Traveling should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience for everyone. Unfortunately, for LGBTQ+ individuals, couples, or families, there are still often challenges to overcome – especially if you’re traveling to different states or countries.
Cultural differences and laws can prevent you from enjoying certain destinations entirely, while other issues can arise from attitudes that vary state by state. No one wants to feel that kind of tension while trying to enjoy a vacation.
By doing a bit of research ahead of time, you can find safe, friendly spaces for your vacation. Understanding laws in different locations is just the start. There are plenty of places across the country—and the globe—that host big LGBTQ+ events and businesses that cater to all communities.
If you’re trying to plan a solo vacation, a romantic getaway for you and your partner, or a fun family trip, let’s cover some of the top LGBTQ+ friendly destinations across the world that will welcome you with open arms.
Las Vegas, NV
It’s probably no surprise that Las Vegas makes this list. It’s known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” with countless activities to enjoy on the Las Vegas Strip, including:
- Magic shows
- Concerts—Cher and Celine, anyone?
- Art attractions;
- Madame Tussauds famous wax museum
In addition to the casinos and shows, there are also plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy on the strip, including SeaQuest and the Eiffel Tower Experience. Las Vegas also has many family-friendly hotels that will allow you and your kids to enjoy a safe and comfortable environment in the heart of the city.
While Vegas may get stereotyped as a place for singles or couples, it’s a great place to bring the entire family when you plan a few activities ahead of time.
West Hollywood, CA
West Hollywood is home to some of the most iconic LGBTQ+ friendly businesses in the country. If you want to cut loose and enjoy some of the best nightlife you’ve ever experienced, you can’t go wrong with notable locations like The Abbey and Fiesta Cantina.
To top it off, you can “dine like a local” by beginning your day—or ending your night—at the famous Hamburger Mary’s. It’s been an LGBTQ+ friendly location for years and is so much more than just a tourist attraction.
New York City, NY
New York has long been known for its inclusivity. In addition to being home to countless LGBTQ+ friendly businesses, you can enjoy some of the best inclusive events in the country depending on when you go.
New York City is famously home to the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. While that was a horrific event, one of the best Pride celebrations in the country is now celebrated around that time each year. There are parades and festivals for an entire week in June – a perfect way to kick off your summer.
If you’re looking for something more low-key and relaxing for your whole family, whisk yourself away to paradise in Kauai, HI.
While Kauai isn’t specifically known for having a dedicated “LGBTQ+ scene,” it’s one of the most inclusive Hawaiian islands and has a low-key, welcoming atmosphere. If your idea of family fun or relaxation is hanging out on the beach and interacting with locals, you won’t regret jet-setting to the tropics.
Speaking of inclusive tropical locations, Costa Rica is the first international option on our list. You can enjoy unforgettable scuba diving, fine dining, beautiful golf courses and the most relaxing spas in the world.
Costa Rica is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in the world thanks to the laws they have in place to protect those in the community from discrimination. Anywhere you go within the country, you’ll be treated with kindness and acceptance from the locals.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Los Cabos is known as one of the most inclusive areas in Mexico. It’s a popular Spring Break hangout, but it’s also a tropical paradise for LGBTQ+ singles and couples.
One of the best things about Los Cabos is that it has something to appeal to almost everyone. You can relax on the beach, enjoy a vibrant nightlife scene and experience world-class dining. At the end of each day, you can go back to a beach-front resort and sleep in until the smell of the ocean and the sound of lazy lapping waves wakes you up.
If you’re looking for something less tropical but just as memorable, consider a trip to London. It’s one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the world.
In addition to countless unique hangouts, inclusive restaurants, and an unforgettable party scene, London has an enormous Pride festival each year – with crowds reaching over 500,000.
Even if you’re not specifically looking for LGBTQ+ friendly activities, London is rich with culture and history and is a fantastic destination for a family vacation.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand has been touted worldwide for its friendliness and inclusivity. Auckland is particularly special thanks to its large LGBTQ+ population. There are over 57,000 Auckland citizens in the LGBTQ+ community.
The scene is widely visible, so whether you have planned activities or not, you’ll enjoy feeling comfortable and welcomed warmly, wherever you go.
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Speaking of which, you’ll never run out of enjoyable activities. Whether you’re a nature lover and want to take in the beautiful landscapes, or you enjoy “tourist attractions” and want to check out the Sky Tower, there’s something for everyone in Auckland.
Taiwan might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering a gay-friendly vacation. However, it is the first place in the continent of Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s also ranked 34th in the world—and second in Asia—in a gay happiness index based on the experiences of over 115,000 men across the globe.
Taipei is incredibly friendly, inclusive, and open to all forms of creative expression. It’s one of the most unique locations on our list, but if you love art, culture and beauty, it’s a wonderful destination for a solo trip.
Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is known for its beautiful landscapes, incredible wildlife, and cultural diversity.
The city is home to several notable Pride events throughout the year, including an entire festival in February/March and the Out in Africa Film Festival every fall.
Cape Town offers a little bit of everything, from beautiful landmarks to incredible shopping, dining, and nightlife experiences. Whether you’re planning a trip for yourself, you and your partner, or the whole family, you’ll enjoy a welcoming atmosphere everywhere you go.
If you hadn’t already started planning your next vacation, we hope you have some destination ideas now! Choosing any one of these locations will help to ensure you have an inviting and unforgettable trip – and, perhaps a new “regular” vacation spot.