Summer vacations are great, but we all know that they have diminishing returns. Those longer shadows, shorter days, and cold evenings mean that it is time to get a holiday vacation on the books.
Here are some ideas for places to visit this winter that are exceptional locations for another dose of R&R and are especially LGBT friendly.
Whistler, British Columbia
One of the best way to deal with winter blues is to embrace the cold and hit the slopes. And one of the best places in the world to hit the slopes is revered Whistler, just 1.5 hours outside of Vancouver, BC. We recommend planning a trip to coincide with Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, when the LGBT community dons their best après-ski outfits and takes over the quaint European-inspired village.
Where to stay when you go: We love the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for its luxury accommodations and prime location right next door to the ski lifts.
Viewfinder Tip: If you want to save some money on your winter vacation (because who doesn’t), we posted some tips for how to save on holiday travel.
We are not going to blow any minds by including Hawaii on this list. It shows up on practically every list of great winter getaways. However, many LGBT travelers don’t know just how welcoming and open the Hawaiian Islands are. While you could literally visit any of the Hawaiian Islands and have an exceptional winter vacation, we chose Honolulu for this list because it is incredibly easy to get to, the shopping is world class, and the food scene is blowing up. Plus, we have a soft spot for Hula’s, which has inexpensive mai tais and unobstructed views of Diamond Head.
Where to stay when you go: You’ve got a ton of options for hotels in Waikiki–we are suckers for the Halekulani and love the location of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki)—but super chic The Modern Honolulu has piqued our interest as of late.
Palm Springs, CA
For a quick dose of fun and sun, there is no better place than Palm Springs. What we love so much about the LGBT mecca is that it has somehow managed to achieve—and maintain—a balance of artsy, easy, high end, and chic. What other desert location can offer the perfect Reuben sandwich, lust-worthy architecture, and hilariously cool art galleries?
Where to stay when you go: Palm springs has no shortage of top-notch hotels. For instance, the Movie Colony Hotel is a sure bet (and has one of our favorite restaurants attached to it), but we’ve also been hearing amazing things about Sparrows Lodge.
If you’ve never done Walt Disney World without the kids (or your parents when you were a kid), it is time to experience Disney in a whole new way. As we can attest to, Disney has been increasingly focused on enhancing experiences for adults without kids and LGBT guests.
We’ve been several times over the last few years and love the increased focus on fine dining and cocktails, the great shopping at the refurbished Disney Springs, and, of course, the attractions (you have to do Expedition in Everest in the dark!). Just be prepared to tell the kids (if you have them) that their mommies or daddies had a work conference in Toldeo, OH.
Where to stay when you go: When you have little ones in tow, it is best to stay at a Disney Resort. But for a “just he adults” trip, consider the luxurious new Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. You deserve it.
San Diego, CA
Practically everyone we know—gay, straight, or otherwise—wants to visit (or live in) San Diego. And for good reason; the city boasts perfectly warm weather, a postcard setting, and a vibrant culture. LGBT visitors will want to head up to the famous Hillcrest neighborhood to experience a true gay village, the likes of which are increasingly hard to come by (we’ll leave the debate about whether that is good or bad for another time). But even if you spend your time in the “gayborhood,” don’t miss the drool-worthy Mexican food in Barrio Logan or an evening stroll along the waterfront.
Where do you plan to travel to this winter?