Part of the Houston metropolitan area, Galveston is a great place to visit. The city itself is on Pelican Island and Galveston Island, and it once served as the main Texas Navy port during the Texas Revolution. The city's first settlements, though, were constructed in 1816 by a French pirate. Galveston would become a major commercial hub during the 19th century before being devastated by the Great Galveston Hurricane in 1900. It would take years to recover, but the city soon emerged as a family-oriented tourist destination.
Today the city boasts more than 60 structures on the National Register of Historic Places, which are spread out among Galveston's six historic districts. With so much historical significance, Galveston thrives on modern tourism. You can find museums and nature-based attractions throughout the city, and the Port of Galveston serves as a passenger cruise ship terminal for Carnival Cruise Line. Whether you're visiting Galveston to gear up for a Caribbean cruise or you're hoping to explore the city itself, it's important to find the right hotel that allows you to enjoy everything Galveston has to offer.
When to Visit Galveston, Texas
With its balmy climate, Galveston knows how to draw beach-going crowds. Summer temperatures are between temperate and subtropical, so expect summer and spring break to be the most popular times to visit. This is also when hotel rates are at their highest. Weekends are especially crowded during the summer when Houston residents and other nearby Texans head down for a weekend getaway. If you do plan to brave the summertime crowds, you'll be rewarded with perfect beach weather and a variety of outdoor events, including a sandcastle competition, the Independence Day parade and fireworks show, a craft beer festival, and much more.
To enjoy warm weather without the excessive heat, visit in early spring or late fall. Spring brings festival such as the popular Galveston Birding and Nature Photo Festival, which takes place in mid-April before peak season hotel prices kick in. Spring is also the prime time to go horseback riding on the beach, flyboarding over the bay, or sailing beyond the Galveston causeway. Other than winter and spring break, spring brings the most affordable room prices.
Winter temperatures are pleasant, but they're not warm enough for swimming. You could, however, check out Schlitterbahn's heated indoor water park, the Galveston Railroad Museum, and the annual Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration at Hotel Galvez and Spa. If you're looking to take advantage of Galveston's low winter rates, though, avoid Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Galveston, TX:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts displaying average nightly cost trends by star rating class in Galveston, TX. Analyze these illustrations to calculate the best time period to stay in Galveston for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Galveston, Texas
4 Star Average Prices: $199.63
If you're looking for luxury hotels in Galveston, you can choose from several. The San Luis Hotel, Spa and Conference Center is on 30 acres of pristine property across the street from the beach. The hotel's upscale rooms feature coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi, private balconies, flat-screen televisions, free continental breakfast, an on-site spa and salon, fitness room, and an outdoor pool with water slide. There are also five on-site dining options, including an upscale steakhouse.
The Hilton Galveston Island Resort is also set on the 30-acre San Luis Resort, giving you even more upscale options. Rooms are classic yet contemporary with custom-designed beds and private balconies. If you choose to upgrade to a suite, you'll even enjoy a separate living space. One of the most unique amenities that comes with this hotel is the tropical-style outdoor pool with swim-up bar.
Hotel Galvez and Spa is another great luxury option. This elegant 1911 historic beachfront hotel offers upscale rooms with iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and rainfall shower heads. There's even an on-site seafood restaurant and lounge, not to mention a swim-up bar, poolside grill, and heated outdoor saltwater pool.
Other luxury accommodations in Galveston include Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa, Golf Course, and Convention Center, The Tremont House, and Victorian Condo Hotel Resort.
Affordable Hotel Options in Galveston, Texas
3 Star Average Prices: $125.22
Finding an affordable place to stay in Galveston is easier than you might think. Beachcomber Inn Galveston is a simple budget motel offering straightforward rooms, an outdoor pool, complimentary continental breakfast, and coin-operated laundry facilities within easy driving distance of the Galveston cruise terminal and Scholes International Airport.
Motel 6 Galveston just off Interstate 45 also offers a coin laundry and year-round outdoor pool, but its location is more convenient to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark.
The Knights Inn Galveston is a low-rise that's a seven-minute walk from Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Offering simple furnishings, free Wi-Fi, and the chance for parents to take advantage of the kids-17-and-under-stay-free policy, this is one budget motel worth booking.
If you prefer an affordable accommodation on the beach, check out Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Galveston Beach. This laid-back two-star hotel overlooks the Gulf and features suites with whirlpools. Guests can also enjoy a hot breakfast buffet, indoor pool, 24-hour business center, and fitness room.
