The Best LGBTQ-Inclusive Vacation Spots For 2023
It’s that time of year again: you (barely) survived winter, spring is in fling, and you’re dreaming about putting on your tiny speedo, sipping a Dirty Shirley, and working on your tan. But, where can you go on vacation and have a gay ol’ time while also staying safe?
With a record number of anti-LGBTQ laws being introduced across the United States and other extreme bills getting passed around the globe, it’s no wonder queer people are especially vigilant about their safety right now. Whether you’re traveling alone, with your partner, or with friends, worrying about the reception of your sexuality on vacation is the last thing that should be on your mind, but the reality is that the LGBTQ community has to take extra precautions when traveling. Can you kiss in public? Does the government protect LGBTQ rights? And uh…where’s the best place to cruise?
Have no fear, we’ve scoured the globe to find the 8 hottest summer vacation spots for 2023. Not only are these gems safe for LGBTQ travelers but they’re also some of the dreamiest summer getaways that we could find. Whether you’re looking for a beach day, wild nightlife, the countries with the most tops, or an adventure in the great outdoors (public play), there are plenty of LGBTQ-friendly destinations to explore while staying safe and true to yourself.
*Of course, these are just suggestions and you should always do your own research when traveling.
Spain is known for its vibrant LGBTQ community and progressive views, so it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe. The epicenter of the queer community is in Madrid, with one of the world’s most iconic pride festivals as well as tons of gay-friendly bars and clubs to dance the night away (we personally adore LL Bar). For your stay, we recommend the gay neighborhood of Chueca which holds most of the must-visit gay bars as well as a plethora of gay-friendly hotels. While you’re in the neighborhood, definitely check out Museo Chicote, though it’s *technically* not a gay bar, it’s the oldest cocktail bar in Spain and one of Hemingway’s classic haunts. Madrid is the perfect mix of Old World Europe and contemporary gay culture, and an absolute must for those traveling through Europe over the summer.
- Equaldex Score: 84
- Pride Dates: June 23rd - July 1st
- Favorite Gay Bar: LL Bar
- Grindr Unwrapped: Most Explored Cities
Australia is more than just the country that exports Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue, it’s also a huge vacation destination for gay travelers—in fact, they just hosted a massive WorldPride this year in Sydney. If you can survive the air travel—a whopping 22-hour flight from NYC—then you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of gay bars, nightclubs, beaches, and more to make your trip well worth it. Are you a big fan of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert? Then make sure to stop at the iconic The Imperial Erskineville where it was filmed. Outside of the nightlife, Sydney is famous for its stunning harbor and iconic landmarks, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
- Equaldex Score: 84
- Pride Dates: Feb 17th - March 3rd
- Favorite Gay Bar: Universal
- Grindr Unwrapped: Highest % Sides
For something off the beaten path, consider a trip to the magical city of Reykjavik. We all know Iceland is known for its picturesque landscapes, stunning glaciers, warm hot springs, and Björk, but it also has a progressive and inclusive culture that celebrates diversity. Reykjavik is the hub of the Icelandic LGBTQ community, with a thriving queer scene and several lively gay bars and clubs to explore—well, okay so it’s more like one gay club (Kiki Queer Bar) and tons of gay-ish bars that straight people also frequent. For the more adventurous traveler, check out the dormant Þríhnúkagígur volcano (don’t ask me how to pronounce it), the Blue Lagoon, or see the famous Black Sand Beach from Game of Thrones.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…um…Canada? Yes, Canada. First of all, Brooklyn Hytes is from Canada so have some respect. Canada has more to offer than just friendly people and beautiful scenery, it also has friendly gay people and gay scenery. For a taste of Europe without leaving North America, Montreal is an excellent choice. This French-speaking city is known for its incredible food, charming neighborhoods, and vibrant arts scene. And of course, Montreal is also home to a large LGBTQ community, with plenty of queer-friendly bars, clubs, and events throughout the summer. Make sure to check out their gay neighborhood, Gay Village, which turns into a pedestrian-only thoroughfare during the summer months. If you’re looking for a classic tourist destination, consider a visit to the Montreal Botanical Garden, which is said to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world (c’est bon).
Mexico City, Mexico
If you’re looking to vacation on a budget, look no further than Mexico City. This sun-soaked metropolis is a haven for LGBTQ travelers, with a diverse community, a sprawling gay neighborhood (Zona Rosa), and dollar cervezas around every corner, it’s no wonder this spot is one of the top ten most visited LGBTQ destinations in Latin America. The heart of the city is the Zona Rosa neighborhood which boasts bars, discos, and LGBTQ-friendly hotels. When the Mexican sun starts to make you sweat, check out the local So.Do.Me bathhouse to cool off…or heat up even more.
- Equaldex Score: 78
- Pride Dates: June 23rd - June 25th
- Favorite Gay Bar: Tom’s Leather Bar
- Grindr Unwrapped: Most Explored Cities
The Netherlands is a super progressive country known for its liberal attitude towards sex and drugs…need we say more? The country has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights and was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage. Amsterdam is the most popular destination for LGBTQ travelers and is home to their eclectic queer community. The city’s famous drag scene is not to be missed, try Club NYX for newer queens, and don’t miss drag legend Miss Dolly Bellefleur’s “Dolly’s Disco Bingo” while you’re in town. For those looking for more traditional tourist attractions check out the Homomonument, the Anne Frank House, and the Rijksmuseum. Oh and skip the Red Light District, it’s mostly for straights.
Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, the birthplace of democracy, and also the home to Lindsay Lohan’s Mykonos Beach Club (unfortunately closed). Yes, Greece is the epicenter of Western culture and now the epicenter of gay party culture. If you’re looking for a beach vacation with a party atmosphere, Mykonos is the spot. This Greek island has stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lively nightlife. Mykonos itself has a large LGBTQ community, and many of the bars and clubs in the island’s main town are LGBTQ-friendly. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the island’s history and culture, from ancient ruins to traditional villages. When looking at hotels try and find a spot near Elia Beach, Mykonos’s unofficial gay beach that also happens to be clothing optional, you’ll thank us later.
- Equaldex Score: 62
- Pride Dates: August 16th - 23rd
- Favorite Gay Bar: Jackie O’
- Grindr Unwrapped: Highest % of Tops
Known as the “gay capital of the US,” Provincetown is a charming coastal town located at the tip of Cape Cod. With a vibrant nightlife scene, a plethora of LGBTQ-owned businesses, and a picturesque beach, it’s no wonder that Provincetown is a top vacation spot for queer folks. The town is also home to a number of LGBTQ events throughout the summer, including the Provincetown International Film Festival and the Carnival Parade. One of our favorite highlights during the summer is going to Tea at Boatslip, it’s where everyone goes to meet new people, get a pre-dinner buzz, and watch the incredible Cape Cod sunsets.