Gay-Friendly Honeymoons and Travel Destinations

The rocky islands Illa des Bosc and Sa Conillera. Photo by: Xescu prats / Courtesy of Consell Insular d'Eivissa
The rocky islands Illa des Bosc and Sa Conillera. Photo by: Xescu prats / Courtesy of Consell Insular d'Eivissa

After gay, lesbian, queer and trans couples marry, we all want to go somewhere we feel safe and secure to have fun and relax, right? We’ve gathered our resources and come up with some of our favorite travel destinations combined with the most fab gay-friendly queer-loving places for a list that’ll surely have something for everyone. Already honeymooned somewhere else? Add it in the comments below and share your knowledge with future newlyweds! xo

Hawaii

FACTS

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Hawaii since December 2, 2013.

Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are able to marry legally via civil union or reciprocal beneficiary relationships. Civil unions give the same rights and benefits at the state level while reciprocal provide a more limited set of rights.

If you looking for privacy, Hawaii is the perfect place to get married. Islanders are known for their relaxed, laid-back lifestyle and free spirit personalities. No one will look twice as you head out holding hands with your sweetie. 

Wedding cocktail hour at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

Wedding cocktail hour at The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

O’ahu (especially around Waikiki) and Maui are known as the best spots on the island for gay couples. There are plenty of beaches, B&Bs and resorts that fully support and cater to the LGBTQ community.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

Hawaii is a great locale for a wedding because you won’t need to travel far for the honeymoon! There are many amazing hotels, pools and beaches right at your fingertips. Hawaii is the ultimate honeymoon destination with plenty of opportunity for R&R.

Your guests will never be bored as they will have plenty to keep them busy such as snorkeling, whale watching, kayaking, horseback riding or just a lazy day at the beach or pool.

A wedding in Hawaii can take place any month of the year. Although May-October is considered dry season, any sort of weather is usually short and mild. Yearly daily temp typically stays in the 70-80 ranges. Perfection!! 

 San Francisco, California

FACTS

The Castro District is and has been for many years the epicenter of American gay and lesbian culture. There is an incredible amount of bars, shops, eateries and hotels that cater to the crowd. 

California has the largest number of recorded gay couples (92,138) in the United States. Source.

San Francisco, has the highest LGBTQ concentration in a metropolitan city (15.4 percent).  Source.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in California since June 16, 2008. However, the issuance of those licenses was halted during the period of November 5, 2008 through June 27, 2013 (though existing same-sex marriages continued to be valid) due to the passage of Proposition 8—a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages. The granting of same-sex marriages recommenced following the United States Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which restored the effect of a federal district court ruling that overturned Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

Fabulous night life catered to the gay community.

Perfect for foodies! Great restaurants on every corner.

San Francisco offers a unique urban setting unlike other cities. No only will you see tall concrete skyscrapers but you will also see hills, huge green parks, old Victorian homes, historic bridges, and cable cars all surrounded by water. 

Cape Town, South Africa

FACTS

There are some restrictions as to where you can legally get married in South Africa. With that being said as long as your marriage ceremony is performed by a competent Marriage Officer, the courts will likely not declare a marriage invalid simply because it was held in the wrong place. If you plan for a ceremony in a garden or on the beach, you may consider repeating the legal part of the service indoors so as to avoid any doubts about whether you are formally married or not. There are also some restrictions to indoor locations as well including marrying in some restaurants or other buildings not defined as legal. 

Same-sex marriages have been legally recognized in South Africa since 2006. All procedures are the same for same sex marriages are they are with heterosexual marriages.

For all couples wishing to marry in South Africa, birth certificates and visitors permits are required. Divorce and death decrees are also required if applicable.

Giraffes at sunset on Naval Hill, Bloemfontein South Africa by Hein Von Hörsten

Giraffes at sunset on Naval Hill, Bloemfontein South Africa by Hein Von Hörsten

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

The unique wildlife creates once in a lifetime opportunities for yourselves and your guests! There are not many other places in the work where you can go on penguin spotting tours or shark cage diving!

There are many beautiful Mediterranean locales for a wedding celebration including white sand remote beaches, vineyards of world-class wine estate, within the cosmopolitan city or a magical private forest. 

Cape Town’s vibrant city is filled with energy and positivity.

related: an in-depth exploration of Cape Town and Western Cape, South Africa as travel destinations for LGBTQ travelers

 

Palm Springs, California

FACTS

Palm Springs has one of the highest concentrations of same-sex couples of any community in the United States.

Within the city, 7.2 percent of households belong to a same-sex couple compared to the national average of 1 percent.

