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If you're looking to get away from it all this Pride season but you still want to participate in the festivities, take a look at these hotels celebrating Pride month. Some of the hotels are right in the middle of all the action. What better way to mix travel and Pride celebrations than visiting these LGBTQ+-friendly destinations and hotels?
While Pride season is in full force around the country, if not the world, there are plenty of destination choices to visit and celebrate. You can pick a Pride-themed hotel, a beach resort for some Pride downtime, or be in the thick of it all and experience locations that celebrate year-round. The choice is yours; where will you go?
Virgin Hotels Nashville
Virgin Hotels Nashville
Photo Credit: Virgin Hotels
Virgin Hotels Nashville is the official host hotel of Nashville Pride and is nominated for an LGBTQ Chamber Pride in Business Award as Allied Business of the year. Experience Nashville hospitality with a mix of food, drinks, music, and culture in a vibrant and inclusive space for everyone.
Events you can expect for the month of June:
- Upside Down Drag Tea with Vidalia Anne Gentry – Sunday, June 12 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
- Rooftop Sounds at The Pool Club – Wednesday, June 15 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
- King at Elvis Day – Thursday, June 23 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
- Pride Parades – Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26
- Official After Party – Saturday, June 25 at 8:00 PM
Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Photo credit: Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
The Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club is located on 429 acres in Brewster, Massachusetts. Spend a weekend sitting in the rainbow-colored Adirondack chairs and learn about some queer history. Each arm of the Adirondack chairs has a QR code that links to stories about prominent LGBTQ activists and changemakers that helped pave the way. You can take tours of Cape Code oyster beds, take in the view of the resort's private Bay Pines Beach, and enjoy being in the ocean air.
If you're looking for outdoor activities, you can paddle board and kayak on Blueberry Pond, play pickleball, and tennis, or play on a Nicklaus Design Golf Course.
AC Columbus Downtown
AC Columbus Downtown Lumin Skybar
Photo credit: AC Columbus Downtown Lumin Skybar
Book the Pride Parlor Package during Columbus' Pride Parade June 17 - 19 and join over half a million people in celebrating Pride. Work your way up to the Lumin Skybar and sip mimosas, Bloody Marys, and special handcrafted Pride cocktails. While waiting for the festivities to begin, you can have your Pride makeup styled by artists from the Paul Mitchell School. They'll help you with neon eyeshadow, rhinestones, and airbrushing. The Pride Parlor is a safe space to express your style to look and feel your best during the parade.
Caribe Hilton Swimming Pool Area
Photo credit: Caribe Hilton
No passport is required when visiting Puerto Rico, one of the friendliest LGBTQ+ islands in the Caribbean. You can visit Old San Juan for amazing dining, nightlife, and shopping then head over to the white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Caribe Hilton is a beachfront oasis just minutes from historic Old San Juan where you can enjoy everything the tropics have to offer. Puerto Rico is famous for being the birthplace of the Piña Colada and for pushing Reggaeton to popularity.
During your stay at the resort, you can visit any of the 11 dining options, hang out by the secluded beach and swimming pools, or sip on those rum cocktails. Maybe you're looking for a bit more adventure and you decide to take a rum tour, visit the rainforest, or visit the local bars. Either way, you'll be right at home and ready to enjoy the Pride events and festivities.
Aruba Marriott Resort
Aruba Marriott Resort
Photo credit: Aruba Marriott Resort
Stay at the beachfront Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, IGLTA-certified and moments away from LGBTQ+ friendly establishments. The June 17th Pride celebrations include Pride Gelato popsicles from Gelato & Co, a Pride Night Brunch with performances by local drag queens, handcrafted Pride cocktails, and unlimited Prosecco. If you miss this year's festivities, you can get a "Pride in Paradise Package" year-round which includes luxe accommodations in the Tradewinds Club which is the resort's adults-only hotel-within-a-hotel, a romantic dinner for two, a reserved cabana at the H2Oasis adults-only pool, a sunset sail for two, and more! Just use promo code: 8LG. Aruba is the perfect travel destination for a vacation in paradise and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, diversity, and an inclusive environment.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa and Southernmost Beach Resort
Playa Largo Resort & Spa and Southernmost Beach Resort
Photo credit: Playa Largo Resort & Spa and Southernmost Beach Resort
Ahh, the Florida Keys, famous for being gay-friendly and a favorite among queer travelers. Rent a convertible and make the 1.5 hours drive from Miami to Upper Florida Keys in Key Largo. If you're looking for tranquil and a relaxing experience, you'll find it here with nature-based outdoor activities. This luxury resort has swimming pools lined with cabanas, white sandy beaches, and calm waters. What do you get when you cross Nashville's southern charm with a touch of Las Vegas? You get Key West, the Gay Mecca of the country, just a little over a 2-hour drive. In Key West, you can experience beach bonfire parties, drag queen brunches, Pride Parades, and more. The Southernmost Beach Resort sits along the southernmost limits of Duval Street and has three palm-lined pools, a tanning pier, private beach with lounge chairs and cabanas.
