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(ARA) - The onset of winter often marks the start of the migratory season for the snowbird. But this isn't a bird you'll find in any field guide. Snowbirds are those who live in a northern climate when the living is easy, but head south once the snow and ice set in.

One popular destination for snowbirds is the Texas Gulf Coast. With its metropolitan cities including Houston, as well as beaches, fishing, wildlife refuges and historic sites, this region provides a range of activities and entertainment suitable for couples, families or anyone seeking warmth and a break from shoveling.

One area that combines the charm of a small town with the luxuries of a big city is Galveston Island, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico. With shopping, dining and museums all within easy walking distance, Galveston delights visitors who come to see its historic homes and beautiful beaches.

Galveston Island is much more than the beach town it was 30 years ago. The Island now offers more than 60 attractions, including historic architecture, museums, beach parks, water and air tours, and one of the world's largest aquariums.

Galveston's past makes it a unique treasure in Texas' history. Architecture buffs enjoy the mansions of the East End Historic District, many of which were built before the turn of the century and survived the devastating hurricane of 1900. The Strand National Landmark Historic District was called "the Wall Street of the Southwest" in the late 1800s and features canopied walkways, horse-drawn carriages and many buildings designed by top architects of the period. Postoffice Street in downtown Galveston is the arts and entertainment district, with more than 25 historic buildings, including the 1894 Grand Opera House, as well as art galleries, shops and restaurants.

Shoppers won't be disappointed with a variety of interesting merchandise at Galveston shops including Gracie's Gift Shop, LaFittes Beat, Yaga's Clothing Store and the delicious Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. After a day of fun, visitors will have no trouble finding affordable lodging with Jingle Bucks savings at Casa Del Mar, The Commodore on the Beach, Flagship Hotel, Gaido's Seaside Inn, Hilton Galveston Island, Holiday Inn, San Luis Resort and Victorian Condo-Hotel.

For more information, contact the Galveston Island Visitors Center located at 2428 Seawall Boulevard and 2215 Strand, (888) 425-4753, or go to

Courtesy of ARA Content

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