KEY WEST, FLORIDA Key West is a gay mecca. It was one of the first places in the U.S. to elect an openly gay mayor (Richard A. Heyman in 1983). With its thriving gay nightlife scene, large local LGBTQ population and a number of gay-friendly guesthouses, this destination is all about queer inclusiveness. Check out Island House, a men’s-only, clothing optional property that OUT Traveler called, “The Best Gay Resort In The World.”
MAUI Since the 2013 passing of the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act, Maui has been a popular pick for same-sex destination weddings and honeymoons. For queer travelers in search of sun and surf, check out the weekly beach party at Little Beach in Makena each Sunday for clothing-optional fun. Or plan to visit the first weekend in October for Maui Pride.
MYKONOS, GREECE Mykonos has long been an escape for well-heeled gays. In addition to wild club and beach parties that happen almost every night during high season (July to early September), the island is home to several LGBTQ-friendly hotspots, including Jackie O’s and Kastro. By day, gay sun worshippers flock to Elia Beach.
PHUKET, THAILAND Thailand is a welcoming country for LGBTQ travelers. Phuket has a host of gayfriendly resorts — Mom Tri’s Villa Royale is a favorite — and occasionally hosts dance parties like TropOut. The Patong area, aka “Paradise Plaza” area has a small, but robust party, go-go bar and massage parlor scene.
PUERTO RICO Puerto Rico is often considered the gay-friendlyest island in all of the Caribbean. The nightlife in San Juan is bar none, with most of the LGBTQ scene centering around the popular Condado oceanfront district. Be sure to stop by Circo, a small but hip venue that packs in crowds for dancing, go-go boys and elaborate Drag shows. Same-sex marriage is also legal here, making it a hot spot for destination weddings.
SABA Although this Dutch Antilles island may be tiny and isolated (5 square miles!), it’s one of the Caribbean’s most gay-friendly destinations. Its population of 1,500 welcome LGBTQ travelers, who come primarily for the island’s scuba adventures. Book through gay tour operators Alyson Adventures and Undersea Expeditions. Saba is perfect for gay travelers looking for a low-key alternative to the usual island party atmosphere. TAHITI Famous for its black-sand beaches, the largest island in French Polynesia is welcoming to gay visitors. There are a handful of locations in Papeete that attract gay visitors, including the risqué Mahu District, where strip clubs and drag shows abound. Be sure to stop by The Piano Bar, which combines the best of both worlds into unforgettable performances. Islands.com
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