Gilhooley’s Restaurant-Must try the Oysters

I’m Here For the Oysters, But I’ll Stay for the Beer and Atmosphere

Gilhooley’s Restaurant has no website, no Facebook page and really just word of mouth advertising only.  So, it’s any wonder how they have become so famous.  I’ll tell you why, because their oysters are some of the best you will ever have!

Located in sunny San Leon (or Dickinson if you follow the official address), Gilhooley’s could definitely be considered a “hole in the wall” place.  As you walk up, you’ll observe what looks like a shanty of a place but don’t let that dissuade you.  There’s plenty of outside seating underneath gigantic shade trees.  The tables are unassuming with wood tops (some rotted) and casual lawn style chairs.  You’ll notice chintzy lights strung across the trees with some globes missing.    There’s a large bar inside or outside to enjoy a cold beer; but don’t expect an extensive collection of beer and wine for that matter, its the price and that its cold, right?  Expect a casual laid back attitude while you’re there.  No hurries-no worries.  While you’re there, go exploring around the outside.  There’s a lot of funky decor items to get a giggle from.  Don’t expect a fancy bathroom; come on, it’s a dive place with great food!

Cash Only-Leave your under 18 kids and fur babies at home

Their menu offers a variety of items but you should really do yourself the favor and at least try their specialty grilled oysters.  Their other seafood dishes are also terrific.

Link to Google Map

They’ve been featured on the Travel Channel and declared “the ultimate seafood dive bar”

Travel Channel Feature video

Houston Press voted the Oysters Gilhooley their #1 favorite Houston dish

Houston Press rates Oysters Gilhooley #1 dish in Houston

 

Moody Gardens-A World of Discovery

The Glass Pyramids of Moody Gardens offer a World of Discovery

Moody Gardens Pyramids
Moody Garden Pyramids

A Great Day Trip Full of Learning

Moody Gardens is a short drive from each of our vacation rental homes along Galveston Bay.  It is family friendly and you can easily spend all day touring the exhibits and splashing in the water park.

The Park is easily recognizable by land or sea by its iconic glass pyramids.  Within the 3 glass pyramids, you’ll find completely different experiences.  In the Aquarium Pyramid, you will learn about the ocean and meet penguins, sharks. In the Rainforest Pyramid, you’ll enter an entirely different eco-system; the Rainforest is complete with close encounters with free-roaming monkeys, macaws and other endangered animals and plants. In the last Pyramid, you can  learn about the mysteries of science and enjoy the MG 3D Theater and 4D Theater. Outside, you can opt to take a cruise around Offatts Bayou aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.  During the hotter summer months, you can cool off by floating along the lazy river, wave pool and more at Palm Beach.  During the holidays, the entire area transforms for the Festival of Lights.

Coming in May 2017, the Aquarium Pyramid will have its Grand Re-Opening. The Aquarium has undergone a multi-million renovation over the last 2 years.  Among some of the new exhibits that will be unveiled, there’s a second penguin habitat that is being added and a $37 million coral reef exhibit.  The new exhibit will offer a close up view of the penguins so that you can enjoy seeing these creatures frolic and play as they go about their routines with their sometimes over-the-top personalities.

Sneak Peek at the new Penguin exhibit

For information, schedule of events, etc. :  Information and Tickets

Park Layout and Attractions :Park Map

Tripadvisor:  Reviews

Location: Google Map

Discover Galveston Island

Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a short drive from our vacation rental homes.  Beyond the sandy beaches, the historic Strand district, the free ferry ride, Pleasure Pier, Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn and the Seawall make a great day trip.

For general information on things to do around the island: Galveston Information

Beach Parks:

 

East Beach

If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, East Beach should be on your list! Located at the far eastern tip of the island, East Beach is famous for its great festivals and live concerts held throughout the summer months. The beach park has a pavilion, boardwalk and entertainment stage as well as restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, concessions and other amenities.  Unlike other Galveston beaches, alcohol and driving on the beach is permitted at East Beach.

The first weekend in June, the park hosts the annual American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sandcastle Competition where thousands flock to see elaborate structures built from sand.

