Galveston Island The only thing difficult about going to Galveston is to narrow down the possibilities. As a treat, we checked into the Hotel Galvez—a luxurious historic hotel on the Galveston Seawall with a great pool area, plus courtesy bikes and helmets for tooling about the town. Right then, however, we were ready to get wet, so we headed to Schlitterbahn Waterpark, a 33-acre water wonderland of slides, chutes, rapids, and water coasters. After a twirl on the Loopy Luge, we were tubing along the Kristal River discussing the delightful “Schlitterbahn Experience” with another guest. We talked about the original park in New Braunfels, the one we’d been to on South Padre Island, and my fellow floater said the state’s newest Schlitterbahn was soon to open in Corpus Christi. After a walk along the Seawall and a free round-trip ride across Galveston Bay on the old Bolivar Ferry, we had pizza—and a few games of Uno—at Board Game Island, a deli-style café on The Strand, a historic avenue near the harbor. On Sunday morning, we all indulged in the Hotel Galvez Sunday brunch, named one of “Texas’ Best Brunches” by Southern Living. Then it was off to the Pleasure Pier. Designed to resemble the original Pleasure Pier that opened in the 1940s, the current 1,100-foot-long wooden pier was filled with rides, midway games, and another roller coaster—the Iron Shark—with its loops and curves visible for miles either way down the beach. We all rode the Pirate’s Plunge, a log flume ride www.thehotelguide.com
with two drops of more than 40 feet, but I—a proud but safe wimp—watched as the others rode the Texas Star Flyer and the Sea Dragon. The Coastal Bend About three hours south of Houston is one of our favorite sections of the Gulf Coast. Anchored by Corpus Christi, the region offers beaches, bird-watching, dolphin sightings, and history lessons—specifically in the form of a 910-foot-long, World War II-era aircraft carrier. The USS Lexington was commissioned in 1943, and saw action in nearly every major operation in the Pacific theater. Now in permanent residence in Corpus Christi Bay, the ship is open for tours. After we explored all 20 of both the vintage and modern aircraft on its deck, we went below to see how sailors experienced day-to-day life on the ship. Ready for some waves, we took the short drive to Port Aransas, a picturesque beach town that’s especially welcoming for families. Not only does it have a long, sandy shoreline, but it’s also full of fun, kid-oriented activities. We rented a couple of beach buggies and cruised around town, stopping to get our pictures taken inside the giant shark mouth at the Destination Beach & Surf Gift Shop. After lunch, we signed up for Sandcastle Building Lessons and, together we created our own “beach town.” Courtesy of www.TravelTex.com.