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Galveston

Explore the miles of public beaches, like East Beach, and the fun-loving, crowd-filled Stewart Beach; or take a pleasant ferry ride over to Crystal Beach — pleasant if there's no wait, of course. If saltwater isn't your deal, Schlitterbahn Galveston (2026 Lockheed, Galveston, 409-770-9283, www.schlitterbahn.com/gal) has more than enough freshwater fun.

The Pleasure Pier in Galveston.
Shelby E. Scott
The Pleasure Pier in Galveston.

If you don't want to touch water, period, there's still plenty to do. The Gulf Coast Volleyball Association is having its "Hot as Hell Classic" Tournament on Stewart Beach on August 5 (832-928-4120, www.galveston.com). On East Beach, the American Institute of Architects holds its annual AIA Sandcastle Competition (East Beach, 1923 Boddeker Dr., Galveston, 713-520-0155) on June 2. East Beach will be home to the Texas Beach Ultimate Frisbee Fest on June 16, and come and see more than 50 boats race from Galveston during Texas Youth Race Week, July 7 to 13.

Moody Gardens/IMAX Theater, 1 Hope Blvd., Galveston, 800-582-4673, www.moodygardens.com

See an aquarium from the inside out in the Aquarium Pyramid, or maybe check out cutting-edge film experiences like Ridefilm or the 4D Special FX Theater.

Greyhound Park, 1000 FM 2004 Rd., LaMarque, 409-986-9500, www.gulfgreyhound.com

Follow your internal electric bunny to the world's largest racing operation of its kind. Don't forget 50 Cent Thursdays — the rapper won't be racing, but after 6 p.m. hot dogs, beer, popcorn and soda will be two for a buck, plus dollar margaritas.

Kemah Boardwalk, Bradford Ave. and Second St., Kemah, www.kemahboardwalk.com

This Houston-area attraction features nearly a dozen restaurants, an amusement park and plenty of boardwalk strolling and shopping. Also visit the Rock the Dock concerts, which start in May and continue each Thursday evening through August. The free concerts will feature a wide variety of rock and roll sound and are held on the Plaza from 6:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. each week. And, starting in June, feel free to check out the Boardwalk FantaSea Yacht Friday Night Fireworks Cruises, which promise the best view of the "Star Spangled Sky" fireworks display at the Kemah Boardwalk. The cruises will occur every Friday night in June and July, and will include dinner and entertainment by a professional DJ on Galveston Bay's premier luxury yacht. Cash bar available for drinks.

Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford, www.houstonastros.com

Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas, 713-276-7500,

houston.mlsnet.com

Houston Roller Derby, Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600,

www.houstonrollerderby.com

Watch six teams of the toughest ladies around knock each other around and off the track in some of the wildest athletic action our city has to offer.

Houston Zoo, 1513 N. MacGregor, 713-533-6500, www.houstonzoo.org

Admission is free on July 4 and Memorial Day.

Pleasure Pier, 2501 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, www.pleasure-pier.com

A new addition to the Landry's Empire, this theme park will soon be open. [See story, page 15.]

Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W., 281-807-8700, www.shrp.com

Come cheer on the racing horses and maybe get lucky when you place a few bets. Stop by the Winner's Circle Restaurant or grab a hot dog trackside. Even when the horses aren't running, they're running – via simulcast racing on dozens of television screens. And don't forget the live concerts throughout the summer.

SplashTown, 21300 IH 45 N, Spring, 281-355-3300, www.splashtownpark.com

Dozens of other rides and slides make our city's largest water park a must-do attraction every year.

Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., 281-890-5500, www.tradersvillage.com

Find a bargain on a neon Elvis sign, a Donovan LP, socks, a puppy and some nachos all within five minutes of each other. No two visits to the city's 100-plus-acre flea market are ever the same.

GOLF COURSES

Bay Forest Golf Club, 201 Bay Forest Dr., La Porte, 281-471-4653, www.bayforestgolf.com

Bayou Golf Club, 2800 Ted Dudley Dr., Texas City, 409-643-5850, www.texas-city-tx.org/GolfCourse.htm

The Battleground at Deer Park, 1600 Georgia Ave., Deer Park, 281-478-4653, www.deerparktx.gov

Bear Creek Golf World, 16001 Clay Rd., 281-859-8188, www.bearcreekgolfworld.com

BlackHorse Golf Club, 12205 Fry Rd., 281-304-1747, www.blackhorsegolfclub.com

Eagle Pointe Golf Club, 12440 Eagle Pointe Dr., Mont Belvieu, 281-385-6666, www.eaglepointeonline.com

Hermann Park Golf Course, 2155 N. MacGregor, 713-526-0077, www.hermannparkgc.com

Memorial Park Golf Course, 1001 E. Memorial Loop Dr., 713-862-4033, www.memorialparkgolf.com

Redstone Golf Club, 5860 Wilson Rd., Humble, 281-459-7800, www.redstonegolfclub.com

Tour 18 Houston, 3102 FM 1960 East, Humble, 281-540-1818, www.tour18golf.com

Wildcat Golf Club, 12000 Almeda, 713-413-3400, www.wildcatgolfclub.com

The Wilderness at Lake Jackson Golf Club, 501 W. Hwy. 332, 979-297-4653, www.thewildernessgc.com

PARKS

Check for all of your favorite parks at www.houstontx.gov/parks:

Buffalo Bayou Park, www.buffalobayou.org/parks.html

Buffalo Bayou Park, which includes Eleanor Tinsley Park, carves a scenic, meandering trail parallel to Allen Parkway. The Waugh Bridge Bat Observation is not to be missed.

Cullen Park, 19008 Saums Rd.

People looking for a decent bicycle trail in a city park frequent Cullen Park, which is more than 10,500 acres.

Donovan Park, 700 Heights Blvd., 713-861-4002

The folks in the Heights put in a little sweat equity to create a wonderland wooden playground with a themed castle.

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