We might still be in the midst of winter, but spring is just around the corner, and if you haven’t started making travel arrangements yet, you’d best get cracking.
Using a complex algorithm (sorry for the science-speak), we determined the most wallet-friendly travel destinations in the U.S. south.
From there, we dissected the data—high school anatomy class style—and noticed a few cool trends. Notably, we saw some insanely affordable cities that are also key players in the Southern LGBTQ+ movement.
So, this year’s top value destinations for a Southern Spring ‘Gaycation’ are:
Tulsa, Oklahoma may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of gay-friendly cities, but it is a city that has a lot to offer for the queer community.
With its growing LGBTQ+ scene, several bars and clubs cater to the community. Some of the most popular gay bars include Club Majestic, which offers drag shows, dancing, and karaoke nights and The Eagle.
Tulsa is home to Oklahomans for Equality one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ organizations offering a range of services, including support groups, counseling, and social events.
In addition to its gay scene, Tulsa has many other attractions that make it a great destination for travelers. The Philbrook Museum of Art, the Tulsa Zoo, and the Tulsa Botanic Garden are just a few of the attractions that visitors can explore.
Durham, North Carolina
Durham has a growing LGBTQ+ scene, with several bars and clubs that cater to the community. The Pinhook is one of the most popular gay bars, offering a range of entertainment, including live music and drag shows. Other popular LGBTQ+ bars include The Bar, which offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and Queeny’s, a neighborhood bar vibe with a library and podcast studio, late night eats, and cheap but delicious cocktails.
A trip to Durham wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Cocoa Cinnamon, a popular local coffee shop that offers a range of coffee drinks, teas, and pastries. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great place to relax and plan your day. And while in town. visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, which offers a range of contemporary and modern art exhibitions. The museum is open until 5 PM most days and offers a great opportunity to explore the local art scene.
Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia also has several gay bars and clubs that cater to the LGBTQ+ community. One popular spot is PT’s 1109, which offers a laid-back atmosphere, karaoke nights, and drag shows. Other popular gay bars in Columbia include The Capital Club and Art Bar, which offers a range of events, including live music and art exhibits.
Overall, Columbia offers a welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ travelers, with a range of attractions and events that make it a great destination for anyone looking to experience the best of LGBTQ+ culture in the South.
One of the most popular attractions in Columbia is the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, which is home to a range of animals from around the world and offers beautiful botanical gardens to explore. Other popular attractions include the South Carolina State Museum, which features exhibits on the history and culture of the state, and the Columbia Museum of Art, which offers a range of exhibitions and events.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina is a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers looking for a vibrant and inclusive community. The city offers a range of attractions and events, including festivals, gay bars, and cultural offerings.
Raleigh also has a thriving bar and club scene. The most popular gay bar in Raleigh is Flex, which offers a variety of entertainment, including dancing, drag shows, and karaoke. Other popular LGBTQ+ bars in Raleigh include Legends, which offers a relaxed atmosphere and live music, and Ruby Deluxe, which offers a trendy vibe and creative cocktails.
In addition to its LGBTQ+ scene, Raleigh offers a range of cultural and historical attractions, including the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the historic North Carolina State Capitol. The city also offers a range of outdoor spaces, including the Raleigh Greenway, which offers miles of walking and biking trails, and the nearby Umstead State Park, which offers hiking and camping opportunities.
Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a longer stay, Raleigh is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the best of LGBTQ+ culture in the South.
Richmond, Virginia is a charming destination for LGBTQ+ travelers who appreciate history and Southern hospitality. This city offers a range of cultural and historic attractions, outdoor spaces, and a growing LGBTQ+ scene.
The most popular gay bar in Richmond is Barcode, which offers a variety of entertainment, including dancing and drag shows. Other popular LGBTQ+ bars in Richmond include Godfrey’s, which offers a variety of entertainment, including karaoke and drag shows, and Babe’s of Carytown, which offers a relaxed atmosphere and creative cocktails.
In addition to its LGBTQ+ scene, Richmond offers a range of cultural and historical attractions, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia State Capitol. The city also offers a range of outdoor spaces, including the James River Park System, which offers miles of walking and biking trails and the Belle Isle Park, which offers hiking and camping opportunities.
When it comes to accommodations, LGBTQ+ travelers can find plenty of welcoming options in Richmond. The Quirk Hotel is a boutique hotel that features a unique design and modern amenities. Other great options include the Graduate Richmond and the Linden Row Inn, both of which offer charming and historic accommodations.
About The Author
Tommy Bergssen is trying to become Carmen San Diego but with fewer trench coats and more sunscreen. He has a habit of telling everyone he’s soon moving to Colombia. He likes pork.