Galveston is an island city on the Gulf Coast of Texas, about 50 miles from Houston. It’s also the fourth busiest cruise port in the USA, welcoming more than a million passengers in 2016. But don’t just think of this fine city as somewhere to fly into and sail out of. Spend a little time here and you’ll find it has plenty to offer.
Galveston port is right in the heart of the city and no matter where the ship docks, guests are no more than a few blocks away from the main entertainment district.
For those taking the journey from Galveston to Huston, the best option is to use Uber, or the shuttle buses provided by many cruise lines. However, guests should be wary of high prices for taxis, with some fares as much as $50.
NEED TO KNOW
For those who love to shop, The Strand is the place to be, although the Tanger Outlets mall is just a 20-minute drive away. The indoor Henley Market is also worth a visit.
The Historic Downtown District is one block from the cruise ship terminals on Harborside Drive, and contains more than 100 shops, restaurants and galleries in Victorian iron-front buildings.
The Texas Seaport Museum, 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, Great Storm Theater, and the Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum, are also located here.
Time permitting, guests can also catch a sunrise or sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
WHAT WE LOVE
The Strand: This is Galveston’s main shopping street, where horse-drawn carriages rattle over the cobbles between beautifully restored 19th century buildings. Here, visitors can browse boutiques, galleries and gift shops, and visit the Galveston Railroad Museum or the interactive Pirates Museum. La King’s Confectionery, an old-fashioned candy factory and ice-cream parlour, is also a favoured spot, where staff put on demonstrations for making saltwater taffy (soft, chewy sweets).
Moody Gardens: Whatever the weather or time of year, Galveston’s Moody Gardens has something for everyone. Under cover in the Rainforest Pyramid, there are endangered species such as the giant river otter and the fearsome Komodo dragon, while the Aquarium Pyramid boasts artificial reefs as well as comical penguins and shark-feeding sessions.
Houston Space Centre: Just half an hour’s drive from Galveston (about £35 by taxi), this is a must-see attraction. Touch a real piece of lunar rock or see a real spacesuit worn by an astronaut. However, the star of the show is the Command Module of Apollo 17, the last manned lunar mission, which launched in December 1972.
ArtWalk: Every six to eight weeks in Galveston, there is the ArtWalk event. This draws people in the thousands, who visit a number of galleries housing avant-garde work and handmade crafts. The event also features Art Market on Market, an evening of music, painting, photography, and performance arts.
- Plenty to see and do in close proximity
- Houston Space Centre – sure to interest many
- Outdoor activities galore