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The Best Tours to Take in Galveston for Every Type of Traveler

Insider Guides Culture
by Jeremy Long Jul 26, 2022

Galveston is the island city that draws travelers from across the world with its rich blend of colorful characters, dynamic art, and architecture, and interesting history. Nearly seven million visitors flood its historic streets and avenues each year, looking for food, adventure, and seaside fun. The island is generous to its guests, offering several Galveston tours for foodies, paranormal believers, history seekers, and animal enthusiasts. Whatever reason brought you to Galveston, you’ll be happy indulging in one (or more) of these amazing tours.

The best Galveston tours for foodies

Your tastebuds will love you, but your belt might burst when you experience one of Taste of the Strand’s walking food tour options.

1. Taste of the Strand Food Tour

The original foodie tour of Galveston, Taste of the Strand Food Tour, introduces you to the Galveston Island Strand District’s local cuisine and eateries. A food tour guide will walk with your group while giving you the history of the city and its restaurants as you prepare to take part in savory southern dishes. The stops on the tour can change without warning and the menus are set by the restaurants, so it’s highly recommended that those with severe food allergies speak with the company before purchasing tickets.

Adults 16 years of age and up will pay $105 per ticket while children eight to 15 cost $55. Children under seven years old will share food with a paying adult. There are discounts for senior citizens, military veterans, police, fire, EMS, medical personnel, and teachers.

2. Tapas on the Strand Food and Drink Tour

Tapas on the Strand Food and Drink Tour is a two-hour walking tour of Galveston’s historic Strand District. This tour is ideal for those beverage aficionados who also fancy themselves as foodies. You’ll enjoy small plates of food and adult drinks that highlight the Gulf Coast. Adult tickets are $135 (with alcohol) or $99.98 (without alcohol). Senior citizens, military veterans, and select front-line workers will receive a discount as well as young adults who cannot legally purchase alcohol.

3. Pubs N’ Grubs Tour

If you claim to be Irish or you just really like to drink, then you’ll want to book the Pubs N’ Grubs Tour with Taste of the Strand. On this tour, you’ll enjoy bar bites and plenty of adult beverages as you create a string of blurry memories that you’ll find on your iPhone the next morning. Adults will pay $145 per ticket, while a discount is available for senior citizens, military personnel, and other service members. You’ll want to book online as quickly as possible, as this tour often sells out early.

4. Private Couples Food Tour

The ultimate romantic experience in Galveston, the Private Couples Food Tour is the best way to do date night the correct way (no sleeping on the couch for you tonight). The tour is a private outing that lets you and your significant other experience the taste of the Strand for a truly unique night out.

The menu for the Private Couples Food Tour changes seasonally, so there are always delightful surprises in store.

Online reservations are not available for this tour, but you can reach out directly to Taste of The Strand Food Tour for booking.

5. Exclusive Private Group Tour

If you have a special occasion to celebrate or a large group to make memories with, you’ll want to book an Exclusive Private Group Tour.

Groups of up to 16 visitors are invited to enjoy a tour catered to adults while walking the beautiful streets of Galveston. It’s the best option to consider if you’re having a bachelor or bachelorette party, an anniversary celebration, a bridal shower, a big birthday gathering, or a good old-fashioned group adventure.

You’ll need to call the company to get the details of this activity straightened out.

The Best galveston ghost tours

Beach during Galveston tours at night

Photo: Timothy L Barnes/Shutterstock

Travelers who love to embrace the things that go bump in the night will feel right at home with some of the best Galveston tours of the paranormal side to the island city.

Get ready to believe in the metaphysical as these tours guide you along the haunted streets of a town that has seen more than its fair share of tragedy.

6. Al’s Authentic Paranormal Tours

If you simply want a few spooky bedtime stories, then this may not be the tour for you. Al’s Authentic Paranormal Tours takes into account detailed historical facts and combines them with personal paranormal experiences in various spots around Galveston.

The aforementioned Al carefully guides each group tour on an hour and a half walk about the city spinning spooky yarns daily for a small $15 fee per person. After nearly 1,400 guided tours throughout the city, Al’s remains one of the highest-rated ghostly experiences, which should be enough proof to trust in his connection to the supernatural side of Galveston.

Al also provides private tours and guided day history-centric city tours as well.

