Things to do in Galveston Texas?

I am planning on booking a cruise for March and am considering cruising out of Galveston. I am also thinking about spending 2-3 days there, just because.

I’ve heard that Galveston is worth visiting, but I am interested in Doper input.

Also, I think the airport is an hour or so away?

(2 couples, no kids, semi-adventurous (or not), never been to Texas)

You could clean your gun.

Yes, I know the guy is not in Galveston when he does that.

Probably better in IMHO rather than General Questions. Moved.

samclem, moderator

March is a bit soon for reliable beach weather, but if fortune smiles upon you, there’s a possibility of enjoying the grayish sands and brownish water of the Gulf.

There are historic homes left over from before the Great Hurricane.

Food (not very good, from my experience, especially around the beaches) is available.

There are museums and shops in and around the Strand (historic district).

The ferry to Crystal Beach can be nice, but if you are going on a cruise, perhaps not.

There is the Grand 1894 Opera House. Peter Yarrow will be there in March. Even if you can’t catch a show, The Strand is pretty neat.

The Johnson Space Center is a pretty neat visit, in nearby Clear Lake.

The Kemah Boardwalk has a wide variety of restaurants.

There is the Lone Star Flight Museum as well as Moody Gardens. There is also an area of town known as The Strand. Many shops there and all within walking distance. The Grand 1894 Opera House is near The Strand. There are some top end music groups that perform there. You would have to check the schedule. There is also the Boliver ferry that goes from Galveston to the Boliver peninsula. Not much to do on Boliver peninsula but the ferry is free and it’s a nice boat ride. There is also Seawolf park which is…well…a park. There is an old submarine and destroyer there. Of course just a drive along seawall blvd is nice.

There are some new and eclectic museums not yet mentioned in Galveston. The Bryan Museum claims to be the, “home to the world’s largest collection of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork relating to the Southwestern United States.” I’ve wanted to try them, but haven’t made the trip yet.

If you’ve ever been curious about how an offshore oil rig does what it does, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center will explain it all with a museum and tour. Down the street is the 1877 tall ship Elissa, which still sails. Tours are available.

I’ve liked the Galveston Island Brewing Company’s beers, particularly their American Double Stout, “Balinese” (or Balinese Dancer, I’m not quite sure—named after a ballroom that washed away in one of Galveston’s hurricanes). I’m also not sure if they make it anymore. There’s another brew bar on the Strand, Brews Brothers, that’s a nice space. They’ve been talking about brewing their own beers for awhile, but I’m not sure if they’ve gotten anywhere worthwhile with that project. Decent selection though.

Leon’s World’s Finest In and Out Barbecue is not quite up to the heights of Kreuz/Smitty’s in Lockhart, nor Franklin’s in Austin, but it is still worth trying, IMHO. And the longest I’ve had to wait for it is maybe five to ten minutes.

There is an airport on the Island, but I don’t know whether most cruisers fly in there, drive to the Island and park in one of the giant parking lots near the cruise dock, take a shuttle from another airport to the island, or what. So I don’t know if you’d have a car to explore the area, or will be relying on cabs, buses, etc…

EDIT: It sounds like you’d be flying into one of Houston’s Airports, either Hobby or George Bush, and renting a car. If that’s the case, and you’ve never been to Texas before, your possible sights grow dramatically. Oh, and I almost forgot, Galveston Island and High Island/Bolivar Peninsula are one of the foremost destinations for birders in the world, during the large migrations. Will March be in the middle of one? I don’t know.

Sounds like a lot of fun!

One last bit. If you’ve got a few days to spend not on the boat, and you’ll have a car, I’d recommend spending some of them in Houston, not Galveston. The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the best in the country, as is the Menil Collection. The restaurants are better in Houston. There are more breweries to choose from, and beer bars, if that’s your thing. We even have distilleries that allow tours now.

Just some added food and drink for thought.

Hobby is much closer than Intercontinental/Bush. Hobby’s like 20-30 minutes from Galveston, being nearly beside I-45 on the far south side of Houston. IAH/Bush is about an hour or more away, being a fair distance east of I-45 and on the far NE side of Houston.

There’s also a railroad museum in Galveston that’s pretty cool, or at least it was the last time I visited as a teenager.

As noted there is a ton of stuff in Galveston to do. The airport in Galveston does not have commercial service. If you can, fly into Hobby Airport, it’s a lot closer than Intercontinental.

Great architecture on the island including buildings that survived the 1900 Hurricane. Be sure to visit Bishop’s Palace which was built in 1892 as well as The Strand.

Plenty of old ships to see. I haven’t toured the Elissa so can’t give you a report on that one. Seawolf Park boasts the USS Cavalla, the submarine that sunk the IJN Shokaku, and the USS Stewart, a destroyer escort, and are worth a visit.

With a car you may want to head back towards Houston as well.

The USS Texas, the only surviving example of a Dreadnaught class battleship is co-located with the San Jacinto Monument. The Texas recently celebrated her hundredth birthday and fought in both World Wars. I believe she was the last Navy ship fitted with triple expansion steam engines (similar to those of the Titanic) instead of turbines. Probably about an hour from Galveston.

Johnson Space Center is just a half-hour or so back towards Houston, but frankly, last time I was there it seemed more theme park and kids oriented than adult oriented. (Instead of scientists or astronauts, they had effin Spiderman and Batman on stage talking about how kids can stay safe at home. Really?!? WTF?) However, the tram tour is still pretty cool and you get to see the Saturn V. IIRC (and Wikipedia agrees) this is the only Saturn V on display where all stages were flight rated.

It’s a little touristy, but the Kemah Boardwalk has some nice places to eat and shop. It would be on the way to either NASA or the Texas.

And don’t forget to take a ride on the Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry. There can be long wait times for cars, but there should be a lane that lets you drive up and park at the landing for free and then walk on board.

Was going to recommend the Port of Houston Authority’s Sam Houston Boat Tour. It is free but reservations are required. However, it looks like all tours are temporarily suspended. You might check as your trip gets closer and see if it is still available.

Thanks, everyone. I will take all advice under consideration.

Johnson Space Center would be the first choice to see.

I’ll add to the recommendations for the Bishop’s Palace and Seawolf Park.

If you’re looking for restaurant recommendations, Gaido’s is a personal favorite.

Here’s an overlooked attraction in the area: the Port of Houston boat tour. They have a really nice boat that takes you out on a trip up and down the shipping canal, which is an interesting view of something you’re not usually going to be able to see. And as a bonus, it’s free. You just need to sign up in advance for the day you want.