Holiday Inn Club Vacations Galveston Seaside Resort. What is unique about Galveston is how close you are to a major city but yet the beach area seems such a world apart. Houston, Texas has a lot to offer, and it is so close that you can enjoy the beach and the nice accommodations yet also enjoy much that Houston has to offer while you are here.
Video by Jaime & Mandy who provide you with a behind-the-scenes tour of the resort.
Day One Travel & Arrival at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Galveston Seaside Resort
I have been to Galveston before but it has been a while so I was happy to be coming back. A trip to Texas for me begins with a flight from home since the drive would be such a long haul. The flight was nice and a piece of cake today. It was not crowded and there was no weather on the way over.
My flight time had me in town a bit before time to check in, so I thought I would get something to eat after I grabbed my bags and the rental car. Flying in commercially, you will probably come into William P. Hobby Airport. I was able to book a direct flight from Norfolk to Houston, so that was nice. Years ago, you would have had to transfer flights at least once in Atlanta or Charlotte on the way.
There is a smaller local airport in Galveston, but that is more for private flights. The airport will put you on the other side of Houston and about 1 hour from the resort.
This does give you the opportunity to check out Houston while you are here and there is a ton to do and see in a major city like Houston. Right now, I was focused on lunch.
When you are in Texas, you should try Tex-Mex food. It is a blending of cultural foods of Texas and Mexico that most people really enjoy. On this trip, I went to Ninfa’s in Houston to check it out. The meal here was off-the-charts good. It was a little pricy when you think of Mexican or BBQ, but that was likely based on its popularity and top-quality meat and seafood ingredients. The gulf shrimp are great, and the meat in Texas is outstanding. I enjoy shrimp and on the gulf, it does seem to taste a little different. Maybe the filter is less in the gulf than they do in other waters I am used to, or perhaps the shrimp fisherman goes for larger-sized shrimp due to the dietary demands of the area? Not sure, but it is great.
I find shrimp also often tastes better when grilled and that happens more in Tex-Mex locations than in many other spots. I had already saved so much on my accommodations at the resort and I did well on the price of my flight, so I was spending more than I might normally on the meal out.
I ordered two entrees just to try different things for myself. This was a great location, but like many big city restaurants, the cost might not be ideal for a family meal.
Do not worry, there are less costly places all over the area. You just have to look more on the other side of Houston. The downtown area is going to have the more expensive options like most major cities.
After a great meal, I headed towards the resort. I did have a way to drive still, so I wanted to get there close to the time of check-in. I do not know why, but when I travel, I like to get settled at the resort and all set before I go out and do much. Nature of the beast, I guess. In all my years of travel, I think I have only had a reservation issue a few times but they do stick in my mind. That is one thing I love about Tzort is that I have never had any issues with a booking. A few hundred bookings in and no issues are amazing.
This seaside resort is easy to find. Once you are on Galveston you just take a left onto the main road and go until you see the main entrance and site of the resort on your right. The nice folks at the security gate will direct you to the main building and then you will get sorted with the check-in.
When you travel with Tzort, you are spoiled often with the best accommodations that resorts have to offer. On this trip, I had been booked into the Presidential Villas. Check out these amazing accommodations here in this 3D tour. You can see for yourself the great quality here at the resort. They also have tours of the other two levels of accommodations as well. All 3 are somewhere I would be happy to stay.
As I looked around the room, I instantly regretted not bringing someone along on this trip. The villas are spacious and while I enjoy the space, it does seem a waste that it is just me as a travel writer.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Business Center
- On-Site Restaurants
- Fitness Center
- Concierge Services
A little inside scoop is that when you stay at the signature level here, you also get access to the signature infinity pool beach side which I would later find out is incredible.
Day Two Beaching It
After COVID, I feel a bit more like a beached whale than before in my life. I have to get out walking, and exercising more for certain. Several of my friends have stayed active and in shape, so I also likely need to hang out with them more as well. It has always helped me to be social when I want to change some pattern I have fallen into.
Right now I am at a size that for the good of others I tend to wear a shirt into the pool. It sucks a little having to let yourself go, but at least I did not get crazy looks from anyone. I think with my beard now, I kind of looks like Santa on vacation, and people often just smile and move on. The occasional child will do a double take, and once in a while a young child will break free from their parents to come to tell me what they want for Christmas when I have the beard, and for some reason when I am near a pool with a Hawaiian shirt. I think the kids logically process on some level that Santa must be on summer vacation when they see me in shorts with a Hawaiian shirt and white beard. My beard went white at like 43 and when I let it grow out, I do not alter the color. It is what it is.
In this signature pool, I did not see any kids, but there were plenty in the main pool area. The resort also had mini-golf. It is something I am starting to expect to see at these Holiday Inn Club Resorts and I like it. On this trip, this is where Santa ran into several kids from one family and I got a kick out of it. The parents looked terrified and embarrassed at first, but I waived their concerns off, being used to it.
