Fun spots to have a fabulous time

LGBT travel and tourism sites key to finding little nuggets

Hot Spots

For LGBT travelers, key U.S. spots of interest are plentiful no matter what coast or anything in between one wishes to explore.

Greenwich Village in New York City boasts the epicenter of the LGBT rights movement. Photo Credit: New York City, Yevgenia Gorbulsky

Greenwich Village in New York City boasts the epicenter of the LGBT rights movement. Photo Credit: New York City, Yevgenia Gorbulsky

First off is, of course, New York City’s West Village where rests the iconic and historical site of The Stonewall Inn and the Christopher St. area. This location was the site of the most crucial jumping-off point in LGBT history, the Stonewall Riots, where a group of patrons who had been harassed, arrested and more, finally said that enough was enough and took to the streets in protest. The clarion call set a tsunami across the U.S. and the world, setting the stage for the Gay Liberation Movement and its descendants.

On June 24, President Barack Obama announced that for the fist time in history, the Stonewall Inn and the area would become the first LGBT monument to be erected in its honor. This move was unprecedented. No other sitting president had ever done such a noble act.

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Besides the West Village, New York City has a plethora of incredible sites and other options for the LGBT traveler — Broadway, the Fashion District and Fire Island to name a few.

Of course, Provincetown, Mass., is a must to for the LGBT traveler. The Ptown was voted a Best LGBT Destination and is packed with so much to do that it can’t be contained here. One can dine, shop and play in this coastal resort that does not disappoint — bars galore, theatre, afternoon tea dances, plus a multitude of themed weekends complete the offering. One last note, do not forget their week-long Carnival that is replete with music, dance parties, inn strolls, boat cruises and more.

Kick back and take your shoes off in Key West, Fla. Photo Credit: virsuziglis, via Adobe Stock

Kick back and take your shoes off in Key West, Fla. Photo Credit: virsuziglis, via Adobe Stock

Key West, Fla., sports a plethora of activities year round in a tropical setting that is laid back and simply a charmer. Rent a bike and tour around the island, snorkel, fish, scuba dive, party, dine out, visit historical site and more.

Rocking across the U.S. to California, one can never miss San Francisco and Castro St. This area is replete with so much history and such a large concentration of LGBT individuals in one geographic area. The city is also the place where Councilmember Harvey Milk was killed and he has forever stood as an example and as a hero for justice. Don’t forget to visit Fisherman’s Warf to sample great seafood. And, be sure to get an iconic shot or selfie with the Golden Gate Bridge.

South of San Francisco is West Hollywood in Los Angeles. This urban location is filled with eclectic shops, residences and a young, energetic LGBT community who are trendsetters. In fact, it is considered one of the top LGBT vacation spots and is central to California nightlife. Nearly one-third of its population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It’s chock full of history, events, and its library hosts an LGBT literature and history archive. It’s a real emersion experience for any traveler.

Smack dab in the middle of the U.S., nestled in the mountains is LGBT-centric and friendly Eureka Springs, Ark. Photo Credit: Lainey Millen

Smack dab in the middle of the U.S., nestled in the mountains is LGBT-centric and friendly Eureka Springs, Ark. Photo Credit: Lainey Millen

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For those who want a more laid back and cozy experience, Eureka Springs, Ark., is the place to go. It’s a bit like Asheville, N.C., in that it is filled with artsy folks and is nestled in the Ozark Mountains. What it does not have, however, are gay bars. The community is so welcoming and open that there is no need for them. The area is considered a mecca for the LGBT community where acceptance comes with the “welcome package.” The LGBT community hosts four Diversity Weekends during the year where there is a parade, a Public Display of Affection (PDA) in the Park, parties, bar events, a lesbian motorcycle riders’ countryside bike tour, rainbow flags hanging off storefronts and businesses galore and more. And, there are a host of gay-owned bed and breakfast options, as well. See our previous coverage on this area at bit.ly/28V08K2.

Resources

Want to connect with LGBT travel agents, tour companies, etc.? Then look no further. Here is a list of some that should make travel and vacationing a real pleasure. Please note: we neither endorse nor certify these sites, locations, etc. Travelers should exercise caution whenever using any travel site, booking agency or tourism resource. Be sure to vet them first.

Travel and Tourism

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association is a great place to gather information, as well as tour options.
iglta.org/tours.

The Travel Channel has some great tips for making one’s vacation more pleasurable.
bit.ly/294B85q.

Foreign Travel

For information on vacationing abroad, visit the U.S. Department of State site at 1.usa.gov/278ZZfE for tips and requirements for LGBT travelers.
Others are: travelgayeurope.com, travelgayasia.com, furtherafield.com, ebab.com, gayhomestays.com.

Domestic Travel

There are a number of sites that feature and are dedicated to LGBT travel as listed below:
outtraveler.com, mrb&b.com, bnbfinder.com, purpleroofs.com, gayhomestays.com, airbnb.com.

Tour Books/Groups

gogirlguides.com, damron.com. hetravel.com, outadventures.com, ellgeebe.com, tototours.com.

LGBT and LGBT-friendly travel agencies

queertrip.com, discoversweet.com, cruisingwithpride.com, gogirlfriend.com, rfamilyvacations.com, olivia.com, manntravels.com, expedia.com, hotels.com, gayorbitz.com.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.