Get Out, Drink Up, and Celebrate in These Gay-Friendly Honeymoon Destinations

The best places to go on a honeymoon or romantic getaway with your sweetheart.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Even though it’s become refreshingly commonplace to see LGBTQ travelers canoodling on airplanes, cruise ships, and tropical beaches, proudly strolling hand-in-hand, it can be even more relaxing to visit particularly gay-friendly destinations. Be it a peaceful respite in wine country or an energized adventure in the mountains, these are the best places in the US to book right now for your honeymoon or romantic getaway with your sweetheart.

Slow down and raise a celebratory glass of vino in Napa Valley, California

As euphoric as wedding days are, they fly by in a blur. That’s what makes a calm, quiet destination like Napa such a fitting finale after the nuptials. Situated in tranquil northern California, a state famed for its liberal politics, Napa is the postcard-perfect destination you deserve — one where the sight of lush, rolling vineyards is a soothing balm for the soul. Hundreds of world-class wineries call this region home, many of which sport castle-sized chateaus for tasting rooms, intimate wine cellars, or bucolic farmhouses fit for a fairy tale. No matter your level of wine expertise, winemakers in Napa are endlessly inviting and unpretentious, happy to guide you and your beau on a tour through the vineyards, or through a flight of vino. Napa also boasts many charming inns that scream romance, like Auberge du Soleil or the fittingly posh Chateau de Vie, along with endless elegant dining options where you’ll feel right at home popping a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your special getaway.

Dine on fondue for two and plenty of champagne in Vail, Colorado

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better honeymoon hotel than one that stocks a Champagne vending machine in the lobby. The Grand Hyatt Vail, situated along a babbling creek in the adorably chic town of Vail, brings the right kind of pomp and circumstance needed for a lavish honeymoon in the picturesque mountains. Not only is the hotel fittingly decadent, it’s also a particularly queer-friendly brand that works with organizations like GLAAD. So you can rest easy knowing that your money spent on the most expensive vending machine you’ve ever used is going to a good. Vail is a pastoral dreamscape for nature-lovers and foodies, especially those who like fondue at romantic institutions like Swiss Chalet restaurant. In both its architecture and food scene, Vail is modeled after Bavarian mountain towns, meaning ridiculously cozy and cute restaurants seemingly designed for romantic honeymoon feasts. My favorite, Almresi, is a rustic haunt outfitted with homey dark wood tones and antler chandeliers, where bubbling cheese fondue and apple strudel are primed for sharing.

Get romantic with fresh lobster and ocean views in Maine

New England in general has long been a pioneer for LGBTQ rights. While Maine doesn’t attract the same gay-friendly fame as Provincetown, its quaint beach towns and charming lodges make it a deserving honeymoon destination where you can slow down, breathe in some sea air, and share a lobster roll together, Lady and the Tramp-style. From York Beach to Old Orchard, and Kennebunkport to Kittery, the state’s seaside towns exude romance and relaxation, not to mention high-quality independent restaurants and comfy inns. If you’ve got the time, drive up to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor and catch the sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain, the first point in the US to see sunlight each day. There’s gotta be a romantic metaphor in there somewhere.

Let loose, dine well, and party hard in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you’re looking for an action-packed, up-all-night kind of getaway, Las Vegas is king. Sin City might be infamous for its debauchery, but the iconic vacation destination is also a gay-friendly mecca filled with drag shows, gay bars, and concert residencies from gay favorites like Cher, Gwen Stefani, and Shania Twain. Home to numerous LGBTQ-friendly hotel brands (like the Luxor and Wynn Las Vegas), honeymoon-worthy restaurants, theater shows, and nightclubs (like Piranha Nightclub in Las Vegas’ gayborhood, the Fruit Loop), this is the kind of city that’ll keep you on a soaring high long after the wedding and reception have ended.  

Have the most magical honeymoon on Earth in Orlando, Florida

As cliche as it sounds, the Most Magical Place on Earth is a pretty perfect place to run to after a wedding. Not only is Walt Disney World not just for kids, it’s arguably more enjoyable as a couple, thanks to the surprising abundance of booze, the high-end restaurants, and the fact that no one in your group will need to meet a height restriction to ride Tower of Terror. Disney World has long been an advocate of gay rights, stocking its stores with tons of Pride merch, hosting same-sex couples for its “Fairy Tale Weddings” packages, and appointing an openly gay president. Disney World is a dreamy place where you can stay in utter luxury at a resort like the Grand Floridian, dine inside the Beauty and the Beast castle, and purchase bejeweled Minnie ears as the perfect souvenir.

