Galveston

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For other places with the same name, see Galveston (disambiguation).

Galveston is a city on Galveston Island, off the Texas Gulf Coast, approximately 45 minutes southeast of Houston. Galveston is a port of entry and a destination for almost all the cruise ships with ports of call in Texas. Many Houstonians have beach houses in Galveston or elsewhere in Galveston County where they sometimes relocate during the summer, or simply drive to Galveston to enjoy the local beach.

Understand[edit]

Galveston is a beach resort town in the Houston area. Every summer and spring break, Houstonians crowd the beaches of Galveston as well as tourists from all over the United States (notably the South). Other than beaches, Galveston also has many attractions such as a pleasure pier, the Schlitterbahn water park, and Moody Gardens (a resort complex). Galveston is home to East Beach which is known for being a "party beach". Many famous artists perform occasionally and special events take place. People looking for a good time crowd East Beach. Galveston also has many nightclubs. For people looking for family fun in the sun, Stewart Beach is the premier family beach in the Houston area. Volleyball tournaments and sandcastle competitions take place on Stewart Beach. Apart from sunbathing and clubbing, Galveston is also home to a wide range of shopping. Seawall Boulevard has many shops for beachgoers such as surf shops, sunglasses, sim wear, sunscreen, and souvenir shops as well as boutiques, clothing stores, and so on. Dining is also a big deal on the island, as Galveston is known for having some of the freshest seafood. There are also many burger shops and restaurants of all kind. Many restaurants are located on the beach.

  • Climate - Semi-tropical; averaging 57°F in the winter months and 81°F in the summer months.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Scholes International Airport (IATA: GLS) [1] This is the only airport in Galveston, but only serves private and chartered flights.
  • William P. Hobby Airport (IATA: HOU) [2] One of two airports in Houston providing scheduled commercial flights into the metro area, and the closest commercial airport to Galveston. It is directly connected to Galveston by Interstate 45; the drive takes about 45 minutes. Hobby Airport is dominated by Southwest Airlines.
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IATA: IAH) [3] Also in Houston, and dominated by United Airlines. Take US Route 59 south into downtown Houston and exit into Interstate 45 south; you will pass by Hobby Airport en route. Allow at least 90 minutes to drive from IAH to Galveston, probably more during rush hour. IAH asks returning passengers to arrive 2 hours before check-in.

By car[edit]

  • I-45 South is the easiest route from Houston to Galveston Island. The freeway becomes Broadway St. on the island.
  • The San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge offers access to Galveston Island from Surfside Beach along State Highway 87. State Highway 288 connects the Greater Houston area to this route.

By bus[edit]

  • Coach USA (affiliated with Greyhound Bus Lines) buses run regularly to Galveston through Houston.

By boat[edit]

  • Bolivar Peninsula - Galveston Island Ferry is a free service that regularly runs between the island and Port Bolivar - located on mainland east of Galveston. For travel between Galveston and New Orleans, the ferry can save 30-40 minutes by avoiding Houston. The ferry is run on a first-come first-served basis, and there are often moderate waits during rush hour, and very long waits (on the order of 2-3 hours) on major holidays. Weekend evening waits also tend to be long.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak provides a bus from Galveston (24 hour advance reservations required) to connect with the Texas Eagle in Longview, also the Sunset Limited has a major stop in Houston.

Get around[edit]

The island is small enough that walking can take you most places, although it is not recommended in all neighborhoods, particularly outside the historic district, the Strand, and the Harborside district.

Seawall Blvd. is one of the busiest parts of Galveston, especially during the summer. Since Galveston streets are in a grid it is easy to find a less-busy parallel street to travel on, but watch out for unexpected one-way streets.

Metered street parking is available throughout the city, so bring change. The city operates a replica streetcar service, which operates in the historic district and parts of Seawall Blvd. Pedal cars are also available to rent from various vendors for use along the Seawall and the Strand. Island Transit offers limited bus service for the city.

Get taxi information or order a cab online [4] or call Yellow Cab company of Galveston 409-763-3333

See[edit]

  • Moody GardensOne Hope Blvd (off 81st St.), toll-free: +1-800-582-4673. Botanical garden, indoor rainforest, aquarium, 3D movie theater, 4D special FX theater, water park, hotel, and golf course in one complex. The complex is made up of several large pyramids. Great place to take the kids for a whole day. $39.95 day pass.
  • Galveston Island Railroad Museum123 Rosenberg (near the Strand at 25th St.),  +1 409-765-5700fax: +1 409-765-5744. All sorts of railway things to see. It's in the old Galveston Railway Station, and the lobby is a huge period display. $6.
  • Lone Star Flight Museum2002 Terminal Dr (next to Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston),  +1 409-740-7722, e-mail: . 09:00 to 17:00, Closed Christmas Day. Historic aviation legends. The museum has 40 historic operable aircraft and a large collection of other aviation artifacts. $8.
  • Seawolf Park (Take 51st St. north over the causeway to the other side of Pelican Island.). Sunrise to sunset, Friday and Saturday nights for fishing.. Home of USS Cavalla and USS Stewart are berthed on Pelican Island.
  • Texas Seaport MuseumPier 21, Number 8 (Off the Strand),  +1 409-763-1877, e-mail: . Also home to several historic ships, including the 1877 tall ship Elissa.
  • Schlitterbahn Galveston Island100 Padre Blvd +1 956 761 1160. 10AM-8PM during summer. Next to Moody Garden and Scholes International Airport, this extension of the Schlitterbahn brand is an indoor/ outdoor water park for year-round entertainment. The indoor Wasserfest section is open year-round, while 2 outdoor sections are open during the summer. Most rides start from a river that runs from the highest point in the park to the lowest, with a conveyer belt to take tubers back to the top.

