Galveston ’s popularity as a tourist destination means there’s no shortage of lodging options. From cheap beachside motels to luxurious resorts, the island has something for everyone.
For most visitors, the best way to experience an island vacation is on the shoreline. Though the following selection of hotels aren’t technically on the beach—you’ll have to cross busy Seawall Boulevard to get your toes in the sand—they’re close enough to smell the salty air and see the sailboats and barges.
At the affordable end of the scale is the no-frills yet dependable Gaido’s Seaside Inn (3700 Seawall Blvd., 409/762-9625, www.gaidosofgalveston.com , $79 d). Gaido’s is perhaps best known for its incredible adjacent seafood restaurant, but the hotel has some tasty amenities too, including a free continental breakfast, an outdoor pool, and free coffee and juice in the lobby.
Another well-regarded local establishment is the nearby Commodore on the Beach (3618 Seawall Blvd., 409/763-2375, www.commodoreonthebeach.com , $119 d). The Commodore features rooms with balconies facing the beach, a large pool with a welcoming cascading fountain, and several complimentary services, including wireless Internet access, continental breakfast, coffee and juice, and late-afternoon cookies.
Some travelers value the comfort and familiarity of chain hotels, and, although the corporate options are nearly outnumbered by independent establishments on Seawall, there are several offering competitive rates and reliable service.
Among them are Ramada Limited (2300 Seawall Blvd., 409/762-1166, www.ramada.com , $134 d), featuring an outdoor pool along with a free continental breakfast and Internet access.
Another option further down the island is Best Western Beach Front Inn (5914 Seawall Blvd., 409/740-1261, www.bestwesterngalveston.com , $149 d), offering a free continental breakfast, Internet access, and free cappuccino and hot chocolate. The Best Western also claims to have the only heated pool on the island.
Those willing to drop some extra cash for a truly memorable vacation experience should consider the remarkable Hotel Galvez (2024 Seawall Blvd., 409/765-7721, www.wyndham.com , $206 d). Known as the “Queen of the Gulf” when it opened in 1911, the Galvez is stunning in its Victorian elegance. Luxurious amenities include a pool with swim-up bar, marble bathrooms, wireless Internet access, and an impressive spa and workout facility.
Not nearly as historic yet similarly stylish is the Galveston Island Hilton (5400 Seawall Blvd., 409/744-5000, www.galvestonhilton.com , $259 d), featuring large rooms with plush robes, Wi-Fi service, gulf view rooms with private balconies, a tropically landscaped pool, and a fitness center.
If you’d rather be within walking distance of shopping than sea shells, make reservations at the exquisite Tremont House (2300 Ship’s Mechanic Row, 409/763-0300, www.wyndham.com , $195 d). Located in the heart of the Strand  historic commercial district, the Tremont is a stunning 1879 Victorian hotel that transports guests to Galveston ’s heyday as the Wall Street of the South. The first things you’ll notice in the rooms are the lofty ceilings and incredibly tall windows. Wrought-iron beds, marble bathrooms, antique furnishings, and a stylish black-and-white color scheme add to the elegant environment. Modern touches include free wireless Internet access and Web TV.
Just down the street is the Harbor House (28 Pier #21, 409/763-3321, www.harborhousepier21.com , $195 d), which is fancy in a completely different way. It’s not historic, but the Harbor House offers an amazing vantage point of the busy harbor and bustling marina activity. One of the best seafood restaurants in town (Willie G’s) is across the street, and the hotel provides free passes to a nearby fitness center. Amenities include wireless Internet access and a free continental breakfast.
With so many impressive historic structures in a pedestrian-friendly vacation environment, Galveston  is an ideal place to stay in a B&B. One of the more popular options is The Inn at 1816 Postoffice (1816 Post Office St., 888/558-9444, www.inn1816postoffice.com , rooms start at $159), located in the heart of historic east Galveston . This 1886 Victorian home is an elegant sight to behold, and its amenities are equally impressive, including wireless Internet access, a game room with a pool table and board games, bikes for an island cruise or trip to the beach, and packed picnic baskets (for a small fee).
Another commendable option is Avenue O Bed and Breakfast (2323 Avenue O, 409/762-2868, www.avenueo.com , rooms start at $109), just a few blocks away from the beach. This 1923 Mediterranean-style home sits on a sizable piece of property surrounded by tropical foliage. Breakfasts are hearty here, and snacks are available throughout the day. Avenue O also provides bikes for island excursions.
Just down the street is Coastal Dreams Bed & Breakfast (3602 Avenue P, 409/770-0270, www.coastaldreamsbnb.com , rooms start at $145). Built in 1887, this remarkable home boasts 12-foot ceilings and stained glass windows, as well as an inviting pool. Breakfasts feature stuffed French toast, thick bacon slices, and omelets, and daytime treats include fresh baked cookies, brownies, and other sweets.