Afternoon Tours

Open to all registered attendees

Conference attendees are invited to participate in afternoon tours that will highlight some of the best experiences in Galveston. Tours are included with all attendees’ registrations. The same tours will be provided on May 15 and May 16. Tours are subject to change.

Galveston's Maritime Industry Past and Present

Galveston was the second largest point of immigration into the U.S. behind Ellis Island in the 1800s. A vibrant port city, Galveston’s maritime industry made it the Wall Street of the South and continues to be a significant embarkation point for several cruise lines. Participants on this tour will visit the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark, and is a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a seaport and active waterfront. They will then experience what immigrants to Galveston experienced as they sailed to  America at the Ship to Shore exhibit. Afterward, participants will climb aboard the Seagull II and sail through Galveston’s harbor where a tour guide will tell the story of Galveston’s maritime history and industry. Finally, there will be a tour of the new $125 million Royal Caribbean cruise terminal.

Island Cocktail Trail

From locally made brews to a distillery producing vodka and whiskey, Galveston’s cocktail makers have stories to tell. You’ll visit the newest entry into the island’s cocktail scene, Pineapple Parlor. This speakeasy is located behind the beloved Daiquiri Time Out and serves up tiki drinks to those who know the secret passcode. Texas Tail Distillery produces vodka and whiskey on premises. The site features cocktails, plus food trucks and an outdoor area with lawn games. At Galveston Island Brewing Company, you’ll tour a homegrown, and growing, operation serving some of Galveston’s and the states favorite sips.

Historic Galveston*

Galveston is home to many firsts. It’s the birthplace of Juneteenth and home to Texas’ official opera house. Its impressive architecture displays Galveston’s resiliency through major storms. On the Historic Galveston tour, you’ll tour a 1900 Storm Survivor, the 1892 Bishop’s Palace that features elaborate woodwork and impressive stained glass windows. And Still We Rise, housed in the historic Ashton Villa, chronicles the story of Juneteenth – June 19, 1865 – when enslaved people in the South learned they were free. The announcement was made in Galveston. At The Bryan Museum, you’ll see JP Bryan’s expansive collection of art and artifacts related to Texas and the Southwest spanning 12,000 years. Expect to see documents, maps, artwork, saddles, weaponry and much more in a beautiful space that was once the Galveston Orphans Home. Finally, the Grand Galvez has entertained presidents and celebrities for more than 100 years. It’s also home to some restless spirits. The Queen of the Gulf has recently undergone an extensive multi-million dollar renovation to return her to her former glory.

*This tour is not wheelchair accessible

Natural Galveston

Galveston island is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, bays and estuaries. Get close to these ecosystems on a kayak tour with local conservation organization, Artist Boat. The guides will educate kayakers about the natural ecosystem, its inhabitants and its importance to the broader coastal environment. Artist Boat has raised millions of dollars to preserve coastal prairie area on the island’s west end.

Downtown Galveston Walking/Shopping Tour

Enjoy a stroll through two historic districts set amid Victorian architecture, art galleries, museums and shops. Points of interest will include the Galveston Arts Center, the Absolute Equality Mural, Saengerfest Park and La King’s on Strand Street, the Grand 1894 Opera House and numerous art galleries on Postoffice Street, and the Mardi Gras arch in front of the historic Tremont House Hotel where participants can enjoy a signature cocktail at the Toujouse Bar.

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