7. Historic Galveston Ghost Tours

One of the highest-rated spook-tacular tours on the island, Historic Galveston Ghost Tours offers an eerie glimpse into the underworld of the Galveston paranormal plane with excursions into the infamous Silk Stocking District.

The Historic Galveston Ghost Tours walks you past the murderer’s row of haunted residences in Galveston, including the Sealy Mansion, the Normandy Inn, and Ashton Villa.

Prices are $20 for adults, and $15 for children under 15 years old, while children under the age of four are admitted free. Active military members with proper identification are free as well.

8. Spooky Strand Ghost Tours

“Behind every window, someone may be watching” is how Spooky Strand Ghost Tours frames its chilling supernatural outings. While some unbelievers will no doubt point out that that’s how windows are supposed to work, those who believe in the afterlife will let their minds drift off to Galveston’s many natural disasters, wars, and fires that have devastated the island and how so many lives came to a sudden, violent end.

Stops on these 90-minute walking tours include the Railroad Museum, the Tremont House, and the Sealy-Hutchings Building. Tour guides will entertain the crowds with haunting tales of legendary pirate Jean Lafitte, who turned Galveston into a den of iniquity, sin, and murder.

The company operates three tours every evening at 6:00 PM, 8:00 PM, and 10:00 PM, with special midnight tours available on the weekends. Persons 13 years of age or older are $20, while children 15 to three years old are $15. Military discounts are offered as well. Pets are allowed on the tour (while on a leash!), so feel free to bring along Mr. Bark Twain to be the Scooby to your Shaggy while you walk around Galveston.

9. Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour

Ghost City Tours has created a boozy and spooky good time with the Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour. This tour takes you to some of the city’s finest haunted bars and pubs where you’ll drink the night away while being regaled with scary stories that may make a believer out of the most hardened skeptic.

Your blurry memory of this experience may include paranormal activity because each pub and bar you visit has a documented ghoulish presence, and they’re waiting for the right visitor to come along and bring them to life. Or so the stories go.

This adults-only tour is for those 21 years of age or older with tickets priced at $29.99 each.

The best Galveston tours for historians

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Photo: Fotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

The city of Galveston has a long, complicated history that twists tales of legendary figures like the pirate Jean Lafitte, houses of ill repute, and a seemingly lawless era where celebrities and dignitaries from around the nation descended to the island to let off steam and get lost for a short time.

It’s impossible to tell the story of Galveston without diving deep into the underworld that fed it and created one of the largest economies in the nation during the Great Depression and Prohibition. Luckily, there are several tours in place that will help shine a light on this often overlooked and marginalized piece of Texas history.

10. Red Light District Tours of Galveston

Author and speaker Kimber Fountain guides visitors through the seedy nightlife and often forgotten parts of Galveston’s past where booze, wild parties, and sex workers collided, often resulting in a deadly mix.

Why should you consider the Red Light District Tours of Galveston? Fountain literally wrote the book Galveston’s Red Light District: A History of The Line, about the tales, both grim and jubilant, that originated in Galveston’s Red Light District. The tour is $39.95 per person and covers approximately 12 city blocks.

They recommend the tour for adults and older teens because of the mature content. It’s not censored for younger children, which are allowed on the tour if an adult accompanies them, so bring kids along if you don’t mind therapy bills later in life.

11. SegCity’s Rat Pack Tour

Galveston was once known as The Free State of Galveston because of the lax attention to rules from government agents and law enforcers over vices such as drinking, gambling, and prostitution.

During the Rat Pack Tour of the city, you’ll scan the homes of former residents Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Al Capone where they spent their time in Galveston. You’ll also see where their famous businesses existed: The Hollywood Diner Club, The Pelican Club, and the world-famous Balinese Room.

Tours run multiple times a day and cost $79 per person.

12. Galveston’s Red Light District Tours

The ladies, madams, and houses of prostitution that made Galveston the “Sin City” of the South come to life on Galveston’s Red Light District Tours.

The mob, prostitution, and vices of all kinds have a deeply intertwined history with Galveston. On the Galveston Red Light District Tour, you’ll learn about those city connections, and why and how prostitution flourished on the island for nearly 100 years.

This walking tour costs $25 for adults and $15 for children. It takes you to eight various bordellos that are still standing (although not active) and buildings that were used for gambling houses and illegal liquor.

The best Galveston tours to see the city

Two women on segway on Galveston tours

Photo: SegCity

Galveston is a thriving, dynamic city with an energetic tapestry of life, art, food, architecture, and history.

