There is no better place to mix work and play than in Galveston Island, Texas.
Known as one of Texas' top tourist destinations, this 32-mile long island is a favorite locale for meeting and event planners, too, for the simple reason that it checks off every need or want they could have.
pictured: The Galveston Island Convention Center
Ultramodern meeting facilities and exhibition spaces? Yep. Exceptional off-site event venues? Of course. A charming historic district filled with attractions and activities? Definitely. And here's a bonus that sets Galveston apart—easy access to beautiful stretches of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. After a long day of making deals and getting business done, who wouldn't want to kick back under a palm tree, with a drink in hand, and enjoy the soothing sounds of crashing waves?
Located 50 miles from Houston and accessible by both the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Airport, Galveston Island is a comfortable journey from major cities worldwide.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport offers non-stop and direct flights to over 175 domestic and international destinations. In comparison, William P. Hobby provides non-stop service to more than 30 U.S. destinations on five-passenger airlines.
Additionally, Galveston Island's location near major thoroughfares, including Interstate 45, makes driving an easy solution for transporting equipment and materials. Ready for island time? Here are some of the top reasons for planners to host their next meeting on Galveston Island.
Galveston welcomes visitors with more than 5,000 hotel rooms for every budget and preference, from quaint Victorian-style inns to luxury resorts.
The Tremont House is 19th-century grandeur that meets 21st-century amenities. The Tremont House, with its 119 elegant guest rooms and suites, is located in the heart of downtown Galveston, near shops, attractions and nightlife. Still, if planners prefer to rest after a day of networking, they can escape to the serene rooftop terrace and bar overlooking Galveston's port.
Hotel Galvez & Spa has welcomed guests since 1911, including notable clientele like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Planners can rest their head in one of the 224 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites and restore both their minds and bodies in the 10,000-sq.-ft. Tranquil spa.
The beachfront San Luis Resort is the best combination of relaxing and getting down to business. As home to the Galveston Island Convention Center, this property offers 200,000 square feet of total meeting facilities, a world-class spa, ten restaurants and upscale accommodations.
Hotel Galvez & Spa has welcomed guests since 1911, including notable clientele like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Galveston is home to a wide variety of vacation rentals (3,000+) that can serve as meeting destinations themselves. Expansive, beachfront homes on the island’s west end offer an oasis for group gatherings and team-building exercises along the water’s edge. In the downtown district, historic homes immerse guests into the Galveston that once was, and is, thoughtfully preserved as a testament to this city of Texas firsts. Or, event attendees can rent a home away from home. Here are a few options with multiple locations at Sand ‘N Sea Properties, Ryson Rentals and STROAG.
Located on 242 acres of lush, natural Gulf scenery, Moody Gardens Hotel greets its guests with 418 luxury rooms. In addition to three restaurants and bars, a full-service day spa, and a recently renovated golf course, the hotel is within walking distance from Moody Gardens, one of Galveston's top attractions.
When it comes to unique venues for post-convention galas or dinners, Galveston does not disappoint. From grand, historic homes to ornate ballrooms, planners will find the perfect space to host a memorable event.
With a beachfront setting and spectacular views of the Gulf, the Convention Center is ideal for many events, including exhibits, association meetings, evening banquets and more. Besides the 43,100 square feet of exhibit space, 12,000 square feet of meeting space and a 15,500-sq.-ft, ballroom, the convention center also has world-class amenities, including complimentary shuttle service to and from contracted hotels, complimentary on-site parking and wireless internet access.
Planners can host an event in true, over-the-top Texas fashion at the historic Moody Mansion, a 28,000-sq.-ft. mansion that was formerly a private home of one of the most powerful families in Texas. Planners can have a black-tie event in the formal ballroom, or they can consider the brick-laid patio near the garage for a casual soiree.
Planners can host an event in true, over-the-top Texas fashion at the historic Moody Mansion.
The Bryan Museum houses one of the world's largest collections of historical artifacts, documents and artwork relating to Texas and the American West and happens to be one of the most beautiful places in Galveston to host an event. The exquisite conservatory is a European design of metalwork and emerald-colored glass, and the addition of twinkling chandeliers sets the ambiance for a beautiful dinner.
Built in 1894, the 1,000-seat Grand Opera House is an intimate and unconventional event setting that is great for private performances, seated dinners or receptions. As one of the few remaining theaters of its era in Texas, The Grand is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of Galveston Island's favorite taglines is "It's Island Time," a reminder that when visitors are here, it's time for relaxation. Galveston offers plenty of things to do in and around the downtown area, and the below activities are great for team building and off-site excursions.
For an action-packed day, visit Moody Gardens. Visitors will explore the various terrains of the planet at the Aquarium Pyramid, where guests can view underwater worlds in one of four ocean environments where penguins, sharks, tropical fish and other marine life are plentiful. In the Rainforest Pyramid, visitors can enjoy an interactive experience with the rainforests of Asia, Africa and the Americas. And in the Discovery Pyramid, guests can unlock the mysteries of science through interactive activities and exhibits.
Planners can bring a little nostalgia to their life and relive summers spent at the beach by visiting Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Packed with classic arcade games, kitschy shops, 16 thrilling rides (with some directly over the water) and dining options ranging from funnel cakes to platters of Gulf seafood, it’s the perfect place to release their inner child and have a wholesome experience.
In the Rainforest Pyramid, visitors can enjoy an interactive experience with the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Explore Galveston from the Gulf on a Galveston Island Duck Tour, which travels 40 blocks along Seawall Boulevard and passes by popular attractions, historic mansions, the Downtown District, and the tour comes complete with funny anecdotes and historical information. Alternatively, planners can step back in time with a dinner cruise on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, an authentic replica of an 1800s paddlewheel boat with a triple deck sternwheeler and outfitted with elegant furnishings.
Courageous visitors will get a thrill listening to Galveston’s eerie and haunted history on a walking ghost tour through the historic Silk Stocking District with Ghost Tours. The 90-minute tour weaves through Galveston's paranormal history, including stops at the haunted Ashton Villa, to try to spot multiple apparitions through the windows.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Will McGough
by Visit Galveston
by Visit Galveston
by Peter Davis
by Visit Galveston
by Visit Galveston
The Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (GICVB) is the official destination marketing organization for Galveston Island, Texas.