A Travel Price Comparison for Texas Galveston vs. Houston for Attractions, Nightlife, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Galveston or Houston?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Galveston and Houston can help you decide which place is right for you.

Galveston

Galveston is a charming, coastal, and historic town. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. And you can't forget about the food, beaches, and shopping.

Houston

Houston is a diverse, sprawling, and southern city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Galveston and Houston: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities


Is there more to do in Galveston or Houston?

You'll generally find more things to do in Houston than Galveston. Houston is bigger than Galveston, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Houston is better known for its music and big city activities, while Galveston is more popular for its beaches, historical sights, and small town charm. Galveston is more touristy than Houston and is popular for its long history that is centered around the shipping industry and hurricanes. Houston is well known for its sprawling size, its local Texas restaurants, and being the home to NASA. Also, Houston is famous for The Space Center Houston.

How is Galveston different from Houston?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Houston and Galveston. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Galveston or Houston?

Galveston
Houston

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Galveston and Houston.

Many visitors head to Galveston specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. With its long history and Victorian homes, there are a number of museums around town. A favorite mansion is the 1892 Bishop's Palace. There's also the Galveston Railroad Museum and the Galveston Arts Center.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Houston can be an interesting and educational experience. Head to Houston's Museum District to explore 19 different museums in a walkable area. A highlight of a trip to the city is a visit to the Space Center, but other popular museums include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Houston Children's Museum.


Is the Food Better in Galveston or Houston? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Galveston
Houston

Picking the best cuisine and restaurants between Galveston and Houston can be difficult as they are each notable in their own way.

Galveston has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. There's a great mix of seafood and Texas favorites. Seafood-lovers will enjoy the oysters, crab cakes, and po boys while land-lovers will like the brisket, Tex Mex, and Texas chili.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Houston area. The city is famous for its Texas barbecue, Mexican food, and a wide diversity of other different ethnic foods. It's a surprisingly diverse city and this is reflected in the restaurant selection around town.

Is Galveston or Houston Better for Nightlife?

Galveston
Houston

The vibe at night is high quality in both Galveston and Houston.

Many people head to Galveston for the nightlife scene. There's a bit of a party town vibe in the evenings. Head to Pleasure Pier for rides and entertainment. The town also has taverns, lounges, and bars that you can check out.

Houston has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The nightlife is at its best on weekends when bars, dance clubs, and concert halls come to life. There are a diversity of venues around town including dance clubs, Honky Tonks, and cocktail bars. Some of the most active nightlife areas are Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, Washington Avenue, and Rice Village.

Is Galveston or Houston Better for Music?

Galveston
Houston

Houston is very good for its live music scene. However, Galveston is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Houston. Popular music venues include Fitzgerald's, Walter's Downtown, and The Continental Club.

Galveston is not a live music destination.


Is Galveston or Houston Better for Beaches?

Galveston
Houston

Galveston is a good destination for the beache. However, Houston is not a beach destination.

Galveston offers a nice beach destination. There are miles of beaches that spread out from town. Some of the best include Babe's Beach, Stewart Beach, and Crystal Beach. Because of the proximity to the Mississippi River, the water can be a bit murky, but the beaches are still fun.

Houston is not a beach destination.

Is Galveston or Houston Better for its Old Town?

Galveston
Houston

Galveston is a good destination for its old town. However, Houston does not have a historic old town.

Many people head to Galveston to see the old town. The East End Historic District is filled with historic mansions with beautiful porches. It's possible to take a tour or you could explore independently.

Houston does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Galveston or Houston?

Galveston
Houston

If you're looking to go shopping, Galveston and Houston both offer plenty of notable spots.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Galveston. There are plenty of places to pick up souvenirs like shell jewelry or t-shirts. There are also more eclectic shops as well as shopping centers and malls.

Many visitors go to Houston to go shopping. There are a number of upscale malls and shopping centers that have brand names, chain stores, and the occasional local shop where you can pick up items.


Is Galveston or Houston Better for Families?

Galveston
Houston

You'll find high quality kid-friendly activities in either Galveston or Houston.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Galveston is very family-friendly. Head to Pier 21 where you'll find museums, harbor tours, and other kid-friendly activities. The city also offers a number of pirate-themed activities that kids enjoy as well as spooky ghost tours. For a bit of a thrill you can check out the rides at Galveston Pleasure Pier. And, of course, there are the beaches.

Houston is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. It is a large city with plenty of things that kids can enjoy including museums, theaters, a zoo, and even the Space Center. The Children's Museum of Houston is perfect for a rainy day. For science loving kids there's the Health Museum and the Museum of Natural Science. Houston also has a Six Flags nearby which the whole family can enjoy.

Is Galveston or Houston Better for Couples?

