Galveston has won its reputation as "the Playground of the South" with scenic coastlines, rollicking festivals, unique historic sights, and a buzzing nightlife scene. To make the most of your trip, book your hotel or a full travel package with Travelocity. You'll find all of the best hotels in Galveston, TX, in one place. Plus, you can score cheap deals on luxurious lodgings and set up all of your vacation's logistics quickly and easily online. With all the money you save on hotels and flights, you can dedicate more of your vacation funds to enjoying Galveston's sights, perhaps picking up tickets to a show or indulging in a fine meal of local Gulf Coast cuisine!
A visit to Galveston wouldn't be complete without a wander through Moody Gardens. The 242-acre park is part amusement park, part gardens, and part wildlife preserve. Everything comes together to produce a rewarding destination for the whole family. Even a simple stroll around downtown Galveston shows off many of the city's greatest pleasures. Historic spots like the Art Deco Railroad Museum and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum are interesting sights, both inside and out. Right within the walkable downtown area, you can make your way from the fascinating waterfront district to the shoppers' paradise at The Strand to the trendy galleries and boutiques of the Postoffice Street arts district.
For energetic visitors, Galveston is an ideal spot to enjoy water sports, hiking, or other outdoor activities. Head to the Gulf to enjoy sailing, fishing, or kayaking. Surfers can find waves at designated spots along the coastline, including the stretches between 17th and 21st streets or between 29th and 53rd streets. Golfers can head inland to either of two courses on the island. If the weather's warm and you're traveling with kids, a trip to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island is one must-do activity. The legendary water park features slides, "water coasters," kiddie pools, and more. For a more old-time approach to fun, check out the Historic Pleasure Pier, the "Coney Island of the South." Once you've worked up an appetite, unwind and indulge at one of the many international restaurants that line The Strand or the waterfront district. You can find fresh Gulf Coast specialties including the local seafood as well as authentic Tex-Mex and an array of internationally themed restaurants.
For entertainment at a slightly slower pace, you may enjoy the peace and relaxation that comes with a day of birding. Birders from around the world come to Galveston to see the island's local fauna. You may see various shore and water birds throughout the year as well as many rare species that pass through during their yearly migrations. If you have an interest in transportation or technology, Galveston is home to four museums on various related themes. In addition to the Railroad Museum and the Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, visitors can learn about aviation at the Lone Star Flight Museum and head back in sailing history at the Texas Seaport Museum, home to the 1877 tall ship Elissa. For a history lesson that you can sit back and enjoy, take in a show at the Pier 21 Theater, which plays documentaries on Galveston history year-round. To take in the sights firsthand, take a ride on the Galveston Island ferry, which runs 24 hours per day year-round.
There's no right or wrong time to visit Galveston. However, you can bank on a rather different experience depending when you visit. Head to Galveston in the spring and you'll find both eager bird-watchers and, should your trip coincide with spring break, a lot of college students looking to let loose. In the summer, the temperatures climb, but you can also enjoy special summer concert series and other events. The intense heat can also drive down the rates at many Galveston, Texas, hotels and attractions. Bear in mind, however, that hurricane season does extend from June through September, posing some weather risk during that part of the year. Autumn is a beautiful season to visit, with temperatures in a "sweet spot" and the city launching into many Halloween-related celebrations. During holidays, while you'll find fewer cheap hotels in Galveston, you may still offset "high season" prices by buying early and opting for one of Travelocity's packages. In the wintertime, outside of the Christmas holidays, many Galveston, TX, hotels offer cheaper rates. However, the cooler temperatures mean that water parks close.
The city of Galveston is located on Galveston Island, a barrier island just off Texas' Gulf Coast. Given the long, thin shape of the barrier island, stretching about 27 miles in length and only about 3 miles across, it's easy to find hotels in Galveston, TX, that are close to the beaches. Many Galveston, TX hotels, line the Gulf Coast side of the island, while a few others are located closer to the intercoastal waters. By choosing among the hotels in Galveston, Texas, clustered around the downtown area, you can put yourself in the midst of local culture. On the other hand, many hotels are also located further west along the Gulf side of the island, around the Schlitterbahn water park and the convention center.
While Galveston is home to one small "reliever airport" on the island, most visitors fly into Houston and then travel to the island by rental car, bus, or railway. The trip takes a little more than an hour by car, and many visitors prefer to have a rental car for getting around on the island. On the other hand, various private shuttle companies also provide service directly from Houston's two airports to downtown Galveston. In Houston, you may fly into either William P. Hobby Airport or George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Hobby Airport is serviced by five airlines, including Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, and JetBlue. George Bush Intercontinental Airport is served by 21 passenger airlines, featuring regular flights to around 200 domestic and international destinations.
Whatever draws you to Galveston, the Gulf Coast destination is sure to offer a break from the routine. From sunbathing to surfing, birding to fishing, museums to historic mansions, and water parks to gardens, there's something to please every kind of visitor!