Taking time out to relax and get a reprieve from the world in a friendly and accepting setting is important for everyone, but perhaps especially for members of the LGBT community.
LGBT-owned and -friendly resorts offer vacationers a safe space to spend time together among members of their own community.
While a recent survey conducted by Community Marketing, Inc. on LGBT travelers found that the perception is that most hotels and resorts are LGBT-friendly these days, those specializing in the community are still attractive.
Nearly 90 percent of the over 4,000 respondents in the survey said they supported travel bureaus maintaining LGBT information on their websites.
Safe, affirming spaces for the LGBT community may be even more important post-HB2 and the Orlando shooting.
These Southeastern resorts and campgrounds offer that sanctuary and are worth your consideration if you need some time away.
Timberfell Lodge, located in Greeneville, Tn., is an adult men’s resort and campground that was started after David Yoder opened his house to gay guests for the 1982 World’s Fair. It was such a success that he decided to start a business with the concept, opening in the summer of 1985.
Timberfell offers tent camping, RV sites, cabins and more. The grounds feature a pool, pool house, sauna and steam room and a beer bar. They are a clothing optional resort.
Some of their upcoming events include a Fourth of July Weekend celebration, a Uniform-Fetish Weekend, July 15-17, and Domination 2016: The Leather Experience VIII, July 22-24.
Metropolis Entertainment Complex
Metropolis is an exclusively-adult-male, members-only resort located in Augusta, Ga. They occasionally hold mixed gender events, such as their CLAWS Leather Run Weekend event, coming up in August.
The complex is comprised of Parliament Resort, Executive Inn & Suites, Capri Lounge and The Edge Nightclub. The resort features 130 guest rooms, a campground, a pool, where nude sun bathing is allowed, and hosts numerous events throughout the year.
In addition to the CLAWS event, in August they will have their Bear Fest activities and will hold a Labor Day weekend celebration during the first week in September.
Metropolis also features a café that is open on weekends, a steam room, hot tub, maze and novice dungeon. It is considered to be the largest gay resort in the Southeast and certainly the most unique.
In The Woods
Located in Canon, Ga., In The Woods is a clothing optional, gay and lesbian members campground. The property features walking trails, a swimming pool, a hot tub, a gym and a clubhouse.
Upcoming events include “Chubuddies: A Chubs ‘n Chasers Weekend” for bears and cubs, July 15 and 16, and a luau bash, Aug. 5 and 6.
RV and tent sites are available, as well as RV rentals and individual room rentals and cabins.
In The Woods also plays host to both outdoor and indoor weddings.
Clay Borders purchased the Starlite Lodge campground, in Lenoir, N.C., in the late 1990s with his partner Terry. They decided to take it on as a rehab project.
“It was pretty run-down, pretty dilapidated,” Borders said.
For the first several years they were only able to be there on weekends, since both had full-time jobs in Charlotte, N.C. They brought it back to life and now are able to devote themselves fully to the campground, where they also live in a house on the property.
RV and tent campers are welcome at Starlite, which also features park models, a type of resort style home similar to a cabin, cottage or bungalow.
The grounds feature a pool, and they often hold events, including music festivals, and celebrations for major holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Halloween. They have also hosted several weddings since same-sex marriage was made legal.
Borders reports that they have noticed an influx in new campers lately, but cannot say whether or not it is related to HB2 and the climate surrounding LGBT rights. He says they are always happy to see new faces at Starlite.
Families are welcome, but they focus on adult guests. Borders said they work hard to make the campground an enjoyable place for both men and women.
The River’s Edge
Located in Dewy Rose, Ga., The River’s Edge is a 21-and-over, members only, clothing-optional campground. Founded over 20 years ago, it was sold in 2005 when the original owner passed away, and then again in 2013 to a group of annual site members.
The campground features cabins, as well as RV and tent sites and is located along Beaverdam Creek. There is also a pool, hot tub, game room and clubhouse.
“Any time you can get away from the ‘real world’ and have a good time, I think that’s always important. No matter where you’re at or who you are. That’s why it’s important to maintain what we do here,” said Sean Cassidy of The River’s Edge. “When you come here, you become part of the family. We try to include everybody.”
— Photos credit to each resort listed.