Galveston Island reigns as the premier second-home location on the Texas Gulf Coast, with new developments emerging up and down the island along the Bay and the Gulf. Homes range widely in style and price and include high rise condominiums, town homes, reproduction seaside cottages and gated luxury communities.
Discovered in 1785 by the Spanish, Galveston Island was named for the Governor of Spanish Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez.
In 1836, Michel B. Menard, a native of Canada, and his associates paid $50,000 to the young Republic of Texas for 4,605 acres of land on the island. Galveston was incorporated in 1839 and became the trade center of Texas, rivaling New Orleans as an important port.
In the early 1980s, native son and oilman George Mitchell spearheaded Galveston’s renaissance. Restoration started with the historic Strand, one of the country’s most well well-preserved bastions of Victorian architecture. Next to be resurrected was Mardi Gras. Other projects followed including the 1894 Opera House, Pier 21, Moody Gardens, the schooner Elissa, the Rain Forest Café, and the railroad museum.
Although impacted by Hurricane Ike in 2008, Galveston has rebounded rapidly. Today, the Port of Galveston is an entry and destination for cruise ships and a port of call for merchant vessels.