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Take a Historic Ghost Tour on Galveston Island – Place of Deadliest Storm in US History

Galveston’s Ghostly History to Draw Thrill Seekers

The season for thrills and chills is quickly approaching and Galveston Island’s ghostly history makes it one of the top destinations in the country for “haunted” travel. From a 110-year-old “haunted” hotel to Galveston’s storied harbor, cemeteries and Victorian mansions, this October the island will be bustling with visitors seeking to be spooked by numerous ghost stories that stem from the country’s deadliest natural disaster and other tragedies.

Galveston has many sites that are considered haunted, including an 1867 building that served as a morgue after the 1900 Storm – still the deadliest storm in U.S. history having killed an estimated 8,000 Galveston residents. The building now houses Haunted Mayfield Manor – a year-round haunted house attraction in downtown Galveston. The haunted house embraces the spooky history of the building’s past while providing guests with a psychologically thrilling experience.

Also embracing its reported haunting is the island’s 110-year-old Grand Galvez, which has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories and on the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab for its paranormal significance. The hotel, which offers special ghost tours during October, is said to be haunted by a “Ghost Bride” who reportedly has been seen in room 501 and in the hotel’s west turret. Legend has it that the bride hanged herself in the west turret during the mid-1900s after hearing reports that her fiancé had died at sea. Tragically, her fiancé eventually returned to the hotel looking forward to a marriage that would never be.

The Galveston Historical Foundation, which manages many of the island’s well-preserved historical sites and Victorian mansions, also offers ghost tours throughout October. Many of the island’s historic places have ghost stories attached to them as Galveston has been home to epidemics of disease, war, fires, storms and many merciless pirates, including the infamous Jean Laffite whose lavish and lawless den of thieves was the island’s first European settlement. This year, visitors can enjoy Haunted Harbor Tours in Galveston Bay and Galveston Ghost Stories in the city’s oldest home, the 1838 Menard House.

“Many, many people have lived and died by these waters, and perhaps some of the dead still reside here,” said Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation. “We invite our guests to listen to the stories and decide for themselves. But you don't have to believe in ghosts to know that the dead are a presence on this island.”

Historic cemeteries are a big draw for visitors seeking the supernatural. Indeed, Galveston has been described as a cemetery with its own beach. Several companies offer tours of the oldest burial places on the island. And there are several tour operators offering haunted tours throughout the island.

Ghostly Galveston Events, Attractions and Tours 2021

Ghost Walks and Cemetery Tours
Date: Oct. 8, 15, 23, 29
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Price Tickets start at $15
Location: Varies

Info: Author and historian Kathleen Maca takes visitors through Galveston’s historic cemeteries introducing them to colorful characters from Galveston’s past including murder victims, movie stars, military men and women and more. www.kathleenmaca.com

Haunted Sunset Cruise Onboard the Seagull II
Date: October 22, 29 and 30
Time: 4:30-6 p.m.
Price: $25 adults, $17 youth, Free for 5 and under

Location: Pier 22 (22nd Street and Harborside Drive)
Info: The narrated exploration of spooky corners and tragic sites in and around Galveston’s storied harbor takes place aboard the 50-foot passenger boat. www.galvestonhistory.org

Galveston Ghost Stories at the 1838 Menard House
Date: October 22, 23, 29 and 30
Time: 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Price: $45
Location: 1605 33rd Street

Info: Historic Galveston Island is no stranger to strange stories and occurrences. Tour the 1838 Menard House, the oldest home on the island, and learn about some of the island’s most haunted history. www.galvestonhistory.org

Mariners Masquerade Party Onboard the 1877 Elissa
Date: October 29
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Price: $75
Location: Pier 22 (22nd and Harborside)

Info: This special outdoor costume party welcomes guests to the Galveston Historic Seaport with cake, food, Saint Arnold beer, dockside music and more. www.galvestonhistory.org

Movie Night at the 1838 Menard House
Date: October 30
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Price: $10
Location: 1605 33rd Street

Info: Take in a frightful feature movie on the grounds of Galveston’s oldest house. Guests are encouraged to bring their blankets and chairs. Craft beer, wine and water will be available for purchase and a food truck will be on-site. www.galvestonhistory.org

Menard House Trick or Treating
Date: October 31
Time: 5-6 p.m.
Price: Free
Location: 1605 33rd Street

Info: Bring your kids by for treats (and a few surprises) to the 1838 Menard house, located at 1605 33rd. GHF staff will provide pre-packaged treats to visitors from the home’s porch. www.galvestonhistory.org

Boos Cruise on the Bayou
Date: October 30
Time: 8 -11 p.m.
Price: $99 + tax
Location: Moody Gardens Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, 1 Hope Blvd.

Info: Adults 21 and over are invited to come out dressed to impress for this haunted evening cruise. Ticket includes the cruise, hors d’oeuvres and two drink tickets. www.moodygardens.com

Grand Galvez Ghost Tours
Date: Thursdays and Fridays year-round
Times: Thursdays at 5 p.m., Fridays at 4 p.m.
Price: $25
Location: 2024 Seawall Blvd.

Info: The Grand Galvez will offer ghost tours through this property voted the #1 Haunted Hotel in Texas. Concierge Melissa Hall will lead the 90-minute tours through the hotel’s ghostly past. www.hotelgalvez.com

Grand Galvez Ghost Tours + Dinner
Dates: Wednesdays in October and on Halloween Night, Oct. 31
Time: 6 p.m., dinner follows the tour
Price: $69; $79 Halloween Night
Location: 2024 Seawall Blvd.

The Grand Galvez offers its popular ghost tour dinners every week on Wednesdays. The hotel’s resident ghost expert/concierge takes participants on a 1½ hour tour through the hotel’s ghostly past which is followed by three-course dinner in the Galvez Bar & Grill. Priced at $65 per person (inclusive of tax and server gratuity), this public ghost tour is only available as part of the dinner-tour package. Tours take place at 6 p.m. and reservations are required. For ghost tour dinner reservations, call (409) 515-2154. www.hotelgalvez.com

Grand Galvez Audio Ghost Tours
Date: Year-round
Time: N/A
Price: Free
Location: Hotel Galvez, 2024 Seawall Boulevard

Info: Hotel Galvez offers a free audio tour app for smart phones. Guests and the public can enjoy 25-minute history tours and 20-minute ghost tours year-round. www.hotelgalvez.com

Galveston Experience Company
Date: Year-round
Time: Varies
Price: Tickets start at $27 for adults
Location: Varies

Info: The Galveston Experience Company offers several haunted tours around the island – in cemeteries and through the historic downtown. There’s also a self-guided Ghost Hunt guests can participate in on their own schedule. www.galvestonexperience.com

Haunted Mayfield Manor
Date: Year-round
Time: Varies
Price: $10
Location: 2313 Harborside Drive

Info: www.hauntedmayfieldmanor.com

Historic Galveston Ghost Tours
Date: Year-round
Time: 6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.
Price: $20
Location: 24th and Sealy

Info: Historic Galveston Ghost Tours are led by members of academia and are designed to educate, entertain and scare participants. An added bonus is a tour of Galveston’s fabled Red Light District illuminating the area’s scandalous history. www.historicgalvestonghosttours.com

Galveston Lantern Tours
Date: Year-round
Time: Varies
Price: Tickets start at $15
Location: Varies

Info: Tour guides Spooky and Hurricane Alicia lead tours through the downtown district, with added options including dinners and brunches complete with haunted hurricane history storytimes. www.lanternlightgalveston.com

About Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is the birthplace of Juneteenth and home to popular amusements such as, Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island visit www.visitgalveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.