Texas Galveston Beach Umbrella
Texas Galveston Beach Umbrella

9 Fun Facts About Your Galveston Vacation

Galveston: A Pioneer City with So Many Amazing Things to do before a Cruise.

By Taylor Fuller | Published on April 7, 2023


Galveston vacations are totally underrated. This charming Texas beachside town is the top place to travel from, filled with gorgeous beaches, delicious restaurants, epic camping/fishing day trip adventures, fascinating history, and jaw-dropping architecture to explore. Galveston has it all. It's one of those places you may not have considered visiting, but once you do, you'll want to return over and over again. A city of firsts, Galveston paved the way for economic, scientific, and touristic advances in Texas. Read up on some of the most interesting facts about Galveston before you cruise out of Texas.

1. The Inventor Of Condensed Milk Lived Here

Gail Borden invented condensed milk in 1853 after witnessing the dangers of contaminated milk. Condensed milk can last for years without refrigeration if unopened, making it a groundbreaking product in those days. Before that, he lived in Galveston as the first customs inspector. Through his collections on importations, he actually helped raise half the government income in the city, which later went toward expanding the city.

2. The First Bakery In Texas Was Opened Here

In 1838, the first bakery in Texas was opened by Christopher Fox, an Irish Immigrant. It was called Fox's Steam Bakery and moved a few times before finding its home at 12th and Mechanic in 1872. Fox's father was one of the first bakers to arrive in Galveston, and he trained both of his sons in the trade. Because of this, the bakery, which served up cakes, pies and crackers, became very popular. It even won many prizes at the Texas State Fair.

3. It's The Home Of The First Texas Opera House

During 1870, on the corner of Tremont and Market Street, the first Texas opera house opened its doors. Although opera performances had taken place in Galveston before, there wasn't a dedicated space for it. The Tremont Opera House was the first of its kind in Texas. In fact, it was modeled after the Booth Theater in New York. The stage was the same size and the chairs even lifted up when people stood so they wouldn't ruffle clothing. The curtain rose for the first time on February 25, 1871, with a performance of "The School for Scandal." The Tremont Opera House was open for 23 years.

4. You Can Find The Oldest Medical College In Texas Here

In 1891, a medical college opened in Galveston. A few years later, the first school for nurses was opened in 1894. It's now known as the University of Texas Medical Branch.

5. It Was The First City In Texas To Get The Cotton Press

The cotton press found its home in Galveston in 1842. By 1899, the city was not only the largest cotton port, but it was also the fifth most important port in the United States. Galveston still remains an important port in the U.S. because of the amount of shipping activity that comes through due to its location on the Gulf of Mexico. It also houses Texas's main cruise ship terminal.

6. It's A City Of Firsts For Technology

Galveston has clearly paved the way for being the first in Texas for a lot of things. Among these, it was the first city that used gaslights beginning in 1856. Later, in 1883, they upgraded to electric lights. The city of Galveston was even the first to have a telephone installed in 1878 in the office of Colonel Alfred Horatio Belo. It was installed at the Galveston Daily News, which is also the oldest newspaper company in all of Texas. Because of its location and the importance of the port of Galveston, the city was constantly ahead of the curve as it adapted to become a major player in the U.S.

7. Galveston Was Once The Second-Richest City In The United States

On September 8, 1900, Galveston was hit by a Category 4 hurricane. It resulted in a 15-foot storm surge, which flooded the city and left homes and buildings destroyed. Before this devastating storm, Galveston was the second-richest city in the U.S. (Rhode Island was the first). If you're looking for things to do before a cruise during your Galveston vacation, you can visit the seawall that took eight years to build after the storm. It has a lot of history behind it, and it protects the city from future natural disasters.

8. There Are Tons Of Historical Buildings To Check Out

There are still a number of 19th-century buildings standing in Galveston. In fact, there aren't many other places in the United States that have as fine a collection as this Texas city. When you visit, you have to check out the Grand Opera House, a theater from a bygone era is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Check to see what's playing while you're in town! You also need to visit Bishop's Palace, an ornate, 19,082-square-foot, Victorian-style house. You can visit the home on a guided tour and learn about the history of the house and town.

9. The Galveston Cruise Port Is Near To Some Of The Best Places

If you're wondering, "Is Galveston an island?" the answer is yes, Galveston is an island and when you pull into port you'll find that it offers many nearby vacation experiences. Galveston is an excellent place to start your cruise to the Caribbean because the port is only a short walk from the downtown area.

So where do you board a cruise ship in Galveston? For Royal Caribbean this would be Pier Terminal 10, which is less than a mile from Downtown area where you can plan a day trip and shop on "The Strand," located directly across the street from the cruise terminal. Here is a map of the Galveston cruise port area that has some of the best restaurants and shops to visit as well as a trolley for transportation. Though if you're looking for something a bit more adventurous to do before your cruise, head to Pleasure Pier where you can ride on a roller coaster or try your hand at one of the many carnival games. You can also visit Moody Gardens and explore the aquarium, indoor rainforest, and more. Kick off your adventure by exploring this charming town — you won't be disappointed.

Experience Galveston on cruises out of Texas.


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