Pride Month is officially here and with it comes all the excitement and enthusiasm of the passionate LGBT+ community. Big festivals and events are hosted all across the U.S. in June and wherever you are, you won't be far from a Pride Parade!
Participate in an Unforgettable Pride March!
Photo by Jana S.
Outside of the festivities, many U.S. cities contain longstanding museums, galleries, shops, and tours, all dedicated to promoting awareness of queer culture and history. If you can’t make the trip for Pride Month, there are still plenty of LGBT+ activities to do.
Discover the best LGBT-friendly and queer-owned hotels, restaurants, and attractions in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco with this epic Pride Travel Guide!
New York City Pride
New York City always has the biggest parties!
Photo by Jessica I. (cropped)
In recent decades, New York has strived to become a symbol of acceptance towards the queer community. In fact, the city is estimated to contain one of the largest LGBT+ populations in the world. A cornerstone in gay rights activism, New York has seen significant historical events such as the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the 1966 Sip-in at Julius’ Bar. And in 2019, New York made history by hosting the biggest Pride March ever, with an estimated 5 million people in attendance.
Popular LGBT+ neighborhoods in Manhattan include Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, and the Lower East Side.
Pride Month in New York
Pride Month is a big deal in New York, as the city hosts dozens of LGBT+ events throughout the month. There are street fairs, concerts, symposiums, movie showings, and many more memorable experiences to be had. Pride Month also offers visitors the chance to connect and communicate with today’s leading LGBT+ rights activists.
The most hyped events are Alegria Pride 2022, Planet Pride, Tribal Fever Afterhours, and Pride Island. All of these are mixed-music festivals promoting queer artists and DJs. Don’t miss out on America’s biggest annual Pride March: the New York City Pride March, which will be held on the 26th of June, 2022.
Where to Stay in New York City
Stay in the heart of the action in NYC!
Photo by Beyond My Ken
Hyatt Union Square New York
134 Fourth Avenue
New York, NY, 10003
The Hyatt Union Square is situated in the heart of Downtown Manhattan, near many of New York’s most popular attractions. When you’re not out sightseeing, you can rest in comfort in one of the Hyatt’s spacious, pet-friendly rooms.
This modern hotel has a 24-hour gym (with complimentary fruit) and a business center. You can dine in the adjoining Bower Road restaurant for a fresh and healthy meal inspired by the local Union Square Greenmarket.
Solo travellers and groups both love staying at The Local NYC.!
Photo by Andrea D.
The Local NYC
13-02 44th Avenue
Queens, NY, 11101
A trendy hostel, favored by LGBT+ travelers, The Local NYC sits on the opposite side of the East River from central Manhattan. Solo visitors can book private rooms but most prefer the youthful social energy of the Local’s dorm rooms.
The dorm bunk beds are of a simple, practical design and include a reading light and a lockable cabinet. The highlight of The Local NYC is its rooftop terrace with an incredible view over the glowing Manhattan skyline.
Where to Eat in New York
A historic bar in central Manhattan!
Photo by Steam Pipe
159 West 10th Street
New York, NY, 10014
+1 877 746 0528
Nestled inside Manhattan’s enchanting Greenwich Village, Julius’ Bar has been cheerfully serving customers since 1864. In fact, important steps towards the legal acceptance of gay bars across the nation were made inside the historic walls of Julius’ Bar. It’s now a popular place to visit for its grilled burgers and fabulous cocktails. Stop by on Tuesdays for Julius’ Bar’s special retro ‘Tuesgay’ disco nights.
