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Galveston is a city located on both Pelican and Galveston Islands, in Texas. It is home to 47,762 residents, based on figures calculated in 2012. It is home of the Galveston County seat as well as the second largest city within the county, based on population. It is quite large for a city, at 208.3 square miles.

A tourist destination, the city and island have something for everyone. The city offers a wide variety of bars and clubs for those who want to explore the nightlife, historical buildings for those looking to learn something and be entertained, and 32 miles of beaches for those who want to soak up the sun.


The city has an interesting history, including the settlement of the island by a European pirate, Jean LaFitte.

Although the city was incorporated in 1839, its history dates back more than three centuries prior. European explorers first landed there in 1528, when the island was inhabited by American Indian tribes known as the Karankawa and Akokisa.

Robert Cavelier La Salle claimed the area now known as Galveston Island, for the French in 1600. The city itself was named for Spanish general Bernardo de Galvez.

Privateer Jean LaFitte colonized Galveston Island, settling and creating the colony of Campeche in 1817, before he was forced to flee. The official founding of the City of Galveston is attributed to Michel Menard and Samuel May Williams. Over the years, the city has had its struggles and has recovered.

The city was the capital of the Republic of Texas for a brief period in 1836, and three years later, after adopting a formal charter, it was incorporated into the Republic of Texas. During the American Civil War, the city was the site of an effort by Confederate troops led by Major General John B. Magruder to remove Union troops from the city.

The city has been affected by major weather events for hundreds of years beginning with the Hurricane of 1900, which destroyed a third of the city and killed one sixth of the population.

Historic Buildings

Galveston’s history is important to its residents. The city has more than 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Galveston Historical Foundation highlights more than a dozen buildings that were important to the city’s maritime, cultural and architectural histories.

Port of Galveston

The Port of Galveston has become a popular place for cruise lines to start their journeys to tropical destinations. Four major cruise lines offer getaways departing from Galveston Island – Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines. These ventures are seasonal and range in length from four nights to eight lines.

Visiting Galveston

A 2009 visitor study, conducted by the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University revealed that 45 percent of Galveston County’s visitors were individuals there for a day trip, while six percent owned second homes or timeshares in the county.

Galveston Island and the city itself are attractive to thousands of tourists each year, with sites to explore like the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Moody Gardens and the Schlitterbahn water park. With 32 miles of beaches, an offshore drilling rig and museum and historic places to explore, Galveston has something for everyone to explore.

Visitors have a wide variety of accommodations to choose from. Lodging options include Wyndham historic hotels (Hotel Galvez and The Tremont House) or a variety of bed and breakfast inns. If a bed and breakfast or hotel isn’t what a visitor is looking for, the city is home to multiple RV parks, condominiums and vacation rentals for visitors to consider.