Galveston is a dazzling summer destination along Texas’ Gulf Coast. With a famous pier, huge stretches of beach, and interesting history Galveston truly has a little bit of everything. If you’re looking for the ideal staycation in the United States this summer, Galveston is certain to delight. What’s more – it is also great for budget travellers!
Galveston is the name of the city, but the resort area stretches along the entirety of Galveston Island. We recommend staying in the city, but even then it’s important to get your bearings. Each neighbourhood has something different to offer – so wherever is best for you depends on what you’re looking for.
Thankfully, we’re here to save the day. Visiting as a family? We’ve got you sorted. Prefer a couples retreat? We have that covered too. Just need a budget-friendly spot to rest up for a few days? Look no further! We’ve combined our personal experience with that of locals and travel experts to bring you the lowdown on where to stay in Galveston.
So, let’s jump right in!
Not fussy on which neighbourhood you’re staying in? Central Galveston is quite compact, so all these properties are within walking distance of the historic district and the beach!
Indulgent Family Home in Galveston – The Victoria House
Airbnb Plus properties are hand-selected for their gorgeous design and excellent service! Despite its place in this prestigious category, the Victoria House is very affordable for those on a mid-range budget. With modern furnishings and tall windows, this stunning beach house lets in plenty of natural light. It can sleep up to 15 guests across three bedrooms – but smaller parties are welcome too.
Beachy Villa in Galveston – Key West Style Home
This All-American villa is located right on the beach! Just pop on your swimsuit and walk out the front door to the largest stretch of sand in Galveston. With two bedrooms, it is popular with families, groups, and couples – and the price isn’t half bad either. They also have bikes available for use throughout your stay.
Designer Hotel in Galveston – The Tremont House
Willing to splurge a little? Enjoy all the extra comforts of a hotel at The Tremont House! This four-star hotel gives you a little bit of luxury without going overboard on price. Rooms benefit from modern technology, and there are free shuttles to the ferry terminal. Everyone is welcome, but we think this is an excellent choice for couples and groups of friends.
Downtown Galveston – also known as the Downtown Historic District – is where you will find some of the more traditional and cultural attractions.
Like Downtown Galveston, the East End has its own Historic District. This neighbourhood is, however, far more laid back than its more central counterpart.
San Jacinto is the hottest neighbourhood in town – with beaches stretching along the entire area! We think this is a great place for couples – but really, it would also make an excellent destination for groups of friends visiting the city.
Galveston’s Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Whether you want sunshine, history, or family fun – we have you sorted! Check out our top tips for where to stay – plus our favourite accommodation picks in each neighbourhood.
COOLEST thing to do in Downtown: hit up the best nightlife in Galveston on this epic bar crawl along the Strand.
BEST place to visit in Downtown: Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum has a fantastic exhibition about the history of the oil industry in Texas.
Downtown Galveston – also known as the Downtown Historic District – is where you will find some of the more traditional and cultural attractions. The waterfront in this neighbourhood has plenty of monuments to the city’s past – as well as some great museums for the whole family to enjoy.
If this is your first time in Galveston, Downtown is a great starting point. History aside, it has excellent retail destinations and a vibrant culinary scene. The beach and the East End are only a short walk away, so there’s no need to worry about getting around.
Taking tours of Galveston Island? Most of them depart from the Downtown neighbourhood. Even if you have your own car, this is one of the easiest neighbourhoods to stay in for getting around. The bridges to Pelican Island and the Mainland are closest to Downtown. That being said, we reckon Jamaica Beach is an excellent day trip from the neighbourhood.
Quirky Tiny House in Downtown: G Town
Looking for something a bit different? This tiny house is a firm favourite with young couples and solo travellers! It has everything you need for a short stay and is well connected to the city centre. The Grand Theatre is a short walk away, and there are plenty of excellent tours departing from the neighbourhood.
Rustic Condo in Downtown: Central Hotel Lofts
Bright and stylish, this apartment combines modern appliances with classic finishes. The Galveston Railway Museum is only a hop, skip, and a jump away – perfect for history buffs! There is a small patio area where you can soak up the Galveston sun over breakfast. It can sleep up to four but is also popular with couples.
Elegant Hotel in Downtown: The Tremont House
Condos are the most popular type of accommodation in Galveston – but sometimes you just need the added benefits of a hotel. That’s why we recommend the Tremont House for those with a slightly larger budget in Downtown. The lavish bedrooms have high ceilings, making them feel very spacious. Breakfast is included – saving you a little bit of cash along the way.
Things to See and Do in Downtown:
- Keen to explore spooky goings-on? This walking ghost tour takes you to the most haunted spots in Downtown!
- Galveston Railway Museum isn’t just about transport; it’s also where you can learn about the fascinating history of the island.
- The Moody Mansion is a restored house from 1895 – they run regular tours throughout the year.
- Take a day trip to Pelican Island, Tiki Island or Virginia Point – all great for getting away from the bustling city atmosphere.
- Before heading out on the Strand, we recommend stopping in at the Historical Falstaff Brewery to sample some of the best beers in the city.
- Need to ease a hangover the next day? MOD Coffeehouse is an excellent café right in the heart of Downtown with chill vibes and tasty treats.
COOLEST thing to do in East End: head to Galveston Yacht Basin and hire a fishing vessel or yacht for the day.
BEST place to visit in East End: enjoy some peace and serenity at Corp Woods Nature Sanctuary – just a few minutes north of the East End.
