Posts Tagged ‘On the Beach’

Story & Photos By Lori Thompson

I just got home from one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a while! When I interviewed Jason, owner of Galveston Jet Ski Rentals, he offered me a ride, “for a first-hand experience.”  So I took a spin. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any dolphins or sea turtles, but he told me that often they’ll come right up to an idling jet ski.

Jason has been renting jet skis on the beach at 29th Street since 2002. He is there 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, weather and conditions permitting. Only a red flag and/or lightning cause him to close.
Before taking a jet ski out, a renter is informed of state laws and local boating rules. Any licensed driver,  16 and older, can rent. You can ride alone or take one passenger.
Jason and his partner, Kyle, pride themselves on excellent customer service. Being out in the heat all day can be exhausting, but they obviously love what they do and enjoy the people they meet. The cost is $60 for half-hour, $110 for an hour.
 
Only four blocks away, at 2500 Seawall, I met David of Treasure Island Tour Train: ‘The pink train pulled by a Jeep.’ Galveston’s oldest operating tour train was established in 1962.
The 17-mile narrated tour lasts around 1 3/4 hours and includes interesting information about both old and new Galveston. This includes Seawall Boulevard, the remains of Fort Crockett, historic homes, Rosenberg Library, churches, the downtown business district, the shrimp fleet, Jean Lafitte’s home, Moody Mansion, the Bishop’s Palace, Ashton Villa, the Strand Historic District, UTMB Hospital and many other places of interest. The newest attractions are the tree stumps that were carved after Ike.
Besides three daily tours, the train can be chartered for private tours. Often military reunions, family reunions, birthday parties and Mardi Gras groups will take a private tour.For having less expensive and more fun holidays there is choice for tours of Scotland which can life remember trip for everyone.
The train has never missed a year and runs May 1 through August 31, three times a day: 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-12, and children 3 and under are free.
Duck Tours
At the same corner, 25th Street and Seawall Blvd., you will also find Duck Tours. The Duck is an amphibious vehicle designed after the DUKH (pronounced “duck”). The DUKH was developed during WWII for transporting troops and goods over land and water. Our Duck also travels on land and water!
The Duck tour starts down Seawall Blvd. with a humorous and informative narration by the captain followed by a 15-minute water tour in Offatt’s Bayou.
The rest of the tour includes some of Galveston’s beautiful 1900s mansions and the historic downtown Strand shopping district. The tour includes some of the best shopping, dining and downtown attractions. On the journey back to the Seawall, you will pass through the ‘Silk Stockings’ historical homes district.
Tours run year ‘round with two to three tours daily; more tours during the summer months. Tours cost $15 for adults, $10 for children (two and under free). Charter rates (up to 24 people) are $275 per duck, June 1 through Aug. 31 and $250 for the rest of the year.

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Find a Variety of Activities to do Along the Beach


Story & Photos By Lori Thompson

Galveston has miles of beaches, long sunny days, and a fabulous nightlife.  But there are a variety of activities other than beach combing available to fill your days.  

If you enjoy the Seawall and beach, you can stop in at Island Bicycle Company at 1808 Seawall Blvd. Island Bicycle Co. rents surreys, kayaks, surf and boogie boards, metal detectors, fishing poles & gear, binoculars and telescopes, and of course, all sorts of bicycles.  
You can rent by the hour, 1⁄2 day, full day, or even for a week. Island Bicycle is the only shop in town that has roadside service. If your bicycle has problems and/or breaks down, they will come to you to fix or replace it. One exclusive feature that Island Bicycle offers is a tour. Either guided or self-guided with a map, you will ride all around town, visiting the historic district, downtown, ferry ride, and enjoy lunch at one of Galveston’s many cafes downtown.  
Island Bicycle is also a full-service bicycle shop. New and used bicycles, beach cruisers, all bicycle accessories, and custom built bikes can be purchased and delivered anywhere from Galveston to as far as San Antonio. Manager Shawn Buckley calls his shop the “most fully-stocked customized bicycle shop between here and Dallas.”  
Be sure to stop in and see what they have to offer! They are located at 1808 Seawall Blvd., (409)762-BIKE (2453),  islandbicyclecompany.com.


For the surfing enthusiast, head down to Underground Surf Depot, at 4700 Seawall Blvd.  Owner Alice Chabe is proud of her self proclaimed “hard core surf shop.”  

You can rent surf boards, skim boards, body boards and paddle boards, by the hour or for all day at very reasonable rates. Underground Surf Depo also carries high-end waterproof watches, flip flops, kids’ clothes, hats, skate boards, wax and new and used surfboards for sale.  
While Alice was showing me around the store, she pointed out the trophies her teams have won. For example, this June her squad won Overall. Championship in the Team Division in South Padre Island.  Underground Surf Depot is open 7 days a week, from 9-8 in the summer and 10-7 in the winter.
They are located at  4700 Seawall Blvd., (409)763-4036
For other outdoor diversions, visit Magic Carpet Golf at 9030 Seawall Blvd. Giant dragons and colorful castles decorate the courses, and the animated twists and turns add to the entertaining and exciting atmosphere. 
They feature two mini-golf courses for different skills levels. The ocean side is the easier course; for beginners. The jungle side is a bit more challenging. 
The most visible and unique attraction is the Bungee Ride Vertical Accelerator. This fast-paced ride is for the brave and adventurous! The 100 foot tall towers soar riders up to 130 feet above the Seawall in a safe, open “pod” that is shot like a sling-shot up in the air.  
It goes from 0-70 in 1.5 seconds, with flips and spins on the way.  This ride is perfectly safe for kids and adults alike, although you must be at least 4’9” tall and 10 years old.  
Golf games cost $7 for adults and $6 for children. The bungee ride is $20 per person. Open day and night, 7 days a week.
They are located at 9030 Seawall Blvd., (409)740-2000.