It all started with one little lady, no more than 4 or 5 at first glance. She was with her younger brother and parents playing mini-golf and I was a few holes back. On the course, several of the holes come close to each other so that as you are starting, you see someone a few holes ahead of you close up. At one of those meeting spots was where the Santa magic happened. It all started with a glimmer of recognition in the little lady’s eyes. Then a whisper to mom and dad. Like that secret message: Mom, Dad, look it’s Santa.
Dad was like no honey, that is just another guest. But the little girl was certain. I mean, here I was a fat guy with a beard and the summer wardrobe of the Hawaiian shirt and tan shorts. Maybe this little lady will go on to work for central casting for films. She was certain and made a B-line for me at one point. At first, she hustled over, then paused as if not wanting to invade my space. She raised a little arm and waved a hand. “Hi”. I played along “Well hello there.” At that moment her mother looked in horror as if saying, oh my, how is this going to go?
But I waved to her as I said my greeting to her oldest. She asked the big question. No, not about the meaning of life, but about my secret identity. This does not happen, but I have had a few of these experiences. So, I now follow a bit of a success pattern with these Santa Interactions.
My answers are ambiguous. I am careful to not mislead in a negative way or to contribute to destroying the dream. You see, I still believe in Santa. Not that at 51 he will be sliding down the inside to appear at the bottom of my gas fireplace. But instead the warmth and joy he represents for children of all ages. In short, I believe in Christmas Magic. This means that if these interactions happen organically (I certainly do not seek them out being part introvert) that I try to support the overall mission and message like a department store Santa but with much less costume and effort involved.
You know, looking back now on life it can be difficult and challenging. So, if we can do anything to make children’s lives better, I think we should do so. Even if that means stopping everything and having a conversation.
After I spent a few moments dancing around her clever questions, then hearing about her Christmas wish now over 6 months away. She then did a remarkable thing and went back to her parents, collected her younger brother, and made the formal introduction. Wow, the pressure was on. Would this one early childhood meeting with Santa at mini-golf be one of the few things this 3-year-old remembered something from?
Wanting to make it memorable, I picked the boy up and threw him in the pool. Just kidding, really I promise. I just wanted to see if you were really reading this. No, at 3 the conversation was one of age and name confirmation only, then me asking about the word Christmas. Mostly for his big sisters’ benefit. I have a big sister and she most certainly would have done this for me as well. So, this made it a special moment.
That was fun, but I was also glad that it did not start a line of kids, since I am by no way a professional at this. Also, while I love kids, I do not have any myself. I was fortunate to have many nieces and nephews around during the age when I might have settled down. It was amazing to enjoy time with them but then hand them back off to their parents.
Day Three visiting Houston
It is hard to pull yourself away from these beaches, but Houston is an amazing area as well. Here being so close, it is hard not to spend a day visiting some sites in Houston itself.
If you are flying into the area, you might be able to squeeze in enough on the day in and out to satisfy you when you love the beach as I do. However, I have been to the area before and I felt like I was leaving something on the table by not spending a day venturing around Houston itself, so off I go.
I love NASA and the amazing work they do. Having grown up in Hampton Roads, I have been to their center in Hampton many times, and I have had the honor of watching launches from Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, as well as seeing a few launches from the Cape in Florida. So, this was a chance to see Houston. As in Houston, we have a problem. Flight control for NASA and the amazing access they grant the public here via the museum and tours offered. Being the center of it all for NASA, Houston has a ton to offer, and much to see.
NASA is still operating on timed entries as I visit and write this blog for you. Check on the website to see what access is available and to book in advance for your visit. Make sure to get a tram pass because that is a great experience as part of your overall visit.
When things open back up fully, check out the level 9 special access times because they offer an amazing level of access. At other NASA sites, I have had the honor of participating in that level of access occasionally with things like lunch with an astronaut. Where you not only get a nice little lunch but much more importantly, get to hear personal first-hand stories and experiences from an amazing crew member.
While here, make sure you visit the Falcon 9 rocket and the space shuttle Independence. You can also see many actual flown craft that has been to space with these heroes and returned to Earth. Also, take full advantage of any live presentations and all the movies and informative exhibits.
NASA also offers VIP experiences of all kinds. If you have a child who has a real interest, there are also camps and experiences just for them to enjoy. I imagine even a day at a space camp could take a young mind down a more technological path if they really got into the experience. While scary for parents to think about sending a child into space, there are thousands of amazing careers in science that do not leave the safety of Earth but do support NASA’s missions.
For myself on this trip, I got so involved in my NASA visit that I forgot everything else this day about Houston. As an older guy though, I felt like a kid for hours, and was still able to daydream about space travel, and sit in wonder at the amazing things we all can accomplish when we work together on our shared goals.
I have to stop writing this now so I do not wrap myself in the flag, and start typing as a member of NASA. I truly get touched by these impressive hard working scientists, engineers, and astronauts. It is a source of pride in some of the best we can become as Americans.
If you want your own beach experience or want to be impressed like me with a visit to Houston and NASA, start your vacation at this resort and book with Tzort.