Looking for something to do in Galveston, Texas? Compete in The Fantastic Galveston Race and dash around The Strand as you compete to solve challenges and puzzles to win fun prizes!
Every year, a group of my favorite blogging besties and I meet for the Feed the Soul Retreat, a getaway that combines the activities of a typical girls’ weekend with the knowledge of a blogging business trip. The goals of the retreat are simple – trade ideas, tips, motivation, and goal setting (all while sipping wine and getting massages, of course!) so that we return home feeling refreshed and re-inspired for the new year.
This year’s retreat took us to Galveston, Texas, and the location couldn’t have been better! This is the second time that I’ve been to Texas in the past four months, and every time I visit, I fall more in love with the state. I previously visited Dallas and road tripped through Waco to Austin, and this time I flew into Houston and drove just under an hour to this sparkling gem along the Gulf Coast – a perfect location fo us to relax, renew, and rejuvenate our spirits!
This year’s Feed the Soul Retreat group consisted of (from left) Rebecca from Sugar & Soul, Britni from Play. Party. Plan., Cori from Hey, Let’s Make Stuff, myself, and Cheryl from That’s What Che Said.
(side note: tremendous thanks to these lovely ladies for allowing me to use some of their wonderful photos in these posts!)
Out of all the things that we did in Galveston, one of our favorite adventures was participating in The Fantastic Galveston Race – a challenge in the style of The Amazing Race that leads teams throughout Galveston’s Historic Strand District as they discover clues and solve puzzles in a race to beat all of the other teams (note: unlike The Amazing Race, there are no dangerous or crazy stunts involved!). It was SO much fun!
We met our race leader, Deb, at Pier 21, and she handed us our race badges and packet.
This packet contains everything that you need to get you through the first puzzle along with a map outlining the general area in which you’ll find the next clues – the rest is up to you. You will receive directions leading you to the location of the next clue, but once you get there, you’ll have to figure out exactly what it is that you need to do/find in order to receive the next clue. It’s a unique scavenger hunt experience that will test your brain power, your wits, and your sense of direction!
The race takes you around The Strand, the downtown historic district of Galveston, and there are plenty of things to see and do along the way. I couldn’t get enough of all the colorful historic buildings and the wide variety of architectural styles around town!
(Note: I’m not going to spoil the Fantastic Galveston Race for you, so I’m sharing pictures of many great places along The Strand, some of which may be included in the race, and lots that are not!)
Galveston is home to the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, right after New Orleans and St. Louis, and the town shows off their love for all things Mardi Gras all season long. Mardi Gras masks, hats, scarves, ribbons, and other Mardi Gras souvenirs were quite abundant all around town – I’m thinking that I might need to come back to experience it!
The buildings along The Strand sustained massive damage during Hurricane Ike in 2008, and the area was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2009 list of America’s Most Endangered Places. Fortunately, with strong revitalization and rebuilding efforts that are still underway today, the area is once again thriving, especially when the local cruise ships come to port! Many of the buildings have markings that show where the water level was after Hurricane Ike, and it’s shocking to see that the lower levels of most of the shops and buildings were completely submerged after the storm.
Seriously, I could walk around and take photos of these buildings ALL day! The cheery colors and the intricate details of the architecture are incredible!
I wish that I could say that The Fantastic Galveston Race was one of the first things that we did once we got into town, but unfortunately, it was actually our very last activity – which turned out to be such a bummer! Don’t misunderstand me, the race is a TON of fun, but I guarantee that along the adventure, you’re going to discover lots of hidden gems and places that you will want to spend some time revisiting once the race is over.
Since we raced on the last day of the retreat, we were disappointed that we didn’t have more time to go back and check out all of the awesome new places that we found along the way. I highly recommend participating in The Fantastic Galveston Race, but I also highly recommend racing early in your stay so that you have more time to explore everything afterward!
There are lots of fantastic murals to be discovered around Galveston, and if you have time after the race, be sure to venture beyond The Strand to Postoffice Street and the other neighboring streets. All are packed full of charm and character along with specialty shops and galleries that you won’t want to miss!
The Strand and the surrounding areas are a great place to spend a day with your family, and I’m really glad that The Fantastic Galveston Race gave me a chance to explore some of the places that I may not have discovered on my own!
Board Game Island is one of those tucked away little treasures, and it was super awesome! The walls were lined with every game imaginable, and tables were packed with families and friends enjoying an afternoon of games, coffee, beer, and delicious food together. I could totally imagine coming back here with my family!
The Fantastic Galveston Race includes admission to two museums, a tasty snack along the way, and appetizers and drinks at the end of the race, so it’s well worth the admission price for an afternoon of fun. (Note: there’s also a coupon code on their website that will save you up to 45%!)
The race typically takes anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete – we clocked in at 2 hours and 10 minutes, just a bit shy of the all-time 1:44 record that we were hoping to beat! We got off to kind of a slow start until we got into the swing of things, and then we started to get a feel for what we might be looking for/have to do at each location to get our next clue. I bet if we had to do it all over again, we could beat that record!
After a fun afternoon of racing, we were treated to drinks and appetizers (gumbo and bacon wrapped shrimp from the Gulf, of course!) to end the day. We had an absolute blast racing through The Strand and discovering some of Galveston’s most unique and fun places!
Though The Fantastic Galveston Race was completed on foot, we couldn’t have made it all around town during the rest of our retreat without this awesome Mitsubishi Outlander from DriveShop! (Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing ALL about those other fun locations and activities along with more about this sweet ride next week!) This car had more than enough room for all five of us, plus shopping bags and luggage, and it took us all around the island and right onto the beach! Thanks, DriveShop and Mitsubishi!
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