Top Lesbian Vacation Cities

What’s a girl to do once she’s crossed off San Francisco, New York, West Hollywood, and Portland, and done the Dinah to death?

It’s time to try  these off-radar, lesbian hot spots!

Gay travel is often “different for girls.” Does a listing that states “gay-friendly” also mean “lesbian-friendly” or “lesbian-popular”? If accommodations are advertised as “gay/lesbian,” will visiting women find themselves lone ladies in a gay male–dominated, clothing-optional compound? Will female travelers make the unfortunate discovery that accommodations are “lesbian–overly friendly” and find themselves the objects of unwanted interest? Call ahead to potential accommodations and ask about their percentage of lesbian guests. But don’t allow such concerns to limit vacations to the same spots that have lured ladies for decades: a slew of off-radar sapphic spots await.

Asheville, N.C.  – Fall colors are at their finest in Asheville, a remarkable artsy Appalachian town of 70,000 where women walk hand-in-hand and art deco, beaux-arts, and neoclassical architecture create an elegant backdrop. The best places to leaf peep in and around “Sheville” are along 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains or in downtown’s Asheville Botanical Gardens.

Key West, Fla. –  If you’re in the mood for a wild week, schedule sojourns south for WomenFest (, September 8-13, 2009), when 3,000 women stream over 126 miles and 42 bridges down the Florida Keys to the southernmost point in the continental United States. The raucous WomenFest schedule brims with hot events from clothing-optional pool parties to competitive bull riding.

Eugene, Ore. –  Boasting a lesbian chorus, lesbian Realtors, a lesbian ballroom dance group, women’s coffee, writing, and hiking groups, and a famed liberal arts university, this college town of 150,000, 100 miles south of Portland, is your destination if you like your women capable of invigorating debate. 2009 saw the University of Oregon’s Women’s and Gender Studies department host the first Lecture in Lesbian Studies.

Madison, Wis. – Another academic hot spot, but also a city with serious political clout, Wisconsin’s capital is the seat of out lesbian representative Tammy Baldwin. The isthmus city (Madison is perched between lakes Mendota and Monona) is a dynamic, welcoming, and active college town of 230,000.

Northampton, Mass.  – Home to the women’s liberal arts college Smith (founded 1871) — and to a population of academic dykes — Northampton is a charming college town of 30,000, perfect for those looking for a romantic getaway, wedding, or honeymoon destination. Downtown is a pleasant stroll from Smith’s elegant campus. Cute cafés and intimate restaurants abound. Lesbianville, USA, as the National Enquirer once proclaimed it, is one of the most lesbian-popular towns in the country and boasts a lesbian mayor (Clare Higgins), a lesbian-run LGBT paper, and an array of women-owned businesses.


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