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Galveston County

Galveston Island offers everything in a resort destination for the traveler seeking relaxation - beautiful accommodations, entertainment, shopping and thirty-two miles of Gulf beaches. Island temperatures range from the 50's in the winter to the 90's in the summer. Visitors can enjoy a casual stroll on Galveston Island's Historic Seawall or shopping on the Strand National Historic Landmark District. Both areas are designated historic landmarks. After the devastation of the 1900 Storm, in 1904 Galveston built the Seawall to protect the Island from future storms.

The seawall provides a perfect strip for running, cycling or walking. It also features the world's longest mural painted from 61st to 25th street. The strand National Historic Landmark District, from 20th to 25th streets offers a wide variety of shops, antique stores, restaurants and art galleries. Close by, Pier 21, off Harborside Drive, offers shops, portside restaurants and a maritime gallery.

Also within walking distance is the newly revitalized Gallery Row on Postoffice Street, three blocks off the Strand, which is home to various art galleries and shops.

Historic homes, museums and other attractions are abundant on the Island, many within walking distance of each other. Some unique attractions to the area include Moody Gardens, featuring an 3-D IMAX Theater, tropical Rainforest Pryamid and white sand Palm Beach; the Lone Star Flight Museum, housing one of the finest collections of restored aircraft and aviation exhibits in the nation; Gulf Greyhound Park, the world's top dog track, just 15 minutes from Galveston; and various museums and historic homes unique to this area.

Accommodations on the Island range from affordable motels to resort hotels and condominiums with a Gulf view, to romantic getaways in historic bed and breakfasts. Galveston offers accommodations for every traveler's taste and budget.

A shoothing gulf breeze, champagne during a quiet carriage ride, a romantic candlelight dinner and a relaxing night in a historic home or waterfront hotel -- all of these things make Galveston Island a romantic getaway for couples looking to escape the big city.

The Island also offers a wonderful selection of waterfront hotels and condominiums, including The Reef, Inverness by the Sea, By the Sea, Casa Del Mar, The Victorian Condo-Hotel, Galveston Hilton, San Luis Resort, Holiday Inn on the Beach, The Commodore, Flagship Hotel Over the Water, and the historic Hotel Galvez. Some condominiums located directly on the beach include The Galvestonian, Islander East, Seascape and The Riviera on West Beach. The Four-Star Tremont House and port-side Harbor House are located in The Strand District.

Once settled in your accommodations, pick up a bottle of champagne or wine and venture to The Strand Historic Landmark District for a romantic carriage ride. Several carriage companies stage on The Strand and offer rides through The Strand area or the East End Historic District, a quiet neighborhood of beautiful historic homes. Carriage rides range from $10 for 15 minutes to $40 for a hour. Arrangements can be made to pick up guests at restaurants, area hotels or Bed and Breakfast Inns. Some hotels have packages which include this amenity.

For your candlelight dinner, choose one of the many restaurants on the Island. Galveston offers everything from Italian to, of course, seafood. Several restaurants include a view of the water, the Gulf or the Port or just offer a quiet atmosphere.

Seafood options include Fisherman's Wharf, Willie G's, Gaido's, Landry's, Ocean Grill (built over the water), Clary's and Randall's West End Restaurant. If you're looking for Italian, try the Pasta and Clam Bar, Strand Brewery, the locals' favorite DiBella's, and Marios Italian & Seafood Restaurant. Yamato, Galveston's only Japanese restaurant, offers a romantic and exciting atmosphere with dinner prepared right before your eyes.

Area hotels include elegant dining as well as accommodations such as the San Luis' The Steakhouse, the Hotel Galvez's Bernardo's and the Tremont House's Merchant Prince. Also for fine dining try Charley's 517 at the Wentletrap. Moody Gardens is home to the Garden Restaurant, which offers a beautiful view of the water and features its "dancing waters," fountains synchronized with music.

After dinner, enjoy Galveston's nightlife. The Strand offers nightclubs and restaurants that offer live entertainment on weekends. You can also find several pubs a few blocks from The Strand on Postoffice Street.

Rise early and enjoy the sunrise over the Gulf, stroll along Galveston's Seawall or take your shoes off and walk through the sand to look for seashells along 32-miles of Gulf Coast beaches. The mornings are always quiet and calm on the sand.

During the day, enjoy the outdoors by renting bikes, rollerblades or surreys. Rentals are available throughout the Seawall. Or treat your sweetheart to a shopping spree. The Seawall is home to various shops and The Strand District offers over 90 shops, antique stores, galleries and restaurants.

