Galveston, TX

Galveston is a coastal resort city and port off the southeast coast on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the American State of Texas. The community of 209.3 square miles (542 km2), with an estimated population of 50,180 in 2015, is the county seat of surrounding Galveston County and second-largest municipality in the county. It is also within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area at its southern end on the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

During the 19th century, Galveston became a major U.S. commercial center and one of the largest ports in the United States. It was for a time, Texas’ largest city, known as the „Queen City of the Gulf“. It was devastated by the unexpected surprising Galveston Hurricane of 1900, whose effects included massive flooding and a storm surge which almost completely destroyed and wiped out the town. 

Galveston’s climate is classified as humid subtropical, and is part of USDA Plant hardiness zone 9b. Prevailing winds from the south and southeast bring moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

10 Reasons You Should Get On Island Time in Galveston

There’s nothing quite like visiting Galveston Island! Feeling the sand beneath your feet, welcoming the sun as it shines above and exhaling with a sense of instant calm – as if the island air has brought in a fresh promise of renewal as it rolls off the waves. This is what being on „Island Time“ is all about.

But, if you step away from Galveston’s 32-miles of sun-soaked shores, you’ll discover a place that balances the old and the new with captivating ease. With more than its fair share of surprises and plenty of things to see and do, the possibilities are endless.

  1. All the Outdoor Adventure

Galveston may be best known for its sandy beaches, but there’s far more to do here than working on your suntan. Experience the world’s fastest-growing sport, stand up paddle boarding and catch a few waves as you take in a view of Seawall Boulevard. Admire the beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast as you kayak through the marshes and bayous of Galveston Island State Park.

  1. Frolicking Dolphins

Beachgoers aren’t the only ones playing in the warm waters of Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Visit Galveston throughout the year and you can also see pods of dolphins swimming and playing, an experience one might typically associate with a Caribbean destination. There’s nothing quite like seeing these majestic animals up close, and you can do just that on a dolphin tour. From the deck of BayWatch Dolphin Tour’s boat, you’ll see these friendly frolickers in their natural habitat. You may even see dolphins during an excursion on Galveston Harbour Tours’ multi-deck vessel or on the Galveston Island Ferry. With Galveston Water Adventures’ sunset cruise, you get the bonus of a beautiful sunset.

  1. The World’s Tallest Water Coaster

From your starting point 81 feet above ground level, you have just enough time to look down the steep green and white tube before you. Suddenly, your world becomes a blur of sound and color as you’re soaring down ramps and through sense-shifting curved tubes. You may be breathless at the end, and for good reason. You’ve just conquered Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark’s MASSIV, the tallest water coaster in the world. Ride MASSIV once and you’ll be hooked, but don’t overlook all the other thrill and leisure rides at Schlitterbahn.

If you don’t want to get wet, ride the tallest swing ride in Texas at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. The amusement park offers 16 rides, midway games and more.

  1. Majestic Mansions and Enchanting Architecture

In its heyday, Galveston was the “Wall Street of the South,” where prominent businessmen made their fortunes and built grand mansions. Many of these still stand to this day, and you don’t have to go far from the beach to see them. If you only have time to visit one, stop by the most prominent of them all: the 1892 Bishop’s Palace. With a façade of colored stone and a rounded turret topped by a cone-shaped roof, the home is as impressive as it is imposing. On the self-guided tour, you’ll see stained-glass windows, luxurious furnishings and impressive fireplaces fit for a king.

  1. Luxurious Getaways, High-End Hotels & Affordable Stays

What’s better than a weekend at the beach? Spending the weekend in a palatial hotel, of course. Galveston has historic and modern hotels that combine upscale accommodations with the kinds of amenities you’d find at full-service resorts, such as swim-up pool bars and rooftop hangouts. Romantic bed and breakfasts provide idyllic retreats for lovebirds, while in-town and beachside vacation rentals are perfect for families and large groups.

  1. A Multitude of Memorable Museums

Did you know that Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca once shipwrecked on Galveston Island? Or that pirate Jean Lafitte established a colony on the island that at its peak numbered about 1,000 people? The island’s history is unparalleled, and there is a multitude of museums that showcase it. Pay a visit to The Bryan Museum to browse the largest collection of southwestern artifacts in the world (including the sword used to capture Santa Anna), then step inside beautifully restored locomotives at the Galveston Railroad Museum.

  1. Craft Beer Made Right on the Island

The craft beer craze is as strong as ever in Texas, and Galveston is certainly no exception. In fact, the island is a playground for beer lovers thanks to its two breweries that crank out a variety of tasty brews. Head to Galveston Island Brewing Company’s tap room to sample beer styles from around the world, including a German-style Kolsch, a fruity India Pale Ale, and a silky smooth porter. The other game in town, Beerfoot Brewery, augments its own brews (such as a chai-spiced porter) with a large selection of craft beer from around Texas and the world. Both breweries are located off of Seawall Boulevard, so even as you’re indulging in your beer of choice you won’t ever be too far from the gulf.

  1. Palate-Pleasing Seafood and Fine Dining

You’ve spent all day lounging on the beach, kayaking the trails and browsing the museums, so you probably have quite the appetite. Given its diverse dining scene, you’ll find something that will hit the spot. If you’re craving seafood, there are upscale restaurants and straightforward eateries that serve such favorites as jumbo shrimp and red snapper. Yet there’s even more to choose from. Asian, Greek, Italian, Indian and Mexican restaurants abound on the island, offering up a full menu of flavors for even the most discerning palates. Bonus tip: Stop by La King’s Confectionary, an old-fashioned candy shop where you can watch a master candy maker craft taffy, peanut brittle, pecan pralines and fudge.

  1. Moody Gardens Will Capture Your Imagination

Observe swimming sharks and playing penguins, get up-close and personal with monkeys and macaws and discover the natural wonders of the world without leaving Galveston Island. These are just a few of the things you’ll see and do in the three glass pyramids at Moody Gardens. This may sound like a lot, but you’re not done yet. Take on the five-tier Sky Trail Ropes Course and soar on the zip line, play a round on the championship golf course and enjoy a cruise on a replica 1800’s paddlewheel boat.

  1. Galveston’s Nightlife Has Something for Everyone

Whether you prefer getting down on the dance floor or sipping a glass of merlot in an upscale lounge, you’ll find your niche in Galveston. For a beer and some live music, hit up one of the low-key bars in the Strand Historic District or along Seawall Boulevard. In the mood for something more energetic? The Strand has several nightclubs where live DJ’s crank out pulsating tunes that will have you showing off your coolest dance moves. Dress to the nines before heading out to Number 13 or The Rooftop Bar at The Tremont House, where you can nurse a drink while taking in views of Pelican Rest Marina or downtown Galveston.