Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Effective March 20th, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had signed an executive order to ban gatherings of 10 or more, and dining-in restaurants. Gyms were closed, along with bars.
In May retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums, libraries and bars began to reopen - but on June 26th Abbott shut down bars to contain a state-wide Texas coronavirus spike, expressing regret about the reopening process he'd encouraged, allowing bars to open so quickly. Restaurant capacity was reduced back to 50%, and outdoor gatherings of over 100 people have again been banned, unless approved by local officials.
In a major reversal to take effect July 3rd, Abbot ordered face coverings to be worn in public across most of the state, in an effort to control rising numbers of newly confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus hospitalizations. The order requires “all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive Covid-19 cases, with few exceptions.” Violators can be fined up to $250.
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 -- a 90 minute trip that must be booked with your train.
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. Voyages venture as far as the Bahamas, Florida, Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and the Caribbean Islands. See Galveston Cruises for details.
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.
Galveston Pride has been on hiatus for the past few years. See their facebook page for updates on any future events.
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 locals' party bar and performance venue, special event dance parties, pool games. Former Pink Dolphin.
Maria's Place (1309 39th St), friendly locals' party bar, men/women mix, drag shows, buffets, pool games.
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.
Rumors Beach Bar (3102 Seawall Blvd), drinking, dancing, karaoke and drag show party bar at the beach; mixed men/women, gay/straight crowd.
CLOSED: KRave (2416 Postoffice St), dueling pianos, live bands, DJs, karaoke, Drag Queen Bingo, shows - former Third Coast Bar; Splash Bar (3102 Seawall Blvd), LGBT beachside bar, decks, drag shows, bingo, amateur strip, dancing, games.