11 Best Small Gay Friendly Towns

In recent years, the LGBTQ+ or queer community has become more visible and represented in popular culture, media, and politics. As a result, many cities around the world have started to embrace and celebrate the community, making them safe and welcoming destinations for queer travelers. While the usual suspects like New York, San Francisco, and Berlin have been popular destinations for decades, smaller cities are starting to gain recognition for their inclusive attitudes and vibrant queer scenes. In this article, we’ll highlight the best small gay friendly towns from around the world that offer unique and unforgettable experiences for queer travelers. From charming seaside towns to picturesque mountain retreats, these destinations are all known for their welcoming attitudes, diverse communities, and lively queer scenes.

So, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a cultural adventure, or simply a chance to unwind and connect with other beautiful people, these cities are all worth adding to your travel list. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the world’s most amazing small towns that are welcoming towards our fellow LGBTQ peeps.

Reykjavik, Iceland


Get ready to embark on an adventure to Reykjavik, Iceland, a city that welcomes everyone with open arms. Yes, we know that this is a ‘city’ and not a ‘town,’ but Reykjavik Pride is lovingly called the “biggest little Pride in the world!”

One of the highlights of the queer calendar, Reykjavik Pride, draws people from all over the world to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and identity. The parade is a colorful and joyous celebration that includes floats, music, and dancing, and it’s definitely a must-see for anyone visiting Reykjavik during the Pride season. It’s also indicative of how supportive and thriving the queer community in Reykjavik is. During this season, Reykjavik also offers a range of entertainment options, from nightlife to cultural events. If you’re looking for a place to hang out with your travel pals, you must visit the Kiki Queer Bar.

However, the fun doesn’t stop here. This vibrant city is not just known for its stunning natural beauty and rich culture but also for its lively and inclusive environment. Reykjavik is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and even offers many unique opportunities to witness the Northern Lights. You can also explore geothermal wonders like the Blue Lagoon or take in the stunning Gullfoss waterfall and the magnificent Snæfellsjökull glacier. All in all, Reykjavik is a warm and welcoming destination for all LGBTQ+ travelers.

Reykjavik - by Helgi Halldórsson, Flickr
Reykjavik – by Helgi Halldórsson, Flickr

Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA


Provincetown, Massachusetts, is a charming and unique beach town. Maybe this will surprise you, but this town has a rich history in the LGBTQ+ community. Known as the “birthplace of American modernism,” Provincetown has been an artsy haven for decades. In the early 20th century, it transformed into a popular destination for queer artists and writers like Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill.

Today, Provincetown is a popular vacation spot for LGBTQ+ travelers who come to enjoy the town’s relaxed and friendly vibe, along with its many attractions and events. These range from the famous Provincetown International Film Festival to the Carnival Week parade. Other popular events include Bear Week, Women’s Week, and Family Week. This gem is simply one of the best gay small towns in America.

Don’t miss out on this town’s beautiful beaches, such as Herring Cove Beach and Race Point Beach. These beaches offer visitors the chance to soak up the sun, take a refreshing swim, and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. In fact, Herring Cove Beach is a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers and is known for its friendly atmosphere and stunning views of the sunset. Race Point Beach, on the other hand, boasts pristine sand dunes and crystal-clear waters and is home to a variety of wildlife. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, go for a swim, or explore the natural beauty of the area, Herring Cove Beach and Race Point Beach are two must-visit destinations for anyone looking to experience the charm of small LGBTQ-friendly towns.

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Provincetown, Massachusetts – by ptowntourism.com

Guerneville, California, USA


Guerneville, a charming town situated in the heart of Sonoma County’s redwood forests, is the perfect destination for those seeking natural beauty and a lively queer community. The locals are welcoming and inclusive. To keep you excited, the town is brimming with events and activities that celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity. The Russian River, which runs through the town, is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, and hiking. It’s also the home for a popular event managed by a small group of volunteers: Lazy Bear Weekend. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper gay resort without a bunch of great gay bars, right? Check out the funky Rainbow Cattle Company and Stumptown Brewery. Are you going to be here at the end of September? Don’t miss the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival held at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville.

For adventure seekers, there’s no shortage of outdoor recreations to try, from hiking and biking to kayaking in scenic waterways. Let’s not forget about wine tasting! With plenty of wineries to choose from, you can sip and savor some of the best wines California has to offer. The real star of Guerneville, however, is the towering redwoods that surround the town. These ancient giants provide an awe-inspiring backdrop for hiking trails. That wind through the forest and zipline tours that take you soaring high above the treetops. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or looking for a little relaxation in a beautiful setting. Guerneville has something for everyone.

