The city of Galveston on Galveston island, is only about an hour drive south of Houston and is a great place for a quick getaway. Do not expect to find the most gorgeous beaches in the world, but the incredible shopping, liveliness of "the Strand" and the famous Moody Gardens, more then make up for it.
Once again I am from Texas so I can say this without any guilt. Galveston use to be amazing place to visit with Sea-Arama (Think Sea World but smaller), the sea wall to skate up and down, cheap shells at the tourist store and the beaches were nice and well maintained. Now the city is a tourist trap lots of hotels, tourist events and themes and the beaches are less than stellar due to the oil spills from Mexico in the 80's. If it is beaches go to South Padre or an hour either direction from Galveston. If it is family entertainment with the kids then Galveston has a great deal to offer and many things to keep the entire family laughing and playing with, on, or around for a week easy. It is not a cheap vacation, on the other hand it has a lot of joy in one location.
Moody gardens (under their glass pyramids) is my highlight with Galveston. Very nice aquatic and rain forest displays; and have an I-Max set. The beaches have no palm trees for shade; but I had fun on the drive on beaches on the far west side of the island. I worked for years on one building of the Fort Crockett complex...a WW2 navy base that was built to withstand naval gunfire. While working there I lived in an apartment by the sea with a balcony getting a view and morning sun.
I worked at Fort Crockett till I retired 10 years ago. I loved Galveston living in a beach side condo with a balcony overlooking the sea. I liked driving on the beach also, but more beaches are being closed to vehicle traffic. Pelican Island is also a part of Galveston with Seawolf Park with vintage WW2 destroyer and submarine.
You should know this before you visit...Galveston has a big flooding problem when it rains hard. The Strand is impossible to reach in high water. Both of the main roads into Galveston can have real flooding problems with heavy rain.
The city was originally founded as Evergreen in 1898 along the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, when John Henry Kipp and James H. Bradford subdivided their lots to establish a township. The ar…