Beaches, warm breezes, cold beer with a flurry of activity and an interesting history make Galveston one of the best laid-back travel destinations on the Texas Gulf Coast. The island is brimming with cool, creative and crazy people and venues. So, take it from the Islander by Choice (IBC) community and head down to Galveston for a memorable time.
1. Sun and Fun
Who doesn’t like to feel the soft sand between their toes and the inviting sun on their face? There’s plenty of that and more, as Galveston enjoys mild to balmy temperatures all year round, usually with highs in the 60s during winter and in the upper 80s during summer. In fact, locals will tell you there are only two seasons on the island, summer and sea fog. Yet, it’s still an ideal location for a weekend getaway to splash in the water, bike along the Seawall or grab some fresh seafood.
2. Culture and Civilization
Galveston is populated with many Born on Island (BOI) residents who love to tout just how much there is to do in their own hometown. They love the Strand, a 70-block historic downtown district where residents and tourists alike have convenient access to award-winning restaurants, quaint shops and a host of museums, amusement parks and quality events. They appreciate local venues such as the Grand 1894 Opera House that offers theatrical performances and first-class concerts. And, they love to traverse the streets, many adorned with oak-covered villas, palaces and churches steeped in nineteenth century architecture, bringing charm and beauty to the neighborhood.
3. Thrills and Chills
Spring Break is the official kickoff of tourist season, denoted by loud, baffled motorcycle pipes, ongoing Seawall traffic congestion, and the moans of the sunburned. But, there’s plenty of fun to be had, as there’s truly something exciting for everyone. Moody Gardens has a huge aquarium, tropical rainforest and seasonal attractions. Schlitterbahn Waterpark is home to heart-racing water slides, lazy rivers, and a plethora of wet and wild water activities. And, the Pleasure Pier is offers midway games and plenty of daring and adventurous carnival rides.
4. Past and Present
Some of Galveston’s residents have quite the colorful history. In times past, the island was a hotbed for pillaging, gambling and prostitution. Harkening back to 1870, stories are still told about the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte who made Galveston headquarters for his smuggling operation. He and his band would lavish jewels upon the native Karankawa women to the disdain of their husbands. In the 1930s and 40s, Madam Mary “Gouch-Eye” Russel operated the city’s bordello. According to legend, she partnered with the mayor to provide escorts for visiting big wigs in exchange for being tipped off prior to law enforcement raids. Today, Galveston is known as one of the most haunted places in America. From Miss Bettie, the mistress of Ashton Villa, to the numerous spooky sightings at the Hotel Galvez and area graveyards, many of the island’s inhabitants are not as “lively” as others.
5. Water and More Water
Even if locals joke about 50-milers (those snooty Houston folks who drive down to Galveston to escape city life), Texans couldn’t be prouder of this seaside gem. Ocean access and beautiful coastal views are a prize of the Lone Star State. This is the location for bay and blue water fishing via surf, pier or charter. It’s the place for water sports, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and surfing. It’s ideal for boating and sailing or simply watching the cargo ships, cruise ships and the Mosquito Fleet (the swarm of fish and shrimp boats) pass by. So, come revel in our island life and enjoy the water, even if you’re from Houston.