We offer over one dozen transport and tour options for Galveston. Find the best one for you.
This page is divided into the following sections:
Galveston is three entities: a county, an island, and a city. The county extends approximately 23 miles onto the mainland and includes several cities. The island is 27 miles/43.5 kilometers long and a maximum of 3 miles/4.8 kilometers wide. It is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on the east side, San Luis Pass on the south side, West Bay on the west side, and the entrance of the Houston Ship Channel going into Galveston Bay on the north side. West Bay is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Galveston Island has two cities: Galveston and Jamaica Beach, as well as Galveston State Park.
Indians lived on the island for hundreds of years. The first European landed on it, in November 1528. The first European settlers were in 1816. The first permanent settlement was in 1825. It was the capital of the Republic of Texas, in 1836. It was incorporated in 1839. The city of Galveston is 46 square miles/120 square kilometers. It was the largest city in Texas in 1870 and 1880. It was the wealthiest city in Texas for two more decades. Galveston’s city population peaked at 67,175, in 1960. By 2010, its population had shrunk to 47,743. Galveston has weathered many a storm and human-made disasters. The city has many beautifully preserved historic homes from the 1800s, including 2 from the 1830s.
Dealing with and enduring hurricanes are a part of living in Galveston. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30 annually. The United States Weather Bureau (USWB) began assigning names to tropical storms in 1950. They were originally given female names in alphabetical order. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) handled the names from 1972 to 1977. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) took this over in 1977 and introduced alternating female – male names in 1979.
Major Hurricanes that have hit Galveston
- 1900, September 8 - Category 4
- 1915, August 17 - Category 4
- 1961, September 11 - Hurricane Carla - Category 4
- 1983, August 18 - Hurricane Alicia - Category 3
- 2005, September 24 - Hurricane Rita - Category 3
- 2008, September 13 - Hurricane Ike - Category 2
The Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale measures tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes strength by the velocity of the winds. Disturbances often begin in the Atlantic Ocean a week before they reach Galveston. They lose intensity upon landfall. This scale does not measure rainfall. That is another source of destruction.
|Category||Miles per Hour||Kilometers per Hour|
|Tropical Depression||0 - 38||0 - 62|
|Tropical Storm||39 - 73||63 - 118|
|1||74 - 95||119 - 153|
|2||96 - 110||154 - 177|
|3||111 - 129||178 - 208|
|4||130 - 156||209 - 251|
- Galveston is 51.2 miles/82.4 kilometers from Houston. The travel time is approximately 1 hour from Houston. The return to Houston can take longer due to rush hour traffic.
- Galveston is 25.6 miles/41.2 kilometers from the Kemah Boardwalk. The travel time is approximately 30 minutes.
- Galveston is 22.6 miles/36.4 kilometers from the Haak Winery in Santa Fe. The travel time is approximately 30 minutes
- Santa Fe is 37.2 miles/59.9 kilometers from Houston. The travel time is approximately 52 minutes. The return to Houston can take longer due to rush hour traffic.
- The Kemah Boardwalk is 34.2 miles/55.0 kilometers from Houston. The travel time is approximately 39 minutes. The return to Houston can take longer due to rush hour traffic.
We offer 4 transport options, of 5, 7, 9, and 11 hours. We offer more than 12 sites, including multiple mansions, museums, and movies. Allow 1 to 8 hours for each site. Select any of the options below to fill your transport:
- A beach – Enjoy swimming in 90 degree Fahrenheit/32 degree Centigrade water in the summer. Bring a swimsuit and towel. A beach house is there to buy refreshments and change clothes.
- Dolphin Watch Boat – Take a 45-minute boat ride in Galveston Harbor to see dolphins, the Houston Ship Channel, and more. Be there 15-minutes in advance.
- Duck Ride – This is an approximately 1-hour tour in an amphibious vehicle that includes 15 minutes in Offatt’s Bayou.
- Ferry boat rides to and from Bolivar Peninsula – This is very time consuming as the waits are often long. Allow 2 to 4 hours.
- Haak Winery – This is in the town of Santa Fe on the mainland and in Galveston County. Have a tour of the winery and 4 samples of wines. Allow 2 hours including commuting time.
- A mansion home of the 1800s. This would be a tour of either the 1892 Bishop's Palace or the 1895 Moody Mansion. Each of these is an impressive Victorian home. The Bishop's Palace has been ranked among the top homes built in the United States during the Victorian Age by the American Institute of Architects. Allow 1 hour, 15 minutes for either one.
- Moody Gardens – The three pyramids include an aquarium, rainforest, and discovery center. You can watch 3D and 4D movies and go on the Colonel Paddlewheel boat. Allow 2 to 3 hours.
- A museum. You have a choice of the Lone Star Flight Museum and Texas Hall of Fame Aviators, Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum, The Railroad Museum, and the Texas Seaport Museum and the tall-ship Elissa. Allow between 1 hour to 3 hours.
- Pleasure Pier – Built in 2012, this amusement park with a Ferris wheel, carousel, roller coaster, more rides, arcades, and restaurants is on a pier over water.
- Schiltterbahn – This is a, great water themed park.
- Seawolf Park – This is on a separate island called Pelican Island that is reached by a bridge from Galveston. It has the USS Cavalla (a World War II submarine), the USS Stewart (a destroyer escort) a fishing pier and a playground. This island used to be known as Quarantine Island for incoming immigrants by ships before World War II. Allow 1 to 2 hours.