A delightful burst of flavor!
Photo by Lily B.
151 East Broadway
New York, NY, 10002
+1 646 609 3785
Kopitiam’s LGBT+ owner and head chef Kyo Pang is proud to present her restaurant’s Chinese and Malaysian-inspired cuisine. All produce is freshly sourced from local markets or Malaysia itself and the mouthwatering blend of flavors comes from Chef Pang’s all-natural family recipes. Each dish is a new journey for the senses and the subtle spices will leave you wanting more. Don’t arrive too late for lunch, though, as the popular restaurant fills up fast!
Things to do in New York CityExperience Pride History in New York!
Photo by Deirdre R.
Pride Walking Tour
38-64 Christopher Street
New York, NY, 10014
+1 860 670 8947
Many of the LGBT+ community’s biggest triumphs and tragedies were forged in the dynamic streets of New York. To appreciate the significance of Pride Month in the big city, join in on an official Pride Tour.
As you walk through the streets of downtown Manhattan, your guide will lead you through the biggest events and crucial LGBT+ institutions in New York’s history. Delve into the struggles of the past as you visit the Stonewall Inn, the Gay Street sign, the Gay Liberation Monument, and even Julius’ Bar!
Learn about queer history and culture this Pride Month!
Photo by Ajay S. (cropped)
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art
26 Wooster Street
New York, NY, 10013
+1 212 431 2609
The Leslie-Lohman Museum is a uniquely LGBT+ dedicated art gallery and museum, right in central New York. Admission is free so it’s definitely worth a visit for the provocative emotions evoked by so many queer artworks.
Indeed, the goal of the museum is to create a committed space for LGBT+ artists and scholars to view or add work, and to open up conversations on the personal trials of the community. The Leslie-Lohman Museum currently has over 25,000 items.
Drink at one of New York's only Lesbian bars!
Photo by Jim H. (cropped)
281 West 12th Street
New York, NY, 10014
+1 212 243 9041
If you’re searching for a memorable night out in one of New York’s few remaining lesbian establishments, then look no further than the Cubbyhole Bar. The Cubbyhole is an eclectic bar filled with colorful decorations and LGBT+ symbolism. Having opened in 1994, it has developed into a popular social hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Stop by between 4-7 pm on weekdays (2-6 pm on Saturday) to benefit from the Happy Hour deals.
Chicago Pride Fest
There's plenty of Pride Festivals in Chicago!
Photo by Norbu G. (cropped)
Chicago has slowly been working on LGBT+ rights for the last century, starting with America’s first recognized gay rights organization in 1924. A Chicagoan, Jim Flint, also founded the Miss Continental pageant in 1980. This was the first beauty pageant where trans women were allowed to enter. Chicago is now a buzzing hotspot for queer nightlife, with 7.5% of the population identifying as LGBT+.
Chicago’s biggest queer neighborhoods are Andersonville and Northalsted (which has earned the nickname ‘Boystown’).
Pride in the Park Festival
Pride Month in Chicago is celebrated by a series of festivals, drink events, and street markets. The massive Pride in the Park festival is headlined by The Chainsmokers and Alesso and features queer artists such as Rebecca Black, Spencer Brown, and Saucy Santana. The colorful Chicago Pride Parade takes place on the 26th of June, 2022.
Chicago Pride Fest
This legendary street festival is June 18-19 with the Pride Parade on June 26th. You can listen to headlining artists and local favorites on three stages, peruse over 150 arts and crafts booths and eat from a variety of local food and drink establishments.
Where to Stay in Chicago
Stay right near the Chicago nightlife!
Photo by Benjamin R.
Moxy Chicago Downtown
530 North LaSalle Drive
Chicago, IL, 60654
Based in the trendy River North district, home of Chicago’s vibrant nightlife, the Moxy Chicago Downtown is the perfect LGBT-friendly destination. Each room has a stylish, contemporary design and includes an ensuite bathroom and a large Smart TV.
The Moxy features book and vinyl record libraries, a professional sound booth where guests can make recordings, and a fine-dining restaurant and bar with an outdoor patio.
Make new friends this Pride in Chicago!
