10 LGBTQ Family-Friendly Destinations
As a same-sex family, it is essential to feel safe and included, especially when traveling. When planning a family vacation, we like to find LGBTQ friendly destinations so we can relax and be ourselves, not worry about offending the locals or even worse – getting thrown in jail! When our family travels, it is crucial that our lifestyle won’t ruffle any legal feathers. Fortunately, there are so many beautiful places to visit, and where we can really immerse ourselves in the local scene.
Here are our ten picks for LGBTQ family-friendly destinations:
New York City, NY
Without a doubt, New York City is a mecca for both LGBTQ residents and visitors alike. New Yorkers have long been accepting of the LGBTQ community and is one of the most popular destinations in the world. NYC shines as our top destination pick for LGBTQ family-friendly destinations. Kids won’t have to worry about standing out and being different in this city. Plus, with so many activities, restaurants, and parks to explore, the only thing on their mind will be choosing what to do next!
Tip: Make sure to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner to see first-hand the world’s most famous singing waitstaff! Reservations are not accepted, so be sure to arrive early or the wait can be lengthy.
This eclectic college town, which attracts artists, actors, writers, and sports enthusiasts from around the world, is the most tolerant and progressive in the state of Montana. People from all backgrounds flock to this mountain haven known for its inclusivity and a way of life not found in any other location. Year-round outdoor activities abound as well as a thriving arts and culture scene. With Glacier National Park only a few hours away, Missoula is a family-friendly LGBTQ destination that shouldn’t be missed!
Tip: Every season is the best time to visit!
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco ranks as one of the top LGBTQ cities in the world, so it’s no wonder it is also a family-friendly travel destination. San Francisco has been leading the way for LGBTQ rights for several decades, and diversity is simply a way of life. LGBTQ families will find a plethora of activities for all ages in and around San Francisco, and no one will bat an eye at their lifestyle. Our family loves to explore Fisherman’s Wharf, which is teeming with restaurants, souvenir shops, and museums. Be sure to check-out The Exploratorium at Pier 15. Plan for at least a 2-hour visit, as the exhibits are so engaging and fascinating.
Tip: The Go San Francisco Pass can save you a substantial amount of money if you plan to visit popular attractions.
Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs might seem like a city destined more for couples and singles, but I am here to tell you, families will be delighted at what this vibrant desert city offers. We love to visit during the winter months when the temperature hovers around 70 degrees – perfect for exploring! The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is our favorite hangout in the Palm Springs area. There is so much to do, such as feed a giraffe, hike nature trails, and even visit the wildlife hospital. The perfect winter weather makes it easier to spend hours and hours exploring.
The Children’s Discovery Center of the Desert is another wonderful place to visit in the Palm Springs area. Visitors can explore, dress up, use their imagination all day, and never get bored! The many exhibits are so engaging, especially the VW car you can paint!
Tip: Take the Aerial Palm Springs Tramway up the mountain at dusk to view a stunning sunset!
All the Scandinavian countries are known for being LGBTQ-friendly, with Sweden being at the top of the list. Sweden ranks as one of the most accepting countries in the world. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been illegal since 1987, so LGBTQ family travelers will feel especially welcome. LGBTQ families will find endless activities to explore, especially in the capital, Stockholm.
Tip: Kids will love to visit the Vasa Maritime Museum. It features a 17th-century warship that sunk in the Bay of Stockholm and was salvaged in 1959.
Our neighbors north of the border are known for being LGBTQ-supportive, and they were the fourth country in the world to legalize gay-marriage. All types of families are important to Canadians and they embrace diversity with open arms. This makes Canada a welcoming destination for LGBTQ families. Canada is a vast country with cosmopolitan cities like Toronto and Vancouver, yet visitors will feel like they are in Europe while exploring Quebec and Montreal. It would take a lifetime to explore everything Canada offers.
Tip: Toronto Gay Pride is one of the largest in the world and features many activities that are fun for the whole family!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This northern European country is known for being progressive and culturally liberal. They were the first nation to legalize gay marriage in 2001, with Amsterdam frequently referred to as the friendliest LGBTQ city in the world. LGBTQ families will feel welcome and just like family throughout the country. We found The Netherlands to be one of our favorite European destinations, as they cheerfully accommodate kids everywhere we went. There are plenty of parks, museums, and restaurants, where kids can be kids, and parents don’t have to worry about offending anyone.
Tip: Kids will love exploring the numerous canals by pedal boat! It’s easy to rent a boat and go explore!
The land of smiles! Although Thailand doesn’t offer any formal recognition to same-sex couples, LGBTQ families will find acceptance throughout the country, especially in larger cities. Thailand is our favorite country to visit in SE Asia, and our lifestyle has always been respected. A “short” visit to Bangkok is a must, as families will love exploring the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha (there is a strict dress code!). Afterward, hire a guide to take you Chao Phraya River. It’s a great way to see the various neighborhoods along the river.
Of course, the sparkling beaches in southern Thailand offer world-class snorkeling and diving. The kids will love splashing in the warm waters. Near Khao Lak, you can find elephant conservation camps where kids can bathe rescued elephants and lavish them with love. It’s feel-good love for everyone!
In northern Thailand, older kids will love trekking, exploring caves, and finding hot springs to cool off.
Tip: Be sure to check the weather for the time of year you plan to visit. Each side of the country can vary dramatically.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Did you know Israel is the most accepting country in the middle east and Tel Aviv has a robust LGBTQ community? LGBTQ families visiting Tel Aviv will generally find acceptance in most establishments. Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem host Gay Pride parades which are attended by thousands of participants. With its year-round Mediterranean climate, foodies will be impressed by the delicious fresh foods found in restaurants and local markets. With historical ruins and vast landscapes, LGBTQ families will most definitely enjoy exploring the Promised Land.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina was the first Latin American country to legalize gay-marriage, and Buenos Aires is a top LGBTQ destination. Buenos Aires hosts a large Pride festival every November which attracts over 100,000 participants. LGBTQ families will find it easy to be accepted throughout the city and will find a plethora of family activities. Even same-sex tangos have become increasingly popular in milongas (tango halls). When the kids need to run and burn off some steam, every neighborhood has a playground.
Tip: Plan ample time to explore El Ateneo Grand Splendid – a historic theater turned bookstore in the Recoleta neighborhood.