Whether you’re into swimming until sunset or partying until dawn—or both!—somewhere in the U.S. there’s a gay-friendly beach town for you. Pack your beach bag and head to these welcoming seaside towns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers.
As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.
Miami Beach, Florida
Follow the rainbow flags by the lifeguard towers at the foot of 12th Street to find the epicenter of gay-friendly Miami Beach. This part of the beach is loud and proud, filled with gay-friendly restaurants and bars that will tempt you to stay out all night.
Any time is a good time to visit, but mark your calendars for The Winter Party, a six-day beach bash; the annual mix of celebrations for Pride, and Aqua Girl, a women’s-only charity weekend benefiting LGBT health.
Provincetown has the makings of a typical New England beach town: sand dunes and beach houses — with an exceptionally LGBT focus. Head to the tip of Cape Cod by ferry from Boston. Make your way to the rainbow flag-lined Commercial Street to browse boutiques and galleries and hang out in pubs and restaurants.
Socializing starts early at “tea dances,” or afternoon dance parties, and continues with cabaret shows and disco nights until sunrise. Don’t miss Provincetown’s annual Bear Week in July, when the town is overrun by burly men and those who love them.
Long Beach, California
Popular among the young, hip and active crowd, Long Beach, is the place to party and play near Los Angeles. LGBT-owned businesses have thrived here for decades, particularly the gay nightlife in the Broadway Corridor in Alamitos Beach, which includes venues like Mineshaft, a pub for the jeans and leather crowd, and others.
More than 75,000 people flock to Ocean Avenue every May for Long Beach Pride, featuring past headliners like Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and the Village People.
Fire Island, New York
An iconic gay-friendly beach destination since the 1970s, Fire Island is off the coast of Long Island, New York, and comprises a dozen beachside communities. The Pines and Cherry Grove are well-known for their LGBT-friendly party places and clothing-optional beaches.
Cherry Grove attracts a mixed crowd to its high-voltage drag and cabaret shows, while a predominantly male crowd parties until dawn at The Pines.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Sun-seekers who head to the longtime LGBT community of Rehoboth Beach can expect to mingle on the shores of gay-friendly Poodle Beach. Here’ they’ll find older local residents and vacationing city folks from Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
This town has a number of family-friendly places, such as CAMP Rehoboth, a full-service gay and lesbian community center that organizes summer events for all ages.
This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.