Galveston is a city on Galveston Island, off the TexasGulf Coast. It has largely been overshadowed by the nearby megacity of Houston, but remains 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.
Hurricane Ike update
Galveston suffered major damage from Hurricane Ike, which hit on 13 September 2008. All of the city experienced winds in excess of 100 mph, and many parts of the city were flooded with saltwater. Some local landmarks like the Balinese Room were destroyed. After being closed for months while services were restored, Galveston again opened to visitors on 1 November 2008. A number of hotels and restaurants are back open. However, full recovery will take time. Visitors should confirm openings before visiting. Despite recovery efforts, some parts of the island may be deemed dangerous or not suitable for the public, such as destroyed bridges over small canals. Many businesses listed in this article may still be closed.
Climate - Semi-tropical; averaging 57° F in the winter months and 81° F in the summer months.
Population - 57,247
Scholes International Airport (IATA: GLS)  This is the only airport in Galveston, but only serves private and chartered flights.
William P. Hobby Airport (IATA: HOU)  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)  Also in Houston, and dominated by Continental 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.
I-45 South is the easiest route from Houston to Galveston Island. The freeway becomes Broadway St. on the island.
Coach USA (affiliated with Greyhound Bus Lines) buses run regularly to Galveston through Houston.
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.
Amtrak provides a bus from Galveston to Longview, also the Sunset Limited has a major stop in Houston.
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.
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  or call Yellow Cab company of Galveston 409-763-3333
Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard (off 81st St.), ☎ 800-582-4673, . $39.95 day pass.
Galveston Island Railroad Museum, 123 Rosenberg (near the Strand at 25th St.), ☎ 409-765-5700 (fax: 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.
Strand National Historic Landmark District, (East of Broadway, along the east side of the island), . All sorts of old buildings and historical markers.
Haak Vineyards and Winery, 6310 Ave. T, Santa Fe, Texas, ☎ 409-925-1401, . Noon to 18:00 (varies by season). Galveston County's only winery.tours complimentary.
Lone Star Flight Museum, 2002 Terminal Dr. (next to Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston), ☎ 409-740-7722 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 09:00 to 17:00, Closed Christmas Day. Historic avaition legends.$8.
Texas Seaport Museum, Pier 21, Number 8 (Off the Strand), ☎ 409-763-1877 (email@example.com), . Also home to several historic ships, including the 1877 tall ship Elissa.
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, ☎ 409-766-7827, . 10:00 - 17:00 (varies by season). Housed in a retired oil platform. Interesting exhibit for someone unfamiliar with the drilling process. $8 (seniors and students are $5).
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.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston, 2026 Lockheed Street, ☎ 409-770-9283 (fax: 409-740-1973), . Vary by season.. about $40.
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. 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.
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.
The two largest employers on the island are UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch) and ANICO (American National Insurance Company)
The Strand is an historic district near the docks with a variety of unique shops.
Colonel Bubbie's, 2202 Strand (Strand at 22nd St.), ☎ 1-800-231-6005 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 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.
Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 22 (NE Corner of Ave A and 22nd St.), ☎ (409)765-5708. Great seafood restaurant located right next to the restored Elissa sailing vessel. Try the shrimp kisses.
Casey's Seafood Restaurant, 3828 Seawall Boulevard, ☎ 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 Estacion, 2428 Ball Street, ☎ 409-762-4262. Arguably one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, serves breakfast and lunch only.
Saltwater Grill, 2017 Postoffice, ☎ 409-762-3474. Fresh, original seafood dishes.
Sky Bar, 2107 Postoffice, ☎ 409-621-4759. Sushi bar & grill.
Willie G's, 2100 Water St. (at pier 21). Local chain (Landry's Restaurants), seafood.409-762-3030.
The Ocean Grill. Seafood, exciting over-the-water dining experience along the seawall
3rd Coast Bar, 9th and Seawall Blvd., ☎ 409-765-6911.
21, 2102 Postoffice, ☎ 409-762-2101.
Garza's Kon Tiki, 315 Tremont, ☎ 409-765-5805.
JuJu Hangout & Bar, 2408 Strand, ☎ 409-765-9300.
O'Malley's Stage Door Pub, 2022 Postoffice, ☎ 409-763-1731.
The Press Box, 2401 Postoffice, ☎ 409-765-5958.
Sky Bar, 2107 Postoffice, ☎ 409-621-4759.
Yaga's Cafe and Bar, 2314 Strand, ☎ 409-762-6676.
Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe, 413 20th Street, ☎ 409-762-9199 (email@example.com), . All shows start at 21:00, closed Sunday - Tuesday. Come try Galveston's own Star Bock beer.
Star Bock, 413 20th Street, . Available at the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe.
Saint Arnold Brewery, 2522 Fairway Park Drive, Houston, TX 77092 (go north on IH-45, go left on IH-610 (exit westbound on the right side), exit 290, take the first exit, turn left on Mitchelldale, turn left on Fairway Park.), ☎ 713-686-9494, . tours Saturday at 13:00. Located in Houston, their brews are often sold in local bars. Very popular beers are the Texas Wheat, Oktoberfest (August through October), and Christmas Ale (November through December).
Best Value Inn & Suites.
Gaido's Seaside Inn.
Ramada Limited Galveston.
Flagship Over the Water. splurge.
Sandpiper Motel, 201 Seawall Blvd, ☎ 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.
By the Sea Condos, 7310 Seawall Boulevard, ☎ (409) 740-0905 or (800) 666-0905 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 24-hour security desk. All condos feature a balcony with a "million dollar" view of the Gulf of Mexico.$122-$177.
The Tremont House- A Wyndham Historic Hotel, 2300 Ship's Mechanic Row (Located in the Strand District.), ☎ 409-763-0300 (email@example.com, fax: 409-763-1539), . A historic Galveston hotel with modern amenities and rooms with marble baths, towel warmers, and elegant furnishings.$110-$199.
Hotel Galvez- A Wyndham Historic Hotel, 2024 Seawall Boulevard (Located along the Gulf of Mexico.), ☎ 409-765-7721 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A renowned AAA 4 diamond historical hotel featuring a brand new full service spa.$100-$199.
Sand 'n Sea Pirates Beach, ☎ 800-880-2554 (email@example.com), . A great selection of vacation rental accommodations on beautiful West Galveston Island
The Olive Cottage, ☎ 409-762-0347 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The Olive Cottage is a nine room historical home. In 2004 it was featured in the Galveston Historic Homes Tour. The cottage offers its guests a comfortable setting to vacation and relax.
3 Beach Houses, (16 Mile Road and FM-3005), ☎ 281-338-9800 (email@example.com, fax: 281-596-7511), . Unbelievably reasonable accomodations with an ocean view!
Galveston Island RV Park, 2323 Skymaster, ☎ 409-744-5464.
Galveston Island State Park, 14901 FM 3005 (Take Seawall west down the island, it's on the left (gulf) side.), ☎ 409-737-1222, . The park campground was wiped out by Hurrican Ike. The park is open for limited use but as of April 2009 there are still no plans to reopen any camping facilities. Also See Texas State Parks
Like any other tourist city, it is safe, but petty crime does happen. Use common sense, locking your car is a must. Serious crimes rarely happen in tourist areas. During the non-tourist areas, crime does go up. Bums will often hang out in the middle of the intersections.
Galveston Island State Park - Just a short drive west of the city of Galveston. While the Gulf shore campground and visitors center were destroyed by Ike, the park has reopened on a limited basis for day visitors.
Carnival and Princess cruise lines (perhaps others) have regular cruises which depart from Galveston.