LGBTQ Tourism Guide: Resources and destinations for 2021 

  • By: Nikita
  • Date: June 30, 2021
  • Time to read: 9 min.

If you want to travel across the globe in search of Pride events and glamorous parties and the diverse LGBTQ community, it opens up a whole new world of things to do, explore and experience. Whether you are a gay family who travels or a solo traveler,  here’s a compilation of best destinations, top events, plenty of resources, and everything you need to know to plan a successful Gaycation in 2021. 

What is LGBTQ Tourism? 

The idea behind the concept is to create more inclusive and diverse experiences at various destinations for LGBTQ travelers. 

According to IGLTA, The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, “LGBTQ tourism refers to the development and marketing of tourism products and services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people”.

The diverse LGBTQ community is always looking for different experiences when they travel. Some prefer events and spaces (cafes, bars, and restaurants) designed specifically with LGBTQ travelers in mind. Others may look for openness towards LGBTQ travelers so that they will be welcomed and respected. 

Each individual is looking for something unique on a trip, with LGBTQ Tourism we can expand the horizon of travel

How to Find LGBTQ-friendly Accommodation

Finding LGBTQ-friendly hotels, Airbnb or hostels may not be as hard as it was a decade ago but finding a place where you feel safe and protected is still tricky. However, some prime hotel chains actively supported the LGBTQ community by sponsoring Pride events around the world, running campaigns for the cause, and training their staff to be more inclusive 

There are gay-specific websites like Rainbow World Hotels, Purple Roofs, and MisterBNB where you find properties that offer gay-friendly accommodation. But in most cases, you find the same listing on mainstream booking sites for cheaper prices. So do your research before you book from these websites. 

The mainstream hotels are becoming more inclusive towards the LGBTQ community and you can get great deals in most cities in the USA and Europe. 

How to Meet Other LGBTQ Travelers

It is a lot easier to find Gay travelers with apps like Grindr and HER. Meeting new people and finding your vibe is a huge part of traveling. Though we don’t have to let our sexuality define who we meet, there’s nothing better than finding an LGBTQ community, friends, and events. It makes the trip more interesting and memorable. Here are some places where you meet new people and find your community: 

Apps 

There are various apps where you can meet people, find hangout spots, parties, and events: 

Grindr

Grindr is one of the biggest resources to meet new people. The location-based hookup app for gay men has changed the way we find love, friends, and more connections. It also makes it easier to meet locals when you’re abroad. There’s nothing like a local showing you around and taking you to the most happening gay locations.
Some other useful apps to meet people are:

Networking Groups

Couchsurfing was one of the easiest places to meet other LGBTQ travelers and locals. With the wide hosting network of Couchsurfing, it was easy to find a community of people who understand your identity and your interests. 

Meetup.com has several dedicated queer-themed/ LGBTQ groups for all major destinations. These groups are a great way to meet other travelers to share stories and experiences, specific interests, and even support. 

StartOut is an entrepreneurship networking event in various American cities. They have events, forum discussions, mentorship support in various destinations throughout the year. It could be an interactive way to start networking and building your business. 

Facebook groups and Instagram Hashtags are also a great way to connect with other gay people and know what they are planning or doing. These groups could also lead to a well-planned group tour. 

Top 5 US destinations for LGBTQ Travel in 2021 

1. Los Angeles 

Los Angeles is the ultimate playground for travelers with its eternal sunshine, vibrant lifestyle, and massive gay population.

2. NYC, New York State 

New York City is one of the safest and best places to find active gay scenes. Urban parties and hip scenes. 

3. Miami, Florida 

Miami is the “Gay Riviera” of the East Coast of the USA. Be it the clubs or the beaches, the parties and cafes, South Beach or SoBe is the heart of Gay Miami.

4. Palm Springs, California  

Palm Springs is also known as the new Gay Mecca. The laid-back city with an active adventure scene attracts people from all over the world. 

5. Charleston, South Carolina

A town with rich history and culture, Charleston has a thriving gay community and plenty of gay-friendly businesses.

LGBTQ Travel Inspiration and Resources 

There are various sources to find specific and up-to-date information about a destination. You can also go to local get-togethers and join virtual meetups to find information about a country, state, or place. Here’s a comprehensive list of helpful LGBTQ travel resources. 

Travel Blogs and Vlogs 

Travel blogs and vlogs are perfect for destination-specific information. It’s easier to find LGBTQ-centred travel blogs and vlogs catering to your needs and preferences. Some of the most popular blogs will help pick a destination, plan a tour and meet the gay community in new cities and abroad. 

Websites 

There are some websites dedicated to LGBTQ travel that publish detailed travel guides for various destinations. Some top websites are: 

  • GayCities.com – Find the interesting bars, tonight’s events, great restaurants, shops, and more around the world. 
  • LGBTQnation.com – Latest LGBTQ news, information, trends and more 
  • Out Traveler – Up-to-date LGBTQ city guides.
  • AfterEllen – Lesbian travel guides.
  • TravelGay – City guides for destinations around the world.
  • Equaldex – Find safe cities with LGBTQ rights around to world 

IGLTA 

IGLTA, The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, has some very customized travel suggestions and you can find useful information in the “Plan Your Trip” of their website. 

It’s a great place to find LGBTQ-specific things to do on your trip.

Facebook Groups 

Facebook has tons of public groups and resources dedicated to LGBTQ Tourism. You can join the regional networking groups to meet locals in a new city. Some of the best groups to find information on Facebook are: 

The List of Top Events and Pride Fests to Attend in 2021 

July 

1. Hotter than July, Detroit  

Celebrating Detroit’s Black LGBTQ+ community and performing artists. Events, virtual picnics, competitions, interactive sessions, and a lively event of festivities and more.
Dates: July 23rd to 25th 2021 (Virtual event on Facebook)

2.  Art of Pride, San Diego 

An on-site exhibition to showcase the works of LGBTQ artists reflecting the Spirit of the Resilient LGBTQ Community hosted by San Diego Pride. 

