6 Favorite Domestic Destinations for a Romantic LGBTQ+ Getaway

by Kelsy Chauvin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday January 31, 2022
Originally published on January 24, 2022

6 Favorite Domestic Destinations for a Romantic LGBTQ+ Getaway
  (Source:Discover Puerto Rico)

Romance may be timeless, but it sure makes winter feel a lot warmer. As we drift toward Valentine's Day, it's the hot season for getting intimate. Passion means different things to different people, though. Some might find LGBTQ+ love across a crowded beach or holding gloved hands on top of a snowy mountain. Maybe a slicked-up massage at a couple's spa day is your style.

EDGE offers six of our favorite LGBTQ+-friendly Valentine's Day getaway ideas, even though any day is an excuse for a romantic weekend.

[READ MORE: 7 Queer Wonders of the World — Best LGBTQ+ Travel Destinations for 2022]

Redwood Forest Rendezvous — Guerneville, CA

Is there ever a wrong time to visit wine country? Of course not. But this year, there is an uber-romantic place to soak up the forest-fresh atmosphere of Sonoma County. In LGBTQ+ haven Guerneville, new owners recently "reintroduced" the beloved, historic Highlands Resort as The Highlands.

Just up from the babbling Russian River, the boutique resort lures lovers to its hillside cabins, some with hot tubs and all with fresh-baked muffins awaiting in the cozy lobby. Spending-sensible, outdoorsy vacationers may prefer the resort's new Coyote Camp of fully furnished, glamping-inspired scout tents nestled under a canopy of redwoods. The Highlands is adults-focused, and while there's Wi-Fi, this retreat is TV-free, inviting full focus on your romantic escape.

Locking in Love — Key West

At the far southern end of Florida is one of the U.S.'s most quirky, queer tropical towns. Key West seems almost like its own freestanding province of parrots, sunsets and rum drinks. And with it comes a romantic-hideaway vibe that lets couples take a break from everyday life and feel part of a chill community where rainbow flags wave all over town.

Many an inn and B&B await, but LGBTQ+-friendly accommodation website misterb&b offers an excellent lodging resource here, since bungalows, guesthouses, and other small-scale sanctuaries are more authentically Key West than a big, nondescript resort. Just remember that the main nightlife strip of Duval Street can get lively, so choose the right location for an upbeat vacay such as New Orleans House above the famous Bourbon Street Pub, or a more serene scene like a houseboat on the harbor.

Ski or Snow Bunny Fun — Park City, UT

Pack up your parka and silky thermals for a ski getaway in Park City. Less than an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, the slopes here and neighboring Deer Valley have some of the best winter powder and adventures. Plus, in late February, Elevation Utah turns Park City into gay-ski central for four days (February 23-27).

Expect daily ski and snowboarding outings and après-ski events, including themed nights like GloHo, a neon-themed party. Lodging specials at queer-friendly hotels are available through the Elevation website, including the newly renovated Peaks Hotel or super luxe options such as the Waldorf Astoria Park City, St. Regis Deer Valley and Montage Deer Valley.

Reach for the Beach — San Juan, Puerto Rico

Winter may mean but one thing to you and your partner: head south. And Puerto Rico is eager to welcome you. The Island of Enchantment is the easiest way to feel far from sleet and snow, replaced by pretty palm trees and ocean waves. Better still, San Juan is considered one of the queerest places in the Caribbean.

At gay-owned, clothing-optional Coqui del Mar, men can feel easy baring it all just steps from Ocean Park beach and a quick jaunt to Condado, Santurce, and Old San Juan. The guesthouse vibe invites intimacy, whether in a private room or studio apartment; or by the pool and hot tub. Lodging perks include complimentary breakfast and fancy weekend brunch, and fee-free bikes, beach chairs, kayaks, and other fun ways to play. San Juan's LGBTQ+ nightlife thrives at clubs like SX, Temptation, and Circo, with after-hours club Scandalo kicking off at 2 a.m.

Escape to the Big Easy — New Orleans

Couples seeking romance should tune into the iconic jazz melodies of New Orleans, where streetcars arouse desire, and desire seems to be around every corner. The city's allure peaks in late winter as Mardi Gras approaches (this year on March 1) and crawfish season arrives. The festive atmosphere fills the air and invites visitors to throw on colorful beads and celebrate in the uniquely Cajun way, usually with a potent, fruity cocktail.

For a sip of LGBTQ+ history, visit Café Lafitte in Exile, which has been serving the queer community for more than 80 years. And for a female-focused gathering, check out Grrlspot, which hosts pop-up events throughout the year, including an upcoming Krewe Du Vieux Parade after-party (February 12) at the steampunk-themed queer bar Crossing.

In the French Quarter, hotels are easy to find, but for something lovely and different, head to the Lower Garden District's adults-only Green House Inn. Rooms are elegant and charming, some with direct access to the clothing-optional saltwater pool and hot tub.

Breezy Does It — Palm Springs

Desert air feels sexier in Palm Springs, where the warm breeze buffs away rough winter edges. There are many ways to indulge your romantic California dreams here, but most of all, travelers love poolside lounging. Can't-miss events this winter include the return of Modernism Week (February 17-27), Kristin Chenoweth in concert (February 18-19) and Michael Feinstein Celebrates Judy Garland — Get Happy! (March 12).

Nothing says Palm Springs more than mid-century design style, in a locale fit for sipping drinks on your courtyard patio or private balcony. Men will find the Desert Paradise Resort to be a swell spot for their clothing-optional vacay, breezing between the sauna, steam room, spa and other outdoor nooks. At The Willows, women (and men) can relax in a more Mediterranean-inspired inn that was a favorite of Hollywood luminaries, where private luxury and lush gardens befit amorous inclinations.

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.