Texas may have travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Find out moreOpens in new tab or window

GalvestonUnited States of America

Enjoy the quaint old downtown architecture, explore historic mansions, and visit the museums and galleries of Texas’s foremost port city. 

Galveston charms with its glimpse into the colorful history of Texas through architecture and museums. The city sits on an island 32 miles long and 2.5 miles wide.

Walk the Strand and gaze at beautiful historic buildings preserved by local authorities for well over a century. Here you can browse souvenir shops, dine in excellent restaurants, or ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Continue exploring architectural treasures with a tour through the East End District. You’ll see classic Victorian buildings from the city’s days as a leading cotton exporter and extravagant old homes such as the Moody Mansion or Bishop’s Palace.

Galveston was officially incorporated in the 1830s. It soon grew into one of the most successful and prosperous cities in the region and even served as the capital of the Republic of Texas. Its economy was devastated by a hurricane in 1900, but throughout the 20th century it evolved into a historical and cultural vacation destination. It boasts some of the best old architecture in the country and is home to dozens of museums and art galleries.

Soak up some more history at the Texas Seaport Museum, where you’ll find the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Visit a real offshore oil rig and learn about the industry at the Ocean Star Drilling Rig and Museum. Aircraft lovers will want to explore the Lone Star Flight Museum. It has dozens of restored aircraft from World War II; you can even organize to have a ride in one.

History buffs will also love the story behind the Pleasure Pier, built during World War II as a recreational facility for the U.S. military. Nowadays families flock here to ride the roller coasters and enjoy the games. For more fun, hit the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Water Park. Check out the Moody Gardens to explore the aquarium, zoo, and 3-D theater. Beachgoers won’t find sparkling waters and white sand at Galveston, but for a relaxing morning or evening stroll, drop by the Seawall or East Beach.

Galveston is a historic island destination with plenty to offer history buffs and leisure seekers alike. It’s 50 miles southeast of Houston.

Where to stay in Galveston

If find yourself in Galveston and you want to get away from the Seawall crowds then this is a great beach to visit. Most days you’ll find that it isn’t crowded at all, only a few people around. Follow the picturesque white boardwalk to a trail that will lead you to the beach. Be sure to stop and smell the many flowers along the way—just remember to keep off the dunes and watch out for rattlesnakes.

Beachtown

While Beachtown might not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like East Beach and Stewart Beach Park.

Beachtown
WWII  submarine dry docked

Pelican Island

Pelican Island might not have many top sights, but Port of Galveston Cruise Terminal and Port of Galveston (Galveston Wharves) are two attractions nearby that you can check out.

Pelican Island

Top Hotels in Galveston

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Four Points by Sheraton Galveston
Four Points by Sheraton Galveston
3 out of 5
2300 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX
The price is $71 per night from Sep 23 to Sep 24

Nestled on the beach, this Galveston hotel is steps from Porretto 27th Street, Galveston Seawall, and Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Port of Galveston ...

3.5/5Good! (1,237 reviews)

"Clean and quiet. Great location! Would stay again"…"

Reviewed on Sep 19, 2020

Four Points by Sheraton Galveston
Commodore on the Beach
Commodore on the Beach
2 out of 5
3618 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $79 per night from Sep 23 to Sep 24

Nestled on the beach, this Galveston hotel is just steps from Seawall Beach and Galveston Seawall. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and Galveston Island ...

3/5 (1,863 reviews)

"no coffee in the room and it was dirty, the ladies in the front are a little rude and don't really help much"…"

Reviewed on Sep 20, 2020

Commodore on the Beach
Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center
Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center
4 out of 5
7 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX
The price is $129 per night from Sep 27 to Sep 28

This family-friendly Galveston resort is located near the beach, within a 10-minute walk of Moody Gardens and Galveston Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Galveston Seawall ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,690 reviews)

"The staff is great, friendly & helpful. The rooms are fair size and the pyramids phenomenal. The swimming pools were clean and not overly chlorinated, just perfect. But... a couple of the guests were snooty, holier than thou attitude with my children who were by no means misbehaving and the pool ..."…"

Reviewed on Sep 21, 2020

Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center

Getting around Galveston

Jump on the Galveston Island Trolley to get around in serious vintage style, with a fleet of restored streetcars running around downtown and along the seawall. The historic center of Galveston is an atmospheric place to explore, while bike rental is another option. For ultimate freedom, and especially for trips further afield, consider renting a car from one of the many operators in town. Visit the Island Transit website.Browse Galveston rental cars.

