A big season ahead for must-do LGBT events

It is the best time of the year for LGBT travel. Here are some of the best trips that will make history and memories for a lifetime.

Memorial Day? Jetset to Miami for the World OutGames IV 

Switch up your Memorial Day plans this year and join the international LGBT community in Miami for the World OutGames IV. More than 100,000 participants, spectators and thought leaders from around the globe are expected to visit Miami for the 10-day festival celebrating the LGBT community with 450 events across three areas: sports, culture and human rights. World OutGames Miami registration is available online at outgames.org. The comprehensive registration package includes admission to opening and closing ceremonies at Marlins Park, access to open sports and culture events and access to Festival Village and other events.

Organizers are advocating for spending your LGBT travel dollars with companies and accommodations that support LGBT events. The organizing host committee and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Authority warns not to stay in an AirBnB: “We ask that when making your travel plans for the World OutGames Miami 2017, you consider staying at one of our host properties or at one of the incredible hotel properties which support our community.”

June: Double your Pride in Washington, D.C., and Philly

In a typical year, Philly Pride Presents is the must-do LGBT pride event, especially considering the importance of Philadelphia’s role in the early LGBT movement. Kudos to local organizers for moving Philly’s celebration to June 18 to allow locals to travel to the nation’s capital for the must-do Equality March for Unity and Pride June 11.

The national march takes place during Capital Pride 2017, June 10-11, themed this year “Unapologetically Proud.”

Philadelphia’s own Bruce Yelk hosts Distrkt C Pride — Powered by Scruff throughout the weekend. On June 10, Distrkt C is the Official Pride Party of Capital Pride and features DJs Jared Conner (Philly boy), Joe Guathreaux and Grind. Inaya Day will perform. The next day’s party is geared to those who love the classics of the late ’90s and early 2000s. DJ Billy Carroll will make his first appearance outside of Fire Island since coming out of retirement in 2015. He will spin disco and classics outside before the concert of Crystal Waters, Kristine W. and Kim English.

July: Alaska is the ‘it trip’ for cruising this summer!

Olivia, the undisputed expert in all-women’s cruises and events, heads to Alaska June 25-July 2, carrying 1,900 women on the Magestic Alaska Cruise. RSVP Vacations also heads to the 49th state on the Holland America Eurodam Aug. 5-12. Atlantis Events has a sold-out European summer trip.

Trusted R Family Vacations and modern luxury cruise line Celebrity Cruises together will set sail offering one-of-a-kind experiences tailored to the LGBT community. The first adventure will go to the vast final frontier of Alaska July 21 onboard the award-winning Celebrity Solstice, which just underwent an extensive revitalization in October.

Short drives and weekend getaways 

Rehoboth Beach, Del., is a sophisticated weekend getaway offering a wide variety of activities, from beach volleyball to picturesque bike rides to an active nightlife that has you off to a late-night pizza spot by 1 a.m. Hotels range from beach basic to beach chic. Weekly rentals are always a good value but the best locations might already be gone! 

(Insider’s tip: Route 1 only sounds good in theory.)

New Hope is always a favorite quick-trip getaway. The legendary Raven Resort continues to entertain all summer long. The town offers antique shops, fine dining and a change of scenery, plus the newly restored Bucks County Playhouse.

ASCENSION Festival moves to Asbury Park this summer. The famous Fire Island event debuts on the Jersey Shore Aug. 4-7, with LGBT-owned The Asbury Hotel as the host hotel. 

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

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