Traveling is easy, choosing a place to go is hard. For queer families or couples, this might be a challenge as you want to find somewhere that’s both kid friendly and inclusive of you and your family. Well, look no further.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing European city break with your family, a getaway filled with quirky cafes and amazing nature or a tropical, party-filled paradise, these destinations will have you wanting to jump on a plane straight away. Here are the best travel destinations for gay couples or families.
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Often named as the ‘happiest city in the world’, Copenhagen is a hip and happening city that’s long been a center for style, cuisine and culture. Alongside that, in 1989, Denmark was the first nation in the world to recognize registered same-sex partnerships.
The canals and old colorful houses of Copenhagen are beautiful to stroll around, any time of the year.
The city is made up of different districts, with the undeniably cool Vesterbro, the chilled, multicultural Nørrebro and the aforementioned Christiania being favorites for travelers. The city is packed with bars and restaurants and for the culture lovers, it has some of the most impressive galleries in Europe. There are offerings for fans of contemporary art, as well as experiences for more traditional tastes, such as V1 Gallery and SMK - the National Gallery of Denmark.
For families, Tivoli Gardens is the first place you should experience together. A 175-year old amusement park in the middle of Copenhagen is full of old-time charm, fun rides and delightful scenery. It was even the place that inspired Walt Disney to build the first Disney theme park.
In Copenhagen, you can also visit the Blue Planet, an unrivalled aquarium, KU.BE, an open community space for art and learning (where children can play, climb, learn or even enjoy an indoor roller coaster). There’s also the Experimentarium, an interactive science center where kids can get hands on and learn about fun science. On top of this, your children will enjoy the views offered by the Rundetaarn, an old observatory with a spiral ramp that leads to the top.
2. Toronto, Canada
Toronto is the perfect place for a gay-friendly getaway. Canada is often hailed as one of the most progressive nations in the world. From the arts to theater, fine dining to club nights, there’s always something happening on the streets of Toronto. Just explore the huge number of gay-friendly bars and clubs.
The Toronto skyline is one of the most impressive in the world.
Families can have the best time here. There’s the Toronto Zoo (a firm favorite with children) and Ripley’s Aquarium for fun and educational experiences. You can also visit the CN Tower and head to the top, where you and the kids can look out on spectacular views of the city through panoramic windows. For families with slightly older children, why not spend the day at Canada’s Wonderland, an incredible theme park just outside of the city.
Toronto is also home to Church Wellesley Gay Village, one of the world’s most famous gay districts, consisting of many gay bars, restaurants and shops (it’s also where they shot the successful American drama Queer as Folk).
During Toronto Pride, the CN Tower is lit up in the well-known Pride colours.
However, Church Wellesley is not the only gay district, with Queer West Village and Old Cabbagetown being popular with the gay community. The city also holds a very well-attended Pride event every year. It’s truly a city where gay, bi and trans subcultures thrive.
Toronto is also never lacking in things to do. Sample art and history at the Royal Ontario Museum, stroll through Chinatown and enjoy dim sum and then take yourselves off to Niagara Falls for either a romantic or a great family experience.
3. Berlin, Germany
Berlin has an incredibly active gay community with a rich history. Schöneberg, one of the city's localities, has been a notable gay district since the 1930s. In the 1920s, Berlin was known as the gay capital of Europe. In 1985, Berlin opened the world’s first gay Museum, the Schwules Museum and the first gay Pride parade took place in 1979.
Hosting many districts that make up this beautiful European city, it's Schöneberg, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauerberg that take the top spots for gay activities, with clubs, bars and restaurants to explore. All of this makes Berlin one of Europe’s most tolerant and welcoming cities.
Berlin Cathedral is a popular tourist attraction. Take your family on a river cruise to see it from a unique angle.
It’s a very laid back place. In the summer you’ll find Germans (and many other nationalities drawn to this city) sunning themselves in Tiergarten or Englischer Garten, two popular inner-city parks. You could find yourself grabbing a cold beer in one of the city’s famous beer halls, such as Brauhaus Lemke Am Alex or Hofbräuhaus München. Maybe you could try your luck with Berghain, the infamous nightclub, where getting in is half the experience.
If you visit as a family, why not try the Berlin Zoo? They have over 1,200 species and 20,000 animals to see. There’s also Berlin’s Museum of Natural History for an educational day out or the German Espionage Museum, where your children can learn about all it takes to be a spy. For couples with older children, you can take in the city with a bus tour or for an even more unique experience, a walking tour. You and your family will learn all about this fantastic city’s rich history.