Best time to visit

One of Galveston’s big draws is the beach, and you’ll want to visit between spring and fall to enjoy weather warm enough for sunbathing. Do note though that the height of summer brings big crowds and sometimes overbearing heat, not to mention higher prices. The weather is mild in winter, a pleasant time of year to tour the town’s museums, parks and waterfront pier.

Popular places to visit in Galveston

Moody Gardens
Image for Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens

4.5/5(709 reviews)

More than just a theme park: an aquarium, zoo, museums and rides on beautiful Galveston Bay.

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Image for Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

4/5(717 reviews)

Ride the thrilling swings over the Gulf of Mexico and browse the shops and restaurants on this fun and scenic pier.

Galveston Seawall
Image for Galveston Seawall

Galveston Seawall

4.5/5(2,338 reviews)

You can learn about the local history of Galveston during your trip to a well-known site like Galveston Seawall. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Galveston Schlitterbahn Waterpark
Image for Galveston Schlitterbahn Waterpark

Galveston Schlitterbahn Waterpark

4/5(163 reviews)

Enjoy a day twisting and turning on water slides or just relax in a pool with a swim-up bar at this popular water park.

Strand Historic District
Image for Strand Historic District

Strand Historic District

4.5/5(161 reviews)

You can learn more about the history of Galveston during your trip to a top site like Strand Historic District. Amble around this family-friendly area's waterfront and enjoy its lively bars.

Bolivar Peninsula
Image for Bolivar Peninsula

Bolivar Peninsula

4.5/5(201 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at Bolivar Peninsula, a popular spot to commune with nature in Port Bolivar. Stroll along the beaches in this relaxing area, or seek out the golf courses.

Top things to do in Galveston

Segway Galveston Magical History Tour
Image for Segway Galveston Magical History Tour

Segway Galveston Magical History Tour

$75
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Storm on the Strand Ghost Tour
Image for Storm on the Strand Ghost Tour

Storm on the Strand Ghost Tour

$10
Per adult
Authentic Galveston Ghost Historic Tour
Image for Authentic Galveston Ghost Historic Tour

Authentic Galveston Ghost Historic Tour

$18
Per adult
Great! Galveston Ghost Tour
Image for Great! Galveston Ghost Tour

Great! Galveston Ghost Tour

$20
Per adult
76% of travellers recommend
Galveston Red Light District Tour
Image for Galveston Red Light District Tour

Galveston Red Light District Tour

$25
Per adult
Galveston Dolphin Sightseeing Tour
Image for Galveston Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

Galveston Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

$15
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend

Reviews of Galveston

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1851
5 - Excellent 47.34015345268542%
4 - Good
1700
4 - Good 43.47826086956522%
3 - Okay
299
3 - Okay 7.647058823529412%
2 - Disappointing
40
2 - Disappointing 1.0230179028132993%
1 - Terrible
20
1 - Terrible 0.5115089514066496%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jun 8, 2020

Riots at the sea wall at night. Unable to go eat dinner. We should have gone earlier, before dark.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 8, 2020

We plan to come back! We love Galveston.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 7, 2020

Love there place.. Every visit I stayed at that Motel 6 but after this visit I will no longer

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 4, 2020

Try Williams Party Boats for some fishing! Staff is always excellent. That Captain has always found is some great spots.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 4, 2020

Going and by myself. Then next trip take my son his wonderful wife and youngest grandchildren

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jun 2, 2020

Over all our experience in Galveston was good, but our hotel visit was very disappointing. No breakfast and 4pm is way to late of a check in

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Galveston

Image for Best piers in America

Best piers in America

Best piers in America

Other places like Galveston