Do[edit]

  • Bolivar Ferry. Free ferry for automobiles and pedestrians between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. The ferry ride is about 25 minutes, but waiting times for the ferry can be considerably longer, especially on busy weekends. If the vehicle line is long, a good option is to stay in the right lane on Ferry Road, park your car, and walk on the ferry to ride it across and back. Good views of the bay, ship traffic, and sometimes wildlife. Children will have much fun feeding anything edible to sea gulls at the stern of the ferry.
  • San Luis Pass (San Luis Pass County Park). Offers fishing, bird watching and boating. Amenities are offered at the San Luis Pass County Park, across the toll bridge, on the Brazoria County side. Tide levels here seem more prominent and can vary by almost 2 feet in height. Wading or swimming may not be allowed here due to dangers.
  • Galveston Island State Park. Just a short drive west of Galveston's business district. While the Gulf shore campground and visitors center were destroyed by Ike, the park has reopened on a limited basis for day visitors.
  • Cruise line travel. Carnival and Princess cruise lines (perhaps others) have regular cruises which depart from Galveston.

Learn[edit]

The University of Texas Medical Branch is the island's major university. There is a significant "college town" feel to the section of the Strand nearest the university. It provides mostly postgraduate medical education.

Texas A&M University at Galveston, located on Pelican Island, is a branch campus of Texas A&M University. Its main fields of study include Marine Sciences, Marine Engineering, and Maritime Transportation. It is home to the Texas Maritime Academy.

Work[edit]

The two largest employers on the island are UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch) and ANICO (American National Insurance Company)

Buy[edit]

The Strand is an historic district near the docks with a variety of unique shops.

  • Colonel Bubbie's2202 Strand (Strand at 22nd St.), toll-free: +1-800-231-6005, e-mail: . This is a Army Navy Surplus Store but it is unlike any that you have ever seen, with things that you only see in movies. You really have to see it to get it. Just don't be allergic to cats when you go.

Eat[edit]

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Casey's Seafood Restaurant3828 Seawall Blvd +1 409-762-9625. Casey's shares the same kitchen with Gaido's. Casey's offers the same dishes more inexpensively in a more casual atmosphere. $12-$25.
  • La Estacion2428 Ball St +1 409-762-4262. Arguably one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, serves breakfast and lunch only.
  • Fisherman's WharfPier 22 (NE Corner of Ave A and 22nd St.),  +1 409 765-5708. Great seafood restaurant located right next to the 1877 tall ship Elissa. Try the shrimp kisses.
  • Mosquito Cafe628 14th St +1 409-763-1010. Fresh Homemade American Fusion
  • Olympia Grill4908 Seawall Blvd +1 409-766-1222. Awesome Greek food.
  • The Phoenix Bakery & Coffee Shop2228 Mechanic St +1 409-763-4611.
  • Rudy & PACO Restaurant2028 Post Office St +1 409-762-3696. Quality Italian food
  • Salsas Mexican & Seafood Restaurant4604 Seawall Blvd +1 409-621-2011.
  • Yaga's Tropical Cafe Club2314 Strand St +1 409-762-6676. American food
  • Olympia the Grill at Pier 21Pier 21 and Harborside +1 409-765-0021. Great Texas Gulf Seafood

Splurge[edit]

  • Gaido's Seafood Restaurant (3800 Seawall Boulevard),  +1 409-762-9625. $20-$40.
  • Luigi's2328 The Strand +1 409 763-6500fax: +1 409 763-0270. Lunch Mon-Sat: 11:00-2:30, Dinner Mon-Thurs: 5:30-9:00, Fri&Sat: 5:30-10:00. Best Northern Italian food anywhere near the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Highly recommended.
  • The Ocean Grill. Seafood, exciting over-the-water dining experience along the seawall
  • Saltwater Grill2017 Postoffice +1 409-762-3474. Fresh, original seafood dishes.

Drink[edit]

Local beer[edit]

  • Star Bock413 20th St. Available at the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe.

Sleep[edit]

  • Avenue O Bed and Breakfast2323 Ave O +1 409-762-2868. Check-in: 3:00, check-out: 11:00. located four blocks from the beach and minutes from the Strand, Avenue O offers uniquely themed rooms with double jacuzzis, private decks, TV/DVD players, refrigerators and microwaves. A full breakfast is served daily $99 - $169.

Budget[edit]

  • Beachcomber Inn.
  • Best Value Inn & Suites.
  • Mariner Inn.
  • Gaido's Seaside Inn.
  • Ramada Limited Galveston.
  • Sandpiper Motel201 Seawall Blvd +1 409-765-9431. A motel along the beach consisting mostly of private rooms. A couple of rooms have been converted into dorm rooms under the Hostelling International brand. Private rooms can be booked online, but call the motel directly to book a hostel bed.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Vacation rentals[edit]

RV parks and campgrounds[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Like any other tourist city, it is safe, but petty crime does happen. Use common sense, locking your car is a must. Bums will often hang out in the middle of the intersections.

Water currents can be a danger along any part of the island. Swimming near lifeguard stations and obeying safety signs may offer some assurance.

Straits have treacherous waters, largely due to murky water and fast moving currents: many drownings occur in the vicinity of the San Luis Pass compared to other areas off of nearby beaches. Water current dangers are more prominent up to about one mile away from island straits not protected by a jetty. Entering the water is not allowed in many of these areas.

Cope[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Galveston
HoustonTexas City ← Jct NW Texas 6.svg  N I-45.svg S  END
END  SW Texas 87.svg NE  → ferry → Port Arthur via Texas 124.svg and Texas 73.svgOrange


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