Galveston Island is a vacationer’s paradise full of beautiful scenery and rich history. It is quickly becoming one of North America’s most popular vacation destinations.
I and my husband visited Galveston Island this past summer and it was absolutely wonderful. The month that we visited was May, and the weather was just perfect. In May the temperature is not as hot and the humidity is lower than June, July, or August.
Our trip involved not only shopping on the Strand, the historical shopping district, but also taking in the local history, which is thoroughly fascinating. Some of the more interesting points we discovered about the history of Galveston Island are that the Akokisa Indians, who were also referred to as the Karan Kawa Tribe, were the first to populate Galveston Island in the early 1500’s. Also, the infamous pirate Jean La Fitte made the island his home in 1817 and stayed until 1821.
Other interesting facts that we ran across as we visited various historical points on the island were that in 1836, Micheal B. Menard, a native of Canada, established the city of Galveston. He named the island “Galveston” after a Spanish Colonial Governor and General, Bernardo de Galvez. Menard purchased a plot of land for 50,000 from the Republic of Texas to establish Galveston.
In 1839, the city became incorporated and also became an active port. Building began in what was to become the downtown area. The Tremont Hotel and The Strand were built. The Strand was a shopping district that was filled with cotton agents, wholesalers, drug stores, grocers, hardware, and dry goods. It quickly became known as the “Wall Street of Southwest”.
The Galveston County Daily News, the states oldest newspaper, was founded in 1842. It was originally named The Galveston News.
Galveston was the site of many Texas “first”. In 1836 the first Post Office in Texas was built on a site in Galveston.
Other Texas first:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ The first Naval Base in Texas. 1836
Ã¢Â?Â¢ The first bakery in Texas. 1838
Ã¢Â?Â¢ First cotton press in Texas. 1842
Ã¢Â?Â¢ First grocery store. 1851
Ã¢Â?Â¢ The first Texas railroads locomotive. 1852
Ã¢Â?Â¢ First insurance company. 1854
Ã¢Â?Â¢ First privately owned bank. 1854
Ã¢Â?Â¢ First use of telegraph. 1854
Ã¢Â?Â¢ The first use of gas lights in Texas.
The city was also the site of the first orphanage (1876) and telephone (1878) in Texas.
Although the city has seen its share of prosperity, it has also been the site of tragedy in the form of a massive hurricane on September 8th of 1900. “The Great Storm of 1900” as it has been named, left death and devastation all over the city. The storm killed over 6,000 Galveston residents and destroyed one-third of the city before it was over. It has been estimated that the wind with the storm reached 120 mph.
After the “Great Storm”, the city was rebuilt and became one of America’s top resort cities. Today there are no traces left from the Great Storm, the city has recovered in full and prospered. Galveston was also the site of the Pulchritude Beauty Pageant that was held annually from 1920 until 1932. This pageant was attended by celebrities of the era and was considered one of the most prestigious pageants offered.
Galveston nightclubs featured such names as Duke Ellington, Guy Lombardo, and Freddy Martin. The city attracted celebrities and ordinary people from all over the country. Galveston Island remains a popular vacation destination today because of the diverse range of activities available for tourists. Shopping, swimming, bicycling and sailing are just a few of the activities that Galveston offers. Our trip mainly centered on shopping on the Strand and visiting area museums. Although, the beach was a welcome sight after our hard day of shopping.
When staying in Galveston, you might check into one of the city’s popular condominiums or bed & breakfast inns. We chose to stay in a bed & breakfast which was a little more personal since it was our anniversary, but the condo’s on Galveston are also extremely nice and affordable. After extensive research I came up with this list of popular housing alternatives for your stay instead of the conventional hotel.
The San Luis Condominiums
5222 Seawall Blvd.
409-744-1500 or 1-800-445-0090
These condominiums are located on Seawall Blvd
and are situated across the road from the beach.
Call for rates as they change with the seasons.
Casa Del Mar Beachfront Suites
6102 Seawall Blvd
409-740-2431 or 1-800-392-1205
Rates range from 69.00 to 299.00/per night.
Amenities: 2 pools ( one heated), a bar-b-cue area,
and laundry facilities. Each room has spectacular
view. These condominiums are located on Seawall Blvd
and are situated across the road from the beach.
Islander East Condominiums
415 East Beach Drive
409-765-9301 or 1-888-475-3327
Rates range from 70.00 to 299.00/per night.
Amenities: Rooms with balconies and also efficiency rooms.
Located away from the seawall, off the beaten path,
on beach front.
Maravilla Resort Condominiums
9520 Seawall Blvd.
Rates range from 69.00 to 200.00/night
Located direstly on the seawall across from the beach.
Bed & Breakfast Inns
Avenue O Bed and Breakfast
2323 Avenue O
Rates range from 85.00 to 125.00/night
3 rooms available
Located 4 blocks from Seawall Blvd and the beach, but still in walking distance.
1914 Ave M
Rates range 107.00 to 175.00.night
5 rooms available
Located 6 blocks from the beach and Seawall Blvd.
This inn is a beautiful Victorian inn that offers a jacuzzi for two, beautiful gardens and covered porches with wonderful views.
The Garden Inn
1601 Ball Street
Located in the East End Historical District.
This is a Victorian Style inn that features a hot tub and pool.
The Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast Inn
1915 Sealy Avenue
Rates range from 100.00 to 200.00/night
6 rooms available
This inn was recommended in Southern Living Magazine, Texas Highways, and the Houston Chronicle.
It is a classically styled Victorian Inn that features two jacuzzi suites.
Located in walking distance of the historic Strand shopping district but is approximately 10 blocks from the beach and Seawall Blvd. If you want to be away from the noise this is the perfect place.
One thing is certain when you decide to visit Galveston Island, no matter where you stay, it will be as enjoyable for you as it was for us. Shopping, nightlife and the beach, Galveston offers it all.