If you are coming to Galveston by car from east Texas, or while on the island you are looking for a little something out of the ordinary to do, the Bolivar Ferry is a short but fun alternative. The ferry runs between the eastern end of the island and the western tip of the Bolivar peninsula. The trip takes about 10-15 minutes to cross the 2 1/2 mile channel, and pedestrians as well as cars are able to board. There are some nice views of Galveston Bay from the ferry, and quite often dolphins can be seen following along it's route. If coming from Galveston, the Bolivar peninsula has some great seafood restaurants, as well as some nice beaches such as Crystal Beach. And best of all, it's completely free to ride!
Take a Trolley!
In downtown Galveston, also known as The Strand a trolley is available for $1.50. It circles around the historic Victorian homes. It's a great way to see the old city, as well as a chance to rest your feet from all the shopping at The Strand!
Beware, during the summer it may be hot!
From their website:
"With board fixed rail trolley cars built in a turn of the century style similar to those used in Galveston from the late 1800s to 1938, the trolley provides a unique mode of transportation from Galveston's Seawall to the Strand Landmark Historic District, Pier 21, and to The University of Texas Medical Branch. The ride offers beautiful historic homes and other points of interest along the route.
Passengers can catch the trolley every 20 minutes at any given stop. The trolleys run approximately every 40 minutes.
In 1988, the City revived the fixed rail Trolley, serving Seawall Boulevard, 25th Street, downtown and the historic Strand District. The trolley system was expanded in 1995 to include areas of the Galveston Wharf, and expanded again in 2004 to include service to UTMB.
Galveston Island Trolley service area covers over 8 miles.
Call for schedule.
Senior Citizens & Children 6-11: .60
Take A Cruise!
In recent years, the Port of Galveston has become a popular departure & arrival point for many of the biggest cruise lines in the world. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity cruise lines all use Galveston for cruise vacations all around the world, including the Caribbean, South America, and the Atlantic. In most cases, using Galveston as a port can be relatively cheap, and with the Strand district directly adjacent to the port, you can enjoy a little shopping, dining, and entertainment before or after your trip as well!
Getting to Galveston
Galveston is, indeed, an island off the Gulf Coast of Texas, about 50 miles from downtown Houston. Therefore, there are not any airports to get you here. Nor would taking a taxi or public transportation get you a deal or save you money. My best suggestion is driving in your car or renting one.
There is not a shuttle, bus, or train to get you to Galveston from the main land/Houston. There, however, is public transportation on a small part of Galveston if you can get here.
The website provided gives you directions from Houston, in addition to bus and taxi information and numbers.
There are a multitude of ways to get around the 10 mile stretch of the Seawall. After driving to the area you're welcome to choose from an array of fun transportation such as: bicycles, scooters, covered bikes, etc. I've always wanted to do it but never have. One day!
This website is just one of the rental sites. If you search google you can find many more. I just love these pictures, though! As you can see prices are as low as $7.00 an hour!
The best way to get to Galveston is by car. coming from downtown Houston, take the Gulf Freeway (I-45 south) all the way. You will go over the Galveston Bridge which is an arched bridge and quite impressive. You can get a good view of Moody Gardens off to the right.
After crossing over to Galveston, the interstate becomes Broadway, Galveston's principal street.
Touring the Island
The Duck Tours
The Duck Tour picks up at 21st & Seawall Blvd and is a special vehicle which travels on land and in the water. We were dying to do this but ran out of time. Apparently the Duck Ride takes you on a 90 minute tour through The Strand and even into a little of Offats Bayou (that's into the water), then through the Historical District. Sounds like great fun.
Galveston Island Trolley
The turn of the century trolley cars runs from 2100 Seawall Blvd to The Strand Landmark Historic District and Pier 21. You can catch the trolley every 20 minutes at any given stop. The trolleys run about every 40 mins.
Carriage and buggy rides are available throughout The Strand Historic District.
Colourful Pedal Surreys
These were just the cutest things all lined up ready to be hired. I saw a family of 6 very easily accommodated on them although not sure about all that weight to pedal. You can rent these colourful jalopies by the hour at "Strolls by Surreys" at 4712 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston Island Ferry
The Ferry runs from Galveston to Port Boliva and back and gives great views of Sealwolf Park and the Bolivar Lighthouse. Visitors and residents can drive onto the ferry or just park and then take a ride.
End of Ferry Road on Hwy. 87
By air, most major airlines...
By air, most major airlines will route you through Houston. Be prepared to rent a car. You will not regret it. The airport at Galveston is extremely small.
Galveston is an island. You will be able to arrive by boat, the many marinas can accomodate you.
By car is the most preferential.
By car, tour bus, or by bicycle.
By air, most major airlines...
By air, most major airlines will route you through Houston. Be prepared to rent a car. You will not regret it. Galveston airport is extremely small.
Galveston is an island. Travel there by car is most preferential. You will see motorhomes, and there are many very nice accomodations for them.
You will also see motorbike travelers.
By car, or some other land type vehicle
The ferry to Port Bolivar
There is a ferry from the eastern end of Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula (Port Bolivar). This ferry is free because it is considered part of the Texas Highway System.
The ferry crosses the gap where Galveston bay opens to the Gulf of Mexico, hence there is always a line of cargo ships and supertankers queued up to enter and exit the Bay (on the way to Houston and other places on the Bay).
While the ferry is a car ferry, you can also ride it as a pedestrian. If you are on Galveston Island, drive east until you run out of island. Park at the ferry terminal. Walk on to the ferry, and enjoy the ride in both directions. Easy.
While on the ferry, you will see dolphins running parallel to the ferry just for fun, you will see the destroyer escort and submarine at Seawolf Park, you will see the wreck of a cargo ship genteelly rusting away, as well as whatever else is out on the water that day.
Especially for families with kids (or adults that act like kids), it's a great FREE attraction, and a nice way to spend an hour or two...
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