Road Tripping in America: A Guide to Queer Cross-country Travel

Miles Oliver

There’s nothing quite like a road trip to create memories that will last a lifetime with the people who are closest to you in the world.

But whether you’re traveling with friends or with your significant other, when you are LGBT+, travelling cross-country in America involves a host of special considerations.

The foremost of these, of course, is the issue of safety because, let’s face it, though significant strides have been made, equality and acceptance are far from universal, even in the USA.

This article provides tips and tricks for queer cross-country travel to help ensure that your American road trip is truly the trip of a lifetime.

Preparing for the trip

When it comes to planning a road trip as a queer person, the first thing you probably want to do is research the most queer-friendly towns, cities and attractions. This will help you draw up a shortlist of stops on your journey.

You’ll likely find that you have more options to choose from than you had imagined, even in areas not generally known for their hospitality to LGBT+ people. 

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You might, for instance, check out the Sassy Planet travel guide, which has a wealth of terrific information on queer-friendly destinations across the U.S. and around the world.

And while you’re planning your trip, you should also take into account other factors that could make your adventure even better.

For instance, if you have a furry friend you can’t bear to leave behind, then you can do a quick internet search to find the best pet-friendly travel accommodations and attractions along your route.

Queer-friendly historic roadside stops

If you’re looking to enjoy a bit of history during your cross-country travels, you have a lot of queer-friendly options to choose from.

Towns like Savannah, Georgia, and Asheville, North Carolina combine southern hospitality and a voluminous history while also being famously welcoming to LGBT+ residents and tourists.

National parks

The U.S. has some of the most glorious and varied landscapes in the entire world and visiting one of its many illustrious national parks is an ideal way to enjoy them in all their grandeur.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the nation’s most visited park, offering breathtaking hiking trails and scenic drives. Best of all, it’s only a short jaunt from the queer-friendly town of Asheville.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to enjoy the splendors of the American southwest, few parks are more than Utah’s Arches National Park or California’s Sequoia National Park.

Queer-friendly towns and cities

If you are looking for a queer-friendly town with a stunning desert landscape and a thriving arts community, then look no further than Taos, New Mexico.

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The historic home of one of the nation’s oldest and most prolific artists’ colonies, Taos is a haven for members of the LGBT+ community. It is also a prime destination for anyone looking to bask in the beauty and creativity of the magnificent Taos art scene.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for the excitement of a larger city with eastern flair, then Philadelphia, Pennsylvania may be just what you had in mind.

Philly is widely recognized as one of the most queer-friendly cities in the U.S., and it features all the amenities of a major metropolitan area. Those attractions include fine dining, excellent theater, world-class museums, and some of the best shopping in the world.

Queer-friendly entertainment, bars, and restaurants

The Florida Keys have long been a particularly welcoming place for members of the LGBT+ community and were the frequent home of the queer playwright, Tennessee Williams.

The Keys’ queer-friendly reputation continues today, with the islands playing host to a wide array of LGBT+ attractions. These include an immense number of queer-friendly bars and restaurants, as well as LGBT-focused events, such as the famed Key West Pride celebrations.

The takeaway

Traveling cross-country can be an event you and your companions will remember all your lives. And the good news is that if you are a member of the LGBT+ community seeking to find the most hospitable and safest destinations in the nation, you have a host of options.

From East Coast to West, from North to South, there are innumerable queer-friendly attractions just waiting to be discovered.

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About Miles Oliver

Miles Oliver is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for politics, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.