Photo by Dimitri B.
3514 North Sheffield Avenue
Chicago, IL, 60657
This fantastic hostel, located near the beach and Boystown, is way more than just a place to sleep for the night. Wrigley specializes in social vacations, with a computer room and a common room, containing a pool table, a ping pong table, foosball, board games, and a Bring Your Own Booze bar. There’s also a communal outdoor lounge with a BBQ for summer grilling.
Wrigley Hostel hosts parties and events most evenings, from pizza and movie nights to epic bar crawls. Sleep easy in a private room or forge new friendships in a mixed or female-only dorm.
Where to Eat in Chicago
Satisfy your Tex-Mex cravings in Chicago!
Photo by Hybrid Storytellers
D. S. Tequila Co.
3352 N Halsted Street
Chicago, IL, 60657
+1 773 697 9127
D. S. Tequila Co. is a hip and trendy Tex-Mex place, located within close walking distance to many of Chicago’s biggest attractions. Their famous handmade flour tortillas are always filled with fresh ingredients and each dish is made to order, meaning you can remove any sauces or veggies that aren’t to your taste.
The Tequila Co. is, unsurprisingly, a great place for drinks with over a dozen beers on tap and pitchers of margaritas abound. Stop by on Friday and Saturday evenings to listen to a DJ set as you feast on classic Tex-Mex in the greenhouse patio, which has a retractable roof!
Dine at a famous Chicagoan LGBT+ establishment!
Photo by Thomas H.
Big Chicks & Tweet
5024 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL, 60640
+1 773 728 5511
Big Chicks and Tweet are Chicago’s famous 2-in-1 gay bar and organic restaurant. Based in the Uptown area, with a timeless art deco design, Big Chicks acts as an informal LGBT+ community center. The bar was actually inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2016.
The adjacent Tweet restaurant serves food to its own customers and those of the bar. Breakfast and Lunch are offered in Tweet, where you’ll find a delightful range of classic dishes, with a Chicago twist. Dinner, however, can only be ordered in Big Chicks.
Things to do in Chicago
See the show that redefines live entertainment!
Photo by Inside the Magic
Blue Man Group
3133 N Halsted Street
Chicago, IL, 60657
+1 800 258 3626
For a whirlwind experience of music, performance art, and technological displays, check out Chicago’s own Blue Man Group. A show that defies definition, the Blue Man Group was founded on the principle that entertainment can transcend language barriers if none of the performers speak. Instead, they play custom instruments and present comedic skits.
Although not explicitly an LGBT+ event, many of the Blue Men identify as queer. The Blue Man Group promises a unique and unforgettable performance that will change the way you view live entertainment. Warning: those sitting near the front may get splashed.
What treasures can you find at the Andersonville Galleria?
Photo by Joshua F. (cropped)
5247 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL, 60640
+1 773 878 8570
At the center of the dynamic Andersonville district sits the curious Andersonville Galleria. A veritable maze of over 100 tiny shops and market stalls, this Galleria is an indoor boutique wonderland. The businesses are run by local merchants, many of whom are LGBT+.
Don’t expect to walk away empty-handed as you will definitely be enticed by the astonishing array of unique artworks and artisan products on display.
See the small Chicago bookstore that's changing minds and lives!
Photo by Veronika J. (cropped)
Women and Children First
5233 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL, 60640
+1 773 769 9299
Right next door to the Galleria is the amazing Women and Children First bookshop. Founded with a belief that literature has the power to change hearts and minds, the bookstore is dedicated to stories by and about women.
As self-proclaimed ‘intersectional trans-inclusive feminists’, Women and Children First acts to educate visitors on feminist and LGBT+ issues. With over 20,000 books in stock, the store encourages young readers to ease into the works with book reading events and virtual conversations with authors.
San Francisco Pride
Celebrate Pride in the Gay Capital of the World
Photo by Piotr M. (cropped)
San Francisco is often lovingly referred to as ‘The Gay Capital of the World’. Indeed, ‘Frisco has a long history of LGBT+ residents, starting from the beginning of the 20th century. In 1961, San Francisco had the first openly gay candidate running for a US public office position. In 1965, the first Gay Liberation organization in America was founded there. San Francisco also does a lot for trans activism, including the annual Trans March on June 25th, one of the world’s largest events for transgender visibility.
Although most of the city is a diverse mixture of LGBT+ identifying people and allies, there are a few prominent queer neighborhoods. The most popular LGBT+ districts are The Castro, The Mission, and SoMa.
Pride Month in San Francisco
Pride Month in San Francisco brings with it a wave of music and film festivals, and in-person and virtual talks with LGBT+ activists. The biggest music event is the Fresh Meat Festival, featuring queer and transgender artists. There will also be food, craft, and resource fairs surrounding the big marches.
The annual San Francisco Pride Parade will be hosted in the city on the 26th of June, 2022.
Where to Stay in San Francisco
An elegant stay in central San Francisco!
Photo by Kenny E.
Parker Guest House
520 Church Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 621 3222
The Parker Guest House is an enchanting hotel in central San Francisco, presenting a subdued, luxurious elegance in each spacious room. Formed from early 19th-century mini-mansions, Parker Guest House offers comfort and class with each stay. Guests can wander around the verdant gardens, listen to piano music in the lounges, or join a complimentary wine social in Parker’s sunroom.
The Orange Village Hostel is a short walk from the hsitoric Union Square!
Photo by Shaunak D.
Orange Village Hostel
411 O’Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
+1 415 409 4000
Stay near some of San Francisco’s biggest attractions in the Orange Village Hostel. Offering cheap yet comfortable private rooms, and beds in male and female dorms, the Orange Village Hostel is the best place to stay in San Francisco on a budget.
The hostel has a communal lounge where they host pizza nights and organize fun activities and events. They are also happy to provide you with lots of local information for your stay in ‘Frisco.
Where to Eat in San Francisco
Come here for a rich, hearty meal in San Francisco!
Photo by Maddi B.
3499 16th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 525 4905
Kitchen Story in The Castro is a relatively new and incredibly popular restaurant that serves an exceptional blend of Thai and American cuisine. Kitchen Story specializes in delicious, filling brunches.
Their feature ingredient is the sweet and spicy millionaire’s bacon. This mouthwatering treat comes as a topping for burgers, eggs, or french toast. If it isn’t included with your dish but you really want to try it, you can order the millionaire’s bacon as a side.
Eat at this amazing LGBT-owned establishment!
Photo by Thomas H.
3991 17th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 864 9795
Welcome to The Castro’s famous all-day breakfast, sandwich, and burger bar. Owned by husbands Bill Pung and Dennis Zieball since 1977, Orphan Andy’s is one of the beating hearts of San Francisco’s LGBT+ community.
The interior has a homely design, with red leather on the booths and bar stools, and neon-lined wood paneling all around. This vintage style makes it easy to relax into a good American meal as you imagine the decades of queer history that this ‘Frisco landmark has seen.
Things to do in San Francisco
Experience San Francisco's best open-air LGBT exhibit!
Photo by Greg R.
Rainbow Honor Walk
499 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
When you find a beautiful sunny day and want to immerse yourself in queer history as you stroll in the fresh air, visit the Rainbow Honor Walk. Nestled in the heart of The Castro, the Rainbow Honor Walk is styled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Only instead of stars, there are large bronze plaques dedicated to the world’s greatest LGBT+ pioneers.
Here you can walk over rainbow crosswalks that interlink facts and stories on some of the greatest queer influencers of the 20th century. It’s the perfect open-air exhibition to learn about well-known and under-represented figures, including Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Frida Kahlo, Glenn Burke, Freddie Mercury, and Alan Turing.
See the best of San Francisco from a 70s VW campervan!
Photo by Nick K. (cropped)
San Francisco Love Tours
2899 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA, 94109
+1 415 366 6156
Experience the best of historic San Francisco from inside a groovy 70s VW Campervan. This 2-hour daytime tour is an intimate way to learn about love throughout the ages in the Golden City, with only 6 people maximum per bus. Along the drive, you will hear interesting facts and exclusive stories from your local guide.
Featured locations on the tour include historically LGBT+ districts such as The Castro and The Mission, and the famous crooked Lombard Street. The hippie bus stops twice for photo opportunities: at the Golden Gate Bridge and for a view of the San Francisco Skyline.
Gain a fascinating new perspective on LGBT+ history in San Francisco.
