GALVESTON TEXAS

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Galveston Island is the site of the worst natural disaster to ever strike America.

Back when there were no weather warnings, at the start of the last century, a hurricane came up the Gulf of Mexico and destroyed Galveston, which at that time was one of the most prosperous cities in America.

Over 6,000 people died.

Prior to the arrival of the 1900 Hurricane Galveston was a bit of a boomtown, growing quickly and opulently. The Strand, back then a waterfront banking center, was known as "the Wall Street of the Southwest." Cotton was king and Galveston's natural deep port made it a shipping hub. Galveston was also an entry point for incoming Europeans, second only to Ellis Island.

Galveston's past opulence transcends to modern day Galveston which has become a bustling tourist town with major attractions such as Moody Gardens, and The Strand is now a tourist attraction with more than 100 shops, restaurants and galleries in a 36 square block area.

Much of what you will see below was destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

The Galveston Seawall click a thumbnail to view a photo

After the hurricane a seawall was built and the land behind the seawall was raised. Galveston was again struck by a strong hurricane, in 1915, but only 12 people died. The seawall worked.

TOURING GALVESTON

The Galveston Island Trolley takes you on a 6.8 miles fixed rail trolley ride from the Seawall to the Strand in heritage streetcars. The trolley was badly damaged by Hurricane Ike, suspending operations. FEMA and the Federal Transit Authority are funding the repair and restoration of the Galveston Island Trolley.

The Treasure Isle Tour Train takes off from Moody Civic Center for a 1 3/4 hour narrated 17 mile train ride that will take you along the Seawall, by Fort Crockett, historic mansions, the shrimp fleet, downtown Galveston, Moody Mansion, the Strand, Bishop's Palace and many other points of Galveston interest.

The Colonel is a triple deck paddle wheeler that takes off from Moody Gardens with up to 800 people on board. There are Dinner Cruises, Fireworks Cruises and music on board during hour long cruises in Offatts Bayou.

Memorial Statue dedicated to those perished in the Hurricane of 1900

A memorial statue at water's edge dedicated to those who perished in the Storm of 1900.

Weather Warning Sign on the Galveston Beach

Galveston takes its storm warnings seriously. There are also Hurricane evacuation routes marked.

School kids playing on the Galveston Beach

A couple bus loads of school kids playing in the surf, along with a couple surfers.

This pier was destroyed, along with most other structures sticking out in the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston on September 13, 2008 when a Category 2 Hurricane named Ike made landfall in Galveston.

The island has largely recovered from Ike, but some damage remains.

WHERE TO STAY IN GALVESTON

You will find plenty of lodging options in Galveston, both of the hotel sort and bed & breakfasts. Among the hotels are Hotel Galvez, The Tremont House, Gilded Thistle and The Victorian Condo-Hotel. Bed & Breakfasts, many built before 1900, include Away at Sea Inn/Jacuzzi Suites, Carousel Inn, Coppersmith Inn, The Inn at 1816 Post Office, Inn on the Strand, Madame Dyer's B & B, Michael's B & B Inn, The Queen Anne B & B and Victorian B & B Inn.

A pier with a fish tackle beer store

A commercial establishment occupied the end of the fishing pier, which was destroyed in 2008 by Hurricane Ike.

A beer store at the end of a Galveston pier

We do not know if this pier and the business operating at the end of the pier has been rebuilt or not.

Tourism bring in hundreds of million of dollars to Galveston, from millions of visitors. Galveston is the #1 cruise ship port on the Gulf Coast and #4 in the United States. A new addition is the Galveston Schlitterbahn Waterpark. In addition to the already mentioned Moody Garden, in Galveston you'll find the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, the Lone Star Flight Museum and the Galveston Railroad Museum.
A tanker in Galveston Bay

The seawall continues til it reaches the entry to Galveston Bay. Oil tankers pass through here on their way from Houston to the Gulf of Mexico.

Beach at the north end of Galveston Island

A huge private beach which charges a 5 buck entry fee, at the north end of Galveston Island. Apparently having parties is encouraged here as several roadside stores had big signs advertising the last chance to get beach party supplies.

GALVESTON FESTIVALS

Galveston, at The Strand annually puts on one of the biggest Mardi Gras festivals outside of New Orleans, plus Galveston Island Jazz & Blues Festival and Dickens on the Strand, a Victorian-themed Christmas festival.

A restaurant on a Galveston pier

A look at another of the Galveston piers, this one with a restaurant. This also was destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

Several historic ships call Galveston home, including the tall ship Elissa, known as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, docked at the Texas Seaport Museum. The USS Cavalla and USS Stewart are both docked at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island.

WHERE TO EAT IN GALVESTON

You'll find many good restaurants in Galveston, especially seafood restaurants, including Gaido's Seafood Restaurant and Casey's Seafood Cafe, Joe's Crab Shack, Fish Tales, Landry's Seafood House and Oyster Bar, Fisherman's Wharf and Queen's Bar-B-Que.

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