Make your own romantic history with free attractions in Washington, DC

The idea of a romantic trip to Washington, DC may not have the same obvious appeal as some others, but the nation’s capitol has a lot of excitement for honeymooners whose interests extend beyond American history. As one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, exemplified by numerous embassies and European-influenced architecture throughout a patchwork of neighborhoods, it’s a thoroughly progressive city that’ll make everyone feel welcome. A major perk with vacationing in DC is that most of the biggest tourist attractions — like the museums — are free, so you’ll be saving plenty of money to spend on splurge-worthy Michelin-starred dinners (I suggest The Dabney or Métier), theater productions, and opulent hotels such as The Jefferson and The Willard.

Live your best après ski life in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

If you’re dreaming of a ski honeymoon, cozy up to Jackson Hole. One of America’s most lauded ski destinations — which also has hiking opportunities in the summer — this stunning Wyoming town toes the line between ritzy and rustic with its ornate hotels, quirky saloons, and locally sourced comfort food like elk chili nachos at The Handle Bar. Whether you’re staying in downtown Jackson proper, surrounded by boutique shops and farm-to-table restaurants, or in a decadent resort complex like Teton Village at the foot of the Teton mountain range, this is a region that exudes romance and extravagance. Considering Jackson Hole is a mini melting pot of communities, you and your boo can feel perfectly at ease snuggled up on saddle bar stools at Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, or holding gloved hands on the ski lift.

Discover a surprisingly quaint haven in northeast Indiana

If after the big day, you want a peaceful retreat in a quaint small town oozing so much charm that the whole setting feels like a Lifetime movie, Roanoke, Indiana, is the town for you. With its ye olde brick buildings, charming Main Street, and timeworn inns, this storybook town in northeast Indiana feels utterly preserved in time. Roanoke has built a reputation for its friendliness and warmth towards travelers, with activities and entertainment for honeymooners looking for a lively experience in calmer environs. For the quintessentially cute Roanoke experience, stay at the adorable four-room Joseph Decuis bed & breakfast, stop in for tea and cake at Parker Grace Tea Room, try a wine tasting at Two EE’s Winery, and share a charcuterie board at Copper Still.

Find your own fairy tale in Adairsville, Georgia

Looking to hole up in a palatial resort and luxuriate over room service for a few days? You might as well opt for the hotel that employs its own fairy godmother. Located in Adairsville, Georgia, on tranquil terrain that looks more like the English countryside than the Peach State, the Barnsley Resort was literally built on love, with a backstory befitting a fairy tale. The hotel was originally constructed in the 1840s by Godfrey Barnsley for his wife Julia, and the property would go on to be purchased and restored by a literal prince (Hubertus Fugger from Bavaria), who started the tradition of hiring a fairy-godmother-in-residence. This is someone who creates special memories for guests, like stocking Champagne in guest rooms and setting candlelit al fresco dinners, with an actual wand in-hand. Naturally, the fairy tale vibes permeate every inch of the 3,000-acre village-style resort, from private cottages and manicured gardens to horseback trails, restaurants, and the main inn itself, which looks like a Southern Downton Abbey.

Celebrate with mountains, manors, and malt in North Carolina

Between the nature, the mansions, the dizzyingly impressive food scene, and more craft breweries per capita than just about anywhere in the country, Asheville seems almost too good to be true — like some sort of lush boozy fantasyland nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The perfect mix of nature and city, Asheville provides a peaceful sojourn for any style of honeymooners, whether you’re itching to barhop, hike, tour galleries, or shop at any number of LGBTQ-owned stores. A vibrant blue haven, the city feels effortlessly funky and cool, like a mini Portland without even trying. For newlyweds, or couples looking for a rejuvenating retreat, the city features dynamic options like touring the hallowed Biltmore estate, hiking hand-in-hand along portions of the Appalachian Trail, driving on the breathtakingly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, getting a spa treatment with your partner at the Omni Grove Park Inn, or embarking on a bar crawl with LGBTQ-run Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours.

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Matt Kirouac is a travel writer with a passion for national parks, Disney, and food. He's the co-founder and co-host of Hello Ranger, a national parks community blog, podcast, and app. Follow him on IG @matt_kirouac.