Photo by Jason L. (cropped)
GLBT Historical Society
4127 18th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94114
+1 415 777 5455
An internationally-recognized leader in LGBTQ public history, the GLBT Historical Society was founded in 1985 to promote, and make accessible, queer history and culture. Now, it proudly presents a museum in The Castro district and, though it is small, it definitely packs a punch.
Don’t be afraid to spend time reading faded letters or watching the mini-documentaries. Visitors come to learn about and understand queer struggles through the last decades. The biggest impact is often made by the genuine Harvey Milk bullhorn in his campaign exhibit.
Summer is fast approaching and with it comes all the excitement and sunny escapes of the season. Many people are starting to plan their first beach trip of the year. But it can be hard to choose the best beach to visit in the US.
From the soft white sands of Florida to the black volcanic shores of Hawaii, the U.S. has over 95,000 miles of coastline. This incredible variety of beaches makes it difficult to choose the perfect summer destination, so we’ve created this list of interesting, picturesque locations to help you out. Here are our picks for the 5 best beaches to visit this year:
La Jolla Beach & Cove, California
Find a secluded spot to sunbathe in the sunny La Jolla Cove!
Photo from Piqsels
This rocky stretch of the California coastline, just outside of San Francisco, is a perfect spot for any type of beach lover. Swimmers and sunbathers can relax along the sandy shore, where lifeguards patrol all year. The gentle waves that come in from the Pacific are great for improving your surfing skills. There are also many great hiking trails around the coastal cliffs where you can work up a sweat before cooling off in the ocean.
The marine life found at La Jolla Beach and Cove also enjoys resting in the sun-soaked shallows as the surface level heats up. Most visitors delight in spotting harbor seals and sea lions playing in the rocky cove. Those who venture into the water to snorkel will be rewarded with a memorable view of the leopard sharks or if you’re really lucky, a dolphin. The delightful blend of idyllic shores and adorable wildlife makes this La Jolla paradise one of the best beaches to visit this year.
Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii
Explore the exotic black sands of Punalu'u beach!
Photo by Steve C.
The breathtaking black sand of Hawaii’s Punalu’u Beach was formed by lava rapidly cooling when it reached the ocean through underwater vents. Most travelers come to this remarkable beach to see the dark sand and to witness the water’s swirling colors. The oil-spill effect, which comes out in the right light, is created by the mixing of the Pacific ocean with the constant stream of fresh spring water which empties out near the beach. This means that the water temperatures are low, but that becomes a pleasant relief when the black sand starts baking under the summer sun.
Swimmers can wade into the shallows if they’re careful as the underwater currents can get very strong at certain times of the day. Punalu’u Beach is also known as a resting point for migrating sea turtles, who wade onto the hot sand to warm themselves up after their long journey. The black sand and churning sea mean Punalu’u is known as one of the best and most interesting beaches to visit this year.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
Find some peace on the sunny shores of Sleeping Bear Dunes!
Photo by John S.
Sunbathe in style this summer along the ridges of the amazing Sleeping Bear Dunes. These steep sandy dunes provide a comfortable resting spot for weary travelers and the soft beaches disappear seamlessly into the clear, warm waters of Lake Michigan. Swimming is encouraged here and you can even rent a small motorboat, pedal boat, or canoe if you want to explore the vast lake. This sunny in-land oasis is one of the best beaches to visit this year for anyone seeking a mix of relaxation, boating, and peaceful country walks.
Many people come here to camp in one of the nearby campgrounds because one day at the dunes is never enough. There are many miles of walking and hiking trails surrounding Sleeping Bear Dunes where you can spot deer, porcupines, and foxes roaming through the woodlands.
Fort Bragg Glass Beach, California
Discover the rainbow colors of the Fort Bragg Glass Beach!
Photo by John K.
This colorful pebble beach near Fort Bragg owes its existence to the town’s historic dumps, where glass and garbage were once discarded onto the rocky coastline. After a century of erosion, the trash heap has transformed into a beautiful kaleidoscope of pebbles, shells, and smooth sea glass.