For more information, hours, parking pass information, please visit: East Beach

Stewart Beach

Stewart Beach is a great family beach. Located at the intersection of Broadway Avenue and the Seawall, Stewart Beach offers plenty of amenities for a day at the beach as well as regular supervision of highly trained lifeguards. The park has a pavilion, concessions, restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, beach volleyball courts, and more. Alcohol is not permitted at Stewart Beach.

For more information, hours, parking pass information, please visit: Stewart Beach

Seawall Urban Park

The center of Galveston’s beach activity takes place along the island’s famous Seawall Boulevard. The Seawall and its beach park stretches more than 10 miles which is considered the nation’s longest continuous sidewalk.  Along the sidewalk, any given day, you will see running, biking or just people watching. Along the Seawall, you will find access to the island’s many beachfront restaurants and tourist attractions, such as the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park.

Seawall Parking:
Parking along the Seawall from 6th to 69th streets and 81st to 103rd streets can be purchased via Pay By Phone for $1 per hour, $8 per day or $25 per annual pass. Paid parking is enforced from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Register your vehicle by visiting www.paybyphone.com or 1-866-234-7275.

Pleasure Pier-Galveston Island

Pleasure Pier-Galveston

Historic Pleasure Pier in Galveston

The historic Pleasure Pier is approximately 25 minutes from the Lone Star Fish vacation home in San Leon.  The Pier has been a favorite tourist spot along Galveston’s Seawall Boulevard for decades. It was previously destroyed by Hurricane Carla and local developer Landry’s has since rebuilt the Pier more than 40 years later and it has quickly become a world-class amusement park for all ages and is  family friendly.  The Pier extends over the Gulf of Mexico at 25th Street and Seawall Boulevard. You’ll have to pay an entry fee just to walk along the Pier and the amusement rides are at an additional cost.

The Pier has an assortment of amusement rides, souvenir shops, Bubba Gump Shrimp and fast food shops when you’re hungry and circus style midway games.

If you’re brave enough, take the plunge on the Iron Shark Rollercoaster….

For hours, ticket and ride information at Pleasure Pier:  Information
Trip Advisor Reviews of Pleasure Pier: Trip Advisor reviews

Location: Google Map

2501 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston Island, TX 77550
Local: 409.766.4950
Toll Free: 855.789.7437

Pier Map

Explore Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston-An Experience Like No Other

There is no doubt, Space Center Houston is an experience like no other.   It is a leading science and space learning center and is a must see attraction if you visit the Bay area. Not surprisingly, it is also considered one of Houston’s top attractions and the area’s No. 1 attraction for international visitors. It is also the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center and the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the greater Houston area.

Space Center Houston

The center features more than 400 space artifacts, permanent and traveling exhibits and theaters related to the exciting future and remarkable past of America’s human space-flight program. It’s no surprise that adults and children find the experience engaging.  You will find that the busiest times to visit are on weekends, holidays or summer. Tickets can be bought on line to save time.

You can visit Space Center with very easy access from I-45 South or NASA Parkway; Conveniently, it is also located within a short drive from each of our vacation homes:

Link to Google Map

Don’t miss these attractions: 

  • Starship Gallery displays the majority of the space artifacts.  Inside the Gallery, you can walk inside the Skylab Trainer Module where astronauts first trained for life in space.  You even get to touch one of the few moon rocks on earth available to the public inside the Lunar Vault.
  • Independence Plaza is part of the Space Shuttle program. The plaza contains the historic shuttle carrier aircraft NASA 905 with the shuttle replica Independence mounted on top.
  • The NASA Tram Tour takes you behind-the-scenes at NASA Johnson Space Center.  The tram tour visits working government facilities which are subject to availability.  Some of the facilities can temporarily close to visitors without notice.
  • The Astronaut Gallery contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of astronaut apparel and space suits.
  • See live presentations, artifacts, space hardware, displays and other amazing pieces from the orbiting laboratory known as the International Space Station.

2017-Space Center-Map-Guide

 

Kemah Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk has something for everyone!

