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.
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.
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.
There are two airports serving Galveston: William P. Hobby Airport, about a 45-minute drive away, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport, about a 90-minute drive from Galveston. While shuttles and taxis are available at both airports, the distance between both airports and Galveston makes renting a car the best option for reaching the island. Those who are visiting Galveston briefly before embarking on a cruise may want to skip the car rental and arrange for a shuttle; taxis are the most expensive option.