As Provincetown is to Boston and Fire Island is to New York, so Galveston is to Houston. It’s a seaside destination where gay guys can feel comfortable strolling down the street together. Although not nearly as gay as its Northeastern counterparts (locals joke the town is “half gay”), it’s heating up as a summer destination.
Barely an hour from Houston, most people drive to Galveston. Flying into one of Houston's two airports you’ll probably want to rent a car. If arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the drive is about 90 minutes to Galveston. If flying Southwest Airlines you'll arrive at William P. Hobby Airport, about a 45 minute drive from Galveston. Coming from Louisiana you can skirt Houston by taking a free car ferry from the Bolivar Peninsula, operated by the Texas DOT.
The Amtrak Sunset Limited train, between New Orleans and Los Angeles, stops at Houston and has connections to Galveston with their "Thruway" bus service.
You don’t need one if you’re just going to hang out on the beach, but a car is handy for exploring the Galveston area. A vehicle isn't always necessary - from here you can cruise the Western Caribbean aboard Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise ships. Starting in 2011 voyages will venture as far as Barcelona. See Galveston Cruises for details.
Several gay establishments are located on or near the oceanfront thoroughfare of Seawall Boulevard. One gay bar, 3rd Coast moved downtown this year, bringing more gay activities to to their Postoffice Street location. See Galveston Pride for the latest updates on future events.
The historic downtown Strand & Seaport district, a National Historic Landmark, has 19th century architecture, shopping, dining, museums, entertainment, accommodations and nightlife. Postoffice Street, home to The Grand 1894 Opera House also has art galleries, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and live theater. On 25th Street you'll find more shops, salons and warehouse galleries.
Media & Resources
For general information, the local monthly The Parrot and website Galveston.com are both quite gay-friendly. The DowntownGalveston website focuses on activities and attractions in the historic Strand & Seaport area, in Downtown. DiscoverGalveston is another useful local website.
The Galveston Symphony Orchestra and the Galveston Ballet hold performances at the Grand 1894 Opera House. The venue also hosts plays, and musicals such as A Chorus Line, plus shows by the likes of Liza Minelli and Joel Grey.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Galveston listings pages.
Lost Bayou Guesthouse (1607 Avenue L; 409-770-0688) grand old Strand District Victorian, survivor of 1900 hurricane, updated rooms, dry sauna, deck with water views, comfortable breakfast room --open day and night. Friendly owners have all the Galveston info you'll need.
Mermaid & the Dolphin (1103 Thirty-Third St; 800-930-1866) is a gay-friendly luxury resort set in a tropical rainforest garden, all-suites, each featuring a private Jacuzzi for two. This was once the Texas governor's summer mansion.
Tremont House (2300 Ships Mechanic Row) Grand Wyndham hotel in Strand District, swimming pool, workout area/gym, spa with sauna, WiFi and VCR/DVD in all rooms.
Going Out - Galveston
23rd Street Station (1706 23rd St), gay bar and performance venue, special event dance parties. Former Pink Dolphin.
3rd Coast (2416 Postoffice St), weekend dancing, karaoke, live entertainment, pool and dart games, in the middle of nightlife scene at 24th Street; Pride Festival activities.
Robert's Lafitte (2501 Avenue Q), welcoming neighorhood show bar, steps from Seawall Boulevard, tropical patio, sports specials, pool tournaments, karaoke, drag shows, comedy nights, spectacular annual event specials.
Splash Bar (3102 Seawall Blvd), LGBT bar, beachside decks daily from noon, drag shows and bingo, amateur strip contests, dancing, games. The former Stars then Sandbox locations.