The now-trendy resort town of Galveston is located on a barrier island just two miles off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not just well-known for its 32-mile-long beach shaped by wind and waves, but also for its charming Victorian architecture scattered throughout the downtown historic districts.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark features 33 water attractions, including numerous waterslides, whitewater rapids, hot tubs, a wave pool and the Boogie Bahn surf ride.
Bishop’s Palace, on the National Register of Historic Places, was completed in 1893. Guided tours take place most days.
Texas Seaport Museum is home to the 430 ton square rigger Elissa, which was built in Scotland in 1877 and still sails the Gulf coast and beyond.
Top galleries include the Buchanan Gallery for contemporary works and the E Street Gallery.
Other attractions include the Galveston Railroad Museum, the 250 acre Moody Gardens featuring a 10 story Rainforest Pyramid, with a canopy-level walkway that looks down on lush tropical plants, butterflies, birds, monkeys, bats and turtles and the Lone Star Flight Museum.
The Rosenberg library houses a Texas history centre and several art galleries that feature everything from Art Deco glass to Native American pottery.
East Beach has everything from umbrellas and water sports equipment rentals to bars, concerts, the Big Reef Nature Park (a birding hotspot) and a gift shop. Drinking on the beach is legal here. Swimming can be a bit risky, as there are lots of fishermen around!
Stewart Beach is a nice choice for families. There are plenty of amenities including snack bars, changing rooms, volleyball courts, a waterslide and a mini-golf course.
There is a huge choice food-wise here from seafood and fresh fish to steaks, barbecue and sushi.
The disabled cruiser visiting Galveston
Where You’re Docked
You’ll dock at the Port of Galveston on Harborside Drive. If you’re sailing on a Carnival ship, you’ll be embarking your ship at Terminal 1. If you’re on a Royal Caribbean ship, head to Terminal 2.
A total of $65 million has been invested in expanding and improving the terminal, which includes a huge passenger waiting area (to accommodate passengers during fog delays), expanded check-in stations and VIP check-in. Large wall signs with area maps have also been hung around the facade of the terminal building; codes on the maps are able to be scanned with cell phone applications for easy navigation of the city. Another $12 million worth of improvements is in the works for things like adding terminal-wide Wi-Fi. Additional improvements currently being undertaken include construction to turn a nearby parking garage into an area for restaurants, complete with a bridge from the building straight into the cruise terminal; LED signage to direct arriving passengers to proper parking areas; and promotional materials that include bus wraps. The terminal is very close to the Strand and all the beaches and attractions. You’ll find in town all the usual services, such as telephones, ATM’s, etc.
There is usually a high demand for taxis and visitors may have to wait in line however, the center of town and local beaches are only a walk away.
Good to Know
Although Galveston is small and its people polite, be aware of your surroundings, don’t wear flashy jewelry, and leave unnecessary valuables (including excessive amounts of cash) in your cabin safe. If arriving by car and touring for the day, don’t leave luggage in plain view.
As Galveston is part of the U.S., the currency is the U.S. dollar. International visitors will find it easy to access cash at numerous ATM machines. Exchange bureaus so common in Europe are not in the U.S., but major banks also provide exchange services. Most banks are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some are open on Saturday mornings.
English is the primary language spoken.
Galveston is known for its large collection of 19th-century architecture; pick up picture postcards as souvenirs. Or, see a performance of the Galveston Symphony Orchestra or Galveston Ballet at the historic Grand 1894 Opera House, and keep your program as a memento. If you’re a little more irreverent, pick up a “Galveston T-shirt at the Bishop’s Palace gift shop. Another option for anyone with a sweet tooth is a bag of candy from LaKing’s Confectionery, located on The Strand.
Points of Interest
- Galveston- a seven-
Galveston Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
Galveston Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible