Gay Travel California, LGBTQ Getaways
- Gay Days Disney
- Yosemite Park
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Balboa Park Tours
- Napa Valley Wine Tours
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
California Gay Getaways
California is a beautiful state full of diverse attractions and activities that make it an ideal travel destination. But for the LGBTQ community, California offers even more – from gay-friendly restaurants to LGBTQIA+ events and festivals. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just planning a fun vacation, there are plenty of places to explore and experience in California for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+). From San Francisco to Los Angeles, here are some of the best activities and attractions for LGBTQIA+ travelers in California.
California’s LGBTQ History
California has a long history of LGBTQ activism and acceptance. The first gay rights organization in the United States was founded in San Francisco in 1950. In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country. In 2003, California became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Today, California is home to a vibrant LGBTQ community. San Francisco is known as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, and there are numerous events and attractions catering to LGBTQ travelers. Los Angeles also has a large LGBTQ population and is home to many queer-friendly bars, clubs, and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out or want to learn more about LGBTQ history, California is a great place to be.
Things to Do in California
There’s so much to do in California, and the state is especially welcoming to LGBTQ travelers. Here are some of the best things to do in California, whether you’re looking for a fun night out or a relaxing day by the beach. San Francisco is one of the most popular destinations for gay travelers, and it’s easy to see why. The city is home to a large and vibrant LGBTQ community, and there are tons of great bars, clubs, and restaurants to check out. If you’re looking for a night out on the town, San Francisco is the place to be. Los Angeles is another must-visit destination for LGBTQ travelers. The city has long been known as a mecca for queer culture, and there’s no shortage of things to do. Whether you want to check out the local gay nightlife or just relax on one of LA’s many beaches, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in this sunny city. If you’re looking for a more low-key vacation spot, head to Palm Springs. This desert oasis is popular with gay travelers seeking a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery. There are plenty of great hotels and resorts to choose from, and you can easily find yourself spending your days lounging by the pool or exploring all that Palm Springs has to offer.
Gay Days Disney
Gay Days is one of the most popular “unofficial” events at Disneyland. It draws crowds of over 30,000 people annually.
First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
- Horseback Riding
- Water Activities
- Bird Watching
- Rock Climbing
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood is a major tourist attraction as an entertainment capital. Over 50 million people visit each year. Check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame Mural, an extraordinary and beautiful 100’ long artwork is a tribute to Hollywood and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth most-attended aquarium in the nation and is Southern California’s largest. It displays about 12,000 animals and more than 100 exhibits that celebrate the planet’s largest and most diverse body of water, the Pacific Ocean. Its galleries represent the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific, the temperate Southern California/Baja region, and the warm coral reefs and lagoons of the Tropical Pacific. The Aquarium provides opportunities to delve deeper into ocean science and learn more about our planet. Throughout the year, the Aquarium features art exhibits, performing arts shows, and cultural and community festivals as a way to engage new audiences and make science accessible.
Balboa Park is a place of beauty and culture, with a rich history. Learn about the intricate architecture, the landscaping and greenery, or stories of the Park from an expert. You can take a tour with a Park Ranger, a floral professional, or a horticulturist, or stroll along at your own pace with a pre-recorded audio tour.
- Botanical Building and Lily Pond
- Kate O. Sessions Cactus Garden
- Alcazar Garden
- Panama 66 at The San Diego Museum of Art
- San Diego Zoo
Where culture and nature meet. Lush grounds, from gardens to forests, fountains to playgrounds, and sweeping architecture from Spanish Colonial Revival to mid-century Modern span the heart of the Park. More than 17 museums filled with everything from dinosaurs to space travel, science to the study of humankind, photographs to old masters, and automobiles to orchids. Plays, musicals, orchestras, ballet, heritage dancing, song, and the World Famous San Diego Zoo, round out a vast array of things to see and do. Must-see attractions are everywhere throughout Balboa Park. From iconic San Diego landmarks, to massive trees, to watching artists at work, to the World Famous San Diego Zoo.
Napa Valley Wine Tours
North of San Francisco, in California and home to over 500 wineries. There are a variety of ways, to explore the hillside vineyards in the Napa Valley wine region. In the city of Napa, Oxbow Public Market features regional gourmet food. From soaring through the sky on a hot air balloon tour, riding the Napa Valley Wine Trolley to taking the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Where you’ll enjoy beautiful scenery as you pass by some of Napa’s most famous vineyards, historic estates, and farmlands. There are tours and excursions sure to appeal to everyone’s style and budget.
Universal Studios Hollywood
World-Famous Studio Tour
You’ll board a tram car—some of which have been converted to be all-electric vehicles—to be treated to a peek at 13 blocks of back-lot movie and television show sets, plus some simulated thrills
Jurassic World–The Ride
Board a 25-person boat and glide through various lands of dinosaurs.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
A towering Hogwarts castle and all the classrooms, corridors, and passageways you know from the films. Watch a wand choose its owner at Ollivanders, and sample food fit for wizards in Hogsmeade Village.
WaterWorld Live Show
Steampunk-garbed stuntmen and stuntwomen as they perform daredevil feats—diving into the water from impossibly high towers and racing around on jet skis. The stunning pyrotechnic effects in WaterWorld will blow your mind. Even though anything is possible in Hollywood, it’s still hard to believe your eyes when a flaming seaplane flies over the set and crashes with a big splash.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world’s largest rotating tram car—travels over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park.
During your approximately ten-minute journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below. Once you reach the Mountain Station—elevation 8,516 feet—enjoy two restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails.