It’s that time of year when everyone is over cabin fever and ready for warmer temps, a beach, and fun in the sun. Families with children and college kids on spring break have probably made plans for their vacation to all the popular spring break spots, including Daytona Beach, Orlando, Cancun, Provincetown, and Las Vegas.
So, if you’re looking for a few travel ideas to avoid the spring break crowd, take a look at these inspirational thought-starters for queer travelers looking for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Consider Mallorca as a substitute for party central – Ibiza. Mallorca is known for its beach resorts, sheltered coves, and limestone mountains. The island’s capital city, Palma, has a lively nightlife scene for late-night revelers, but it also has immersive experiences for tourists to explore the local culture and historical sites, such as the Moorish Almudaina Royal Palace.
You can’t miss out on visiting Pollença with its 17th- and 18th-century stone houses. Spend a couple of days visiting small towns like Banyalbufar, located on the majestic Serra de Tramuntana Mountain range and it’s also a popular travel destination for most Mallorquins year-round. Go ahead and plan your spring getaway to the idyllic island, where you lose yourself in Catalan culture without the massive crowds.
Lost River, West Virginia
Just a two-hour drive west of Washington, DC, Lost River has become a place that welcomes queer travelers with open arms. Stay at the award-winning gay-owned Guesthouse Lost River, where you can spend some lowkey, quality time with your significant other or a small group of friends. It’s the perfect home base for outdoor enthusiasts interested in a hike or horseback riding at Lost River State Park. Come back to your cozy cottage for a delicious farm-to-table lunch or dinner at the onsite restaurant and take a dip in the pool to soothe your bones after that long hike. The area does have a small enclave of quaint local shops and businesses, including The Lost River Trading Post, which sells handmade crafts and baked goods, and it also has a nice selection of wines and craft beers. Lost River made Vacationer Magazine’s list of 22 Small LGBTQ+-Friendly Cities. The list is also a good resource if you’re looking for more inspiration on how to avoid spring break crowds.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Sanibel Island is a nice alternative to Florida’s usual suspects – Miami Beach, Panama Beach, or Daytona Beach. In the springtime, visitors can thaw out from their winter chill and enjoy the balmy weather while spending time on the beach, or at night, enjoy sitting outside to dine in a cool, but comfortable breeze. If you’re a queer traveler who wants some downtime, this is the vacation spot for you, but there are several options for travelers who want a more active vacation. Explore the wildlife – alligators, manatees, dolphins – at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge or plan an Everglades adventure. Play a round of golf at the Sanibel Island Golf Club, South Seas Golf Course, The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, or the Sanctuary Golf Club. In addition to kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding, queer travelers can go bike on three popular routes: The Sanibel Causeway, East Gulf Drive, and the Rabbit Road Trail. Sanibel Island is definitely not as gay-friendly as Key West, but queer travelers will feel safe here amongst vacationers who take seashell collecting very seriously.
Avoid popular Provincetown and head to the sandy LGBTQ+-friendly beaches of Ogunquit. Even if the Atlantic is too chilly for a dip, you can take a stroll on the 1¼ -mile Marginal Way. And if you get tired, you can sit on one of many benches found along the paved trail and take in the unobstructed views of the ocean. There’s always something to do with the town’s bustling center lined with small shops, restaurants, and LGBTQ+ watering holes, including Maine Street and The Front Porch Piano Bar and Restaurant. For queer explorers who want to see more of Maine, Portland, and Freeport are approximately an hour away, and if you want to explore wide-open spaces without a crowd, consider spending a couple of days in Bar Harbor near Acadia National Park.
Instead of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, we recommend heading to the opposite side of the Yucatan Peninsula to avoid the spring break crowd. You’re still close to the beach, but you get the bonus of experiencing a cosmopolitan city where Mayan and Mexican heritage blend together in one place. Mérida is also located near Mayan archeological sites, too! Just a half-hour drive away, Dzibilchaltún is an under-the-radar site known for its famous structure known as the Temple of the Seven Dolls. Further afield, you can see El Castillo at Chichen Itzá, which is an hour and a half drive from the city. You can always opt to spend your time in the city to explore its historic downtown area, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, see a show at the Institute of Culture, and check out local fine art and crafts at the Museo Nacional de Arte Popular. Mérida is an LGBTQ+-friendly city and has a few popular queer bars and clubs, including the Blue Club, which attracts an eclectic crowd. Don’t leave Mexico without taking a cool refreshing plunge in a cenote. You’ll thank us later for that recommendation.