Galveston Island is a mostly touristy place with a working deep water sea port. Winter is the off-season for Galveston so it was fairly quiet while we were there. Mardi Gras brings a couple hundred thousand people and Spring Break is in March. By May Galveston is packed and stay that way until September. Almost everything on the Gulf side and the southern end of the island was hotels, restaurants, tee-shirt shops, amusements, souvenir shops and vacation homes. If we had children this would probably be a good place to bring them. Depending on how you count them there were at least three different amusement parks and a lot of beach.
The northeastern corner of the island on the other hand is a big seaport with large ships coming in and out all the time and a lot of oil rig construction. We went down to Pier 21, which has a sailing museum and oil rig museum and several restaurants. The Galveston Historical Society has a theater there where they regularly show a movie of the 1900 hurricane that flattened Galveston and killed over 5000 people. We saw the movie and had a late lunch at one of the restaurants that had a view of the harbor. The harbor looked busy and was more interesting than the tourist part of Galveston. They were building several oil rigs and there was at least one ship in dry-dock. There were a couple of small tugs cruising around that looked very ungainly and top-heavy, but I never saw them pushing anything so I am not sure what their purpose was. Galveston harbor is a hub for the cruise lines and there was cruise ship from Carnival Cruises docked a short distance away from where we ate lunch.
We drove by a monument in the center of Galveston City on the way to Pier 21. It was dedicated to the Texan Revolution and built in the 1890’s. A bit florid in style even for that era, but it was one of the few things left standing after the hurricane of 1900.
We stayed at a campground about eight miles south of Galveston City in an area dominated by vacation homes. They are all built on stilts and most of them are way too big. Three stories, which does not include the stilts by the way, seems to be the norm. There were smaller ones but they all seemed to be older. The economy must be doing okay because we saw at least a half dozen new ones under construction. The landscape is a bit stark because Galveston Island is very flat and it’s all these groups of vacation homes and the power lines marching down the island, and little else. The only trees around were palms and most of them were small and braced into position. Although we were right next to the ocean it never felt humid but as soon as the sun went down it started to cool off rapidly and dew would start forming on the car and motor home in only a few minutes.
The weather was good while we were there. We liked the campground, Jamaica Beach RV Resort, a lot and thought it was one of the better places we’ve stayed at. We’d consider staying here for a longer period of time but despite being mostly full, it was the campground’s off-season too and the pools and some of the other amenities were closed.