Located front and center to the busy “gateway to the bay”, you can find a variety of things to enjoy in and around the Kemah Boardwalk.  The “Boardwalk”, located in Kemah’s “Lighthouse District” is a collection of shops, amusement rides, restaurants, entertainment venue and the waterfront boardwalk area.  It is family friendly, but not pet friendly, so you will have to leave your fur babies at home.

  

 

Year Round Events

Most of the year round events are free to the public. Its best to check their website for the latest event details. The Boardwalk does charge to ride the amusement rides by either paying a per ride fee or as a day pass.  The boardwalk is a great way to stroll along the waterfront and watch the boats go by or just catch a nice sunrise or sunset.  If you want a front row seat to the action on the water, the Boardwalk Beast power boat will take you out into the Bay for a short ride.  There is a “free” splash pad for kids to enjoy on the hot summer days.

2 other popular annual events held around the Boardwalk are the “Yachy Gras Boat Parade” and “Christmas Boat Parade”.  The decorated boats come right by the Boardwalk and its a lot of fun to see the detail of decoration that some of the boats prepare.  “Rock the Dock” summer music series is also a popular activity.

Fireworks over the Bay!

During the summer months of June and July, the Boardwalk hosts fireworks over the bay.  These events tend to be very popular so you will want to plan to arrive early for parking and to get a good view.  The fireworks are every Friday during those months, and tend to be about 15 minutes long and start promptly at the scheduled times.

Shops and Dining too!

There are a variety of restaurants for waterfront dining…choose from seafood, steaks, TexMex, sushi etc.  There are also eclectic little shops to stroll in and out of in the immediate area too.

 

All Day Ride Pass

If you plan to make a day of your visit, consider purchasing an All Day Ride Pass.  Unlimited rides for the entire day but the pass excludes the Boardwalk Beast.

$18.99 (under 48″)

$24.99 (48″ and up)

You can also buy individual tickets for the rides but it tends to be more costly if you plan to enjoy more than one ride.

Hours of Operation for Amusement Rides
Monday – Thursday: 11am – 9pm
Friday: 11am – 10pm
Saturday: 10:30am – 11pm
Sunday: 10:30am – 9pm

Ride hours are seasonal and are subject to change without notice.

Kemah Boardwalk

Location on Google Maps
877-AT-KEMAH ( 877-285-3624)

Discover Sylvan Beach Park

Discover Sylvan Beach Park

Sylvan Beach Park-An easy beach getaway

This park is a hidden gem in the Bay Area. It is conveniently located within a half hour’s drive from Houston and is less than 10 miles from the Kemah Boardwalk.   If you are looking for a beach experience without the longer drive to Galveston, it is a nice getaway.  The park overlooks the upper portion of Galveston Bay. Since it is a bay beach, don’t expect the larger rolling waves you may experience in the ocean.  Just put your toes in the sand, watch the big ships go by and find comfort in the plentiful breezes.  Conveniently, two of our vacation homes are located across the street from the park and beach area.

The park is a family friendly area and spreads over 31 acres.   Some of the amenities include: 2 sand beach areas with bay swimming, a large pay to fish pier, public boat launch, picnic areas, playground area, gazebos, restrooms with bigcitymaids.com cleaning service katy and a skateboard park.

Park Layout

This park also has a bait shop and they can be reached by phone for daily prices and fishing conditions. You can also purchase your day fishing pass to the pier at the shop.  The bait shop can be reached at 281-471-5705

Link to Google Map
Park Hours:  Mon-Sun: 

 

In addition to being a great daytrip, the Park hosts many annual events year round such as a the annual Sylvan Beach Festival and Sylvan Beach Triathalon to name a few.  This year, the city of La Porte will celebrate its 125 year anniversary and will feature Clay Walker at Sylvan Beach as the headlining performer.

Sylvan Beach Festival

This annual event usually held in April.  The 2 day festival features a BBQ cook off, amusement rides, arts and crafts, food vendors, live music, and a pageant.  The festival is considered family friendly.

Sylvan Beach Festival fun  

Sylvan Beach Festival Live music stage right on the bay