Discover the Texas Tropics

Where to eat, sleep, and drink on Galveston Island


You’ve spent enough hours indoors to last a lifetime.

So before your friends figure out your oh-so-slight tan came from the warm glow of fluorescent office lighting, escape to Galveston Island and enjoy the kiss of the actual sun (and maybe that of a swimsuit-clad paramour, too).

Pillow Talk
Stay at Hotel Galvez (a.k.a. Queen of the Gulf), a sophisticated grand hotel that’s steps from the beach and bustling nightlife of Seawall Boulevard. Built in 1911, the property oozes old-world charm, yet it’s full of modern luxuries, world-class amenities (full-service spa), and attentive service.

Fishy Business
No visit is complete without a meal at Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant (the pecan pie is as famous as the crab dishes), a touristy but gratifying destination for more than 100 years. Eat like a local at Rudy & Paco’s, where grilled seafood and steaks are served in a small but elegant space next door to the historic opera house.


Dramatic Overtures
From touring Broadway productions and Texas-based bands to graceful ballets and comedy shows, you’ll find just about every type of performance in the summer months at the Grand 1894 Opera House. Except actual opera.

Historic Moments
The city’s brimming with turn-of-the-last-century architecture. Tour the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, a three-masted, iron-hulled ship that still sails the Gulf. Around the corner, catch a showing of The Great Storm, a riveting account of the 1900 hurricane that forever changed Galveston. Glimpse the Victorian era at Bishop’s Palace, one of the few structures to survive the epic tempest.

Afternoon Delight
Head downtown to the official cultural arts district bustling with galleries and mom-and-pop shops. Hit up Tangerine Boutique, Ha.ba.’s, and Head to Footsies for more fringed handbags, denim cutoffs, and embroidered cowboy boots than you can shake a fistful of dollars at. Recharge at La King’s Confectionery, home to more than 50 house-made, old-fashioned candies.


Total Beach
With numerous public beach parks, finding a spot to soak up rays with a good book (or trashy tabloid, no judgment) and solid music mix is a cinch. Settle in at privately owned, family-run Porretto Beach and enjoy amenities including umbrellas, chairs, floats, and Jet Ski rentals, as well as food and drink concessions.

It’s Texas paradise, y’all.

Photos: Vadim Troshkin / Courtesy of Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau; Courtesy of Grand 1894 Opera House Facebook; Vadim Troshkin / Courtesy of Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau