If you're planning your vacation, consider Galveston Island, one of the top destinations in Texas. Situated on the Gulf Coast, there are miles of sandy beaches to explore, a cruise ship port, historic old town boasting Victorian architecture, and plenty of Southern charm. So before you start packing, here's some of the top things to see and do in Galveston:
1877 Tall Ship Elissa
One of the world's oldest sailing hulls, Elissa was launched in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland, as a merchant vessel. This National Historic Landmark has also sailed under Greek, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish flags.
With a museum and theater available, visitors can learn all about the swashbuckling history of this three-masted sailing vessel, including her rescue from the shipyard and eventual restoration.
Seawall Urban Park
This family day out features plenty of beach side restaurants, resorts and attractions in a beautiful environment. So whether you and your family want to hang out by the beach, soaking up the sun, or prefer something more active, such as walking or jogging along the 10 mile-long continuous sidewalk. the choice is yours. Don't forget to sample the deliciously fresh seafood at any of the restaurants en route, or hunt for souvenirs in the beachside shops.
If you're looking for more thrills and spills, be sure to visit the Pleasure Pier, with rollercoaster rides like Revolution that soar 60 feet in the air and give you the feeling of flying over the Gulf of Mexico.
Built in 1892, this Victorian ode to opulence is full of rare woods and colored stone, bronze dragons and stained glass. Also known as Gresham's Castle, inside the interior is equally as luxurious, with luxury furniture, huge fireplaces, sculptures and fabulous textiles.
Designed by Galveston architect, Nicholas Clayton, this 19.082 square foot building was built for premier city lawyer, Colonel Walter Gresham. It's considered by the American Institute of Architects as one of America's most significant buildings.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark
For something a bit more wet and wild, try the Shlitterbahn Waterpark and its 26 acres of fun. With over 30 adrenaline-filled attractions, there's a ride for everyone in the family. Take your pick from three speed slides, three activity areas for kids, four tube slides, a heated pool and secluded beach, surfing wave and Torrent Tidal Wave River. Try out the Soaring Eagle gondolas that take you up 100 feet in the air.
During winter months, the Wasserfest area becomes an indoor park to stay open year-round.
The Strand Historic District
Situated in downtown Galveston, this National Historic Landmark District is host to gorgeous Victorian buildings that now front boutiques, as well as antique stores, galleries and restaurants. A popular place to visit here is the Galveston Railroad Museum located on the corner of 25th and Strand. Many of the stores along the Strand survived a 1900 hurricane which killed over 6000 local residents.
Check out Galveston's famous seafood restaurants on the waterfront. You can also enjoy cultural performances at the Pier 21 Theater, and at Pier 19, visit the Ocean Star Offshore Energy Center and Museum.
Traveling to Galveston
If you're visiting Galveston from within the US, there's a number of ways to reach this charming destination. Traveling from Houston to Galveston? There are car hire companies available that will take you to and from the Port of Galveston and Port of Houston Cruise Terminals in luxury cars with minimum fuss.
Another option is to rent a car on arrival at Houston airport and drive to Galveston, about an hour away.
Either way, Galveston is super convenient to reach, and totally worth the trip.