- Things to Do
- Food & Drink
- Where to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
Extend your cruise vacation from Galveston with these tips from a cruise/travel expert.
Why come to Galveston and not see it? It’s an experience not to be missed. If arriving before your cruise, you will find several hotels that offer packages for lodging, parking and transport to the pier. Staying after the cruise relieves the stress of rushing to the airport to catch a flight or fighting with traffic leaving the island.
Yes, you are excited to get to the Port of Galveston and board your ship. You head directly to the port area from the airport or via your car, just briefly noticing the parts of Galveston that pass as a blur. You reach the port, get dropped off, park your car, and enter the terminal to get your cruise started. The reverse process happens on your return. You just missed exploring the wonders of Galveston!
Besides having more time to explore a port city, like Galveston, there are other good reasons to get to the port a few days early. Another compelling case applies to those using flights to reach the port in Galveston. You never know what might cause a delay to a flight. Weather, mechanical issues, understaffing and computer glitches all affect air travel. Predicting such events is impossible.
Why come to Galveston and not see it? It’s an experience not to be missed. Arriving before the cruise, you will find several hotels that offer packages for lodging, parking and transport to the pier. These packages take away the stress of making transportation arrangements or paying parking fees. Best of all, it’s an opportunity to explore Galveston prior to the cruise, or even on the morning of the cruise. Staying after the cruise relieves the stress of rushing to the airport to catch a flight or fighting with traffic leaving the island.
Have one day before or after your cruise? Maybe you have just a few hours prior to your cruise; fortunately, many of Galveston’s popular downtown attractions are within walking distance of the port and hotels.
Here are some suggestions for making the most of your visit:
Who doesn’t love trains? The Galveston Railroad Museum displays several rail cars and engines. One car is even used for overnight lodging.
Visiting an old-style candy store like La King’s Confectionery makes everybody a kid again. Saltwater taffy, handmade chocolate, ice cream and a soda fountain – what a nice way to have a treat while exploring Galveston.
You won’t be able to see everything in just a few hours, or even one day, so it’s best to plan in advance to make the best use of your time. Beaches, historic houses, harbor tours, an interactive pirate experience, and so much more are at your disposal. Not walking distance, but worth the drive, Moody Gardens Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids includes more than what is suggested by its name. Also featured in this complex are a Discovery Museum, a golf course, water park, ropes course and zipline.
Pity the visitor who comes to Galveston and doesn’t try at least one of the amazing restaurants in town. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options include just about every style of cuisine imaginable - from seafood, Tex-Mex, and Italian to steakhouses, eclectic-international and more. Be sure to come with a large appetite because portions tend to be huge!
With fresh seafood, southern favorites, and a restaurant for every craving, Galveston is the place to be when it’s time to eat.
The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down in Galveston. Whatever you’re after, the island’s vibrant, thriving nightlife scene is ready and waiting.
While visiting one of the local breweries or distilleries, you can take a guided tour, grab some tasty food, and listen to some live music if your timing is right.
Simply walking the streets of Galveston places you into its storied past. Victorian-era buildings dot the roads throughout downtown, with many such buildings and attractions found near the popular Strand and Pier 21.
'Ship To Shore' allows visitors to follow in the footsteps of the early immigrants, from the long sea voyage with its mix of hardships and wonders to the hustle and bustle arriving in the 1880s at Galveston, one of the busiest ports and booming cities in the United States.
Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth. This self-guided tour allows you to retrace the steps of the Union Soldiers when they arrived in Galveston to make this historic announcement.
If you have an evening to spend in Galveston, you may be fortunate to catch a performance at The Grand 1894 Opera House. Located in the heart of Galveston's Downtown Cultural Arts District, The Grand presents a year-round performing arts schedule of music, dance, stars of stage and screen, comedy, drama and more.
Plenty of art galleries entice visitors to peruse works of local artists. Don’t miss the murals scattered about town, especially, the Juneteenth Legacy Project Mural. Fun to discover on the streets, the 50 brightly colored Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles pop up in unexpected places - can you find them all?
An eclectic mixture of shops dots The Strand area. Several of the merchants feature local designs and food products. Strolling in the downtown area, you will be tempted to stop in and look around.
If you come early or stay late, consider getting a feel of old Galveston at one of the historic accommodations. If you are driving look for accommodations that offer a stay, park and cruise package.
Your two feet are ideal, but other options include the trolley, rental bikes, golf carts, pedal surreys and scooters.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Dr. Hal Needham
by J.R. Shaw
by Visit Galveston
by J.R. Shaw
by Turtle Island Restoration Network
by J.R. Shaw