Galveston offers beautiful historic homes for public tours, including its "Broadway Beauties", Ashton Villa, Moody Mansion and Bishops Palace --or tour the two oldest homes on the Island, the Samuel May Williams Home and the Menard Home. Museums such as the David Taylor Classic Car Museum, Railroad Museum, Texas Seaport Museum and Lone Star Flight Museum. Take a water tour through Galveston's port on Harbour Tours. Often you'll enjoy visits by the Dolphins. Moody Gardens, another unique attraction, a tropical rainforest pyramid and a white sand beach and coming soon - the Discovery Museum.

More than 600 Winter Texans, retired senior citizens in their early 50's and up, escape from cold weather in the Midwest and Canada to the temperate weather of Galveston Island during the Winter months (December through March). Winter Texans make their home in Galveston at RV parks, condominiums and area hotels.

Galveston Island's weather is of great appeal to Winter Texans. "The weather is one good reason to be here," states JoAnne Sharkey, of Indiana. "We compare it with what the weather is like at home and here you don't feel closed in." She adds, "With the weather here we can get out and do our exercises." Mrs. Sharkey adds, "Two things are critical to seniors, socializing and exercise, like my daughter says, 'we can walk and talk'.

Mrs. Sharkey and her husband have ventured to Galveston during the winter months for the past three years. "Visiting Galveston is like coming home to a friend. The staff plans great activities and we are a close knit family. There are plenty of things to do or you don't have to do anything at all".

Galveston Island offers four RV parks and ten condominiums for extended visits. Leroy Liptak comments, "Compared to California or Florida, Galveston is more economical". He added, "The people are very friendly. There are scads of things to do, and our condominium organizes great planned activities".

He and his wife Theresa, of Northwest Indiana, have visited Galveston for the past four years. The Liptaks were introduced to Galveston by their son, who lives in Houston. "We enjoy the friendly people, the weather is great, there's a lot to do and we really enjoy the historic sites on the Island." Mrs. Liptak added, "We love the restaurants, especially the seafood. Convenience is very important to us and Galveston offers that because nothing is farther than 15 minutes away".

Pam and Walter Paulssen, of Michigan, have visited Galveston for the past 7 years. They were introduced to the Island by their daughter who had lived in Houston. "We enjoy the camaraderie here," Mrs. Paulssen said. "We made great friends and its like a big happy reunion." She added, "We like Galveston for the beaches, the history, Mardi Gras, and we see the resurgence of the economy. We love to golf, shop The Strand, walk the beaches, tour the historic homes, and we take our grandchildren to Moody Gardens".

Galveston Island also offers various volunteer opportunities for Winter Texans which include the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Galveston Chamber of Commerce, the Galveston Historical Foundation Docent Program, the HOSTS Program(Helping One Student To Succeed) with the Galveston Independent School District, The University of Texas Medical Branch Volunteer Services, as well as various non-profit organizations.

Galveston Island is host to various religious denominations and home to 85 places of worship including Adventist, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Bible, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Synagogues, Unitarian and Interdenominational.

Visitors to Galveston Island have access to wonderful home-away-from-home health care. Medical facilities includes the University of Texas Medical Branch Extended Hours Clinic. The clinic is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and provides a full range of primary care services, including lab and X-ray, and convenient access to treatment for minor emergencies. The University of Texas Medical Branch offers patient care services ranging from primary care to the specialized diagnostic and treatment resources found only at the nation's largest clinical care, teaching and research centers.

The Galveston Winter Texan Organization, under the umbrella of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce, was formed to actively promote Galveston as a destination for Winter Texans. The main goal of the organization is to ensure that Galveston is meeting the needs and wishes of these Winter visitors. The organization works with local businesses to provide discounts at more than 120 stores, restaurants and hotels. They also plan social events, group tours and outings from ranging from ecotourism to Gulf Greyhound to network mixers. Condominiums, such as the Casa Del Mar and the Victorian Condo-Hotel, also plan activities for their guests.

"The economic impact of Winter Texan is significant as this is typically our slow season," commented Joan Hoffman, executive director of the Galveston Economic Development Corporation and chairperson of Galveston Winter Texan Organization. "This population represents a potential full-time resident to the Island. It is our hope that they like what they see and adopt this community as their own.".

Diana and Al Almy, of Ohio, are making their fourth visit to Galveston. "We bought a condo here, we have friends here and plenty of activities. The weather is always nicer than home". Mrs. Almy adds, "Galveston is not as crowded as places like Florida, it offers a more relaxed environment and as I'm sitting here in my condominium I have a beautiful view of the Gulf".