Because of its size, you can see Galveston in a relatively short amount of time. Whether you want to experience it on foot, on a bus, or on an ultra-cool segway, the city is begging for your attention and is ready to reward those travelers who give it more than just a passing glance.

13. SegCity’s Turtles and Murals Segway Tours

Galveston is home to a vibrant art scene that includes more than museums and galleries. On SegCity’s Turtles and Murals Segway Tour you’ll zip through the streets of the Strand Historic District, the Post Office Art District, and the West End Market Area on a segway as you search out unique selfies and Insta-ready snaps with Galveston’s urban art as your backdrop.

You and your crew will learn exciting facts about sea turtles that inhabit Galveston’s beaches and waters, as well as play a virtual trivia game on your phone while you tour the city. Tickets cost $60 with add-ons such as bottles of water, insurance, and GoPro’s that can help complete your trip.

14. SegCity’s Seawall Cruise Tour

Fire up those segways once again as you set out on SegCity’s Seawall Cruise Tour. This tour is designed for people who want to experience a fun, relaxing ride along the world-famous Galveston seawall without having their thoughts interrupted every 30 seconds with a tour guide’s history stories or interesting tidbits.

You’ll snap photos and take as much video as you want as the sea air whisks its way through your hair while you peer out over the water in search of dolphins and birds. Each ride lasts roughly an hour and will cost $50 per person.

15. Galveston’s Historic Port, Pirates and Architecture Bus Tour

Hop on the Galveston Experience bus to take part in the popular Port, Pirates, and Architecture Tour while enjoying the air conditioning and one of the best ways to see the island.

The tour makes stops at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, the Port of Galveston, the 1859 Ashton Villa, and the Moody Mansion while also passing by several other historical landmarks in and around the city.

You’ll want to contact Galveston Experience directly to set up a tour as the hours fluctuate from season to season.

The best Galveston tours for animal enthusiasts

Galveston is not only a fascinating city full of history, beautiful architecture, and ghostly scenes, but it’s also a beautiful island paradise that is home to a plethora of wildlife species, sea turtles, and dolphins.

Whether you’re in town for a day, a weekend, or longer, you owe it to yourself to book a tour that puts these amazing creatures front and center.

16. Galveston Water Adventures Dolphin Tours

Hop aboard the Cruise-N-Time twin-engine open-air tour boat and set sail into Galveston Bay for an hour-long excursion to see the birds and marine life that call the area home.

Galveston Water Adventures lets your travel group get up close to amazing dolphins as they swim and play in the waters below. The entire crew will have an incredible time snapping photos and posing for Instagram as the Galveston Water Adventures team delights with fun local stories.

Multiple outings are offered each day, scheduled roughly an hour and a half apart, so you should have plenty of opportunities to fit a dolphin tour into your schedule. Tickets for children under 11 years of age are $16.80, while adults 12 and older are $26.40. Toddlers under two years old are free. The Cruise-N-Time tour boat is also wheelchair accessible.

17. Baywatch Dolphin Tours

Despite the namesake, Pamela Anderson does not appear on this tour, but your group will absolutely have a damn good time with Baywatch Dolphin Tours.

Baywatch Dolphin Tours, featured once on Good Morning America, is one of Galveston’s most popular tours and is at Pier 21 just a few blocks removed from the historic Strand. The company keeps four vessels, operating at every 30 minutes, to whisk visitors three miles through Galveston Harbor.

The tours operate year-round and let adults partake in the fun for $20 per person, $12 for children, while freeloading pets and infants get to tour for free.

18. Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch

Who wouldn’t want to learn about Galveston history while spotting dolphins? On this tour, you’ll climb aboard the Seagull II, a 50-foot twin-engine motor vessel, as she sets sail into the beautiful Galveston Harbor where you’ll learn about the history of the city while keeping an eye out for those fun-loving dolphins.

Your crew will see and learn about the fully restored 1877 sailing vessel Elissa, the Civil War Battle of Galveston, and the still partially submerged concrete oil tanker SS Selma which lies in rest in the Galveston Harbor.

Adults and children six years of age and older are $17, while children five and under are free. The tour lasts for about an hour and runs five times a day. Field trips and school groups are also welcome to learn about the history of the harbor from the decks of the Seagull II.

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