking for in a local destination this fall, Galveston is worth your time.

If you’ve only ever experienced the city as a beach day trip, now is the perfect opportunity to see what else the island has to offer. Finally, to anyone working remotely: You could work where you play. Galveston offers resort hotels, condominiums and more than 2,500 vacation rentals with all the comforts of home.

For more resources, or to see how else Galveston could serve as a home-schooling destination, including curriculum guides and worksheets, head to visitgalveston.com.