Galveston is one of the most popular year-round coastal destinations in our second largest state. It is an island in the Gulf of Mexico. You can still take a road trip here because it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is a city that offers many historical and cultural attractions, water sports, and great hotels and resorts. Galveston TX has most of its businesses downtown, but also offers many rental residences with access to the Galveston beaches.
Galveston was named after Bernardo de Galvez. He was the Spanish colonial governor and a general. He sent Jose de Evia to explore the Gulf of Mexico, and he founded the town in 1786. Almost 40 years after Galveston was established, a pirate named Jean Lafitte came here. He renamed it Campeche, and it became a haven for other pirates. Perhaps there is some buried treasure somewhere on the island!
One of the best times to see the Galveston TX attractions is just before Fat Tuesday. People will gather in the streets for 12 days to celebrate Mardi Gras. This Galveston attraction is full of live music, parades, parties and of course wild costumes. Once the party is over, you can learn about the tradition of Carnival in this area at the Mardi Gras Museum.
Galveston travel has much to offer beyond the confines of Mardi Gras. Try a venture to the Big Reef Nature Park. Bird watchers will especially find this appealing as a multitude of birds are protected here. Continue on for a walk along the East Lagoon Nature Trail to capture a look at the wildlife. If hiking is not your idea of vacation, then go to the East Beach, the largest beach in the entire state. Many activities are awaiting your arrival such as concerts, volleyball, shopping, and bikini contests. You can also visit the 19th century Ashton Villa that was one of the Galveston TX Broadway "palaces" and is now home to the Galveston Vistors Center.
One of the most famous Galveston attractions is Moody Gardens, an educational park with three giant glass Pyramids housing various natural exhibits. Lush tropical gardens, white beaches and clear blue lagoons surround the pyramids. One of the most spectacular things to see is the Rainforest Pyramid. It is ten stories of glass that houses a tropical forest, waterfalls, cliffs, caverns, and wildlife. It is truly a Galveston TX attraction that all visitor should experience.
Once thoroughly amazed with Moody Gardens, head for the historic downtown district. The Strand Shopping District has plenty of shops, galleries, and restaurants. The Moody family also has a grand 19th century mansion in this area that is open to visitors for tours. It is a fabulously ornated Vistorian structure that reflects this family that created one of the greatest financial empires in the state. You will also find that some of the best Texas fishing is available from this island. After dark, you can visit the Pier 21 Theater for a film in this restored historic theater.
Top image: Dave Warwick