From roller coasters to nature adventures, artsy shops to seafood spots, there is an ocean of attractions on the family-friendly isle of Galveston, Texas. The three-mile wide barrier island off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico (about 50 miles southeast of Houston) is a beachside community with a relaxed, fun, eclectic vibe. Colorful Victorian houses and beachy cottages dot the tourist town and a quaint downtown called the Historic Strand District beckons with cobblestoned streets, galleries, boutiques, and sidewalk eats. About a mile and a half to the south lies the legendary Seawall Boulevard, a 10-mile oceanfront sidewalk that is the longest continuous stretch in the US. This expansive waterfront urban park welcomes walkers, joggers, shoppers, diners, people watchers, and more.


Getting There

The central access point from the mainland is the I-45 causeway over Galveston Bay, which turns into Broadway Avenue J once on the island. The cruise line’s Terminal 2 is about five miles from the island’s point of entry.

Fast Facts

More than 1.8 million cruise passengers come through the Port of Galveston each year. The port town has welcomed cruise liners since 1974.

Port Shopping

Less than half a mile from the terminal is the Historic Strand District—36 blocks of over 100 cute boutiques and sidewalk cafés. Next, head to Seawall Boulevard for some beach-themed shopping for must-have souvenirs.


Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier

A modern take on a classic from yesteryear, this waterfront amusement park on the pier marks one of the bustling parts of town. Located on Seawall Boulevard and 25th Street, nostalgia sets in as the smells of pizza slices and cotton candy fill the air. In the 1940s, this was one of the largest shoreside pier parks of its kind. Today the attractions include 16 rides, midway games, restaurants, and retail shops.


Moody Gardens

Perhaps one of Galveston’s most family-friendly destinations, it is an endless playground of learning about nature and science, while having a blast. Three massive glass pyramids—Aquarium, Rainforest, and Discovery—house aquatic animals, exotic and endangered jungle creatures, and mysteries of science. Moody Gardens also has a waterpark, ropes course, zip lines, botanical gardens, paddlewheel boat cruises, and more.


Texas Seaport Museum

Celebrate a high-seas adventure at Pier 21’s Texas Seaport Museum, the final homeport for Elissa, a three-masted, barque, sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her 19 sails cover more than a quarter of an acre in surface area. All aboard the floating National Historic Landmark, for her decks are open to explore. The adjacent museum also has a one-of-a-kind computer database with the names of more than 133,000 immigrants who entered the US through Galveston—sometimes called the Ellis Island of the West.

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Did You Know?

Local pride runs strong on Galveston. Island residents are known as either BOI, born on the island, or IBC, islander by choice.