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Located on the island of the same name 45 miles south of Houston, the city of Galveston is home to more than 50,000 people today, not many more than the number who lived here in 1900 when a powerful hurricane ravaged the city. The storm killed 8,000 people — it remains the most deadly natural disaster in U.S. history — and primed the pump for Houston to emerge as the regional population center, thanks to the land buffer between it and the tempestuous Gulf of Mexico. But Galveston remains a terrific getaway for a few days or a few weeks, featuring picture-perfect beaches, a vibrant nightlife, intriguing history, and superlative ...

Located on the island of the same name 45 miles south of Houston, the city of Galveston is home to more than 50,000 people today, not many more than the number who lived here in 1900 when a powerful hurricane ravaged the city. The storm killed 8,000 people — it remains the most deadly natural disaster in U.S. history — and primed the pump for Houston to emerge as the regional population center, thanks to the land buffer between it and the tempestuous Gulf of Mexico. But Galveston remains a terrific getaway for a few days or a few weeks, featuring picture-perfect beaches, a vibrant nightlife, intriguing history, and superlative seafood.

The city's Mardi Gras party is one of the biggest outside of New Orleans, and there are plenty of fun nightspots bustling with activity year-round. The island's devil-may-care revelry is a result of the threat of a killer storm, some say, and Galveston is known for its defiance in the face of the hurricanes: the stalwart waterfront bar the Poop Deck remained open when Hurricane Ike hit the island in September 2008.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located on Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring (but avoid spring break); summers are a bit hot and crowded; fall is usually nice but hurricanes are possible