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Tours & Attractions

Galveston Island Brew Tour
Wednesday, October 16th

$50 per person – minimum of 24 required (Dinner not included)galveston brewery tour

This island brewery tour kicks off with a behind-the-scenes tourof the Galveston Island Brewery,where you will experience a private tasting and pick a pint of your favorite brew! Then it is on to a flight at Beerfoot Brewery, Devil in the Deep Brewery and ending at Stuttgarden Tavern where your choices for your flight will be any 4 of their 40+ beers on tap. Enjoy this last tasting on one of Stuttgarden’s balconies with harbor or Strand St. views. Stuttgarden also has a full menu of phenomenal German inspired food should you wish to end the evening with a bit to eat!

Pick-up / return Galveston Island Convention Center. This tour is wheelchair accessible.


Galveston Historical Foundation Tour
Thursday, October 17th

$45 per person – minimum of 24 required for tourbishops palace galveston tx

You will begin your tour in the East End Historic District at the 1894 Bishop’s Palace, one of the most significant Victorian residences in the country. Then cruise over to the oldest port on the Gulf of Mexico west of New Orleans and board a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877, the Tall Ship Elissa in her berth at Pier 21! Walk Elissa's decks and imagine the days when daring sailors challenged the world's oceans. In the adjacent museum and theatre, witness the story of Elissa's dramatic rescue from the scrapyard and her meticulous restoration. While on Pier 21 you will also view The Great Storm, the story of the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900 marking the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. The tour ends on Pier 21, home to 4 of Galveston’s premiere restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat before the shuttle departs!

Pick-up / return Galveston Island Convention Center. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.


Information to tour on your own...

Pirates! Pirates! Pirates!
Galveston was originally settled by Jean Lafitte and his band of 300 pirates. As a seaward island, Galveston protected a large inland bay. At the time it was a part of Mexico, and was determined outside the authority of the United States. It was primarily inhabited by Karankawa Native Americans and was relatively free of scrutiny from any local governments. Lafitte named his colony Campeche.

All newcomers were interviewed personally by Lafitte and were required to take a loyalty oath to pirates galveston txhim. His headquarters was a two-story building facing the inland harbor. The building, known as Maison Rouge, was surrounded by a moat and painted red. Lafitte lived and conducted most of his business aboard his ship, The Pride. More than two thousand inhabitants and 120 separate structures occupied the colony at its peak. Annual income reached more than $2 million ($32 million in today's terms) in stolen currency and goods. Many of the goods were sent to Lafitte’s brother, Pierre, in New Orleans. Pierre fenced the goods through his blacksmith bar and grill. The bar and grill is still operational today in a residential area of Bourbon Street. It is thought to be the oldest bar and grill in the United States. For a time Lafitte lived a lavish lifestyle complete with servants and the finest housewares and other paraphernalia.

The USS Enterprise was sent to Galveston in 1821 to remove Lafitte from Galveston; as, one of Lafitte's captains had attacked an American merchant ship. Lafitte agreed to leave the island without a fight, and departed on The Pride on May 7, 1821. He and his band of pirates burned the Maison Rouge fortress and settlement. It is thought he took immense amounts of treasure with him. It is also thought he was accompanied by his mistress and an infant son. All that remains of Maison Rouge is the foundation, located at 1417 Harborside Drive, near the Galveston wharf.

Two weeks after setting sail, Lafitte and his crew of pirates captured a Spanish ship. They sent the ship to Galveston, hoping the longboats would smuggle the goods to New Orleans. Lafitte's men buried some of the cargo on the island. Although the captured Spanish ship was run aground, an American patrol spotted it. After investigating, the patrol discovered the buried cargo. Several of Lafitte's men were arrested and convicted of piracy. The remainder of the crew rejoined Lafitte, who finally acknowledged that he did not have a valid commission.

Featured on Discovery Channel’s "Expedition Unknown" the Hix boys from Baytown are known for their quest to solve the unanswered disappearance of French Pirate Jean Lafitte. Told as kids they were directly related to Lafitte, they now believe they’ve found his sunken ship.

