Travel locally for your summer trips

    Planning your big summer trip? There is so much to do within a short drive from Philly that you don’t have to be a long-range planner or go far away to get the most out of summer 2016. Here are a few of my tips to help you avoid the summer doldrums!

    Philly Politics

    It is not just Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders?) who might be headed to the White House. Philadelphia, the country’s first and only World Heritage City, is all in for the Democratic National Convention. Museums and attractions around the city are getting in the red, white and blue spirit with political-themed events, exhibitions and specials. As convention delegates head to the Wells Fargo Center this July, be sure to be friendly and say “Yo!”

    You are not left out of the party. You can cast your own vote or try your hand at running the country. The National Constitution Center’s “Headed to the White House” gives people the scoop on the electoral process, from the moment a candidate announces his/her campaign to the presidential swearing-in ceremony. Throughout the interactive exhibition, you can be the candidate and create and star in your own ad campaigns, work with an interactive speech coach and take a seat in the Oval Office.

    You don’t have to travel to be a hotel guest. Check out The Logan Hotel (formerly, the Four Seasons on Logan Square). The hotel is hip, chic and has among the best sunset views at the Assembly Rooftop Lounge (if you can get in! It’s a hot ticket).

    Check out visitphilly.com for great ideas on day and overnight trips anywhere around Philadelphia, including beautiful New Hope.

    Do AC!

    Atlantic City’s openly gay Mayor Don Guardian might have his hands full with pending bankruptcy and fending off a state takeover, but the sun still shines on the world-famous boardwalk. Live Nation just announced the 2016 summer series of beach concerts including shows with Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown and Florida Georgia Line. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.

    Ivan Kane’s Kiss Kiss a Go-Go, the new nightclub at Tropicana Atlantic City, opens June 16. Renowned nightlife innovator Kane has promised “a trip down the rabbit hole into the neon-fueled nights of Bangkok.” Kane delivers on his promises, as anyone who experienced his now-legendary and infamous Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub can attest at the still-closed former Revel resort. Tropicana is undergoing a tremendous renovation and rebirth. Renovated rooms are spectacular, so be sure to splurge for one of the Trop’s new rooms.

    Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa earned a 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index this year. Atlantic City’s number-one casino has been a longtime supporter of the Philadelphia LGBT community. This summer is not to be missed at Borgata.

    Be sure to book the Out at Borgata Hotel Package for a great deal. Designed with the resort’s LGBT friends in mind, this package offers an unforgettable getaway for two. Experience a one-night stay in a beautifully appointed Fiore Suite, $50 toward any Borgata signature restaurant or in-room dining, two complimentary cocktails at B Bar and two day passes to enjoy Spa Toccare’s men’s and women’s lounges. Overnight rates start around $229.

    Borgata always has top entertainment, including this weekend’s visit by Cyndi Lauper and Boy George with special guest Rosie O’Donnell May 29, America’s Drag Stars June 4 and Wanda Sykes June 10-11.

    Don’t forget to check out the Borgata’s 3,200-square-foot Roman-style pool and entertainment complex and the Borgata’s new Premier Nightclub.

    Jeff Guaracino is the author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing” and the “Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality.”