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Best LGBTQ+-friendly small towns in the USA

These LGBTQ-friendly small towns in the USA combine big-city perks with small-town charm in a most magnificent manner

Written by Mark Williams
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When we think of LGBTQ+-friendly destinations, big cities often come to mind. Yet many small towns across the USA are just as welcoming. From longtime LGBTQ+ escapes like Provincetown to the charmingly crooked streets of Eureka Springs, these places combine big-city perks like chic restaurants and acclaimed museums and theaters with small-town charm and inclusive communities.

Visit one or several, and you’ll find thriving LGBTQ-owned businesses, cozy B&Bs, rustic retreats, stunning beaches, rolling hills, historic sites, and quirky shops – all within easy reach of major cities. The best LGBTQ-friendly small-towns in the USA offer the freedom to explore small-town America while feeling comfortable traveling as you are.

Best LGBTQ+-friendly small towns in the USA

Galena, Illinois
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1. Galena, Illinois

There aren’t LGBTQ+ bars or clubs in this Midwestern town, but its welcoming vibe, historical sites, lush countryside, and inviting LGBTQ-owned inns, such as the Inn at Irish Hollow and Aldrich Guest House, make Galena a real charmer. Stroll Main Street for over 125 locally-owned restaurants and stores housed in lovely 19th-century buildings. For a magical experience, visit during December for Night Of The Luminaria, when the entire town is illuminated by candlelight.

Provincetown, Massachusetts
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2. Provincetown, Massachusetts

This longtime LGBTQ+ hotspot offers scenic bike rides, inclusive bars and restaurants such as the Shipwreck Lounge and Bubala’s on the Bayamazing whale watching, and picture-perfect beaches. Take your pick of LGBTQ-owned accommodations like Somerset House Inn and Lands End Inn and saunter down Commercial Street for hip art galleries, terrific seafood restaurants, and popular hangouts like the Boat Slip, where seemingly everyone in town gathers for its iconic tea dance.

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New Hope, Pennsylvania
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3. New Hope, Pennsylvania

With antique shops, wineries, a rich arts scene, and rustic charm, this small town along the Delaware River is a popular weekend escape from New York and Philadelphia. Stay at the gay-owned Pineapple Inn Bed and Breakfast or Wishing Well B&B, and don’t miss a show at the renowned Buck’s County Playhouse, which has staged original plays and musicals (including world premieres from Terrence McNally and Neil Simon), revivals, and concerts since 1939.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas
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4. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

A ruby slipper in a red state, Eureka Springs’ inclusive spirit, and dozens of LGBTQ-owned businesses make it the “gay capital of the Ozarks.” Sample famous mineral waters, swoon at gorgeous Victorian buildings, and get lost in charmingly crooked streets. Don’t leave town without catching a glimpse of the seven-story Christ of the Ozarks statue, hunting for ghosts at the 1886 Crescent Hotel, or checking out a drag show at Eureka Live.

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Guerneville, California
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5. Guerneville, California

This LGBTQ+ oasis offers easy access to Sonoma County’s world-renowned wineries plus plenty of in-town treats. Sample delicious vino and support equal treatment for all at Equality Vines, dine at LGBTQIA-owned restaurants like Big Bottom MarketBrot and boon eat + drink and stay at the super welcoming R3 Hotel or Highlands Resort. Visit during the summer for Gay Wine Weekend, which includes wine tastings, drag brunches, pool parties, and other festive events.

Ogunquit, Maine
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6. Ogunquit, Maine

Soft sand, gentle waves, and warm smiles greet you in this delightful seaside town. After the obligatory beach time, visit the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, see a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse and enjoy Maine’s famous lobster at Barnacle Billy’s. Then sing your heart out at the Front Porch piano bar and hit up Maine Street for drinking and dancing. When choosing accommodation, consider LGBTQ-owned inns like Twenty Shore, and the Dragonfly Guest House.

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7. Lost River, West Virginia

A popular escape from Washington D.C., Lost River welcomes you with rolling hills, forested retreats, and several LGBTQ-owned businesses such as the Guesthouse Lost River, a visitor favorite since 1982. Relax in the onsite pool, jacuzzi, and saunas, then check out the gay-owned Lost River Trading Post, which has an eclectic collection of antiques, clothing, and locally-made goods, followed by cocktails and dinner at the LGBTQ-friendly Lost River Grill.

Saugatuck, Michigan
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8. Saugatuck, Michigan

With eye-popping dunes, stunning beaches, 19th-century homes, and art galleries galore, the Art Coast of Lake Michigan doesn’t disappoint. Browse over 140 LGBTQ-owned businesses (also found in neighboring Douglas), swim and kayak at Oval Beach (widely hailed as one of the country’s best), and climb to the top of Mount Baldhead for sweeping views. Stay at the Dunes Resorts, the largest LGBTQ+ resort in the Midwest, and make some new friends by the pool.

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