Access a video through the link below to learn more about Jean Lafitte and the Hix brothers:

A “pirate” museum and historical markers depicting Lafitte’s activities in Galveston can be found around the island. Use the addresses below to take a self-guided tour.

pirate museum galveston tx

maison rouge galveston tx

  battle of 3 trees, galvestron tx
Pirate and Ghost Museum
2313 Harborside Drive
East End
  Maison Rouge
Address: 1417 Harborside Dr
East end of town. Harborside
Between 15th and 14th Streets
  Battle of 3 Trees
14520 Stewart Road
near Stewart Mansion
West End

The Battle of Galveston
Many are unaware an important civil war battle was fought in Galveston, Texas!

On October 4, 1862 Commander W.B. Renshaw led a small fleet into Galveston harbor to demand the surrender of this most important Texas port. The effort was part of the Union blockade of the Texas coast. Galveston was largely unguarded and considered indefensible. The city surrendered following an exchange of gunfire.battle of galveston

After the loss of Galveston, Major General J.B. Magruder was placed in charge of the Confederate forces in Texas. A plan for Galveston’s recapture was quickly devised. Magruder created a navy by refitting two river steamers, the Bayou City and the Neptune, as gunboats. To implement his plan, Magruder outfitted the decks of two river steamers, the Bayou City and the Neptune, with bales of cotton. The compressed cotton lined the hulls and was used to protect the on-board cavalry. The odd looking vessels were referred to as the “Confederate Cottonclads.”A land force was also used in a joint land-sea attack.

In the darkness of early morning on January 1, 1863 Confederate foot soldiers were sent into Galveston. Although the foot soldiers were unable to seize the wharf, they did manage to distract some of the Union ships. This enabled the makeshift Confederate navy to surprise the Union fleet from behind. The Confederate navy’s nearest and first target was the Union's Harriet Lane. During the battle, the Confederate steamer, Neptune, was sunk in shallow water. The Union ship, Harriet Lane, was boarded by the Confederate steamer Bayou City. Not faring as well, the Union flagship, Westfield, with Commodore Renshaw on board, became hopelessly grounded in shallow water. Union Commodore William B. Renshaw’s flagship, the Westfield, was destroyed in an explosion. Renshaw and thirteen of his crewmen were killed. Despite demands for surrender, the remaining Union ships fled Galveston Bay. For the balance of the Civil War, Galveston remained under Confederate control.

To this day cannon ball damage can still be seen on the exterior walls of some historic Galveston the strand, galveston txbuildings! This is particularly true in the Strand/Mechanic area. Encompassing Galveston’s primary commercial area from the 1850s through the early 1900s, the Strand/Mechanic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. Running from 20th to 25th Street, the historic Strand/Mechanic district is approximately 13 blocks. The economic hub of the 19th century port city, the Strand/Mechanic area was often referred to as “the Wall Street of the Southwest.” Banks, ware-houses and merchants were businesses in the district that coordinated the substantial traffic of goods importing into and exporting out of the city. Cotton was the primary export while building materials, produce and other dry goods were also trafficked through the area.

Between 1875 and 1899 the Strand/Mechanic district was a prosperous business area adjacent to the wharves. Most of its buildings were built during this time. Featuring Gothic, High Victorian, French and Italianate architecture, its buildings now house shops, restaurants, offices and apartments. A few older buildings still exist. Be sure to look for cannon ball damage on the exterior of the 1861 Customs House at 502 Twentieth (20th) Street.

Take a self-guided tour of historic Galveston using the Galveston Historic Foundation’s mobile app:

One of Galveston's most popular attractions is Moodymoody gardens at night, galveston tx Gardens. One Hope Boulevard. Work or play, this tropical destination is ideal for families and groups alike. Water your imagination and travel the oceans of the world at the Aquarium Pyramid. Get lost in an exotic paradise amongst thousands of tropical plants, exotic fish and birds when you step into the Rainforest Pyramid. Explore the mysteries of science at the Discovery Pyramid and take a rocking and rolling ride through the universe at the Ridefilm Theatre. Get in the middle of the action at the 4D Special FX Theatre. See spectacular images come to life and pop out of the screen when you visit the six-story IMAX 3D Theatre.

Docked at Moody Gardens, the Colonel, a 750 passenger, 19th century- style sternwheeler, offers a unique view of the Gardens and an enjoyable cruise.

