Galveston Travel Guide

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Galveston Travel Guide

Galveston Local History

As early as the 1500's this area was home to the Akokisa Indians who camped, fished and hunted the land, it was also the place where they buried their dead. In 1786 Jose de Evia was sent by Bernard de Galvez, a Spanish colonial governor and general, to chart the Gulf of Mexico. Jose de Evia found the river mouth and called the bay Galveston Bay the governor. The governor never set foot on the land that was named after him as he died in the same year. It was only later that the island and the city took the same name

In 1817 Jean Lafitte, a privateer arrived and made the island his base and named it Campeche. Lafitte's own mansion 'Maison Rouge' was located in the village plus a large slave market, boarding houses, saloons, pool halls and huts for the pirates. General James Long tried to recruit Lafitte to help make Texas Independent from Spain and Mexico, but he remained neutral. In 1821 Lafitte was forced to leave his operation on the island, after having attacked and American ship. Lafitte held a huge party before he left and then burnt his settlement, it is also believed that he had buried treasure on the Island, but it has never been found.

Jane Long, the wife of General James Longs, became 'The Mother of Texas' when she gave birth to the first Anglo Saxon native Texan baby in 1821; she was named Mary Jane Long. Michel B. Menard, bought a 'league and labour' of land in 1836 for the huge sum of $50,000 from the Austin Colony and this was the beginning of Galveston. As Menard needed additional funds to promote the new town and formed the City of Galveston with nine other men, namely, Gail Borden, Samuel May Williams, William H. Jack, A J Yates, John K. Allen, Mosley Baker, James Love and David White.

In 1937 Congress made Galveston a port of entry and Gail Borden was appointed as Collector of Customs. In 1842 the Galveston News was founded and is the only surviving and the oldest daily newspaper in the state It is now known as The Galveston County Daily News. The Strand became the 'Wall Street of the Southwest' as all the wholesalers, cotton agents, mercantile firms and insurance companies could be found here.In 1860 the bridge to the mainland was completed and this provided the opportunity for the railroads to expand.

On September 8 1900 Galveston was hit by one of the most ferocious storms in history. With wind-speeds of over 120mph and tidal surges the island it was devastated. Almost a third of the city was completely destroyed and more than 6,000 people were killed. In 1902 a seawall, seven miles long and 17 feet high, was built by the city to prevent such a terrible devastation from hitting the island again, it was completed in 1910. Galveston overcame this terrible disaster and has become a top resort.

Galveston Attractions

Galveston Shopping

Postoffice Street The Postoffice Street was restored during the 90's and is a must for shopping as there are plenty of boutiques, Collectibles and Antique stores as well as over 20 galleries of sculpture, photography and fine arts available.

The Strand District This is another good place for shopping as there are over 100 shops to choose from plus galleries and restaurants.

Galveston Activities

Palm Beach at Moody Gardens One Hope Boulevard, Galveston. Here you will find soft white sand and water that is crystal-clear. There are also fresh water lagoons and waterfalls. Here children can have great fun in the Yellow Submarine and on the Octopus Slide. Children are allowed inside the sub and are permitted to work the periscope, dive-horn, control panels, the water gun and a whole lot more. The surfaces are foam padded to prevent children hurting themselves. The hours are Sun Fri 10am 6pm and Sat 10am 8pm. Entrance fees are Adults $7.95 Children 4 12 $5.95

Galveston Duck Tours 2428 Seawall, Galveston. Duck Tours provide a 90 minute tour which goes through the Strand, Offats Bayou (in the water) and the Historical District and is a 'family fun tour'. The vehicle in which the tours are conducted is a special vehicle as it travels both on land and on water, which children will find very appealing. This is definitely an experience that will be remembered for a long time. The commentary will be enjoyed by all, as it is given by experienced Captains and is informative but also very humorous. Prices are Adults $12; seniors $11 and children $6.

Galveston Parks & Gardens

Galveston Island State Park FM 3005, W of 13 Mile Rd., Galveston. The park offers facilities for camping, fishing and picnicking or having a barbecue. The visitor will also find restrooms with showers, and interpretive centre and a self-guided nature trail as well as a Texas State Park Store. The visitor to the park will be able to hike or go mountain bike riding in the park.

There are also plenty of wading and shore birds to see especially for the bird-watching enthusiast. The wild life park features raccoons, armadillos and marsh rabbits, but only for observation and photography. For the keen fisherman spotted sea trout, sand trout, redfish, black drum and flounder are available. The park is open in summer from 8am 10pm and in winter 8am- 6p. Entrance fees are $3 per person over the age of 13.

East Lagoon Nature Trail and Dune Walkover (Big Reef Nature Park) Off Boddeker Drive, Galveston. This nature park was created so that the visitor can enjoy Gulf Coast nature at its best. This is definitely the place if you enjoy bird watching as there are a multitude of coastal birds to be found here, such as Black Shimmers, Great and Lesser Black-backed, Thayer's and Franklins to name but a few. There is also a nature trail, local vegetation and wildlife plus an unspoilt tidal marsh. A new walkover has been erected to replace the smaller one that was destroyed by Tropical Storm Frances.

