Here’s our post-hurricane update of what’s ready for you now and what’s on the horizon.
We’ve visited Galveston three times since Hurricane Ike landed last September. Each time the island’s recovery seems to be
progressing in leaps. There’s still much to be done in hard-hit residential areas and historic districts, but beachfront hotels,
restaurants, and attractions protected by the famed seawall bounced back in a hurry. It’s business as usual at many of the
island's most popular landmarks.
Yes, you can go for a weekend―to salute the historic city’s recovery thus far, or, even better, to lend a hand yourself. Here’s our guide for planning a trip.
photo: The pyramids at Moody Gardens
A bigger beach: You’ll see more sand than ever in some areas along the seawall. Crews have been at work replenishing more than 400,000 cubic
yards of sand.
Great golf: The Moody Gardens Golf Course came through the storm in great shape, with help from salt-tolerant paspalum grass turf―the first whole course installation in the continental United States. Play is open to everyone on the links-style, palm-fringed course that was formerly the Galveston Municipal Golf Course.
Historic Districts renovations: There’s still a lot of labor on The Strand and widespread residential areas, where you’ll see areas of heavy damage even now. One of the biggest efforts is a $30-million cleanup and renovation of Mitchell Historic Properties (more than 20 buildings), with much of the work focused in the downtown historic districts.
photo: Surfers can catch waves beside the seawall.
Sit outside, enjoy the salt air, and savor spicy Cajun-style grilled shrimp at Benno’s on the Beach. Get to Gaido’s for wonderful gumbo and fresh snapper. Come early to avoid a long wait. Don’t miss the best Sunday brunch in town, complete
with prime rib and smoked salmon, at Bernardo’s at Hotel Galvez.
More Up and Running
Good news. These places and attractions are open for your visit: Harbor House at Pier 21, Hilton Galveston Island Resort, The Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, The San Luis Resort, Carnival Cruise Line’s Ecstasy and Conquest, Bishop’s Palace, Lone Star Flight Museum, Island Bicycle Company, The 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, Texas Seaport Museum, Grand 1984 Opera House, Star Drugstore, Willie G’s, East End Historic District Tour, and La King’s Confectionery.
The Tremont House, Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid, Post Office Street Tour and shops, Railroad Museum, The Strand Theatre, Joe’s Crabshack on Pier 19, and Saltwater Grill.
photo: Chill out with penguins in the Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens.
Just the two of you: Couples love the romantic ambience of the Hotel Galvez. Local leaders built the landmark to help the city bounce back from the 1900 storm. New renovations make it shine again as
a beacon of the latest recovery. Work won’t be finished to reopen a luxurious below-ground level spa until summer, but it’s
the only Ike remnant left to fix. Treat yourself to a lazy morning lounging in one of the new private poolside cabanas.
photo: The pool at the Hotel Galvez provides an inviting refuge.
Here's a recap of our favorite places in Galveston: