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Galveston's Best-Kept Secrets

Updated 663 days ago

Find a 1900 Hurricane Survivor Plaque

On Sept. 8, 1900, the most devastating recorded natural disaster in U.S. history struck Galveston Island, claiming 6,000 to 8,000 lives and destroying thousands of buildings.

To commemorate the endurance of the Island’s historic neighborhoods, the Galveston Historical Foundation provides a 1900 Storm Survivor Plaque to qualified property owners.

The durable cast bronze plaques are scattered throughout Galveston, providing inquisitive visitors with a cool excursion into the island’s colorful neighborhoods. So grab a bite to eat at the city’s many restaurants, then head out and search for these historical treasures.

For more information, click here.

Galveston’s Farmers Markets

Stop by to land the mother lode of health: eggs, salad, okra, kombucha, breads, ice cream, salsa, cookies, honey, cucumbers, jams, chicken, breakfast tacos, olive oil, cheese, tomatoes, cinnamon rolls, almond milks, flowers, and much more.

It all happens each week at Galveston’s Own Farmer’s Market. The market is open at two locations: Sundays, 9 a.m.-noon at 2508 Postoffice St. (Behind Antique Warehouse), and Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. at Menard Park, 28th & Seawall Blvd. (McGuire Dent Community Center).

And Seeding Galveston, a public market, operates at two locations – a Neighborhood Farm at 33rd Street and Avenue N, where you’ll find a variety of veggies and fruit. There’s fennel, onions, collard greens, tomatoes and lettuce, dandelion, eggplant, okra, cantaloupe, mustard greens and herbs of all kinds.

Deborah’s Community Garden, located on 25th Street between Postoffice and Church streets, is more of a classic community garden model with 45 raised beds that are rented to growers. The well-stocked garden also includes a chicken and goat co-op.

The Seeding Galveston markets are open when the growers are on site, usually in the mornings, late afternoons and mornings.For more information, visit


Galveston Island Brewing

Galveston is well known for its sunny beaches, historical neighborhoods, colorful residents, world-class amusements and top-notch dining. But another notch in its cap is the island’s home-brown beer.

Locals in the know head out to Galveston Island Brewing Co. at 8423 Steward Road for some of the best brews on the island, including the popular Blue Bridge Amber – among the eight to 10 that rotate on and off the tap-room wall.

There's also top-seller Tiki Wheat, an American-style beer brewed with an American-ale yeast strain, coriander and a bit of honey malt; Citra Mellow, a pale ale; and Excelsior! IPA, an India pale ale that combines three varieties of U.S. hops.

The brewery sits back off Stewart Road, and you can't miss the stadium-style seats out front, Just inside the garage-style door is the pleasantly air-conditioned tap room with its copper bar, wooden bar stools and beer-bottle caps embedded in the floor in a row of concrete.

Galveston Ghost Tours

Dash Beardsley's Original Ghost Tour on the Strand is Galveston's most popular ghost tour and the tour that started it all for Ghost Tours of Galveston Island. Dash has built the tour based on years of research, personal experience, and accounts from local residents.

This year-round walking tour takes guests through one of the busiest areas in Galveston – The Strand – a historical district at the heart of downtown Galveston that is known for its rich history and haunting past. Tour-goers will visit multiple locations along The Strand and learn about the historical events that have shaped the city, and hear haunting stories from the past.

Dash Beardsley’s Original Ghost Tour is located 123 Rosenberg St. For more information, call 409-877-1794.

Karankawa Indian Campsite

Galveston is a city of firsts, and the first inhabitants of this peninsula by the sea were the Karankawa Indians, the fierce and independent Native Americans who lived along the Texas Gulf Coast.

In 1962, a historic Karankawa Indian Campsite was discovered in Jamaica Beach, at Bob Smith Road and Jolly Roger – one of the few known campsites or burial grounds of the Karankawa. Now extinct, the Karankawa lived along the Texas Coast, where the sea provided their sustenance.

In 1528 they rescued Cabeza de Vaca, but from the time of La Salle's expedition in 1685 they resisted all intruders. In 1825 Stephen F. Austin sent armed men to drive the tribesmen from the coast. The last survivors apparently migrating to Mexico in 1844, and descendants can also be found today in Louisiana.

The Karankawa built huts for villages of several hundred people, and were well known for their fierce hunting skills to snag deer, rabbits, turtles, turkeys and other prey.

If you were friendly towards them, they could be your best friend. Bring some mess, and they were more than willing to let you know the time of day with their imposing bows and arrows. They were not little people, either, as points out:

The Karankawa were a heavily tattooed, pierced, and painted nomadic people. They made a strong impression on the Europeans who wrote of encounters. The men were strikingly tall, described as between six and seven feet. They were tattooed and wore shell ornaments. Many greased their bodies with alligator oil to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects. The men pierced each nipple, as well as the bottom lip of the mouth, with small pieces of cane. Women wore their coarse hair long–down to their waist.

Galveston Graveyard Tours

Come explore the oldest and most historic cemetery in Galveston. Take a walking tour of the Broadway Cemetery, located between 40th and 43rd streets on Broadway.

See where the most famous citizens of Galveston and Texas are laid to rest and hear their stories. Find out the history of funeral practices and cemeteries in Galveston. The graveyard tour includes ghoulish details with a dash of legendary and alleged ghost stories. The tours last about an hour.

Hear famous and infamous stories about Galveston's former residents including Lizzie Alberti, who committed filicide; Bettie Brown, who allegedly haunts Ashton Villa;, Gen. John Mahero of Galveston during the Civil War); George Childress, author of the Texas Declaration of Independence who committed suicide); and Michel Menard and Samuel May Williams.

For more information, call 281-742-4498 or email Be sure to be on time, as the cemetery gates will be locked as soon as the tour starts.

Old Quarter Acoustic Café

For a diversion from the sometimes hectic pace of tourist life in Galveston, step into the Old Quarter Acoustic Café at 413 20th Street – where lyrics still count, as the slogan of the café states.

Owners Wrecks and Janet provide a venue for acoustic music of all types, as well as the spoken word. The cool, laid-back venue has welcomed performances of tasty Texas music including Ezra Charles; J.T. Van Zandt; and L’amant, a blues band that plays here and nowhere else in Galveston. Dusty Hill and ZZ Top are also surprise visitors to the club. There's open mike on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

For more information, email Wrecks at or call 409-795-7777.

Paddle a Kayak

For a unique excursion into the Island, hop on a kayak and traverse The waters that surround Galveston Island State Park. Because most of trails are protected by breakwater, the water is normally calm and makes for excellent paddling.

The 1,200-a crew Galveston Island State Park offers paddlers access to one of Galveston's premier ecological and historical jewels. Witness herons and pelicans flying overhead, travel back in time to when the Karankawa Indians made Galveston Island their winter home, and discover how restoration scientists have restored wetlands and fisheries.

Paddlers can choose from three different trails that vary in length from 2.6 to 4.8 miles. Because the park has many other features of interest, paddlers can also take a hike along the dunes on the Gulf side. Camping is available at the park if you chose to stay over, but make your reservations in advance since the park is often full during peak times.

Call Artist Boat to make an appointment in paradise – the Island’s pristine waters. For more information, call 409-770-0722.

Ruins of Pirate Jean LaFitte’s Home

Located at 1417 Harborside Drive, Jean Lafitte's Maison Rouge is one of the most significant historical sites on the Island. The reason: Lafitte of New Orleans fame is perhaps the most famous pirate to have ever called Galveston home.

He moved to the island in 1812 after having to evacuate his previous haven, Barataria Bay near New Orleans. Lafitte made his home on the eastern end of Galveston, which back them was known as Isla de San Luis.

He allegedly ruled his island haven with an iron fist, continuing his privateering exploits until again driven from the island in 1821 by the U.S. government. Upon leaving he burned the town to the ground, loaded up his gold and left into a sea of rumors about his further exploits.

Some say his treasure is buried on Galveston Island or hidden up any of several rivers and streams around Galveston Bay. There are accounts of dredges occasionally coming up with gold or silver in the spoils as they work on the shipping lanes of Galveston Bay.

That is why the site is guarded by a chain link fence and barbed wire. Treasure hunters have been searching for Jean Lafitte's treasure for generations now and it wasn't uncommon for those same treasure hunters to come and dig up the yard around the former Maison Rouge.

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Article written by Robert Stanton - Isle Guy