Just 50 miles south of Houston, you can enjoy the coastal charms of the barrier island of Galveston. With 19th-century architecture, tall roller coasters, and ghost stories, you may not have considered experiencing the sharks and dolphins just off the coast.

With the natural wonder of the Gulf of Mexico right there, It is a must to hop on one of the guided tours available to catch a glimpse of dolphins, sharks, and if you’re lucky, orcas!

If you find yourself at Galveston Island, make sure you take some time to enjoy the surrounding sea life. Here is a guide to how.

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Galveston’s Sea Life

Galveston Island’s surrounding ecosystems are full of life. From Galveston Bay to the local lagoons there is much to discover here. The coast is full of creatures like sand crabs, shellfish, stingrays, hermit crabs, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, and many other varieties of fish. You can also find dolphins and orcas in these waters as well. Even though it was not a normal encounter, an American alligator was once spotted riding the surf.

Galveston is a popular destination for marine biologists as well as casual nature lovers. It is a rare location in the continental US where so much can be observed in one place, and there is still so much being learned about the environment here.

Related: Caribbean Vs. Gulf of Mexico: Should You Stay With One, Or Go With The Other?

Guided Tours On Galveston Island

With this kind of variety of life in the vicinity of what is already a great tourist destination, it isn’t a wonder why guided tours of the sea life around Galveston Island are so popular. Here are some to check out.

Dolphin Sightseeing Tour in Galveston with a Guide

With the waters around Galveston being rich in sea life, dolphins are frequent visitors looking to grab a snack. Hosted by Galveston Water Adventures, you can take a one-hour guided tour to see these beautiful creatures interacting around the island. If you are lucky, maybe you will catch a glimpse of some other more elusive sea creatures.

  • Company - Galveston Water Adventures
  • Contact - (855)275 5071
  • Cost - $28.60 per adult
  • Website

Galveston Island State Park

Every Saturday morning you can partake in the free sea life tour hosted by Galveston Island State Park. The volunteers running the event are knowledgeable and to help provoke some of the area's natural predators to show themselves they will tow a net full of fish and squid behind the boat. It is a popular and educational event!

  • Company - Galveston Island State Park
  • Contact - (409) 737-1222
  • Cost - FREE
  • Website

Reel Men Fishing Charters

Offering full-day (six-hour) and half-day (four-hour) fishing tours, you can go out and enjoy a more sporting approach to experiencing the natural wildlife. With such biodiversity in the region, going fishing here can be an experience of a lifetime.

  • Company - Reel Men Fishing Charters
  • Contact - (281)658-0080
  • Cost - full-day $600 per adult / half-day $400 per adult
  • Website

Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid

Sometimes it's nice to experience sea life from the convenience of an Aquarium and that’s what’s offered by the Moody Gardens and Aquarium Pyramid. The Aquarium Pyramid is an easy place to spend a few hours and is complete with family-friendly activities including the underwater tunnel, and touch tanks with the giant river otters and the penguins.

  • Company - Moody Gardens
  • Contact - (409)744-4673
  • Cost - $49-$52 for adults, $39-$42 for children and seniors.
  • Website

Related: Thrill-Seekers: Meet The Nurse Sharks Of Compass Cay

Where to Stay In Galveston

Chances are you will want to spend some time on the island of Galveston. You may be looking for luxury or a great value when it comes to accommodations, so here are a few places to select from.

Diamond Beach Condos

With a lavish pool area and great location right on the island of Galveston, The Diamond Beach Hotel offers a high-class experience to visitors to the area. This is the perfect location for those who enjoy relaxing in luxury.

  • Address - 10327 Fm 3005, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77554
  • Cost - $262-$347 per night
  • Customer Rating - 4 out of 5
  • Booking Site

Grand Galvez

Ranked as a Traveler’s Choice hotel in 2021, the Grand Galvez offers luxurious accommodations complete with a swimming pool and bar area. Being located on the island itself, the Grand Galvez is an excellent choice for high-class accommodation.

  • Address - 2024 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77550-8029
  • Cost - $252-352 per night
  • Customer Rating - 4 out of 5
  • Booking Site

Quality Inn & Suites Beachfront

Quality Inn & Suites Beachfront offers a great value in terms of accommodations and location. Any hotel on the island itself is going to be pricy, but here the cost is reasonable for a great return. Earning a Traveler’s Choice for 2021, it isn’t hard to see why many people love to book at this location.

  • Address - 5924 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, Galveston Island, TX 77551-5888
  • Cost - $145-$154 per night
  • Customer Rating - 4 out of 5
  • Booking Site