Other budget-friendly hotel options in Galveston include Red Roof Inn Galveston – Beachfront/Convention Center, Super 8 Galveston, and Howard Johnson Express Inn – Galveston, Texas.
2 Star Average Prices: $118.18
Where are the real discounts in Galveston
If you know where you want to stay, you can take advantage of money-saving discounts from your favorite hotels. For instance, The San Luis Resort frequently offers packages and resort specials, including romantic getaway packages and the popular Stay More, Save More discount.
AAA members, seniors, military families, and large groups can also snag discounted rates at certain hotels, which range from the upscale Moody Gardens to budget chain brands like Super 8 – Galveston. There are also frequent traveler perks to consider. Being a Wyndham hotel, The Tremont House allows you to use or accumulate Wyndham Rewards during your stay. A number of local hotels also offer Park and Sail packages for cruise ship passengers needing to leave their cars behind while they cruise the Caribbean.
Best Value Options in Galveston, Texas
Galveston offers many mid-range hotels designed to give you the most bang for your buck. The Holiday Inn Club Vacations Galveston Beach Resort is a three-star beachfront option offering modern rooms with balconies, ocean or pool views, high-pressure shower heads, DVD players, kitchenettes, and free Wi-Fi. Kids 19 and under also stay free, and upgrading to a suite ensures you get a full kitchen.
Holiday Inn Resort Galveston – On The Beach is just a seven-minute drive from Moody Gardens amusement park and features an on-site restaurant serving seafood and steaks. There's an outdoor pool, business center, tennis courts, and video game arcade to appeal to a range of guests.
SpringHill Suites Galveston Island is a roadside all-suite accommodation near the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. The modern hotel offers iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, premium cable channels, separate living areas, and kitchenettes. Free amenities include parking, continental breakfast, a fitness room, indoor pool, hot tub, and business center.
Other mid-range options that won't break the bank include DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Galveston Beach, Hampton Inn & Suites Galveston, and Courtyard Galveston Island. No matter where you choose to stay, it's nice to know you're never far from the beach.
Insider Tips for Visiting Galveston, Texas
Make the most of your trip to Galveston by experiencing the city like a local. Galveston features a lot of bustling life in a small amount of space, so it's smart to know the highlights. Most visitors tend to crowd the Strand, which is the cruise port area, and Seawall Boulevard, which offers an array of bars, restaurants, and hotels. If you're a history buff, be sure to tour the historic Strand District.
As for food, you can't beat a meal at Olympia the Grill at Pier 21. This is a prime restaurant not only for its delicious eats, but also the chance to spot pelicans and dolphins in Galveston Bay. Other great eateries include Benno's on the Beach, The Spot, and DiBella's. For amazing nighttime views, head to The Rooftop Bar on top of The Tremont House.
Galveston is riddled with big box stores and kitschy swim shops, so you might feel underwhelmed by your lack of choices if you're here for a shopping excursion. Thankfully, Galveston does harbor some unique boutiques and off-the-tourist-path shops that are must-sees. Head to The Witchery downtown for special jewelry and gifts, The Style Co. on 14th for women's clothing and accessories, or the ultra-cool Tangerine Boutique downtown to discover unique designer brands.
Also, while you'll probably visit the Historic Pleasure Pier more than once during your stay, your best bet is to enjoy it from the Seawall rather than pay the fee to walk the boardwalk.
When planning your trip to Galveston, be sure to explore your options. Decide on your must-see attractions in advance, and take advantage of hotel specials and discounts. Whether you're looking for a budget-friendly option or a sophisticated luxury experience, Galveston aims to please.
Galveston, TX in a nutshell
The city of Galveston is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Texas, mainly because of the many fun places that one can visit there. In fact, its revenues from tourism are counted by several millions of dollars, with as much as $808 million earned back in 2007. The city is visited by several millions of tourists annually. Still, you don't have to worry about finding a place to stay in as the hotels and inns in the city are numerous enough to meet the demands and influx of tourists and travelers even during peak tourist season. Galveston is not just about frivolous tourist traps and fun destinations but is also a place to find several important buildings and landmarks, many of them having important roles in the history of the United States. Notable structures in the city include The Bishop's Palace, Grand 1894 Opera House, and even The Galvez Hotel. The Moody Gardens Botanical Park is among the top-rated and favorite attractions of the city. This expansive garden complex is offering grand scale exhibits of various flora from all over the world, not just the locality.