Galveston Beaches

East Beach 1923 Boddeker Dr. Galveston. This is the biggest beach in Texas and offers a large selection of activities. There are events such as bikini contests, volleyball and concerts. There is a really good pavilion that is very lively at weekends especially during spring and summer. On East Beach the visitor will find restrooms, showers, food, video games and gifts. There is also a patio beach bar/band that opens on weekends from May to August.

Stewart Beach 6th and Seawall Blvd., Galveston. This beach is ideal for the whole family as there is a playground for the children, an outdoor pavilion, an amusement park and a miniature golf course. There are also volleyball tournaments, sandcastle-building competitions and concerts. There is also a very interesting maze (Amaze 'N Texas) which tests the family's memory and sense of direction. This is definitely a must for the family to enjoy a day out.

Galveston Restaurants and Bars

Galveston Restaurants

Mosquito Cafe 628 1 4th Street, Galveston. This casual restaurant located in the East End of Galveston has some of the best dishes on the island. The decor is neo-classic and they provide dining on the patio as well.

The Mosquito serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with all ingredients being of the freshest, tastiest and healthiest on the island. They offer gourmet salads, vegetarian fare, pastas and sandwiches, plus good homemade soup and a host of other dishes to choose. To add to everything else the service is friendly and makes this the secret place for locals who are looking for something other than fried food.

Smooth Tony's Juice Bar & Grill 415 9th Street, Galveston. This bar & grill is famous for its good food and delicious smoothies. If you are looking for really great sandwiches then Tony's is the place to go. They also serve burgers, grilled chicken, turkey melts and a whole lot more and the biggest problem you will encounter is choosing what type of smoothy you would like as you have a choice of banana, blue berry and cappuccino to name but a few of the 10+ on offer.

The Diner 1017 61st Street, Galveston. This colourful restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch only, however they do offer real home style cooking and home made biscuits which are absolutely delicious. This restaurant caters for families and workers and has won the Best Breakfast award by the Texas Travel Counsellors. Not to be missed is the homemade biscuits and gravy or the Texas waffles. For lunch you could try the chicken fried steaks, Gulf shrimp or the griddle fried half pound burger which the Diner is famous for. The Diner is open from Mon Sun 6am to 2pm.

Galveston Bars & Clubs

Evolution - 2214 Mechanic St, Galveston. This is one of the few places that stay open until late. It is a lively nightclub and an excellent place to get rid of some excess energy. They play good music to dance to and it is open until 4am on weekends.

JuJu Hangout & Bar 2408 Strand, Galveston. This is the newest and the hottest place with an atmosphere that is soulful, sexy and full of good vibes. For lots of fun and a festive atmosphere this is the place to be as they have spontaneous limbo contests as well as conga lines, where everyone joins in and has a great time. The service is friendly and fast and they serve a delicious Black Angus Burger, Gourmet Nachos and good salads at very good prices. Live bands play on Sunday afternoons and JuJu's is well known to both the locals and cruise ship passengers.

The Press Box Galveston. Not to be missed if you're in Galveston as this is considered the best Sports Bar on the island. Happy Hour is the longest in town and the speciality drinks should be tried, especially the Bloody Mary which is incomparable. They also serve the coldest beer in town and have a complete lunch and dinner menu which will satisfy everyone's taste, such as Nachos, steaks, homemade salads, burgers, sandwiches and speciality dishes. There is a different lunch special every day of the week. The Press Box is open seven days a week from 11am to midnight Mon Sat and Sundays from 12pm. Happy hour is from 11am 7pm Mon-Sat and Sun 12pm 7pm.

21 2102 Postoffice, Galveston. The 21 is situated next to Rudy & Paco and The Grand 1894 Opera House and is considered the best spot in Galveston for great times and great music. The atmosphere is elegant yet relaxed, stylish but also nostalgic and is the perfect choice for a terrific evening out. There is a full service bar with more than 100 wines, over 50 martinis and a great selection of speciality beers and cigars.

Galveston children's activities

Palm Beach at Moody Gardens One Hope Boulevard, Galveston. Here you will find soft white sand and water that is crystal-clear. There are also fresh water lagoons and waterfalls. Here children can have great fun in the Yellow Submarine and on the Octopus Slide. Children are allowed inside the sub and are permitted to work the periscope, dive-horn, control panels, the water gun and a whole lot more. The surfaces are foam padded to prevent children hurting themselves. The hours are Sun Fri 10am 6pm and Sat 10am 8pm. Entrance fees are Adults $7.95 Children 4 12 $5.95

Galveston Duck Tours 2428 Seawall, Galveston. Duck Tours provide a 90 minute tour which goes through the Strand, Offats Bayou (in the water) and the Historical District and is a 'family fun tour'. The vehicle in which the tours are conducted is a special vehicle as it travels both on land and on water, which children will find very appealing. This is definitely an experience that will be remembered for a long time. The commentary will be enjoyed by all, as it is given by experienced Captains and is informative but also very humorous. Prices are Adults $12; seniors $11 and children $6.

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