Galveston is a city on Galveston Island, off the Texas Gulf Coast, approximately 45 minutes southeast of Houston. Galveston is a port of entry and a destination for almost all the cruise ships with ports of call in Texas. Many Houstonians have beach houses in Galveston or elsewhere in Galveston County where they sometimes relocate during the summer, or simply drive to Galveston to enjoy the local beach.
Galveston is a beach resort town in the Houston area. Every summer and spring break, Houstonians crowd the beaches of Galveston as well as tourists from all over the United States (notably the South). Other than beaches, Galveston also has many attractions such as a pleasure pier, the Schlitterbahn water park, and Moody Gardens (a resort complex). Galveston is home to East Beach which is known for being a "party beach". Many famous artists perform occasionally and special events take place. People looking for a good time crowd East Beach. Galveston also has many nightclubs. For people looking for family fun in the sun, Stewart Beach is the premier family beach in the Houston area. Volleyball tournaments and sandcastle competitions take place on Stewart Beach. Apart from sunbathing and clubbing, Galveston is also home to a wide range of shopping. Seawall Boulevard has many shops for beachgoers such as surf shops, sunglasses, swimwear, sunscreen, and souvenir shops as well as boutiques, clothing stores, and so on. Dining is also a big deal on the island, as Galveston is known for having some of the freshest seafood. There are also many burger shops and restaurants of all kind. Many restaurants are located on the beach.
- Climate - Semi-tropical; averaging 57°F in the winter months and 81°F in the summer months.
In the late 1800s, Galveston was known as the "Playground of the South". Today, it still retains a shared claim to the title among major cities along the Gulf Coast states. Galveston is a popular tourist destination. The city features an array of lodging options, including hotels such as the historic Hotel Galvez and Tremont House, vintage bed and breakfast inns, beachfront condominiums, and resort rentals. The city's tourist attractions include the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Galveston Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Moody Gardens botanical park, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, the Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston Railroad Museum, a downtown neighborhood of historic buildings known as The Strand, many historical museums and mansions, and miles of beach front from the East End's Porretto Beach, Stewart Beach to the West End pocket parks.
The Strand plays host to a yearly Mardi Gras festival, Galveston Island Jazz & Blues Festival and a Victorian-themed Christmas festival called Dickens on the Strand (honoring the works of novelist Charles Dickens, especially A Christmas Carol) in early December. Galveston is home to several historic ships: the tall ship Elissa (the official Tall Ship of Texas) at the Texas Seaport Museum and USS Cavalla and USS Stewart, both berthed at Seawolf Parkon nearby Pelican Island. Galveston is ranked the number one cruise port on the Gulf Coast and fourth in the United States.
Port of Galveston
The Port of Galveston, also called Galveston Wharves, began as a trading post in 1825. Today, the port has grown to 850 acres (3.4 km2) of port facilities. The port is located on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, on the north side of Galveston Island, with some facilities on Pelican Island. The port has facilities to handle all types of cargo including containers, dry and liquid bulk, breakbulk, Roll-on/roll-off, refrigerated cargo and project cargoes.
The port also serves as a passenger cruise ship terminal for cruise ships operating in the Caribbean. The terminal was home port to two Carnival Cruise Line vessels, the Carnival Conquest and the Carnival Ecstasy. In November 2011 the company made Galveston home port to its 3,960-passenger mega-ships Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, as well. Carnival Magic sails a seven-day Caribbean cruise from Galveston, and it is the largest cruise ship based at the Port year-round. Galveston is the home port to Royal Caribbean International's, MS Liberty of the Seas, which is the largest cruise ship ever based here and one of the largest ships in the world. In September 2012 Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic also became based in Galveston, offering four-, six-, seven-, and eight-day cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas.