Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston does not disappoint as a meeting destination.
On my first trip to Galveston (a few years after I moved to Texas), I was on a mission to see a roseate spoonbill. I had become obsessed with the bird after seeing a photo. An afternoon of searching parks yielded plenty of beautiful wildlife but, unfortunately, not the elusive spoonbill. So I decided to return to a known resting spot “one more time” before heading home. And that’s when I spied an entire flock of pink birds. They were flying overhead, wading in the water, resting in the marsh. Galveston did not disappoint me then, and it’s sure to not disappoint a group traveling to the gulf-side city for a destination meeting or event.
“Here in Galveston, we urge attendees to ‘sea’ their meetings differently. On the island, there are 32 miles of beaches, plus important historic landmarks, museums and attractions,” says Bryan Kunz, director of group sales for Visit Galveston. “Situated just 50 miles south of Houston Hobby airport, Galveston is convenient to get to—and a world apart. The staff at Visit Galveston know the destination and will help tailor meetings and events to meet and exceed expectations.”
Where to Meet
As a popular tourist destination, Galveston has plenty of accommodations to choose from. Here are a few meeting-friendly options.
San Luis Resort: This beachfront property boasts 248 guest rooms and five private villas, as well as 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Its amenities include a pool, full-service spa and three on-site restaurants. Centrally located along the seawall, it’s walkable to the convention center, shops and restaurants.
Grand Galvez: Known as the “Queen of the Gulf,” the 224-room Grand Galvez was originally built in 1911. The classic property is under new ownership and undergoing a complete renovation that is expected to be done in 2022. Grand Galvez can accommodate meetings and events for up to 500 people.
The Tremont House: Located in Galveston’s downtown district close to the harbor, shops and restaurants, this historic 119-room hotel features the island’s only rooftop bar. With 16,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the hotel can accommodate groups of up to 800.
Moody Gardens Hotel: No need to ever leave this resort for post-meeting activities as it features world-class entertainment, including an aquarium, golf course, museum and theaters. It also offers more than 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space across numerous unique venues, including the Moody Gardens Convention Center.
For a more traditional meeting space, check out the Galveston Island Convention Center. Located on the gulf shore, it offers 140,000 square feet of space. Nontraditional spaces include the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, The Grand 1894 Opera House, Garten Verein (a glass-enclosed, octagonal, greenhouse-inspired venue) and Galveston’s plentiful beaches when the weather warrants.
Wait … There’s More
Post-meeting groups can bond through activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, kayaking or island-wide scavenger hunts. Self-guided tours are available for when participants want a little “me” time, and include the Tree Sculpture tour, which offers a glimpse of more than two dozen oak trees turned into works of art, and the African American History Tour and the Freedom Walk, which immerses participants into Galveston’s past and brings its significance as the birthplace of Juneteenth to life.
Meeting-goers also can explore the pyramids at Moody Gardens. There, they can visit the aquarium and meet penguins, touch rays and jellyfish, and view sea lions, seals and sharks. The rainforest pyramid features a myriad of plants, free-roaming birds and animal exhibits with messages about conservation. Don’t forget a trip to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier with amusement rides, dining and shops. And if you have a little extra time, you might consider spending it scouring the skies and the water for some roseate spoonbills.