Make it a family vacation on the slopes, the trails, or the beaches this winter.
Winter is known for its biting weather, dashing fashion, and infectious holiday cheer. Because of this—or often in spite of this—winter is one of the best times for the gay community to travel. One reason to travel in winter is that many families won’t—school-age kids are tied into their school schedules. Another is that people avoid traveling in winter rather than risk weather-related travel delays. But if you know where to go and how to take advantage of this glorious travel season, you surely won’t be disappointed by what winter has to offer the gay traveler.
Aspen is a city that lives for its winter sports, attracting crowds of enthusiastic travelers who are active and enjoy being outdoors. The highlight of Aspen’s appeal to tourists has to be its legendary ski slopes, and the best time to get in on the action is during Aspen Gay Ski Week. This event, held annually in January, is the highlight of the gay party season, with circuit parties and themed ski festivities that last the entire week. Aspen isn’t just a ski paradise though—there is plenty to see and do even if you prefer to snuggle up in your pajamas in front of the fire with your man. Ice rinks, dog sledding, guided snowshoe tours, snowmobiling, and hot-air balloon rides are other fun options for nature enthusiasts visiting Aspen this winter. For some incredibly gay-friendly dining options around town, check out The Wild Fig and Lulu Wilson, both of which are charming and delicious options for you, your friends, and your family.
For the travelers who prefer warmer climates during the winter months, Sydney is the place to be. Because it sits in the southern hemisphere, Australia is blessed with toasty weather during the holiday season. While most of the continent is nature oriented, Sydney offers its visitors the extra taste of urban life with museums, chic restaurants, and arts exhibits offering insights into Aussie cultural life. The beaches in Sydney are laid back and relaxing for all of the people lucky enough to soak up their sands and brilliant rays—Bondi Beach is my personal favorite! Many members of the LGBT community especially flock to Sydney during Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras each February, an event that rivals Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Most of the festivities occur in downtown Sydney but nearby precincts of Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Newton, and Kings Cross are also family-friendly.
For a more tropical travel destination this winter, look no further than Miami. Visiting this Floridian city is popular for the LGBT community all year round, but visiting in winter allows you to avoid stifling heat and humidity. During March, Miami hosts the notorious Winter Party Festival which draws the party people year after year. Themed parties and events in hotels and hot spots will keep you and your crew dancing all day and night. It’s an incredible place to meet new people so your crew can just keep expanding! Locals and visitors alike are warm, friendly, inviting, and interested in the cultural exchange that makes Miami a city for the record books all year round. South Beach is one of the best neighborhoods for sightseeing and people watching, and Haulover Beach Park is an excellent stretch of sand with many cafes and restaurants nearby. There are lots of great boardwalks with access to the best beach views and off the beaten path walkways, so be ready to hit the pavement!
Whether you are traveling to these three prime vacation spots for gay men, or any other of the glorious winter travel destinations, there are a few key things to remember while traveling this time of year. Weather delays don’t just happen in cities with snow, sleet, and hail. Many cross country flights experience set backs, so regardless of where you are traveling it’s important to consider flight connections and complete routes a plane might be taking. If possible, book flights early in the day so you are more likely to be on the first leg of a plane’s journey.
Image credit: CarbonNYC/Flickr