Galveston
Houston

Galveston is well known for its romantic activities. Also, Houston is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Couples visit Galveston frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The Historic District is the perfect place to enjoy a nice meal and soak up the charm. The area's beaches and parks also offer a bit of romance and there are plenty of outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, or swimming.

Houston is a good town for couples to visit. There's a surprising diversity of restaurants around the city. There are also performing arts productions and many outdoor parks and gardens.

Is Galveston or Houston Better for Students?

Galveston
Houston

Houston is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Galveston is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Houston. It's a large city with a number of universities and a large student population.

Galveston is not popular with students.


Is Galveston or Houston Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Galveston
Houston

Galveston and Houston both offer respectable public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Galveston. While there are buses and trolley buses, a car is the best way to get around with the greatest flexibility and convenience.

Public transit is generally limited in Houston. The system includes buses and a limited light rail. Houston is known as a car-centric city and you really need a car to fully experience it.

Is Galveston or Houston a more walkable city?

Galveston
Houston

Galveston is a good destination for its high level of walkability. However, Houston is not particularly known for its ease of walking around.

Galveston is a somewhat walkable place. There are some walkable areas such as the Historic District.

Houston is generally not a very walkable town. The most walkable neighborhood is the historic Houston Heights, but most parts of the city aren't very walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Galveston Worth Visiting? and Is Houston Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Houston or Galveston?

How long in Galveston or Houston?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Galveston and Houston. In our opinion, Galveston has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Galveston than Houston. In general, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Galveston, and 2-3 days is enough time in Houston.

Families should spend more time in Galveston than Houston. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Galveston, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Galveston than Houston. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Galveston that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Galveston than Houston if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Galveston.


  • How many days in Galveston or Houston? Ideal Length of Stay
    Galveston 1-3 
    Houston 2-3

One day in Galveston or Houston?

In Galveston, you'll find nightlife and food. This town offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

People visit Houston because there is so much to do. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Galveston or Houston?

In Galveston, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Galveston has to offer.

People visit Houston because there is so much to do. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Galveston or Houston?

Galveston is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the one-of-a-kind city of Houston. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Galveston or Houston?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Galveston. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Galveston. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Houston is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Walking Tours in United States of America, The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, and The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Houston or Galveston?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Galveston is $183, while the average daily cost in Houston is $262. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Galveston and Houston in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Galveston $81
    Houston $142
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Galveston $162
    Houston $284
Compare Hotels in Galveston and Houston

Looking for a hotel in Galveston or Houston? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Galveston


Hotels in Houston


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Galveston Hotel Prices and Houston Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Galveston $35
    Houston $72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Galveston

Also for Galveston, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Galveston Port to George Bush Airport Private Departure Transfer: $193
  • Galveston Port to William Hobby Airport Departure Transfer: $168
  • Galveston to Houston George Bush Airport (IAH) Private Transfer: $193
  • Privat Transfer from Galveston Port to Houston Airport (IAH): $193
  • Private Departure Transfer from Galveston Port to HOU Airport: $168

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Houston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Houston:

  • William P.Hobby Airport (HOU): Transfer to Port of Galveston: $538
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH): Transfer to Houston: $345
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH) to Galveston Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $192
  • RoundTrip transfer in private minivan from-to HoustonAirport in Houston Downtown: $176
  • Privat Transfer from Houston Airport (HOU) to Port of Galveston: $167
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Houston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $161
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH) to Houston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $161
  • Departure Private Transfer: Houston to George Bush Airport IAH in Luxury SUV: $108
  • Arrival Private Transfer: George Bush Airport IAH to Houston in Business Car: $107
  • Transfer in private minivan from Houston George Bush Airport to Houston Downtown: $88
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Houston - Arrival Private Transfer: $80
  • Private Hotel Transfer in Houston: $80

Is it cheaper to fly into Galveston or Houston?

Prices for flights to both Houston and Galveston change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Galveston $52
    Houston $35

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Galveston

For Galveston, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Taste of the Strand Food Tour on Galveston Island: $105

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Houston

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Houston.

  • Seasonal Pizza From Scratch Experience in Houston: $55
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $70
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $72
  • The Heights Food Tour in Houston: $76
  • Downtown Houston Food Tour: $76
  • Houston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $85
  • Houston Downtown: Secret Food Tours: $87
  • Howdy H-Town EADO Food Tour: $90
  • East Downtown Food Tour: $90
  • Montrose Food Tour: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Galveston $15
    Houston $14

Tours and Activities in Galveston

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Galveston.

