We’re celebrating Pride Month and the start of summer with our roundup of the best vacation destinations for LGBTQ+ families.
Read on, get inspired, and get packing!
LGBTQ+ parents know that they struggle with many of the same issues as their straight counterparts–getting their kids to eat better, trying to understand new math, and picking where to go for a great family vacation.
They also know that they are not alone. The number of LGBT families in the U.S. is growing rapidly. According to a study by Community Marketing, Inc., between 6% and 29% of LGBTQ Gen-Xers report having a child under the age of 18 living in their home. The study also found that there is a significant number of LGBT Baby Boomers who have grandchildren.
While there is no easy answer on how to get the kids to like broccoli or how to solve 2 + 2 in fifteen steps, the specific question about where to go for a great family vacation is becoming easier to answer as more destinations across the U.S. are family-friendly, gay-friendly, and LGBT-friendly. Here are 10 vacation destinations topping the list with that winning combination.
An earlier version of this article first appeared June 1, 2017, which has since been updated. This post may contain affiliate links.
1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Twenty-three miles of stunning beaches is one of the main reasons the Greater Fort Lauderdale area is a top family travel destinations. In addition to the surf and sand, Fort Lauderdale offers many family friendly attractions ranging from the Museum of Discovery & Science to Butterfly World. Visiting LGBT families can take added comfort in knowing that this southern Florida paradise is also home to one of the largest concentrations of same-sex couple households in the U.S. More tips & resources for your trip: http://www.sunny.org
Related: See our story Into the Everglades: A Post-Hurricane Airboat Adventure at Sawgrass Recreation Park.
2. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is not just the entertainment capital of the world, it is also an awesome family-friendly destination. A child’s imagination will soar at the sight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center or travel in time inside the spectacular Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. There is also the always fun Universal Studios Hollywood that includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
For some LGBT immersing, you can plan some sightseeing with Out & About Tours, which offers walking and driving tours that focus on LA’s LGBTQ history, and visit the nearby city of West Hollywood, which has a large LGBT population and many friendly retail shops and restaurants. More tips & resources for your trip: www.discoverlosangeles.com
Related: See our Los Angeles with Kids – California Family Vacation Guide and also Catalina Island with Kids.
3. New York City, New York
From Broadway shows to world-class museums to famed parks and gardens, New York City is a giant playground for visitors of all ages. In addition to kid-friendly attractions such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Statue of Liberty, a must-see attraction and important learning opportunity is the Stonewall National Monument located at the historic site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising that helped spark the modern LGBT civil rights movement in the U.S.
More tips & resources for your trip: https://www.nycgo.com/
4. Orlando, Florida
Dubbed the theme park capital of the world, Orlando attracts more than 60 million visitors annually. Disney, which received a perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index that provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to LGBT employees and customers, operates five of the city’s top parks.
Needless to say, most if not all of them are on the travel bucket list for most families–including LGBTQ families planning that ultimate theme park vacation. More tips & resources for your trip: https://www.visitorlando.com/
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is a city steeped in American history but there is nothing “old and stodgy” about this amazing gay family-friendly vacation destination. Liberty Bell Center, Please Touch Museum, and The Franklin Institute are all great examples of the city’s fun and interactive attractions.
In addition, the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection) has been very proactive in welcoming LGBT visitors. It was one of the first cities in the world to create a LGBT-inclusive tourism ad campaign. More tips & resources for your trip: www.visitphilly.com
Related: See our Philadelphia with Kids – Pennsylvania Family Vacation Guide
6. Phoenix, Arizona
From hiking the famed Camelback Mountain to exploring the Musical Instrument Museum, the greater Phoenix area offers the opportunity to experience diverse activities in a single destination. And while it might seem cliché for the LGBTQ family to ride in a rainbow-colored hot air balloon … it is strongly recommended.
Phoenix and the surrounding cities of Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa, are all LGBT-welcoming, with non-discrimination policies and some openly LGBT officials. More tips & resources for your trip: https://www.visitphoenix.com/
7. Provincetown, Massachusetts
Located on the Northern tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is most famous for two things. First and most obvious: it’s the location of the Mayflower’s landing in 1620.
But second? Provincetown is a long-time leading LGBTQ-friendly summer vacation destination. During the height of the summer season, more than half the city’s visitors are members of the LGBTQ community including many families.
The annual Provincetown Family Week identifies as “the largest annual gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified parents and their families in the world.” More tips & resources for your trip to this LGBTQ-friendly vacation spot: http://www.provincetowntourismoffice.org/
8. San Diego, California
In addition to 70 miles of beautiful beaches and nearly always pleasant weather, San Diego is home to world-class family attractions including the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California, SeaWorld San Diego, and Balboa Park.
October is an especially good time to visit for the annual Kids Free promotion. For the entire month, child admission to bay cruises, theme parks, museums, and other activities are free with paid adult. Plus, restaurants offer special Kids Free deals and hotels offer special amenities to children 12 and under.
9. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a city overflowing with iconic family-friendly attractions including Golden Gate Park, Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception, and Aquarium of the Bay . Of course, no trip to San Francisco is complete without a ride on a cable car.
The Castro District is the city’s traditional LGBT neighborhood and filled with family-friendly restaurants and retail shops. It is here you will also find the SF LGBT Center. More tips & resources for your trip: www.sftravel.com
Don’t miss our recommendations in the Family Travel 411 San Francisco with Kids – California Family Vacation Guide.
10. Washington, D.C.
Monuments and memorials and museums…oh my! A family trip to Washington, D.C. can appeal to many interests including science, history, and art. Better still, nearly all of the major museums in the city have LGBT-related items.
Among others, look for artwork by Andy Warhol at the National Gallery of Art and information on the persecution of homosexuals during WWII at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. More tips & resources for your trip: www.washington.org
Related: See our Washington, D.C. with Kids Family Vacation Guide.