Palm Springs has the fifth-highest percentage of same-sex households in the nation.

related: Scott + Alex’s Palm Springs’ magical wedding complete with succulents, black magic roses and fireworks

Over various times of the year, the city caters directly to LGBTQ tourists. Palm Springs hosts the Greater Palm Springs Pride Celebration in early November. The Pride Celebration includes events such as the Palm Springs Pride Golf Classic, the Stonewall Equality Concert, and a Broadway in Drag Pageant. The city also holds same-sex wedding ceremonies at the iconic ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue located downtown.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

Best locale to have fun in the sun all year round.Because of the gorgeous sunshine that is always shining, many Palm Springs venues offer outdoor ceremonies in their lush, magnificent green spaces. 

Out-of-town guests fall in love with Palm Springs! Although a small town, there is something for everyone. Outdoor lovers have plenty to discover, while guests looking to relax can choose from one of the many gorgeous golf courses or lounge by one of the many stunning pools. At night, head into the playful, yet sophisticated urban culture of downtown Palm Springs, you and your guests will certainly be smitten! Palm Springs is bursting with activities—so guests traveling to the wedding from out-of-state will also enjoy a mini-vacation.

Mykonos, Greece

FACTS

Gay weddings are not legally recognized in Greece. Couples choosing to marry in Greece will also need to legally get married in another state to get the legal recognition.

Mykonos is one of the “Big 4” gay summer resort destinations in Europe.

It’s rumored that Jackie Onassis put Mykonos on the map as one of the chicest islands to travel to. The gay community followed back in the ’70s when her and her entourage frequented the island.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

Crystal clear waters, sandy beaches and tons of history. People flock to Mykonos for the iconic whitewashed houses and flower-filled courtyards.

Mykonos is the most popular Greek Island in the Aegean Sea and is all about the energy. The diverse and upscale crowd that flocks to the island thrives on its stylish nightlife. 

So much to do including: Skiing, jet-ski, windsurfing, horseback riding, para sailing, etc. 

The rocky islands Illa des Bosc and Sa Conillera. Photo by: Xescu prats / Courtesy of Consell Insular d'Eivissa

The rocky islands Illa des Bosc and Sa Conillera in Ibiza. Photo by: Xescu prats / Courtesy of Consell Insular d’Eivissa

 

Ibiza

FACTS

Spain has recently passed legislation that ensures all same sex couples can have a legally binding civil ceremony if one person in the couple is registered as a resident. If neither are residents of Spain, one could alternatively choose to have a blessing ceremony following your civil marriage in home country.

Ses Figueretes, a walkable town south of Ibiza, caters to the gay community and has the highest concentration of gay bars.

Nearly 3 percent of marriages in Spain’s Baleric Island (which includes Ibiza) are between LGBTQ couples.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

Ibiza is the ultimate party locale and is known to many as the place to go for a good time. Ibiza is also a perfect holiday destination for couples that wish to stay on their honeymoon. There will never be a dull moment on the island; how could any guests resist an invitation to your unforgettable wedding in Ibiza?

With its endless days of sunshine, blue skies and perfect sunsets, it’s no wonder that Ibiza is one of the most desirable places to get married.

A great bonus when choosing Ibiza is that the celebration is not limited to the day of the wedding. In Ibiza, it’s perfectly normal for friends and family to make a vacation out of their visit, allowing them to enjoy the entire island has to offer. Some fun island activities include cruises, beach days and club nights.

Miami, Florida

FACTS

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Florida since January 6, 2015.

Florida was the 36th state to recognize gay marriage.

Miami was the first city in Florida to end the discriminatory ban against gay marriage.

Miami currently estimates a quarter million (and growing) LGBTQ community.

WHY IT’S A GREAT LOCALE

Miami is made for celebrations with its sizzling, vibrant Latin flair. 

Miami is known for its top-notch food and music.

Miami is a great alternative to the Caribbean or Mexico, especially if you’re looking to stay within the U.S. 

No matter your style, there’s a wedding location for you including wide strands of golden sand historic hotels, lush gardens and ballrooms with sweeping ocean views.

Charleston, South Carolina

FACTS

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in South Carolina since November 20, 2014.

Although still very traditional, Charleston embraces the gay community. Many gay-owned and gay-friendly establishments can be found in the downtown area of Charleston in addition to North Charleston, 1o minutes from Charleston, which has a wonderful dining scene catering to the gay community. 

related: Jessica + Jane: A Southern Proper Charleston Wedding

WHY IT’S SPECIAL

The tradition and history is still rich in Charleston. While you still see the formal gardens and majestic mansions you will now also see edgy art galleries, jewel-box shops and chef-driven cafes along Charleston’s cobblestone streets.

Just out of town, you can find amazing sweeping marshes (something out of a magazine!!), white-sand beaches and romantic plantations perfect for a traditional Southern wedding. 

Stick with the Southern tradition and do like the locals by hosting a low country boil reception or serving oysters and shrimp that has been pulled from the nearby creeks.

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