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Beautiful sunrise view from the Galveston Beach house.

A beachy time in Galveston with kids

If anything competes with adventuring in our motorhome, it’s renting a fun house in a new location with our framily. There’s a special kind of bond that comes from watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee and the first kid awake, pickup Uno games at all times of the day and staying up late telling stories and laughing until cheeks hurt that can only be forged on a getaway.

Beach vacations are the best with kids!

While the whole premise of this site is “Why vacation when you can adventure?”, I totally understand sometimes parents just need to relax. For my money, beach houses are one of the best ways to get a little respite if you have young children. Digging in the sand and running through the waves wears out even double-digit kids.

Sunrise view from beach house
Sunrise view of the yard ready for little feet and the beach beyond.

Sun soaked babies often enjoy a movie or rest time in the afternoon resulting in relaxation for parentals! Adults get time to visit during the day and everyone in the house gets a long restful night of sleep. We also enjoy being able to eat several meals at the house since going out to eat is expensive and waits for groups of 12 are typically long.

people sitting on beach
Adults enjoying some beach time while the kids watch an afternoon movie.

As a sandbar island on the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston has weathered some of the most tremendous hurricanes in recorded history, so the architecture of oceanfront property is engineered to withstand extreme storm surges and 150+ mph winds. We knew from the pictures that the house was elevated on large pilons to limit flood damage. What we didn’t realize, was that the lack of a solid foundation meant the house sways in the intense on and off shore winds. So if you’re staying in a stilted beach house on a windy day, you’re not loosing your mind, it really is moving!

beach house
Our adorable beach house on Stavanger Beach.

Another fun tidbit we gleaned from the neighbor is that the grassy area between the houses and the beach is more than just erosion and storm surge protection. It’s actually an entire ecosystem full of beautiful plants, small animals including bunnies and… rattlesnakes! So stay on the paths, have the kiddos keep a wide birth and don’t go in after lost items.

sunrise peaking through walkway to beach
Make sure to stay on the bridges over the grass.

Last piece of advice is that these houses are pretty far from the water, and even farther at low tide. Make sure you use the restroom and have your supplies before you head down then make every trip back up to the house count!

beach houses in galveston
Houses are pretty far from the actual beach, so make sure you have a full cooler before heading down to the water.

Science Alert: Toes in the sand

Thirty-three rivers terminate in the Gulf of Mexico including 41% of all watershed from the lower 48 United States! Huge amounts of sediment are carried down monster rivers like the Mississippi and Rio Grande as they cover thousands of miles, making the sand on the beaches of Galveston so fine it looks like mud and feels like ooblek.

Boy making snail trail in beach sand on Galveston Island
Human snail trails in the mud-like sand.

The dry sand is light and airy, perfect for digging large holes. The damp sand is firm to the step, but is a little too fine to make impressive and detailed structures. It’s the perfect consistency for easy walking so make sure to enjoy a fabulous stroll at least once. The super wet sand was perfect for making snail slime trails and mud slip-n-sliding, which might seem pretty gross… but it’s literally just sand! On that note, a house with an outside shower is super useful if your hooligans want the full Gulf sand experience:)

kids digging in beach sand
Digging holes is priority #1.

If hanging ten on huge waves is your goal, the Gulf is not your huckleberry. The gentle slope of the continental shelf yields low rolling surf perfect for boogie boarding thought, and the silty sand is an easy landing pad. This shallowness also means the Gulf is generally warmer than the other oceans surrounding the US. Being the terminus of 33 rivers also means it’s saltier, so goggles are helpful to protect sensitive eyes. Lots shells that wash up each high tide, which are always fun for the kids to collect.

children playing in surf
Smooth beach was perfect for boogie boarding.

Don’t want to get wet?

There are lots of ways to have fun without getting damp too. Our friends like to treasure hunt along the sand with a metal detector. Shorelines are almost always windy, so if you hail from a location with calm skies or just love pretending to fly, consider bringing a kite.

boy flying kite
Thanks for my new kite Uncle Kory!

Beware of the Sun

Beaches are often cloudy as the dry land air meets the moist ocean air, but that doesn’t mean the UV rays are blocked. Even though I’m well aware of the situation, it’s not Spring Break if I don’t underestimate the sun and get a stupid tan line. This year’s piece de resistance was sweatpants pulled half way up by calves (unevenly I might add🤦), which the kids were more than happy to cover in sand.

kids burying mom's feet
Kids covering my feet with sand after I massively underestimated the sun coming thru the cloudy sky the day before… always wear sunscreen!

Most beach houses come with a closet of beach goodies because hosts know that many people don’t have beach toys or don’t want to haul them if they do. Be sure to check the listing info or message the hosts before going on a shopping spree for things you’ll only use once, but in the case you’re not sure what you might need, here’s a list of our favorite beach gear.

father and son using metal detector on beach
Never know what treasures you might find with a metal detector

Catching some dinner on a Charter boat

A lot of our group adventures actually center around the guys’ love of bringing home dinner. There are several fishing charters out of Galveston, but this trip they had a fabulous time with Captain Shuga Shane on Out Cast Charters. Fishing guides make their living knowing what’s in season and where to find it, so the guys generally come home with a bounty to fill our freezers for months to come.

fishing haul from waters off Galveston island
Guys’ haul of sheepshead and drum fish.

Why do only the guys go? Part bonding, part cost and part I get seasick. Fishing charters typically have a cost associated with a time frame and the number of people who will be going on a boat. Bo will be old enough (over 5) for the next opportunity, which will push the number of guys to 7, necessitating another boat and much higher cost. At that point, the other moms or even the girls might be interested in going, but if I have my druthers, I’ll keep my toes in the beach sand and wave from the shore.

child holding large fish
Ear-to-ear smile with the biggest catch of the day!

Clopping along the beach

There are few things my little dude loves more than casting a line and catching some fish, so we knew we had to do something epic to make up for the fact that he couldn’t go on the fishing charter with the guys. Macey wants to ride horses on every adventure, and Pete with Galveston Island Horse Rides was able to squeeze us in for a 60 minute ride along the beach.

View from horseback while riding down beach at Galveston island
How stunning is the view from the back of a beautiful horse?

While we completed waivers, the guides matched us with the correct horse based on our weight and experience. The elevated mounting station made it easy to hop on and we were headed down the beach. It didn’t take long before Bo proclaimed, “Mom, I got this,” and I was able to sit back and enjoy the beachside stroll. Riding is definitely one of the pricier activities we did on the trip, but the huge smiles and sense of independence that comes from driving your own horse down the beach is pretty priceless.

mother and kids on horse
Memories with these two are always sweeter.

The sun tends to be kind of intense on top of a horse, so I’d definitely recommend a hat, sunglasses and as much clothing as you can tolerate. Anything that’s not covered by fabric should be sun screened and if there isn’t a good breeze, you might want to rock some bug spray too:)

people riding horses on the beach

Did we forget about Galveston?

No we didn’t but the amazing city deserves its own chronicles here!

Have you stayed at a Texas beach town?

Share your adventures in the comments:)


Eternally on the hunt for the science in every adventure.

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