Jack Johnson, the boxing world champion who is most famously known as the Galveston Giant, once uttered these words, 'Texas is my home and Galveston is where my heart stays. You see my strength? I owe it all to my home.' What makes people love their hometowns so deeply? Well, the answer probably lies in the fact the Galveston represents all that is the Southern Texan culture is known for, hospitality, family values and love for life.
If you are planning on visiting Galveston, a mid-sized city resting on Galveston and Pelican island by the coast of Texas in the United States, you are certainly in for an intimate, up-close look at how the Southern culture really operates. There are quite a few sights to see around Galveston, too many local (at time, hidden in plain sight) food joints to savor and even more hotel options, from cheap hotels to daunting palatial establishments, to rest your back at the end of a tiring day.
Budget Hotel Choices in Galveston
The concept of a budget hotel is quite important from the point of view of frequent travellers and tourists. This is because, more often than not, hotel expenses account for the largest share of total trip expenses, even more than airfare and other travelling expenses. Considering this, it becomes of essence to find and stay at a hotel that does not topple your budget to the point of breaking and thus, allows you enough breathing space in order to truly enjoy your trip. There are numerous budget hotels in Galveston that fulfil these requirements by providing their patrons with quality services at very low prices. These establishments not only make the stay of their guests affordable, they also offer additional services at extra, optional prices, making it even easier for guests to choose what they really need, and what they really need to pay for. You can find many motels along the Texan highway in Galveston that are perfect fits for solo travellers who do not wish to lodge for long. Then, there are establishments like Tomson Resort that have become famous through a good word of the mouth.
Luxurious Places to Stay in Galveston
Budget is not really a concern for some travellers who do not mind spending an extra wad of cash to get top notch services that budget hotels in Galveston are unable to provide. Luxury and high end hotel establishments are, even though not in plenty, many in Galveston. These include traditionally famous stays at Moody's Resort, the Galvestonian, the Victorian Condo, the Tremont House, Casa Del Mar, Double Tree by Hilton, Hampton Inn and Courtyard Galveston.
These places are not cheap in any sense of the word. However, they do provide amenities that compel their tourists to not begrudge the price they have to pay. From on-site personal assistant to no questions asked, round the clock taxi and boating services, these luxury Galveston hotels do everything they possibly can to help their guests make the most of their stay with them.
What to Do and See When in Galveston
Gulf of Mexico is a year round tourist hotspot. Add to it the fact that the Caribbean is a short flight away from it, a trip to Galveston suddenly becomes a perfect holiday destination for everyone, from filthy rich business tycoons to regular Joes. Galveston has a naturally pristine beachline of over 20 miles, one of the longest stretches of unadulterated and unobstructed white sand in the world. The east coast of the United States is not really known to be friendly for surfers. However, Galveston beaches will present to you the unlikely sight of surfers making merry in warm Atlantic waves.
If you happen to be a beach person, you will also be glad to know that Galveston offers many beachside shacks and huts that you can rent overnight to spend starry nights under clear sky, in the company of soothing wave music. What else does one need to feel good in life?
Another tourist attraction in Galveston is the famous Lone Star Flight Museum that documents the history of flying in great details. The section that covers the first flight by Wright brothers over a century ago is particularly enthralling, and puts into perspective the lengths to which passionate people go in order to achieve and materialize their dreams.
There are, in total, 14 museums in Galveston. There also happen to be more than a dozen art galleries covering everything from wood art to post-post-modern. Historic homes and palaces dating back to the colony era also attract flocks of tourists every year. Moody Gardens is another landmark in Galveston that does not fail to entice tourists from spending a day or two in its company. The Gardens are exact replicas of tropical rainforests with all the exotic species of plants, and some animals, being drafted in to make the ambiance all the more real. There is also a famous Rainforest Cafe that serves exotic cuisines at relatively cheap prices. If you are planning a trip to Galveston, you would be best advised to reserve a day or two just to experience the exotic ambiance of Moody Gardens.
Last, but not in the least, maintaining a healthy balance between lounging in the sunlight on beaches and getting some good tan, and seeing all these intriguing sights is important to make the most of your Galveston stay.
Hotels Near Airport in Galveston
Galveston airport is not really a busy one, in comparison with other nearby airports like Dallas and Houston. It is, however, frequented daily by inbound and outbound domestic flights that connect the city to major American hubs across most states. Finding cheap hotels, ideally speaking, should not an issue of concern as there are over 20 motels lined up across the highway just as one exists the airport at Galveston.
Galveston hotels, those in the vicinity of the airport in the least, are not, however, recommended for long stays, as they tend to be more on the expensive side, in comparison with the ones that are in or around the city itself.