A rare sight, the glass beach draws in couples and families who come to walk along the vibrant seafront. Indeed, the steady stream of tourists who visit the beach each year has reduced the amount of glass you can see between the pebbles. However, the beach still lights up in a rainbow of colors when the sun starts shining. Efforts are even being made to bring new sea glass to Fort Bragg. Its history as a dump means it’s not safe to swim at the glass beach, instead, you can find sandy swimming beaches and crab-filled tidepools only a short walk away.
Moshup Beach, Massachusetts
Visit the island paradise of Moshup Beach this year!
Photo by Bart H.
On the island of Martha’s Vineyard in the south of Massachusetts, the secluded shores of Moshup Beach are a welcome haven for every visitor. This sandy stretch, over a mile long, looks like a Mediterranean paradise when the summer arrives. The perfect sun-soaked shores make Moshup the best island beach to visit this year. While the Atlantic waters are colder than their Pacific counterparts, the calm shallows can be refreshing on a baking hot day.
Moshup Beach is highlighted by the colorful Gay Head Cliffs that overlook the seafront and offer stunning views over the island. Many visitors walk along the beach and cliffs to see the vibrant layered clay that makes up this natural landmark, before having a picnic on the grass. Walk far enough along Moshup Beach and you might find some people enjoying the warm sand without their clothes getting in the way.
The summer travel season is looking hot and crowded. The ongoing global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, skyrocketing inflation, and high gas prices are not a match for Americans’ pent-up wanderlust. Like everyone else, queer travelers are not staying at home sipping margaritas on the couch.
Most Americans (85%) plan to hit the road for long summer vacations, discovered Out of Home Advertising Association of America. Nearly half of Americans (48%) are taking at least two weeks if not more time off than in 2021, that’s 41% more than last year.
OAAA’s figure is nearly 10 percentage points higher than the 73% of LGBTQ travelers –85% of whom have passports – who were planning a major vacation before the end of last year, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, the leading global LGBTQ travel market association.
According to the OAAA, 69% of Americans feel safe and comfortable flying again, 10 percentage points higher from April 2021 (59%).
Another survey conducted by vacation rental management company, Vacasa, found that approximately 3 in 4 travelers (74%) are planning to keep their summer trips within the U.S. Only 26% of travelers are planning international trips this year with Canada and Mexico tying as preferred destinations along with other countries further abroad on travelers’ lists, according to the survey.
This willingness to get back out into the world after a long pause due to the global pandemic and travelers facing new challenges in its wake demonstrates how resilient travelers are and just how desperately people need a vacation.
A day at the beach, exploring nature in national parks, wellness, and even distant lands are the top vacations travelers are booking, according to travel experts.
These five new LGBTQ travel companies want to take queer travelers on vacation. They want you to feel like you are on vacation before you even pack. They take the stress of planning every detail of the journey into their expert hands.
Out in Colombia
Out in Colombia travelers exploring Comuna 13, locally known as C13, the infamous hilltop neighborhood once controlled by Colombia’s cartels transformed into a vibrant artist community in Medellin, Colombia.
The award-winning sustainable LGBTQ travel company, Out in Colombia, offers a wide variety of luxury multi-day tours and packages exploring Colombia, “the gateway to South America.
Founded by American expatriate Sam Castaneda Holdren, who resides in Medellin, in 2016, Out in Colombia’s team offers one-of-a-kind bespoke experiences for LGBTQ travelers. The travel company highlights Colombia’s best cities. Colombia’s capital, Bogota, has an out lesbian mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez and boasts of a destination gay dance club that takes up an entire city block with 16 different dance floors and a concert theater. Cartagena, “The Walled City,” is home to the country’s famous beauty pageant queens on the shores of the Caribbean Sea the city features pristine beaches. Medellin transformed from cartel control into a vibrant artistic city. Salento is where travelers get up close to Colombia’s famous coffee grown high in the Andes.
Explore all of Colombia’s highlights on a 15-day trip to Bogota, Salento, Medellin, and Cartagena or a 10-day trip to Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.
Nearly 2,000 Vacayans, what Vacaya calls its vacationers, aboard Celebrity’s Millennium ship for Vacaya’s 2022 Caribbean Cruise in January.
Courtesy of Vacaya
The award-winning cruise and resort travel company, Vacaya, offers unique destinations and gaycations that bring everyone under the rainbow together for a truly LGBTQ vacation.