In the colder seasons, there’s the famous Oktoberfest where you can experience true German celebrations and at Christmas time, they hold an amazing array of Christmas markets that would warm the heart of any Grinch. Plus, your children will love the festive spirit. If you’re thinking about getting away with your significant other or your family, Berlin is a top choice.
The Berlin Christmas Markets are magical places the whole family can enjoy.
For more information, the Visit Berlin site has an incredible amount of resources for gay couples looking to have an amazing experience.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital. While it doesn’t have much sun, it more than makes up for that in the strength of its cultural offerings, its inclusivity and the sheer, unrivaled beauty of the Icelandic landscape. From geysers to coffee shops, waterfalls to glaciers, this little island with a population of only 364,000 has a lot more to offer than you’d think.
Reykjavik is a friendly place for queer families. It’s Pride march began in 1999 and in 2006, same-sex couples gained equal rights with heterosexual couples without any limitations. In 2010, same-sex partnerships were then recognized as marriages. Then, in 2012, the needs of the trans and genderqueer communities were met when they formalized the process for name and identity changing.
Skólavörðustígur is a main street in central Reykjavik which has been painted with a permanent rainbow to celebrate Pride.
While Reykjavik is nowhere near the size of London, New York or Paris, it doesn’t offer any less fun. Plus, what Iceland lacks in size, it more than makes up for in natural beauty. The small island is packed with incredible geological features. You’ll find hot springs, glaciers and black-sand beaches covered in icebergs that look like diamonds.
Iceland is on the ridge between two tectonic plates, which is why it has so much volcanic and geological activity. You can even snorkel between the two plates in Silfra. The country’s waterfalls, such as Gullfoss, Skogafoss and Dettifoss (the most powerful in Europe) are firm favorites amongst tourists.
Rekyjavik's Blue Lagoon, the country's most famous hot spring, is the perfect place for couples or families. Children under 13 get free admission.
It’s the perfect destination for young families as the city isn’t a bustling, tourist-packed place like New York or London. You can take your children up to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s most famous church. Next, why not try whale watching and puffin tours? Your kids will love the journey across Iceland’s coastal waters, where they can see some of the world’s most majestic (and cute) creatures.
On top of that, families can enjoy the Reykjavik Family Park and Zoo. Whether you’re traveling as a family or a couple, Reykjavik’s Blue Lagoon is a must-see. Finally, if you want to make a truly unforgettable memory with your family, visit Iceland in wintertime - that’s when you’ll be able to see the inspiring northern lights.
You can have an incredible journey by staying in the boutique hotels of Reykjavik for a few nights, then renting a car and journeying around the Golden Circle (the most popular tourist destinations which are close to Reykjavik). Or you could travel around Iceland’s ring road, which spans the length of the country, exploring different areas and towns as you go.
5. Phuket, Thailand
Phuket is not an especially common destination for families, but for couples, it’s a must. Phuket boasts not one, but 43 beaches - a week-long stay and you won’t even have been to a quarter of them. That’s just one reason (or should we say, 43 reasons) to stay in this tropical paradise.
Phuket's golden beaches and clear waters aren't the only things to experience - you can hire boats and explore the local islands.
Phuket, a province (and island) of Thailand, is one of the most popular destinations for gay singles or couples. There’s a large gay scene in Patong, with the area being full of bars and clubs, known as the ‘Paradise Complex’.
Lonely Planet refers to Phuket as a place ‘so diverse you may forget to leave’ and we’re inclined to agree. From the bluest waters to amazing Thai cuisine, Buddhist temples to midnight beach parties, Phuket has all you need and more for an incredibly fun couples getaway.
Phuket's Big Buddha is a popular attraction. It takes a walk up a hill, but the statue and view are well worth it.
But don’t get us wrong - Phuket is still an amazing destination for a family holiday. Spend a family day out at the beaches of Patong or Karon and Kata. Take an island boat tour, exploring places such as Phi Phi Island and dive into the bluest waters you’ve ever seen.
These five represent some of the best, but definitely not all of the choices available to you. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, why not read our blog on the best gay travel companies that can help you design the holiday of your dreams?
Have you had any incredible experiences travelling as a gay, bi or trans couple or as a family that need to be shared with the world? What inclusive places have you delighted in? Let us know where you’ve been and send us some pictures! We’d love to hear from you.