- The Strand – The old downtown main street with lots of impressive buildings from the 1800s, gift shops, a couple of chocolate confectionaries, restaurants, beach paraphernalia, and more. It looks a little like Bourbon Street in New Orleans. This is within walking distance of the Dolphin Watch Boat rides, the Railroad Museum, the Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum, the Texas Seaport Museum, the tall-ship Elissa, and the Pier 21 Theater where one can watch "The Great Storm" or "The Pirate Island of Jean LaFitte." Several restaurants are in the area. Allow 1 to 8 hours.
- Kemah Boardwalk – This playground and restaurant magnet is in the town of Kemah about 30 minutes from Galveston. Kemah has the third largest marina in the United States.
Tourists will pay any admission and related fees directly to these venues. Prices range from free for a beach, the ferry, and The Strand to approximately $50.00 for Moody Gardens.
- Transport A – 5 Hours – 1 or 2 Stops.
- Transport B – 7 Hours – 1 to 3 Stops.
- Transport C – 9 Hours – 1 to 4 Stops
- Transport D – 11 Hours – 1 to 5 Stops.
See the Sites on a Galveston Tour below the options for what is included. Tours E, F, and G are abridged.
- Tour E – 5 Hours – 2 Stops – an abridged tour with one for shopping and a bathroom break and one for lunch.
- Tour F – 6 Hours – 3 Stops – an abridged tour with one for shopping and a bathroom break, one for lunch, and one for the Dolphin Watch boat tour. This goes into the Galveston Harbor to look for dolphins.
- Tour G – 6 Hours – 3 Stops – an abridged tour with one for shopping and a bathroom break, one for lunch, and one for a Duck Tour. This is an approximately 1 hour amphibious boat and bus tour that goes into Offatt’s Bayou for about 15 minutes.
- Tour H– 6 Hours – 3 Stops – one at the Seawall, one for shopping and a bathroom break, and one for lunch.
- Tour I – 7 Hours – 4 Stops – all of the above plus a tour of a historic home, generally the Bishop's Palace, sometimes Moody Mansion.
- Tour J – 8 Hours – 5 Stops – all of the above plus an additional stop at either The Strand and or Murdoch's.
- Tour K – 9 Hours – 6 Stops – all of the above plus the movie "The Great Storm" or "The Pirate Island of Jean LaFitte."
- Tour L – 10 Hours – 7 Stops – all of the above plus 1 museum of your choice: The Lone Star Flight Museum, Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, Galveston Railroad Museum, or the Texas Seaport Museum.
- Tour M – 11 Hours – 8 Stops – all of the above plus an additional house, movie, museum, or place to shop.
- Tour N – 12 Hours – 8 Stops – all of the 10-hour Tour I plus a tour of the Haak Winery and 4 samples.
The beach is an option on Tours E through N.
Tourists can subtitute and pay for a stop at Moody Gardens for a visit to a historic home and shopping on Tour F.
Sites on a Galveston Tour
A basic Galveston Tour starting with Tour H includes transportation from Houston to Galveston and back, historical narratives, a choice of stops for lunch at each person's expense and driving by and through (the)
- Former causeway (1911 – 1961)
- Moody Gardens entertainment area (1992 – 1993)
- Vietnam Memorial
- Lone Star Flight Museum (1990)
- Scholes Field
- Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston (2006)
- Seawall Boulevard
- San Luis Hotel and Condominium (1984)
- 1900 Storm Commemorative Sculpture (2000)
- Ruins of Fort Crockett (1897 – 1953)
- Pleasure Pier since 2012 (formerly the Flagship Hotel 1965 – 2008)
- Monument to the Balinese Room (1948 – 1957, 2010)
- Hotel Galvez of 1911
- Silk Stocking District
- John Hutchings home (1859)
- Kempner Park's Garten Verein (1880)
- Temple B'nai Israel since 1954
- Powhatan home (1847)
- Samuel May Williams Home (1839)
- Former site of where Gail Borden lived from 1839 to 1851
- Michel Menard Home (1838)
- Holy Rosary Catholic Church (1886, 1914)
- Former "Colored Branch of the Rosenberg Library" from 1905 and 1924
- Avenue L Baptist Church (1840, 1916)
- Moody Mansion (1895),
- Texas Heroes Monument (April 21, 1900)
- Congregation Beth Jacob (1931)
- St. Joseph's Church Museum (1859)
- Open Gates (1891), home for George Sealy
- Ashton Villa (1859)
- Ike Kempner home (1906)
- Bishop's Palace (1892)
- Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of 1904, dome of 1912
- Stewart Beach
- Victorian homes (1870s, 1880s, and 1890s)
- Wooden carvings from destroyed trees from Hurricane Ike on Sealy, Ball, Church, and Winnie Streets (2010)
- Ruins of a house on the foundation of where the pirate Jean Lafitte lived from 1817 – 1821
- University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)
- Rosenberg Library (1904)
- Texas Seaport Museum
- 1877 tall-ship Elissa
- Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum
- Strand (known as the Wall Street of the South in the 1800s)
- Grand 1894 Opera House
- Red Line District
- Federal Building
- City Hall
- Exclusive Cedar Lawn (the River Oaks of Galveston) of homes from the 1926
- Wreckage from Hurricane Ike from September 13, 2008
- Additional museums
- Additional churches, a cathedral, and a mosque
For pricing information about these Galveston transports and tours, please click here. Note that you will require the free Adobe Reader in order to read this pricing document. You can download the latest version of this software by clicking this link.