What do you think of when you hear the words “Mardi Gras?” The phrase may conjure up images of thousands lining Bourbon Street flailing their arms in an effort to lay their hands on another set of beads. Parades, musical performances and feasts make this New Orleans tradition an internationally recognized festival. What you might not know, though, is that the fun doesn’t have to stop in New Orleans.

Just a few hours away in neighboring Texas, the city of Galveston eagerly prepares for its own extravaganza. Taking place from February 21 to March 4, Mardi Gras! Galveston delivers all of the fun you might expect from New Orleans, but takes it to the beach instead. If you’re heading to Galveston for Mardi Gras! be sure to check out these excellent hotel discounts when planning your trip. Here are a few good reasons why you should check out Mardi Gras! Galveston this year:

More than 3 million beads will be thrown at Mardi Gras! Galveston. While it might not rival the New Orleans Mardi Gras festival, 3 million beads isn’t something to laugh about. In fact, 3 million is more than the entire population of Chicago.

As the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, Mardi Gras! Galveston attracts a diverse and unique crowd from all over the world. In fact, spokespeople for the event estimated attendance between 300,000 to 350,000.

Beachfront Parades
Parades are pretty awesome as it is, but add a beach into the mix and you’ve just sent it over the top. Plus, these aren’t just any parades. Skilled performers and other artists showcase their talents on these world-famous moving stages.

Promoters of Mardi Gras! Galveston argue that their festival is much safer than Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Since it’s smaller and tamer (relatively speaking) than Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Mardi Gras! Galveston is a safer bet for young people or those bringing the family.

Since Galveston is such a fun island every other day of the year as well, there are some really great lodging venues nearby. My personal favorite is Hotel Galvez. Unlike many inebriated folks in New Orleans, you’ll actually have a nice place to rest your head when you’re done partying.

So, if you’ve already participated in Mardi Gras in New Orleans and you’re looking to try something a little different, we invite you to attend Mardi Gras! Galveston this year. Been there already? Tell us about your experience in the comments.