When it comes to islands and beaches to visit in the U.S., states like Hawaii, California and Florida tend to steal the spotlight. Yet down off the shores of Texas lies one of the country’s best bets for a low-key beach escape. The combination of seaside vibes with Southern hospitality can only be found in Galveston.
This Gulf Coast island packs a big punch with tourists, from its more than 30 miles of beaches to the dozens of museums and galleries lining the town. As a major port of call for cruises headed to the Caribbean, Galveston’s steady stream of tourists also ensures the island has plenty to keep visitors entertained.
Certainly, the beaches should not be missed. Nor should one skip an opportunity to wander the historic downtown district known as The Strand or see local landmarks like the Galveston Island Railroad Museum, the Lone Star Flight Museum or the ornate architecture of Bishop’s Palace. Excitement awaits at the ride-filled Pleasure Pier, while the educational exhibits and attractions of Moody Gardens keep the entire family entertained. No matter where you find yourself in Galveston, it’s worth keeping an eye on the surrounding landscape, as the island is considered of the top destinations in the country for bird watching.
Texans know how to eat, and while visiting Galveston, there will be plenty of opportunities to dig into the local seafood, Tex-Mex and Southern fare that define the island. Also keeping visitors satisfied is the seemingly endless array of festivals that bring out Galveston’s party side nearly every weekend. February’s Mardi Gras (the largest in Texas), April’s Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival and September’s Galveston Island Shrimp Festival are just a few of the main events that are worth a visit.
If you book flights to Galveston between the end of spring and beginning of summer, you’ll experience sunny days, warm temperatures, welcoming outdoor conditions. Later in the summer, the occasional hurricane can be dangerous, but are not always expected. July and August hit temperatures in the 80’s, while winter months drop down to the 50’s and 60’s, bringing the most precipitation in the month of January.
Best Time to Fly to Galveston
Galveston enjoys warm weather all year long, making it a popular destination any time of year. Peak season is typically during the months of June, July, August and September, when many children are on vacation and families are free to flock to the island’s beaches. This is also when visitors can enjoy Galveston’s best weather. Off-peak season lasts from October through May, though a year-round roster of festivals keeps this destination popular. The coldest months of January and February may be the best bets for finding cheap flights to Galveston.
Getting around Galveston
The island’s public transportation system – a network of trolleys – was severely damaged during a 2008 hurricane and has not been reinstated. While some areas are easy enough to navigate on foot, the best option for getting around Galveston is renting a car. Taxis can also be arranged by phone.
Galveston Travel Information
Moody Gardens: If you’re an animal lover booking flights to Galveston in search of some bold wildlife exhibits, then look no further than Moody Gardens, where you can see tons of different animal species all in one area. Some of these rare breeds are not even in most North American zoos, so you know when you’re here, you’re seeing something special. One of the biggest attractions in this educational and entertainment museum is undoubtedly the triad of glass pyramids that are home to trees and plants, birds and butterflies, and fish.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Water Park: What’s more fun than slipping and sliding around a water park built to the brim with tube chutes, wave tanks, and other rides? Book Galveston flights to be the first in line at the Travel Channel’s pick for best water park in the country. A huge family destination, both the Galveston location and its sister branch in South Padre have had strong tourist followings for years. One section of the Schlitterbahn Galveston Water Park can be enclosed, to ensure nonstop fun even in the winter months. So pack your swimsuit and goggles and head for the ride of a lifetime.
Strand Historic District: Nestled along the beautiful waterfront, the Strand Historic District offers voyagers booking flights to Galveston a chance to meander along small streets filled with shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums. Tiny enough to allow self-guided tours, the area is best experienced through trial and error. Start at one point and make your way to the other end, and on your way, you might want to stop into the Galveston Island Railroad Museum, or the Pier 1 theater, where exhibits and entertainment await your attention.