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.