Like Downtown Galveston, the East End has its own Historic District. This neighbourhood is, however, far more laid back than its more central counterpart. This is where you’ll find chilled cafes and restaurants, with a more family-friendly vibe than other parts of the city. If you’re visiting with young children, in particular, this is the place to be!
Need even more peace and quiet? The Lagoon is right next to the East End and has plenty of stunning parks and coastal getaways. You won’t need to break the bank either! This is where the local student population live, so there are plenty of budget-friendly picks.
Luxurious Airbnb in East End: Victoria House
Indulge in some waterfront luxury in this stunning Airbnb Plus property. It comes with a huge double balcony where you can admire views across the national park at breakfast – or take in a mesmerising sunset in the evenings. There are three bathrooms in the apartment, giving adults a little bit of extra privacy. They also accept pets – so even Fido can enjoy the scenery!
Spacious Family Home in East End: Modern House
Only a few steps from Stewart Beach, this cosy little home is perfect for families heading to the area! It comes with three bedrooms, and a separate bathroom for the parents. The interiors are beautifully decorated to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. They also have space for two cars – great for larger groups.
Traditional Bed & Breakfast in East End: Schaefer Haus Mansion
Among the best-reviewed accommodations in Galveston, this B&B is a great alternative to hotels for those looking for something a bit cosier! Rooms are lavishly designed with classic furnishings. The high windows let in plenty of light and give you stunning views across Galveston. A breakfast buffet is offered every morning. Schaefer Haus Mansion also sits right next to the boundary with Downtown.
Things to See and Do in East End:
- Galveston Island Horse and Pony Rides offer fun for the entire family – with mounts to suit all weights and heights.
- East Beach is one of the more laidback resorts in Galveston – you’ll need a car, but it’s only a couple of minutes from the East End.
- Take a stroll through the East End Historic District and admire the old shop façades and the quirky boutiques behind them.
- The Original Mexican Café is a great way to sample the mixing of Texan and Mexican cuisines in the region.
- Rub elbows with locals at Kate’s Seafood Market – there is also a great restaurant next door with delectable seafood and gorgeous ocean views.
COOLEST thing to do San Jacinto: hit the beach! Stewart Beach is the most popular in the city, with plenty to do.
BEST place to visit San Jacinto: Galveston Seawall is not only an important historical attraction, but it’s also an excellent spot for a morning stroll with the camera.
San Jacinto is the hottest neighbourhood in town – with beaches stretching along the entire area! We think this is a great place for couples – but really, it would also make an excellent destination for groups of friends visiting the city. San Jacinto is the beating heart of tourism in Galveston, and you’ll be spoiled for choice for things to do.
Aside from the beach, San Jacinto is also home to a carnival throughout the summer! The restaurants represent cuisines from across the world, and the bars stay open until late. We also really like the accommodation picks in this neighbourhood – especially if you’re looking for a coastal condo.
Idyllic Couples Accommodation in San Jacinto: The Captain’s Quarters
The ultimate home for couples seeking a coastal retreat this summer, Captain’s Quarters is a self-contained unit right on the coast. You will have access to a private balcony with sunset views. Guests are also provided with bikes – perfect for a romantic cycle along the edge of the beach. Interested in history? This building dates back to 1921!
Historic Bayou Home in San Jacinto: Kate’s Place
Hitting the beach on a budget? Kate’s Place is great for those on a shoestring. This sunny little house comes with a well-equipped kitchen, meaning you can save some cash by opting to self-cater. It is a little bit more inland, but the beach is still within walking distance. This also means you’re slightly closer to the Historic District.
Dreamy Cottage in San Jacinto: Key West Style Home
We love this breezy villa! It can be found right by the largest beach – and the laid-back, fancy-free attitude continues inside. There is a small porch area where you can admire views of the sunset over a couple of drinks in the evening. Pleasure Pier is only a short walk away, meaning you’ll be right in the heart of the action during summer.
Things to See and Do in San Jacinto:
- Take a trip down the Galveston Coast towards the state park where you can enjoy a relaxing kayak tour at sunset.
- Ride the Texas Flyer at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Point – the late-night carnival right next to the beach.
- Rent a boat and go fishing or sailing!
- Ride a bike along the Galveston Seawall – we reckon Joy Bike Rental offers great value for money.
- The Bryan Museum hosts the most comprehensive exhibits of Texan history in the city – with artefacts from the pre-Columbian era right through to modern times.
- Is the theme a bit cheesy? Sure – but the steak at Saltgrass Steak House is unmissable!
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Galveston?
Galveston is the ultimate staycation destination this summer! The Gulf Coast Sunshine ensures you’ll get to soak up some rays during your stay. The beach is vibrant and packed with things to do, while the City Centre is a must-visit for history buffs. If you only have a few days to take off, Galveston is a great place to pack it all in.
We love San Jacinto in particular! This is the main hive of activity during the summer – from Pleasure Pier to quieter stretches of sand. It’s also where you’ll find the best bars and restaurants after sundown.
That being said, all of these neighbourhoods are within easy walking distance of each other. Where you choose to end up really depends on what vibe you want after a day of exploring the major attractions in the area.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your choices. If we missed anything, let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Find out how YOU can support the site.
We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers (that’s you!). Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂
For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a piece of gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only link to stuff that members of the Broke Backpacker team has actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support!