Winter Wonderland

Events, activities and travel opportunities to brush off the winter blues

The annual Winter Party in Miami Beach brings together some of the hottest guys and DJs to South Beach’s hottest hotels, pools, bars and clubs.
Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes, via Flickr. Creative Commons.

The cold, dreary winter keeps pushing on. It’s time for spring, you exclaim. Too bad winter still has weeks left to go. True, we’ve had a pretty mild winter so far, but that doesn’t mean some of us aren’t still yearning for the return of those bright, warm and cheery spring and summer days. Luckily for us, Charlotte and the rest of the Carolinas is just a stone’s throw away from some of the hottest and best winter getaway locations in the southeast. And, if you’re the kind who enjoys the cold winter weather, there’s still plenty of options for you, too

Soaking up the sun

If you’re a lover of summer and just can’t wait ‘till May, June or July for all the hot beach action, head down south to Miami Beach. Each year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hosts its Winter Party, where over 10,000 people flock for good music, good drink and beach dance party fun. The event, featuring a wide array of parties and receptions, includes international DJ entertainers and more. What’s better is that the event began as a fundraiser and charity dance in 1994 and continues to this day to provide much-needed funds for The Task Force and a variety of South Florida LGBT and HIV/AIDS non-profits.

This year’s Winter Party kicks off on Feb. 29 and runs through March 5. DJ entertainers include Montreal’s Alain Jackinsky, Denver’s Alyson Calagna, New York’s Billy Lace and Brett Henrichsen, Brazil’s Felipe Lira and a veritable who’s who of others, including gay party faves Hector Fonseca and Joe Gauthreaux.

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Activities include dance parties each night of the event, pool parties and special events for women and art and shopping events. The event’s host hotel is Miami and South Beach’s Surfcomber. Event passes range from $75 for women’s events and $125 for the “New Generation Pass” for youth ages 21-25 to the all-inclusive “Titanium VIP Pass” for $590.

For more information, visit winterparty.com.

Sunny days

If you’re looking for sun, but want to avoid the large-party atmosphere of Winter Party, you’re in luck. qnotes took a look at the warmest locales that offer up some of the best gay-getaway experiences. Take a gander at any of these cities — the 10 warmest in the U.S. during January — and what they offer if you’re looking for a few-day escape this winter.

City (Average Monthly Temp. (°F), January)

New Orleans, La. (52.6)

Jacksonville, Fla. (53.1)

Phoenix, Ariz. (54.2)

Long Beach, Calif. (57)

Los Angeles, Calif. (57.1)

San Diego, Calif. (57.8)

Tampa, Fla. (61.3)

Vero Beach, Fla. (63)

Miami, Fla. (68.1)

Honolulu, Hawaii (73)

Frigid frivolity

Not everyone is a lover of summer. In fact, there’s quite a few of us who are just fine with the cold. Whether you like skiing, ice skating or just cozying up in a warm room with a roaring fire, you’ve got plenty of options this winter. Below, the list of the 10 coldest, major cities in the U.S

City (Average Monthly Temp. (°F), January)

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. (13.1)

Des Moines, Iowa (20.4)

Chicago, Ill. (22)

Albany, N.Y. (22.2)

Cleveland, Ohio (25.7)

Pittsburgh, Pa. (27.5)

Columbus, Ohio (28.3)

Providence, R.I. (28.7)

Salt Lake City, Utah (29.2)

Boston, Mass. (29.3)

Kickin’ it ‘round the Carolinas

If you don’t want freezing and you don’t want hot, your best best will be to stay home. The greater Carolinas region has plenty of mountain getaways for gay and gar-friendly campers.

Tucked in the Globe Valley near the Pisgah National Forest south of Blowing Rock, N.C., Starlite Trailer Lodge covers 75 acres and offers riverside campsites and bathhouse facilities.

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To the west, the Greenville, Tenn., Timberfell Lodge offers camping and lodging for men seeking solitude or camaraderie. Hiking and other activities, including dining and regularly-planned activities can keep you busy, or, if you choose, you can do nothing at all!

In Georgia, the Carolinas’ neighbor to the south, getaway-goers have two options. The Parliament Resort and Social Club in Augusta offers gay men the opportunity to steal away while meeting new friends. The resort includes 70 rooms with selections of one or two queen, one king or two full beds. In rural Dewy Rose, Ga., River’s Edge is a private, membership-only camping facility which offers free-range camping sites, lodges and cabins.

Starlite Trailer Lodge
5955 Globe Rd. Lenoir, NC
828-757-0933
starlitelodge.com

The River’s Edge
2311 Pulliam Mill Rd., Dewy Rose, GA
706-213-8081
camptheriversedge.com

Parliament Resort
1250 Gordon Hwy., Augusta, GA
706-722-1155
p-house.com

Timberfell Lodge
2240 Van Hill Rd., Greeneville, TN
800-437-0118
timberfell.com

— Mark Smith contributed

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.