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Galveston Travel Guide

Get to know before you go.
Last Updated
:
January 21, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
Galveston beach in Houston
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As frazzled desk jockeys who haven’t seen our toes in years thanks to 60+ hour workweeks, we’ve gotta come clean—we used to think beach vacations were overrated. We just didn’t get why people would fight through airport chaos for the misery of sunburn, sand in their shorts, and overpriced seafood.

That was until we took our first real beach vacation in Galveston last summer. After just one afternoon snoozing under a giant umbrella, sipping a coconut milkshake brought right to our beach chairs, we became absolute beach bum converts. We’re pretty sure we felt our blood pressure lower by about 20 points. Now we totally get it.

And let us tell you, Galveston offers so much more for a supremely relaxing vacay than just staking out a patch of sand. We’re talking charming coastal towns with indie boutiques and mom n’ pop restaurants, epic sunrise coastal drives to watch shrimp boats head out to sea, super fresh seafood shacks with killer shrimp gumbo and boil pots overflowing with head-on crawdads…are you drooling yet?

Yeah, Galveston converted these former beach haters into total beach bums. With this Galveston travel guide chock full of pro tips, you’ll be planning your own escape to soak up the salty breezes and island vibes in no time. We’ll spill on where to stay, what to do, where to get your nosh on, and so much more. Even if you only have time for a quick weekend trip, we’ve got you covered on how to make the most of your time in this laidback coastal paradise. Grab a cuppa and let’s daydream about those Galveston beach sunsets, shall we?

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About Galveston

Aerial photo of Galveston Texas
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When it comes to things to do in Galveston, there are plenty of attractions to choose from. For the most part, the city is a beach town with plenty of activities for the entire family. If you are looking to explore the city’s historical past, there are several great museums, attractions, and restaurants.

Most travelers arrive in Galveston via Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport or the William P. Hobby Airport, which are both about 40 miles from the city. From either airport, travelers can rent a car and drive to Galveston Island. For a more convenient option, travelers can also take a shuttle service to and from the island. This service usually costs around $30 for a one-way trip, while round-trip tickets run around $75.

If you’re looking for a day trip from Houston, Galveston is the perfect destination. You’ll find a diverse range of attractions, from historic architecture to lively nightlife. The island is a great place to bring your family and enjoy a few drinks on the beach.

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Why Go to Galveston

Boone Powell Arch in historic district
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If you’re looking for a laid-back experience on the Gulf Coast, Galveston Island is the place to go. It has a wonderful mix of historical sites, beautiful beaches, and plenty of free things to do. Whether you want to take a cruise, spend time in the sun, or take a nature walk, Galveston has something to offer everyone. Here are a few reasons to visit this charming coastal city:

Galveston has a thriving downtown area with a variety of shops, restaurants, and live music. It is a fantastic place to spend a day or even a week. If you want to do a little more sightseeing, try a guided tour. You’ll learn about the island’s history and culture and get some great ideas for how to spend your vacation in Galveston.

If you’re an art lover, you’ll love the Galveston Art Center. It features some unusual and quirky exhibits. The museum also offers art classes for those with a passion for the arts.

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Best Time to Go

Downtown Galveston Texas
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The best time to visit Galveston is during the cooler months of winter, spring, and fall. This is because temperatures are generally mild and accommodations are inexpensive. Avoid visiting the island during the peak summer months, when prices can increase significantly. It is also a good idea to visit during the midweek when prices tend to be lower than during the weekends.

During the summer season, you can expect the city to be busy. Prices are highest in June and July when there is a high volume of tourists. The cheapest time to visit Galveston is November, which is not as popular as the summer months. If you’re looking to enjoy the weather without paying high prices, November is a great time to go.

There are many reasons to visit Galveston. You can visit the beach, visit the Moody Gardens, or take a tour of the aquarium. Visitors can explore three huge glass pyramids, an aquarium with 1.5 million fish, and even a discovery museum. You can also catch a one-hour paddlewheel boat tour.