Jamaica Beach RV Park also features a mini-golf course—Pirates Treasure Adventure Golf.   Complete with a giant shark hanging at the entrance, the entire course has a pirate theme.  

Each hole presents a different challenge—including putting into a shark’s mouth, through a pirate ship, and around a skeleton.  Owner Ron Gustafson is proud of another game at the park; Water Wars.  
Opponents shoot water balloons at each other with an oversize slingshot. Hitting the bull’s-eye will soak your opponents. What a refreshing game on a hot summer day!  
Pirates Treasure is open 10-10, 7 days a week.  At night the course is illuminated by low-level lighting and strobe lights. They are located at 1720, (409)632-0200, piratestreasureminigolf.com

One of the most popular attractions on the Seawall is the Rainforest Café. The Rainforest Ride is a lazy river boat ride that takes passengers through three “rainforests”.  
Sound effects and intermittent thunder storms add to the realistic scenery. Animated animals watch the boats go by and if you’re not careful, a snake may surprise you, dropping from a tree, and at the end, spiders!  
Inside the restaurant is a gift shop full of unique, themed souvenirs. While I was there, I experienced one of the thunderstorms that happen periodically.  On weekends, carnival-like games take over the outside courtyard and live bands play on weekend nights.  There is even a volcano that erupts every 1⁄2 hour after dark.  
  If all of this isn’t enough, you walk under a fish tank on your way to sit down for a delicious meal in the restaurant. 
  They are located at 5310 Seawall Blvd., (409)774-6000, rainforestcafe.com
Galveston is a popular beach-town, but there is just so much more to offer if you take the time to explore and enjoy!

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Find treasures at the Island’s many gift shops along the beach
Treasure Trove
by lori thompson
 
If you look up and down any coastline, you’ll see plenty of gift shops.  Galveston beach is no exception.  There are several shops on the Seawall that stand out among the others.
Murdochs is the oldest gift shop in town.  At 100 years old, it still stands over the water at the end of 22nd St.  In fact, in April of this year, they had their 100 year celebration.  The money raised by this party was given to Ronald McDonald House.  Laura Flores runs Murdochs now.  The shop has been run by the same family all these years.  They are known for their extensive seashell collection.  They also carry just about every type of Galveston Island souvenir you can think of.  According to Laura, “If you can’t find it here, you won’t be able to find it!”  The tin roof bar that is part of the same building features frozen drinks, beer, and sodas that you can enjoy out on the deck, sitting in a rocking chair.

 
A bit further east, at the end of 5th Street, you will find Wings.  Wings owns and operates over 30 locations across the beaches of America.  WingsThey feature high quality clothing, swimwear, shoes, souvenirs, and beach accessories.  Since its founding in 1978, Wings has offered the best selection at affordable prices.  It is known for its trend setting designs that are unmatched by the competition. Check out their website:  wingsbeachwear.com for daily specials and other featured products.
 

Bargain BeachwearAt 4708 Seawall you will find Bargain Beachwear. For the past 25 years, Bargain Beachwear has offered the largest selection of swimwear in Galveston.  They feature plus-sizes for both men and women.  According to the owner, Izzy, any size, from XS to 5XL can find swimwear, beachwear and T-shirts.  Those custom T-shirts can be created from over 1,000 designs.  The moment you walk into Bargain Beachwear, you notice the wide variety of clothing and souvenirs displayed literally from the floor to the ceiling.  Stop in for a coupon for 15% off any merchandise!

 


As you continue west along the Seawall, you will find Dolphin World at 8910 Seawall.  They offer a huge selection of brand name beachwear, sportswear and swimwear, as well as accessories such as hats, shades, sandals, tanks and tees.  They also carry souvenirs from small-scale boats, seashells, hermit crabs, and just about everything else you can think of. 

Finally, Treasure Trove is located in Jamaica Beach.  Treasure Trove is not a souvenir shop or “shell shop” according to owner Debbie Kubeczka.  They carry resort/casual wear, bathing suits and cover ups, candles, bath and body products, home, garden and deck décor and plenty of gifts and seasonal items.  In addition, they feature Vietri hand-crafted Italian ceramics.  Clearly, Treasure Trove IS a treasure trove for quality gifts and garments.  Visit them at giftsandgarments.com.

With such a variety of gift shops on the Seawall, you are sure to find just the right souvenir, gift, swimsuit or clothing!

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