Galveston is a slow-paced Island paradise with much to do and no pressure to hurry. Galveston is located right outside of Houston in Southeast Texas. Galveston is the seat of Galveston County which is made up of Bayou Vista, Clear Lake Shores, Dickinson, Friendswood, Hitchcock, Jamaica Beach, Kemah, La Marque, League City, Santa Fe, and Texas City. Galveston is one of many Texas cities located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the culture, food, entertainment, and industries of Galveston are centered on the gulf. Much of Galveston Island was destroyed or covered in water when it was hit by Hurricane Ike in September 2008, but the city is now back on its feet.
Attractions in Galveston
Galveston is most famous for its miles of beautiful beaches but there is much more to do while in the Galveston area. A person or family could easily spend several days at Moody Gardens without running out of things to do. Moody Gardens offers museums, boat tours of the island, a rain forest and aquarium, a water park for the kids, and much more. Moody Gardens also has a hotel so you can stay right in the middle of all of the action.
Right across the street from the Moody Gardens Hotel is Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Schlitterbahn in Galveston is one of several Schlitterbahn locations in the United States. Schlitterbahn offers lots of great rides, slides, and other attractions including a heated indoor water park for wintertime fun.
Another Galveston attraction that you can enjoy all day is the Strand. The Strand offers great shopping, historic buildings, museums, boat tours of the island, and many other quaint little shops and stores that are unique to Galveston. You can enjoy the Strand on foot, by car, or you can take a ride on one of the many horse-drawn carriages. The Galveston Strand is also host to the Mardi Gras festival, an annual celebration that was made famous in New Orleans French district. The Strand hosts several other festivals throughout the year.
Galveston has one of the best historic districts in Texas. One of the most famous buildings in the Galveston historic district is Moody Mansion. You can take a guided tour of this mansion and many other historic buildings in Galveston. Much of Historic Galveston is located on or around the Strand.
Galveston also has several forts that were built to defend the Texas coast. Fort Travis right across the ferry from Galveston in Bolivar is the biggest of these forts. Fort Travis has four separate forts and offers cabins with electricity and running water, campgrounds, picnic areas, a playground, and showers. Fort Travis also has great places for fishing and crabbing.
Fishing in Galveston
Galveston has many great fishing locations. Many people like to set up on the beach to fish, but you can also fish on one of the hundreds of piers in Galveston. Fishermen also enjoy fishing from the North Jetty in Bolivar right across the ferry from Galveston. The North Jetty is almost 5 miles long and has deep water on one side for fishing, and very shallow water on the other side for crabbing.
Another great place to fish in the Galveston area is the Texas City Dike. Texas City is only a few miles from Galveston. The Texas City Dike is a road that extends 5 miles into the mouth of Galveston Bay. The Texas City Dike is like a 5-mile long pier that you can drive on.
There are also many charter services in the Galveston area that offer deep sea fishing. These services take you 20 to 100 miles offshore; sometimes even further. Offshore fishing is a unique experience because you will see bigger and more interesting fish when you get away from the shore. The water also becomes clear when you get away from the shore so you can watch the fish while you catch them.
Spring Break in Galveston
Galveston is a favorite Spring Break destination. During Spring Break in Galveston, the beaches are flooded with college and high school students from all over the country. The beaches of Galveston and the surrounding area are packed bumper to bumper with and shoulder to shoulder with students celebrating a break from school. Galveston is like a different city during Spring Break.
History of Galveston
In November of 1528 Cabeza De Vaca is thought to have shipwrecked on Galveston Island. At the time the island was inhabited by Karankawa and Akokisa Native American tribes. In 1816 the first European settlements were constructed by the pirate Louis-Michel Aury in order to support Mexico’s rebellion against Spain. However, by 1817 Galveston Island was occupied by pirate John Lafitte While Aury was away in a battle against Spain. John Lafitte ordered himself as “Head of Government” until 1821. At that time, he was given an ultimatum by the United States Navy to leave or be destroyed. Soon after, a few townsmen founded the town of Galveston as we know it today. Galveston was growing fast and soon became the most populated city in the State of Texas. Later, on September 8, 1900, Galveston was hit by “The Great Storm”.
The Great Storm was a category 4 hurricane over 6,000 people and destroyed one-third of the city. This caused the survivors of the storm to raise the level of the city by 8 feet which made the sea wall stand at 17 feet above sea level. By late 1900 Galveston had fallen to the fourth most populated city in Texas, behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. At this time Galveston had a population of around 37,000. Since that time, Galveston has grown to be a large city and a popular tourist attraction.