Our Galveston Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help you plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Texas, USA. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need?

We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. You’ll also learn about the most popular landmarks in Galveston such as The Strand Historic District, the 1892 Bishop's Palace, and Galveston Historic Seaport. It’s all compiled in this Galveston Travel Essentials. After going through this short and easy-to-read guide, you’ll be a little more prepared to start your trip to Galveston.

  • When is the best time to travel to Galveston?

    When is the best time to travel to Galveston?
    • Galveston has a humid subtropical climate, which brings mild winters and hot, humid summers. Average temperatures range from 54°F in winter to 85°F in summer.
    • Galveston Island lies in an area where storms and hurricanes can occur in summer and autumn. Rain falls evenly throughout the year. On average, you can expect between 6 and 9 rainy days per month.
    • The hottest time of the year is June–August, but it can also get pretty warm in spring and autumn. Galveston Island is a year-round holiday destination. The peak season runs from May to September, when you can expect bigger crowds and higher accommodation rates. It’s best to book a few months ahead if you plan to visit Galveston at this time of the year.
    • The best times to visit Galveston are the March–April and October–November. The beginning and the end of the peak season usually offer better accommodation rates and very pleasant weather conditions for enjoying various outdoor activities.
  • Galveston basics

    Galveston basics
    • Plug type: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: United States Dollar (US$)
    • International dialling code: +1 409
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
  • How to get to my hotel in Galveston?

    How to get to my hotel in Galveston?

    If you’re flying into Galveston, William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is the closest international airport with commercial air services to the island. The airport is 37 miles northwest of Galveston. The city has a municipal airport named Scholes International Airport, but it doesn’t serve commercial flights.

    You can get to Galveston by Amtrak train on the Sunset Limited line that links Los Angeles to New Orleans, with a stop in Houston. If you travel on a budget, you can get to Houston by Greyhound bus, then hop on the Amtrak bus to Galveston.

    William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)

    William P. Hobby Airport is the secondary airport in Houston, but it’s the prime arrival hub for people heading to Galveston. It’s served mostly by domestic flights and a few international ones. Driving time between the airport and Galveston is around 45 minutes.

    From the airport, there are several options for getting to Galveston:

    • The taxi ranks are in Curb Zone 2.
    • You can also use the Uber, Lyft, or Wingz apps, which are usually slightly cheaper than a standard taxi. The pick-up point is in Curb Zone 5, outside Arrivals Level.
    • Galveston Limousine Service provides daily shuttles. The pick-up area is in Curb Zone 4, outside Baggage Claim/Arrivals Level.
    • If you want to hire a car, take the free shuttle bus to get to the Rental Car Center. The bus stop is in Curb Zone 1.

    Getting to Galveston by Amtrak train or Greyhound bus

    The Houston Amtrak Station is at 902 Washington Avenue, just north of the city centre. It’s served by the Sunset Limited line. From here, the cheapest way to reach Galveston is by riding the Amtrak bus.

    The Houston Greyhound Bus Station is at 2121 Main Street, just south of downtown Houston. From here, you have to catch a Metrobus to get to the Amtrak Station, then take the bus to Galveston.

    Taxis and rideshares are also available from both the Amtrak and Greyhound stations.

  • How to get around Galveston?

    How to get around Galveston?

    Travel tips

    Downtown Galveston is about 2 square miles in size and can easily be explored on foot. Settled around beautiful historic districts – the Strand, East End, and the Seaport – it’s home to landmarks and attractions such as Moody Mansion, the Bryan Museum, and Galveston Seawall, just to name a few. You’ll also find a great choice of dining, shopping, and nightlife entertainment options.

    To reach destinations outside the downtown hub, Island Transit operates a good network of buses and trolleys. Even so, many prefer renting a car for getting around Galveston. Taxis and especially rideshares are also widely used.

    Taking a taxi

    Galveston offers plenty of choices for taxi services, from Jeff's Cab (+1 409-621-5333) to HF Quality Taxi (+1 409-299-4300) to Galveston Shuttle & Limo (+1 409-761-1184), and many more. You can flag a taxi down on the street and they’re also generally found lined up in front of hotels and major attractions. The usual tipping for taxis is around 15-20% of the fare. Credit cards are accepted by most taxi drivers.

    Uber and Lyft are the main ride-hailing apps used in Galveston. Their rates are slightly cheaper than standard taxicabs. They accept payments by credit card.

    Travelling by public transport

    Island Transit oversees Galveston’s public transportation services. It runs 7 bus and 2 trolley routes that cover the entire city. The bus system’s operating times are Monday–Friday from 6 am to 7.30 pm and Saturdays from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm. The trolley service operates Monday–Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm and Friday–Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm.

    Fares are very affordable and children below 6 years old (accompanied by an adult) travel for free. Various ticketing options are available. Tickets can be purchased on the bus/trolley.

    Renting a car in Galveston

    In Texas, foreigners can use their home country-issued driving license for up to 1 year. Renting a car is a good option for getting around Galveston, especially if you plan to visit the beaches in the southern part of the island or the many national wildlife refuges such as Brazoria, McFaddin, and others along the Texas coast. However, heavy traffic and limited parking spaces can be frustrating, especially in high season. You can find car rental agencies in the city centre, besides at the airport. 

    Is Galveston a bike-friendly city?

    Hiring a bicycle is a cool way of getting around Galveston. Seawall Boulevard offers a 10-mile cycling lane along the beach, and the historic districts are also popular places to explore by bike. Island Transit buses feature bike racks, allowing you to enjoy your cycling adventures with ease.

    You can hire a regular bike, an electric one, or a mountain bike at any of the multiple bike rental companies. These include Island Bicycle Company (+1 409-762-2453), Joy Bike Rental (+1 409-762-0474), and Jungle Surf Rentals (+1 281-235-4672), just to name a few.

  • What are the main annual events in Galveston?

    What are the main annual events in Galveston?

    Mardi Gras! Galveston

    • February
    • One of the largest celebrations of Fat Tuesday in the States, held for 2 weeks each year. It features many festive costumed parades, as well as jazz, soul, country, and rock concerts.
    • Where: Various locations

    Dickens on The Strand

    • December
    • An annual event celebrating the Victorian era through parades featuring Queen Victoria, a costume contest, and visits to vintage buildings and the 1877 merchant tall ship Elissa.
    • Where: Historic Downtown Galveston

    Lone Star Rally

    • November
    • A celebration of motoring culture in style with bikes, trucks, and classic car exhibitions, free concerts, and plenty of food and drinks.
    • Where: The Strand

    photo by Josh Henderson (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

  • What are the main landmarks in Galveston?

    What are the main landmarks in Galveston?

    The Strand Historic District

    A National Historic Landmark District featuring Victorian-era buildings. Lined with shops, bars, and restaurants, it’s the heart of Galveston entertainment centre and regularly hosts annual festivals.

    1892 Bishop's Palace

    A Victorian-style mansion in Galveston’s East End Historic District. You can visit the 21 rooms on 4 storeys via self-guided tours, Wednesday–Monday from 10 am to 5 pm.

    Galveston Historic Seaport

    Home to the 1877 tall ship Elissa, the seaport was designated as one of America’s Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The boat-museum is open for self-guided tours.

    Galveston's 61st Street Fishing Pier

    Whether it’s just for a stroll or fishing, the Pier is a popular place to visit, with fishing equipment rentals and food and drinks available. Open 24/7, it’s also a photogenic sunrise spot.