There are several other events hosted by San Diego Pride all year round. Check them out on their website.
Dates: July 9th, 2021
Venue: San Diego Pride Office

3.  Pride London Festival, London 

Hosting and coordinating pride week and annual mosaic of cultural events in London that celebrates empowers and supports the diverse community of LGBTQIA people through events like pageants, dramas, musicals, and more.
Dates: July 15th – 25th 2021

4. L Fest, Llandudno 

“A festival with a strong sense of community, respect, fun, and friendship with a great variety of things to do, suitable for all ages and abilities”
Dates: July 22nd – 24th 2022 (The event has been postponed due to the pandemic)

August 

1. Reykjavik Pride Parade 2021

The Reykjavik Pride needs some preparation! It organizes a show by the participants where each group conveys a message addressing the reality of the LGBTQ community. Becoming the best group carries its perks in this fabulous event.
Date-  August 7th at 2 pm 

2. Montréal Pride Festival

With the theme “Together for All”, this year, the festival is aiming for further inclusivity and is making the event accessible both online and in-person. The festival this year will feature over 70 hours of content including conferences and live performances.
Date – August 9th – 15th 2021 

3. Eugene Pride, Oregon

Eugene Pride is all about the appreciation of the diversity and the uniqueness that makes the LGBTQ community vibrant. The celebration is family and pet friendly with live entertainment, food and drinks, local vendors, and tons of family activities in the lineup.
Date- August 14th, 2021
Venue – Alton Baker Park

September 

1.Blue Ridge Pride Festival, Asheville

Features regional musicians and artists along, hundreds of vendors showcasing amazing food, clothes, accessories, and organizations raising awareness towards the LGBTQ community.
Date – September 25th, 2021
Venue – Downtown Asheville 

2. Pride in Surrey

The parade through the quaint town of Godalming and the main event is a host to unmatched entertainment comprising local talent, food, drinks, music, and the youth zone for family activities and to support and advise the younger members of the community.
Dates – September 25th, 2021
Venue – Godalming Town, Surrey

3. Key West’s Womenfest, Florida

The five-day extravaganza of Womenfest is true to its goal of celebrating ‘All Women’. It is one of the prime LGBTQ events of the year. All ages 21 and over can participate in this event with the widest range of activities including visits to museums, food and wine tours, adventure tours, and water activities.
Dates- September 1st-5th, 2021

October 

  1. Las Vegas PRIDE 2021

The Annual Las Vegas PRIDE Night Parade by the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada is one of the most glamourous events of the month celebrating the diversity of the community and welcomes everyone for a day of celebration and frolicking.
Date – October 8th – 9th, 2021
Venue – Craig Ranch Regional Park, North Las Vegas

2.Spencer Pride Festival, Indiana

Spencer Pride Festival is a unique celebration as the largest rural LGBTQ gathering in Indiana and being a complete family-focused festival, and featuring a Pet Pride Parade! The festival features hundreds of booths in the marketplace with a wide variety of festival food and drinks, merchandise, and live local entertainment.
Date – October 16th, 2021 

 3. Pacific Northwest Black Pride, Seattle 

The theme of the 2021 PNW Black Pride is ‘Stronger Together Fighting: Anti-Blackness – Centering Black Trans Lives”. It focuses on the celebration of diversity, solidarity, and removal of prejudices and biases against the community everywhere. This year, digital inclusion is in key focus with several online events lined up.
Dates- October 29th -31st 2021 

4. Savannah Pride Weekend

The three-day event includes a unique queer Masquerade, Pride Parade, and Festival. The whole event features amazing costumes and drag balls, music, performances, and food and drink, arts and crafts, and of course, the Savannah Halloween!
Dates – October 28th -30th, 2021.
Venue – Ellis Square and First City Pride Center, Savannah

November 

1. Circuit Festival Miami 2021

Miami circuit festival is a perfect Thanksgiving getaway with five nights of multiple events and parties accompanied by the best DJs
Dates –  November 25th -29th 2021

2. The Phoenix Pride Parade

The parade features over 150 entertainment performances across its six stages, hundreds of exhibitors showcase an unending variety of food and shopping options and dance pavilion, kid space, community stages amongst several others.
Dates – November 6th & 7th, 2021
Venue – Steele Indian School Park

3.  Palm Springs Pride – 35th Anniversary Celebration

Southern California’s Palm Springs Pride Festival is an unmissable celebration with its unending presence of diverse artists and entertainers, food and beverage stations, vendors dealing with a variety of items, children’s headquarters, Youth Zone by Safe Schools Desert Cities, and HIV/AIDS testing by getting Tested Coachella Valley.
Dates – Nov 1st- 7th, 2021
Theme for 2021:  “You Are Included”
Venue – Palm Canyon Dr between Amado and Tahquitz

December  

1. White Party Bangkok 2021

Celebrate the arrival of the new year with a spectacular fun-filled gay circuit party with the best DJs and mesmerizing audiovisual productions along with pool parties and various events. It is one of the biggest New Year’s Eve festivals in Asia for the gay community.
Dates: December 31st, 2021- January 1st, 2022
(Please check the venue or event’s own website for the latest information.)

LGBTQ Tourism is not much different than planning a regular vacation. Basic planning starts like any other holiday but there are some extra elements that you must consider before planning. The world is a more welcoming place now and it’s easier to stand with your identity, so just pick a destination, pack your bags and fly! 

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