There is really never a wrong time to gather your pennies and take your bae on a vacation. You get boo-loving time with a cute person, a fun adventure in a new place, and a break from the exhausting grind of daily life. Ideally, you should go somewhere where you don’t have to worry about your safety as a queer person—aka lesbian-friendly travel destinations—and where you can instead focus on your bae and be gay as hell without a care in the world. I like to call this a “gay-ass baecation.”
Here are 11 lesbian-friendly travel destinations for you to take your bae on a gay-ass trip! These lesbian vacation spots run the gamut from low-budget to splurges, depending on how many pennies you end up gathering.
You and your bae can thank me later.
Vancouver, British Columbia
If you want to escape from the US but don’t want to go THAT far away, head up north to Vancouver, a lovely metropolis on the west coast of Canada. Here are some things to love about Vancouver: 1) It has beaches. 2) It has an active lesbian community. 3) It’s a big city, so there’s something for everyone in terms of culture and entertainment.
If you want more of a rural vibe, check out Salt Spring Island, a small island in British Columbia that is “one of Canada’s favorite vacation spots among lesbians,” according to TripSavvy. Spa day, anyone?
There are several gay-friendly destinations in Mexico, but Guadalajara might just be the most gay-friendly of them all. There are gay bars, queer couples showing PDA, and one of the largest Pride events in Latin America (Guadalajara Pride in June).
Guadalajara is the second-biggest city in Mexico, after Mexico City. Like the rest of the country, you can have a great time there for remarkably little money. The area is famous for mariachi music and tequila. Travelers also love to hit up outdoor markets, visit ancient ruins, and check out the nearby national park.
Costa Rica’s allure pretty much speaks for itself; the country’s natural wonders and “Pura Vida” attitude tend to stick with visitors for the rest of their lives. It’s a favorite travel destination among queer people because the culture is pretty gay-friendly for an old-school Catholic country, made evident by the fact that the legislation is finally catching up. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled against the country’s gay marriage ban, and gay marriage will be legal by 2020 (hooray!).
Lesbian travel blogger Jen writes that, although Costa Rica is no San Francisco in terms of openness, it’s a safe and accepting place for lesbians to travel.
Some popular gay-friendly destinations in Costa Rica include San Jose (which has a lesbian bar), Quepos, and the beaches along the Nicoya Peninsula.
Hudson, New York
New York City is arguably the gay mecca of the United States—which is cool and all—but sometimes you want to focus more on your bae’s cute collarbones than the hustle and bustle of the city. Just a couple hours north of New York, there’s a tiny city called Hudson. It’s a trendy spot amongst New Yorkers nowadays, because it’s small and quaint and yet full of culture. Go antique shopping, visit the local art galleries, and stroll along the Hudson River for a sleepy (and affordable) weekend getaway.
Iceland has an entire travel agency dedicated to LGBT travelers, called Pink Iceland, so that should tell you everything you need to know about how gay-friendly the country is! They even elected the world’s first openly lesbian head of state, former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Iceland is also quite an affordable place to travel, compared to other European countries.
In terms of both the culture and the activities, there’s no place quite like it. Visiting in the summer is probably best unless you looove the cold. But, then again, you could catch the northern lights if you go in the winter! Very romantic.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a special city. It features world-class dining, architecture, and art, but it’s also a traditional place where you can visit a quiet Buddhist temple or an ancient palace. The country may not be famous for its queer-friendliness, but Seoul is apparently brimming with lesbian and gay folk. It has a strong lesbian “scene,” with multiple lesbian bars to choose from.
Taos, New Mexico
For a desert getaway, consider Taos, a small and free-spirited town in New Mexico. It’s known for its gorgeous landscape, ancient adobe buildings, and historic arts scene. (The town was actually originally founded as an arts colony!) Go for the views, stay for the ridiculously beautiful desert/mountain landscape and the refreshing ~bohemian~ energy. Also, in the winter, Taos becomes an awesome ski resort.
Lost River, West Virginia
Another small-town lesbian getaway is Lost River, which sounds so quaint and idyllic that it can’t possibly be a real place, and yet it is! Lost River is a small, rural town of only 2500 people that the New York Times calls a “gay retreat.” The town is about two hours west of DC, and it has somehow become a go-to weekend getaway spot for lesbian and gay people in the city. If you want a woodsy, cabin life type of baecation, this is the place to be. Go horseback riding, take a hike in the forest, or just lounge in the swimming pool.
Because sometimes you just need to go to Hawaii. The beach! The sun! The animals! The food!
Maui has been popular with queer travelers for some time now, as they hosted a ton of queer destination weddings after passing the Marriage Equality Act in 2013. Hawaii is known as one of the most expensive states in the country, but it’s definitely possible to do Maui on a budget if you plan ahead—it’s well worth it to admire your bae’s butt on a picture-perfect Hawaiian beach.
Ogunquit is a tiny village by the ocean that also happens to be “one of New England’s leading gay resort communities.” GO Mag even profiled the town years ago!
Ogunquit is just an hour and a half from Boston, and less than 30 minutes from Portland, Maine (also a gay-friendly city!). There are plenty of gay-owned places to stay and drink and eat with your bae. You can hang out at the beach, eat more lobster than you could ever dream of, and catch a show at the famed summer theater. It’s an affordable vacation spot year-round.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is often considered the most LGBTQ-friendly city on the continent of Africa. The city has many gay-friendly bars, restaurants, and hotels, and the general atmosphere is one of open-mindedness. The city itself is a stunning expanse of art, culture, and delicious food, and it’s surrounded by mountains, beaches, and wineries. A plane ticket to South Africa can be pricey, but the actual city isn’t very expensive at all.
There are SO many lesbian-friendly destinations that it’s impossible to list them all. What’s your favorite?