Guerneville Bridge
Guerneville Bridge – by visitcalifornia.com

Mykonos, Greece


This beautiful island located in the Aegean Sea has become famous for its lively nightlife and stunning beaches. What you might not know is that Mykonos is a welcoming place that has long been popular with the LGBTQ+ community. It is well known for its vibrant LGBTQ-friendly nightlife scene that centers around the Chora/Hora, the island’s main town. Visitors can party all night at some of the most famous gay clubs, including the famous JackieO’ Mykonos. The club hosts popular events and parties throughout the year. Besides special parties during Pride month, you can enjoy everything from sunset drinks overlooking the sea to dancing until the early hours of the morning in one of the many clubs. If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out our list of top gay-friendly hotels In Mykonos.

Besides parties, Mykonos has become the talk of the town for its beautiful beaches, many of which are LGBTQ-friendly. Elia Beach is one of the most popular and attracts a diverse crowd. It has a lively atmosphere, beach bars, and restaurants serving delicious food. Paraga Beach is another great spot for travelers. It has beautiful crystal-clear waters, a relaxed vibe, and a lively beach club that hosts parties and events. It’s impossible to fully experience Mykonos in only a few days, so you can also rent one of the best villas in Mykonos to explore this city’s beauty to the fullest.

Mykonos Beach – by ZEBULON72, Pixabay

Sitges, Spain


The coastal gem of Sitges is just a short trip away from Barcelona and is known for its lively and accepting LGBTQ+ scene. Travelers seeking a friendly and pleasant atmosphere frequently visit this picturesque town as it has a rich history of embracing and celebrating with the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, its gay-friendly history dates back to the 1960s, when it was a favorite spot for creative types seeking inspiration.

Sitges is one of the best summer destinations, thanks to the 17 beaches to choose from. These range from cozy coves to long stretches of sand, and there is a perfect spot for everyone. Playa de la Bassa Rodona and Playa de la Ribera are particularly popular with LGBTQ+ visitors. What’s more, you’ll have no trouble spotting the iconic rainbow flag. The gay beach, located near the bustling center with the trendy Hotel Calipolis in the background, is a must-visit. Soak up the sun, frolic in the waves, and mingle with the friendly fellow gay folks.

But there’s more to Sitges than just beaches and nightlife. Throughout the year, the town hosts a range of LGBTQ+ events. Including the famous Sitges Gay Carnival in February and the Sitges Bear Week in September. If you’re looking for cultural experiences, Sitges has plenty to offer. All in all, it’s a fantastic destination for queer travelers looking for sun, sand, culture, and a welcoming community. While you’re here, check out our list of the top gay-friendly hotels In Sitges too.

Sitges Beach, Spain
Sitges Beach, Spain – by Werner Lang, Wikimedia

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA


The Victoria-era spa town of Eureka Springs in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas has a long history of promoting absolute tolerance. With just a little more than 2,100 residents, the small but mighty town is hailed as the “gayest small town in America.” The title was earned partially due to the town’s many attempts to pass ordinances prohibiting discrimination. Besides the entire town being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the town is also a marriage destination. That’s because it was Arkansas’ first city to issue marriage licenses to the LGBTQ+ community. How cool is that! 

So, it’s not surprising that there is no shortage of queer events. Diversity celebrations take place throughout the year, with many dance parties, drag shows, parades, and festivals. What’s more, you can see same-sex couples holding hands and walking down the street without fear. It’s a very unique Southern town that bravely stands against prejudices that still exist in the region where it sits.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA - by Robert Stinnett, Flickr
Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA – by Robert Stinnett, Flickr

Montevideo, Uruguay


Did you know that LGBTQ+ rights in Uruguay rank among the highest in the world? Yes! Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, has been at the forefront of promoting and ensuring LGBTQ+ rights for years. It’s an inclusive and progressive small city that sets an example for the country’s attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community. The city’s bars, clubs, and events reflect its vibrant LGBTQ+ culture. Don’t forget the Pride Parade, which is not just the city’s but even the country’s largest LGBTQ+ event and draws visitors from all corners of the globe.

What’s great is that there’s a lot to Montevideo beyond its Pride celebrations. Its colonial past is reflected in its stunning architecture. Tourists can admire the city’s beautiful old buildings by taking a stroll through the historic Ciudad Vieja, the oldest part of the city. Montevideo is also well-known for its tango culture, which the city celebrates in the streets and at various events throughout the year. In fact, tango is a significant part of Uruguayan culture, and visitors can immerse themselves in this unique and passionate dance.

The Colors of Montevideo Uruguay by Jimmy Baikovicius
The Colors of Montevideo Uruguay – by Jimmy Baikovicius, Flickr

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands


Gran Canaria is a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers seeking sun, sand, and a welcoming environment. Moreover, it’s one of the world’s most important LGBTQ destinations. That is evident by the many queer-friendly hotels and entertainment spots on the island. These include the famous Yumbo Center in Playa del Ingles, which is the world’s only LGBTQ shopping center! What’s more, it’s also home to many bars, clubs, and restaurants catering to LGBTQ+ crowds. 