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How to Get Around

Galveston, Texas, USA
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There are several options for transportation in and around Galveston. Bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and public transportation are all popular options. You can take a leisurely ride through the downtown area on horseback, or take the family on a dolphin cruise. You can also enjoy a leisurely ride on a jet boat if you like. You can also take advantage of the public bus system to get around the island.

You can also take a cab. The city offers taxis that accommodate up to six passengers. However, if you have a larger group, you will have to split up into multiple rides and pay multiple fares. You can also use ride-hailing apps to hail a cab.

The public transportation system on Galveston Island is known as Island Transit. This system has been in operation for 40 years and serves about 25 square miles. Its historic streetcar system is still active, although it was damaged by Hurricane Ike. However, it has recently expanded its service area by adding new rubber-tire trolleys. These trolleys are available for a Downtown route and the Seawall route.

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Best Restaurants

Restaurant view of The Steakhouse at The San Luis Resort
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Looking for the best restaurants in Galveston? Look no further! From seafood to steaks, these restaurants have it all. If you’re in the mood for seafood, check out Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant. They’ve been serving up fresh seafood since 1938, so you know it’s good!

If steak is more your style, head over to The Steakhouse at San Luis Resort. They offer USDA Prime beef that is hand-selected and aged to perfection.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it at one of these great restaurants in Galveston. So go ahead and treat yourself to a night out!

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Things to Do

Ferris wheel in Galveston
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There are many things to do in Galveston, Texas, from sightseeing to fishing. There are also plenty of attractions for families. If you’re traveling with children, check out the Galveston Children’s Museum. Or take a self-guided tour of Galveston.

For those who enjoy the arts, there are a number of galleries and museums to check out. Art galleries often host a monthly art walk, which offers the opportunity to see a wide variety of artwork. For instance, there are several free art exhibits throughout the year at the Galveston Art Museum, which is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The museum also holds monthly art walks and features local artists.

For history buffs, the city has a number of interesting museums. The Galveston Naval Museum has two World War II submarines on display. In addition, the museum also has the remnants of the huge S.S. Selma, the largest concrete ship ever constructed. You’ll also find rare books, antique firearms, Native American arrowheads, and a Spanish mission bell. This is one of the best Things to Do in Galveston, Texas.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Aerial photo residential homes in Galveston Beach Texas
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If you’re thinking of buying a home in Galveston, Texas, you may be interested in exploring the city’s many neighborhoods. For example, Beachtown is a popular neighborhood in the city, and it is surrounded by prime beach access and walkable streets. This neighborhood offers a unique combination of beachfront living and historic architecture and is within walking distance of many of the city’s best restaurants and entertainment options.

If you’re looking for a more upscale neighborhood, try Uptown/Galleria. It’s home to numerous museums and a gated community for upper-class residents. Alternatively, try Heights/Timbergrove, which is a trendy, artsy neighborhood. Nearby areas include the Medical Center/NRG Park, which is named after its hospital. There’s also the Museum District, which features 18 museums and is a hub for the arts and culture in the city.

West End: Located just south of downtown, the West End is a peaceful getaway from the busy city. This area of Galveston offers beaches, marinas, shopping, and restaurants, including the Pirates’ Cove, Spanish Grant, and Jamaica Beach. A great place to enjoy an ocean view is Gaidos Seafood Restaurant, which opened in 1911. Other nearby restaurants include Miller’s Seawall Grill, where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch while taking in the spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico. Lastly, you can visit the Galveston Railroad Museum, which is operated by a non-profit organization.

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Weather

Galveston, Texas USA
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Weather in Galveston, Texas can vary from day to day. The average temperature varies significantly throughout the year due to the city’s proximity to a large body of water. During the winter and summer months, the temperature remains above freezing. Other climate factors that affect weather in Galveston include humidity and the sun’s position.

Rainfall in Galveston typically varies throughout the year. On average, there are 31 days per year with at least 0.04 inches of rain or snow. The chances of a wet day fluctuate throughout the year, but there is a greater chance of rain in September than in March.

The climate in Galveston is classified as humid subtropical. The hottest month is August with average highs in the high nineties. The coolest month is January with an average high in the low sixties. The average precipitation is highest between June and November.

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