  • Self-Guided Ghost Tour on the Galveston Strand: $6.75
  • Luggage Storage in Cruise Terminal: $8.71
  • Al's Authentic Paranormal Excursion Tour: $15
  • Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast Museum Ticket: $15
  • Tour Galveston's 1895 Moody Mansion: $18
  • Galveston's Flower Winery Tour at the Florvino Winery: $20
  • Galveston Haunted Tour with Ghost Hunting Equipment: $20
  • Galveston Island Ghost Tour: $20
  • Tour of haunted locations with ghost hunting gear.: $20
  • Galveston Mansions and Murder Walking Tour : $23
  • Galveston's Secrets of the Strand Walking Tour : $23
  • Ghost-Themed Walking Tour: $25

Tours and Activities in Houston

Here are a few actual costs in Houston for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Houston Ghosts and Hauntings By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • 2 Hours H- Town Tour with 15ft Open Air Party Truck On Wheels: $46
  • 2-Hour Private Sightseeing Cart Tour of Houston and Galveston: $256
  • Astroville Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Live Guide: $45
  • Astroville Best of Houston City Driving Tour with Live Guide: $45
  • Astroville Private Best of Houston City Driving Tour: $375
  • Astroville Tunnel Tour of Downtown Houston (Air-Conditioned): $32
  • Astroville Tunnel Tour of Downtown Houston (Air-Condtioned): $35
  • Austin & Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Downtown In App Audio Walking Tour: $9.00
  • Driving City Tour & NASA Space Center Admission with Shuttle: $85
  • Enchanting A Romantic Urban Adventure: $459

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Galveston $37
    Houston $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Galveston

Also in Galveston, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Galveston Island Brewing Brewery Tour with Beer Tasting : $10
  • Experience the Happy Hour Pub Crawl Tour in Galveston: $25
  • Galveston's Best Pub Crawl: $25
  • Happy Hour Pub Crawl: $25
  • Galveston Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30

Sample the Local Flavors in Houston

Also in Houston, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Brewery Pass with Beer Tastings: $50
  • Private Houston Brewery Tour by Cart: $57
  • 2-Hour Downtown Brewery Tour by Electric Cart: $70
  • Downtown Houston Brewery Bike Tour : $71


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Galveston and Houston, we can see that Houston is more expensive. And not only is Galveston much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Galveston would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Galveston and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Houston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Houston than you might in Galveston.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Galveston Expensive? and Is Houston Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Galveston or Houston?

Houston has a larger population, and is about 40 times larger than the population of Galveston. When comparing the sizes of Galveston and Houston, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Galveston or Houston?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Galveston or Houston in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Galveston as well as Houston. Many visitors come to Galveston in the summer for the beaches, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, most visitors come to Houston for the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Galveston is around the same temperature as Houston in the summer. The daily temperature in Galveston averages around 84°F (29°C) in July, and Houston fluctuates around 84°F (29°C).

It's quite rainy in Houston. Galveston usually gets less rain in July than Houston. Galveston gets 3 inches (77 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 4.8 inches (122 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Galveston 84°F (29°C) 
    Houston 84°F (29°C)

Should I visit Galveston or Houston in the Autumn?

Both Houston and Galveston are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Galveston for the shopping scene and the small town atmosphere during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Houston because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene.

In the autumn, Galveston is around the same temperature as Houston. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Galveston in October average around 71°F (22°C), and Houston averages at about 71°F (22°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Houston. In October, Galveston usually receives less rain than Houston. Galveston gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Galveston 71°F (22°C) 
    Houston 71°F (22°C)

Should I visit Galveston or Houston in the Winter?

Both Houston and Galveston during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Galveston because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Houston this time of year.

In January, Galveston is generally around the same temperature as Houston. Daily temperatures in Galveston average around 52°F (11°C), and Houston fluctuates around 52°F (11°C).

Galveston usually gets less rain in January than Houston. Galveston gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Galveston 52°F (11°C) 
    Houston 52°F (11°C)

Should I visit Galveston or Houston in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Galveston and Houston. The beaches and the small town charm are the main draw to Galveston this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Houston for the activities around the city.

Galveston is around the same temperature as Houston in the spring. The daily temperature in Galveston averages around 70°F (21°C) in April, and Houston fluctuates around 70°F (21°C).

In April, Galveston usually receives less rain than Houston. Galveston gets 2.4 inches (60 mm) of rain, while Houston receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Galveston 70°F (21°C) 
    Houston 70°F (21°C)

Typical Weather for Houston and Galveston

Galveston Houston
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm) 63°F (17°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Apr 70°F (21°C) 2.4 inches (60 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 76°F (25°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 76°F (25°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm)
Jul 84°F (29°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 84°F (29°C) 4.8 inches (122 mm)
Aug 83°F (29°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 83°F (29°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm)
Sep 80°F (27°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm) 80°F (27°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 71°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm)
Dec 55°F (13°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)