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of LGBTQ+ events throughout the year, such as the Maspalomas Gay Pride Festival in May and the Freedom Festival in October. One of the main draws of Gran Canaria for LGBTQ+ travelers is its stunning beaches. Maspalomas Beach, located on the southern coast of the island, is a popular spot for sunbathing and relaxing—a perfect plan for a summer getaway! Aside from its beaches and entertainment options, Gran Canaria is also home to several cultural attractions. Visitors can explore the historic district of Vegueta, which boasts beautiful architecture and interesting museums, such as the Canarian Museum and the Columbus House Museum.

Gran Canaria Pride - by Ybridex AngeloDemon, Flickr
Gran Canaria Pride – by Ybridex AngeloDemon, Flickr

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s top destination for LGBTQ+ travelers. Its friendly and welcoming atmosphere makes it the perfect inclusive vacation spot. Puerto Vallarta has made significant strides in promoting and celebrating diversity, making it one of the most welcoming places for the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico.

In fact, it also has some excellent choices for gay-friendly hotels In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. What’s more, many of them cater to the needs and preferences of the LGBTQ+ community. Ensuring that all visitors feel safe and comfortable during their stay. Some of the most popular options include the Casa Cupula. A boutique hotel and spa that is only for gay men, and the Almar Resort Luxury LGBT Beach Front Experience. An adults-only inclusive resort with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Puerto Vallarta hosts a range of cultural events that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. One of the biggest events is the Vallarta Pride Festival, which takes place every May. Other notable events include the Day of the Dead celebrations and the Art Walk, which features galleries and artists from all over the world. Puerto Vallarta has something to offer everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

Nightlife in Puerto Valarta, Mexico
Nightlife in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – by visitpuertovallarta.com

Brighton, UK


Brighton has a rich history of LGBTQ+ culture, dating back to the 19th century when it became a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers. Today, Brighton is famous as one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in the world. Brighton’s gay scene centers around the Kemptown neighborhood, where you’ll find a range of LGBTQ+ bars and clubs.

Brighton’s queer nightlife is a major draw for visitors from around the world. The city has a diverse range of bars and clubs that cater to the LGBTQ+ community, from stylish cocktail bars to raucous nightclubs. One of the most popular venues is the Brighton Tavern, which has been a fixture of the city’s gay scene for over 20 years. Other top spots include the Marine Tavern, the Charles Street Bar, and the Envy Club.

Brighton Pride is one of the city’s most famous events. It features a colorful parade through the city. Other LGBTQ+ events in Brighton include the Trans Pride march, which celebrates the city’s transgender community. Like Guerneville, this town has its own bear heaven: The Brighton Bear Weekend. It’s an event you must attend! All in all, Brighton is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in good vibes. It’s no wonder it’s one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities.

Brighton Pride - by Simon, Flickr
Brighton Pride – by Simon, Flickr

Wellington, New Zealand


At the top of our list of the best small LGBTQ-friendly towns in the world is Wellington, which rolls out the welcome mat for LGBTQ+ travelers in style. The capital of New Zealand boasts a fabulous Pride Parade that makes it a prime destination with a friendly environment, lively atmosphere, and warm-as-an-NZ-summer locals.

If you’re searching for a good time, Wellington has got you covered, offering a wide range of celebrations to please your queer cravings. The city hosts an array of fabulous LGBTQ+ events that cater to all tastes. The Wellington Pride Festival is the highlight of the city’s calendar. It’s an explosion of queer culture featuring an eclectic mix of events. The Out in the Park festival, which happens every February. The Wellington International Pride Parade in November.

Do you need support? Wellington’s got you! The city’s LGBTQ+ support organizations are ready to lend a helping hand. Rainbow Wellington, a local group, provides support for the LGBTQ+ community. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation, meanwhile, supports people living with HIV/AIDS. Whatever your situation, rest assured that Wellington has got your back.

Cool Facts about Small Gay-Friendly Towns

  • Wellington is nicknamed the “Windy City” due to its notorious strong winds, caused by its location between the Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. This city is also famous for its strong coffee culture, with a high concentration of coffee shops and roasteries. Did you know that this city is the home of The Weta Workshop renowned for its work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies?
  • Brighton has a significant LGBTQ+ community and is known for being one of the UK’s most LGBTQ+-friendly cities. The city also hosts the annual Brighton Pride festival, one of the largest LGBTQ+ Pride events in the country, attracting visitors from around the world.
  • Mykonos is known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and attracts visitors from around the world, including celebrities and the LGBTQ+ community. It’s often referred to as the “Island of the Winds” due to the strong winds that blow across the island. These winds propel the Mykonos windmills across the island. It’s even one of the top things to do in Mykonos!

Leave a Reply