With its huge array of awesome aquatic adventures, Schlitterbahn Galveston Island can be your personal happy place! During the summer season, the park offers amazing rides and attractions, including a large wave pool, uphill water coasters, thrilling speed slides, kid's water playgrounds, whitewater rapids, relaxing hot tubs, family raft rides, the Boogie Bahn surf ride and the exclusive Transportainment river system. Relax in steaming warm waters and enjoy summer fun all year long at Texas' first and only heated, indoor waterpark (both the air and water are always in the 80s!). The Wasserfest Heated Indoor Season, October - mid April, features more than a dozen heated attractions in a tropical, heated indoor oasis.
pleasure pier, galveston tx
Experience the Texas Gulf Coast's premier amusement park destination for families and thrill seekers alike. Rivaling seaside parks like Chicago's Navy Pier, the Santa Monica Pier and Coney Island's Luna Park, the Pleasure Pier has been named one of the world's top-five seaside parks by Amusement Today. The 1,130 foot long pier is home to Texas' first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, a number of shops, entertaining midway games, and 16 rides (including gentle rides for young visitors and exhilarating coasters for thrill seekers)- all entirely over the water! With its nostalgic feel and assortment of attractions, guests are flocking to the the Pleasure Pier for spectacular views from the top of the 100-foot tall Ferris Wheel or an adrenaline rush on the thrilling Iron Shark Roller Coaster.
christy, bull terrier, at murdochs in galveston tx
Need a little R & R? Check out Murdochs Bathhouse (located on the Seawall just before the Pleasure Pier)! Originally built in the late 1800s, Murdochs is one of Galveston's most historic locations. Visitors can browse the large selection of seashells, trinkets and other souveniers or sip on an ice cold beverage while relaxing in a rocking chair on the covered breezeway that stretches out over the water. Pelicans sail just above the water while dolphins play amongst the waves. Murdochs is the perfect place to "chill" and enjoy the scenery.

No trip to Galveston Island is complete without taking time to enjoy the scenery! With more than 500 species of birds residing, wintering, or migrating through Southeast Texas, the Galveston Bay Estuary is the largest and most productive on the Texas Coast. Gulf Coast Kayak Adventures offers visitors an opportunity to explore the Island in a unique way while admiring Galveston's natural beauty. These kayak tours are great for families, friends, groups and beginners. Click here for tour information and pricing.

Seawolf Park
, Pelican Island via Seawolf Parkway (51st Street), was built on an immigration station site and offers a 3-story pavilion with a view of Galveston Harbor, picnic sites, a playground area and a lighted fishing pier. A World War II submarine (the USS Cavalla), a destroyer escort (the USS Stewart) and other military hardware are open for tours.

The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, located at Pier 19, gives visitors an opportunity to step aboard an offshore rig and experience how oil and gas is produced offshore. Videos, interactive displays and models take patrons to offshore locations all over the world.

Galveston Island Ferry
, located on Hwy 87 (Ferry Road), continues to be one of Galveston's most popular attractions. Riders can park and ride the ferry or drive their vehicle aboard the ferry. Ferries run approximately every 15-20 minutes and are free.
moody mansion, galveston tx
Of course no visit to Galveston is complete without exploring the Island's historic homes and museums, which give visitors a glimpse of an era featuring both wealth and prosperity, as well as disaster and change.

Up for a little adventure? October is the season of thrills and chills and Galveston's ghostly history makes it one of the top destinations in the country for "haunted" travel. Many of the island's historical places have ghost stories attached to them as Galveston has been subject to epidemics of disease, war, fires, storms and merciless pirates. From a 103 year old "haunted" hotel to Galveston's storied harbor, cemeteries and Victorian mansions, in October the Island will be bustling with visitors seeking to be spooked by numerous ghost stories that stem from the country's deadliest natural disaster and other tragedies. Visitors can tour The Hotel Galvez, which has been featured on the Travel Channel's Ghost Stories and the Discovery Channel's Ghost Lab, and is said to be haunted by a "Ghost Bride". The Galveston Historical Foundation, which manages many of the island's well-preserved historical sites and Victorian mansions also offers ghost tours throughout the month of October. Visit www.galvestonhistory.org for tickets and more information.

Galveston is also home to nationally recognized paranormal expert Dash Beardsley, who offers ghost tours in the island's cemeteries, downtown district and other parts of the island year round. These walking tours allow guests to tour the different areas of the Island while learning about the historical events that have shaped the city and hear the haunting stories of the past. Visit www.ghosttoursofgalvestonisland.com for more information.