It’s not hard to love this hamlet on the tip of Cape Cod. Great New England cuisine, sunny beaches, and thriving nightlife in the summer attract a diverse, friendly range of queer folks from every walk of life.
Fire Island, N.Y. There’s nothing like the sense of calm that washes over visitors to this island—especially after they’ve spent the previous two and half hours rushing through Penn Station to catch the train(s) to Sayville, the van to the ferry terminal, and then the boat to the island -- finally. It’s never easy to get here -- whether you’re going to Cherry Grove or the Pines. But that’s part of what makes this place so special.
New Orleans, La. The Crescent City is always swinging, but it packs a little extra punch Labor Day Weekend, when the LGBT crowd -- and let’s be honest, mostly the men -- hit the streets for the Carnival-like atmosphere of Southern Decadence.
Saugatuck, Mich. Dubbed the "Cape Cod of the Midwest," the diminutive twin towns of Saugatuck and Douglas are a gay-friendly haven on the languid shores of Lake Michigan. These resort towns boast all the quaintness and lack of pretense of small-town America -- along with a surprising diversity and tolerance, a thriving artistic community, and a very visible gay presence. Saugatuck attracts mainly those from nearby Chicago, though you'll see visitors from throughout the Midwest.
Berlin, Germany This city and its residents pour onto its streets, and into its main park, the Tiergarten,” in summer. For a little R&R, be sure to check out the Tunten Wiese or “Queens Meadow,” where many gay people sunbathe nude (as Germans often do in public places). The meadow is just southwest of the golden, angelic Victory column.
Russian River, Calif. “The River,” as San Franciscans call it, is a more rustic summer retreat than other more popular gay-resort destinations. The emphasis at the Russian River is on the great outdoors, with river beaches and towering redwoods as the primary attraction. Bears, of the human variety, take over at the end of the July for the annual Lazy Bear Weekend.
Palm Springs, Calif. While there’s no beach here—there’s always plenty of heat. Have no fear, though. As the mercury soars over 100, air conditioning, swimming pools, mist machines, and low/off-season hotel rates will help keep you cool.
Mykonos, Greece This little Greek island has so long been a gay favorite it’s easy to forget it exists. It has a suitably camp pedigree too: Legend has is that Zeus fought a Titan here, and the isle is named after Mykons, the grandson of Apollo.
Rehoboth Beach, Del. Along the Atlantic coast in often-overlooked Delaware sits gay-popular Rehoboth Beach—one square mile of cottages, grand mansions, and sparkling sands. The town's boardwalk connects 75 eateries and gourmet restaurants (many gay-owned), including the pioneering Back Porch Café, which welcomed a gay group back in 1974. The town includes lodging options for all budgets, a surprisingly vibrant nightlife for such a small community, arts, events, and, of course, and the all-important beach.
Laguna Beach, Calif. This sandy spot lost a lot of its luster when its fabled gay bar the Boom Boom Room shut down for good several years ago. But Los Angelinos—who are hurting for a good beach of their own—still carpool to West Street Beach to catch some waves, rays, and to watch the surfers and skim boarders.