America’s Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

January 20, 2015 8:00 AM

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As more destinations are becoming more gay-friendly, many in the LGBT community are making plans and enjoying relaxing vacations where they can be themselves. Many cities in America welcome the gay community with open arms, making is possible for vacationers to enjoy time together and not be afraid to steal a kiss while overlooking the waterways or hold hands while touring the city.

Here are some of the best vacations destinations for both couples and singles in the LGBT community:

sanfran Americas Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

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San Francisco, California

San Francisco has been the epicenter for American gay culture ever since the iconic rainbow flag was raised over the newly renamed Castro District back in 1978. If you are looking to learn about the history behind the movement, you can visit the GLBT History Museum or spend time with area gays at local restaurants, bars or by taking tours. Top LGBT bars and restaurants in San Francisco include San Francisco Badlands, 440 Castro, Power House, Moby Dick, Catch Restaurant and Café Flore.

LGBT-friendly hotels in the area include the Carriage Inn, the Parker Guest House, Castro Suites and Brenalview Bed and Breakfast. Popular tours include Cruisin’ the Castro Walking Tours and Explore San Francisco.

This city by the bay definitely offers a community where gays can enjoy their time together and feel at home.

Related: Bay Area Ski and Snow Guide

Providence, Rhode Island

Proof that great things really do come in small packages, Providence has proven that even smalls towns make great vacation destinations for those in the LGBT community. This town offers everything artsy and offbeat, especially with more and more gay-friendly restaurants, bars, hotels and shopping venues opening. In Providence you will find several art galleries, theaters, live music venues and a lot of historical buildings, many of which date back to the late 1700s. Providence is also home to the annual illuminated nighttime parade that is part of Rhode Island’s Pride Week.

Gay-friendly bars and restaurants include the Mira BarThe Stable and Mediterraneo. Top gay-friendly hotels in Providence include Providence Biltmore and the Annie Brownell House.

new orlans skyline Americas Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

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New Orleans, Louisiana

Mostly known for the fun festivities that surround Mardi Gras, New Orleans has quickly climbed the ranks of becoming one of the more accepting vacation destinations for the LGBT community. This city has plenty of things to enjoy, including festivals, parades and lots of flamboyant costumes and decorations. New Orleans is also home to the Southern Decadence Festival, which is often referred to as “the gay Mardi Gras.” This festival occurs annually over the Labor Day weekend. Even when there is not a festival happening, the city gets very little sleep with most activities continuing around the clock.

In addition the festivals, New Orleans is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy the company of others who share the same interest as you. Top restaurants and bars in New Orleans include Clover Grill, Café du Monde, The Country Club, The Bourbon Pub and Parade, RawHide 2010 and Oz.

Gay-friendly hotels in New Orleans include the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, Harrah’s New Orleans, Hotel St. Pierre and Hotel Monteleone. Top tours in the area include French Market Tours and Cajun Encounters Tours.

Portland, Oregon

Definitely one of the funkiest cities on this list, Portland is one of the most eco- and gay-friendly vacation destinations in America. Though there is no specific gay district to explore in Portland, there are still plenty of things to do, including meeting new, laid-back people who will make you feel at home. This city is more popular among the ladies and is home to many lesbian clubs. However, men do not have to feel left out, because there is plenty there for the men to do too.

Top bars and restaurants among the LGBT community include CC Slaughters, Eagle Portland, Silverado, The Roxy Diner and the Cup and Saucer. Some of the best gay-friendly hotels in the area include Ace Hotel, The Nines and Hotel Rose.

miami sky Americas Best LGBT Vacation Destinations

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Miami, Florida

Nothing beats a tropical getaway and Miami is top on the list for the best LBGT vacation destinations in the Southeast United States. If you are looking for a party, Miami is the place where you will find wild weekends and exciting activities throughout the city. While in Miami, head to the South Beach area where you will find nightclubs, fancy restaurants, bars, live entertainment venues and so much more. Do not forget to stop at the LGBT Visitor Center, which is also located in the South Beach area.

Top bars and restaurants in the Miami area include Twist, Score, Big Pink and Spris. Gay-friendly hotels include Hotel Nash, The National and Hotel Gaythering. Then once you are done exploring everything Miami has to offer, Fort Lauderdale, another great LGBT vacation destination, is just to the north.

Related: Fort Lauderdale Named Top Travel Spot for LGBT Community

If you are having trouble finding a fun, exciting and gay-friendly vacation destination for your next getaway, consider one of the above listed cities. These cities are not only popular among those in the LGBT community, but they offer plenty of things to do, see and experience while feeling comfortable being yourself.

Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.

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