Galveston Island, Texas is a resort with a year-round population of around 60,000 with many more visitors during the popular summer season. It?s 50 miles away from Houston, its nearest big neighbor.
A seaside jewel on a slim barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston has quietly but assuredly developed gay cachet as a charming weekend hideaway.
Historic Victorian hotels, gay B&Bs, and a few hopping gay bars complement 32 miles of golden-sand beaches (including a popular gay section).
Quirky shopping and festive oyster bars call for your attention in the cobblestone Strand historic district.
Galveston Island boasts a fairly wide variety of accommodations for such a small destination in just about every budget and preference.
Big, luxury hotels with pools, room service and other amenities include Hotel Galvez (a Wyndham Historic Hotel), Moody Gardens Hotel & Spa, San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center, and the charming European-style Tremont House (another Wyndham Historic Hotel), which makes for an ideal romantic getaway.
The island features unique, historic B&B properties which offer the experience of turn-of-the -century living (with modern conveniences of course!) in these restored gems. Our favorite gay-friendly Bed and Breakfast hotels include the charming, gay-owned Lost Bayou Guesthouse, a Victorian-style home in the Lost Bayou historic district; and Avenue O B&B, a 1923 Mediterranean style bed and breakfast located 4 blocks from the beach minutes from the Strand.
Plentiful fishing waters around Galveston Island provide local restaurants with the freshest and largest selection of seafood on the Gulf of Mexico though area menus offer much more, from Cajun favorites to steak. This is still Texas after all.
901 Postoffice offers a wide selection of fish and meat dishes served with fresh ingredients and a great wine selection.
Family-owned and operated, Apache and its second generation of proprietors serve the freshest Mexican cuisine in town. The enchiladas are a local favorite.
Eat Cetera is a sparkling downtown Galveston eatery that specializes in gourmet sandwiches, paninis, and salads.
After dinner, don't forget to treat yourself to local favorite desserts, like pecan pie and home-made cakes, or tres leches.
Galveston offers relaxing beaches, great shopping, numerous antique stores and art galleries and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture.
Galveston?s historic homes and museums give visitors a glimpse of an era featuring both wealth and prosperity, as well as disaster and change. Recommended attractions include: The Broadway Beauties: 1859 Ashton Villa, 1892 Bishop's Palace, 1895 Moody Mansion which portray early 20th century family life among Galveston's elite; The Grand 1894 Opera House ranked among the nation's finest historical theaters; the Texas Seaport Museum & 1877 Tall Ship Elissa highlighting the history of the Port of Galveston.
The Great Storm, a multimedia presentation at the Pier 21 Theater, gives visitors a glimpse of the devastating 1900 Storm through a multi-image documentary experience. The 27-minute story gives actual accounts from diaries and letters of survivors during and after the storm.
Satisfy the nerd in you with a visit to Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, located at Pier 19, which gives visitors an opportunity to step aboard an offshore rig and experience how oil and gas is produced offshore. Galveston is also one of the top locations for birding in the United States. n fact, three/fourths of all North American species travel through Galveston during fall and spring migration.
Gay and lesbian sunseekers head to East Beach, which is the gay-popular beach.
For a small island there?s some good gay nightlife available.
3rd Coast Beach Bar features drink specials, dancing, karaoke, and a great outdoor deck overlooking the Gulf. It?s famous throughout Galveston as being one of the Island's most popular hangouts.
Club Groove is Galveston?s latest and only gay dance club and lounge popular on the weekends.
The Pink Dolphin, one of Galveston's most popular and newest gay bars, is located at 9th and Seawall Boulevard. It prides itself on offering something for everyone, including female impersonators, movie madness and Karoake.
The Strand is a picturesque shopping destination and one of the largest and best-preserved concentrations of Victorian iron-front commercial architecture in the country. Postoffice Street, an important area of the Historical Downtown District, was restored in the 90s and has created a revitalized arts, entertainment and residential district including more than 25 historical buildings.
Besides the growing number of residential lofts, the area includes Gallery Row with galleries of sculpture, photography and fine arts. The street is great for shopping, especially with respect to the number of quality of antique and collectible stores. The 36-block district offers more than 100 unique shops, restaurants and art galleries.
It?s remarkable that Galveston, a small island town in a fairly conservative state, has several gay bars and numerous, gay-owned businesses. The members of the gay community living on the island have played a very important role in gentrifying and revitalizing Galveston and making it a surprisingly gay-friendly summer resort.