The Ten Best U.S. Vacation Destinations for LGBT Families

by Troy Petenbrink
The ten best U.S. destinations for LGBT families

U.S.A., Best Vacation Destinations for LGBT Families – LGBT 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 LGBT 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.

The ten Best U.S. destinations for LGBT families pinnable

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.

1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Photo of Fort Lauderdale by Doug Castaneda.

Warm breezes and welcomes await LGBT families in Fort Lauderdale, home to one of the largest concentrations of households with same-sex couples in the U.S.

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 and Hollywood for LGBT families

From science to Hollywood-style sorcery and LGBT-themed historic tours, Los Angeles has much to offer vacationing LGBT families.

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 LGBT 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

Arts, sciences, and the historic Stonewall Memorial await in NYC.

Arts, sciences, and the historic Stonewall Memorial await visitors to NYC.

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 Library, 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/

Related: See our NYC with Kids – New York Family Vacation Guide and Ten Things to Know Before Taking Your Kids to a Broadway Show

 

4. Orlando, Florida

...and guess who got a perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index?

…and guess who got a perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index?

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/

Related: See our story Into the Everglades: A Post-Hurricane Airboat Adventure at Sawgrass Recreation Park and Swamp Buggy: A Tale of Family Adventure in Big Cypress National Preserve

 

5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love--and Sisterly Affection, historic Philadelphia awaits.

The City of Brotherly Love–and Sisterly Affection, historic Philadelphia awaits.

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

Phoenix for LGBT families

Phoenix and its neighbors offer outstanding outdoor activities and welcoming communities.

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 LGBT 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

Commercial Street in Provincetown.

Commercial Street in Provincetown, home of the largest annual gathering of LGBTQ families in the world..

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 LGBT summer vacation destination. During the height of the summer season, more than half the city’s visitors are members of the LGBT 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: http://www.provincetowntourismoffice.org/

Related: See our Cape Cod with Kids, The Berkshires with Kids, and Boston with Kids Massachusetts Family Vacation Guides.

 

8. San Diego, California                      

Beaches, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, Old Town, theme parks... how many days should you plan for a San Diego vacation?

Beaches, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, Old Town, theme parks…. How many days should you plan for a San Diego family vacation?

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.

best travel strollers

As a testament to its LGBT friendliness, San Diego Pride is the largest civic event in the city. More tips & resources for your trip: http://www.sandiego.org

Related: See our Carlsbad with Kids and Catalina Island with Kids California Family Vacation Guides.

 

9. San Francisco, California

Baker Beach in San Francisco with kids

A beach with a Golden Gate view? Ready the camera for you holiday cards.

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

Related: See our San Francisco with Kids – California Family Vacation Guide.

 

10. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Have a ball on the mall with monuments and (free) museums aplenty in 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.

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1 comment

Katja June 5, 2017 - 6:50 pm

This is a really great and inspiring list of places to go. I also had no idea that Provincetown was such a leading destination for the LGBT community.

Reply

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