Founded by Randle Roper, Patrick Gunn, and John Finen in 2018, the cruise and resort travel company launched its inaugural cruise in 2019.
Vacaya is the marriage of a word from the secret gay language, Polari, used within gay communities to communicate with each other for centuries. The award-winning entertainment, hospitality, and travel gay executives who love traveling and the LGBTQ community wanted a different travel experience than what gay cruises and other LGBTQ travel companies offer. They wanted to travel with the entire L-G-B-T-Q community.
Travel they have. The company has taken thousands of LGBTQ travelers to Seychelles, Iceland, South Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, Provincetown, and other beloved and amazing places. Unique destinations, such as the forthcoming cruise to Antarctica or the Polynesia Cruise next year, are becoming Vacaya’s signature in line with its goal to be a different travel company for the LGBTQ traveler.
Pink Coconuts, Where Queer Travel Meets Community.
photo courtesy of Pink Coconuts
Launched by Donnya “Zi” Piggott and colleagues during the global pandemic, Pink Coconuts aims to take travelers to less-traveled destinations in the Caribbean and Africa that are often shunned by the LGBTQ travelers due to the regions’ anti-gay records.
Pink Coconuts started as a tourism and hospitality diversity and inclusion project of Barbados Gays, Lesbians, and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination, known as B-Glad. The project’s goal was to train travel and hospitality brands on how to be inclusive and the negative economic effects of not being inclusive. The company graduated from a project to a travel company when Piggott realized only a few people in the Caribbean were bringing LGBTQ travelers to the islands. Piggott decided to be the person to bring more queer travelers to experience other wonderful islands in the Caribbean that are not on many queer travelers’ radars. At the same time, they also set their sight on Africa.
The startup travel company allows queer travelers to build their own itineraries booking with their vetted and trained LGBTQ-friendly partners or Pink Coconuts can create custom vacation itineraries from girlfriend getaways, gaycations, engagements, honeymoons, and other romantic getaways; volunteering at a local organization, or simply to unplug and sit on a beach.
African Queens Travel
African Queens Travel founder Carla Smith, right, and her fiance Ramona Gatto, left, enjoying the local food and drinks on the Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Courtesy of African Queens Travel / Carla Smith
Founded by South African Carla Smith and her family who are rooted in the country’s travel and hospitality industry for generations, African Queens Travel launched just as the global pandemic shutdown travel globally in April 2020.
The company didn’t fully put plans on hold. Instead, the company built out its itineraries offering eight 6- to -15-day trips from the highlights of South Africa to romantic getaways to rainbow family safaris to Cape Town Pride 2023 for when travel returned.
The lesbian-owned travel company’s 2023 itineraries include roundtrip airfare from select U.S. airports, stays at luxury resorts, tours, and nearly all meals and other amenities.
International business partners and couple Montse Serrano, right, who is Spanish, and Aimee Bucher, left, who is American, kayaking in a lake with the Arenal Volcano in the background in Costa Rica. The business partners and couple launched Lesmon Experience to travel the world with other lesbians.
Courtesy of Lesmon Experience
International business partners and couple Montse Serrano and Aimee Bucher launched Lesmon Experience in 2020 right before the global pandemic hit. The name mashes “lesbian” and the Catalan word “món,” which translates to world, together to create Lesmon, lesbian world. The company paused waiting out the pandemic, two years later, Bucher, who is American, and Serrano, who is Spanish, can’t wait to bring queer women to the private gay-owned Costa Rican resort in Manuel Antonio, the LGBTQ Tico beach destination, as their first adventure. The company is offering three different all-inclusive trips set for July, including one during Manuel Antonio’s beach Pride festivities, July 16. All you have to do is get your plane ticket and pack your bags, Lesmon Experience will do the rest.
OAAA, the national trade association for the out-of-home advertising industry, partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct the survey published in March. The Harris Poll conducted the online survey from February 9 – 14, 2022, with a representative sample of 1,000 United States adults older than 18 years of age. Data is weighted to reflect the U.S. general public across age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, income, household size, and employment.
Vacasa partnered with Allison+Partners surveying 1,001 individuals over the age of 18 in the United States in March 2022. The survey was fielded using Qualtrics Insight Platform and the panel was sourced from Lucid.