Most LGBTQ-Friendly Small Towns in America
Small towns have an irresistible cozy charm that makes them perfect for a relaxing vacation. But, sadly, a lack of diversity often means that small towns aren't the most open to the queer community.
Does this mean that you should skip a quiet escape into nature? Absolutely not. Here are 10 American towns with fewer than 12,000 residents that welcome LGBTQIA+ travelers with open arms.
Somersworth, New Hampshire
Same-sex marriage didn't become a federal law until 2015 but Somersworth was way ahead of its time, legalizing it in 2010. The move secured its spot as a small town with a big heart and an open mind. Need more proof? The mayor, Dana Hilliard, is openly gay and there are queer cafes and bars that host drag shows and bingo.
It's really as fun as it sounds.
Where to stay: The Davenport Inn
Besides an impossibly pretty main town, Bisbee is known for the desert landscape that surrounds it. Come enjoy nature with a side of inclusion in this town that has fewer than 5,000 people. Each year, residents come out to support the Bisbee Pride parade and the Bisbee Grand Hotel hosts a drag brunch on certain weekends that is wildly popular.
Where to stay: Inn at Castle Rock
If you love San Francisco's vibe but don't want to deal with being in a loud city, drive an hour to Guerneville. At this popular Sonoma Valley resort town, you'll find queer-owned hotels, cabins and restaurants. The town proves that the outdoors is for everyone.
Where to stay: The Woods Resort
Provincetown is a famous LGBTQIA+ destination, calling itself the gay summer capital of the U.S. When the weather gets warm, the queer community flocks to the tip of Cape Cod for beach, sun and rowdy parties. In P-town, gay travelers can feel absolutely safe (which really should be a thing everywhere).
Where to stay: White Porch Inn
Lost River, West Virginia
If you've done Provincetown many times and want a quieter vacation, set your eyes on West Virginia. We know, we know, it's not the most obvious place. But Lost River is a small enclave with tons of nature and a welcoming attitude. Businesses owned by members of the queer community abound, so you know you'll be received with open arms, whether it's at your hotel, at a restaurant or at the general store.
Where to stay: Lost River Motel
New Hope, Pennsylvania
New Hope is well-known in the community for its inclusive mentality thanks to an enclave of artists and writers who've made it their home since the 1930s. Unsurprisingly, the town has a famed Pride Festival that attracts people from nearby cities like Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey.
Where to stay: Aaron Burr House
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs is one of the best overall small towns in the U.S. Despite having fewer than 2,200 people, the town has made a name for itself with its unique personality that attracts artists and hippies. This was the first place in the state to support same-sex marriage and it hosts Diversity Weekends throughout the year that feature different events to celebrate the queer community.
Where to stay: Basin Park Hotel and Spa
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Like Provincetown, Rehoboth is a summer darling for gay travelers. And, let's be honest, the town is probably the single best reason for anyone to go to New Jersey. Besides beautiful beaches, you'll find rainbow flags displayed with pride all over town, especially along Baltimore street.
Where to stay: The Bellmoor Inn & Spa
Tiny, tiny Saugatuck surprises visitors with its big-town mentality. Along with nearby Douglas, the area is known as the best gay beach destination in the Midwest. When you're not in the water or hiking in nature, support one (or several) of the queer-owned boutiques around town.
Where to stay: Wickwood Inn
Fire Island, New York
Fire Island is synonymous with gay party culture. So much so, that there is a gay adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" set in and named after this enclave. Summer is the hottest season for people looking to leave the city and enjoy community and parties without worrying about discrimination. The most popular places for the LGBTQ+ community are Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines.
Where to stay: Pines Bluff Overlook