Now that you’ve got your Outplay gear, it’s time to hit the beach!

Here are some of our favorite queer-friendly beach resorts where you can truly be yourself and relax.

written by Bernadette Smith, founder of www.theEqualityInstitute.com

La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  La Concha is located in Condado, an area of San Juan with beautiful warm, soft sandy beaches and wonderful restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. But truly, there’s no need to leave the hotel to dine, because the restaurants and pools on the property are spectacular, with locally sourced, fresh cuisine. We simply loved staying here. We stayed in in Ocean Tower Suite with a beautiful balcony overlooking the Caribbean (and the adult-only pool) and a generous, well appointed kitchen.

From the moment we arrived at La Concha, the service was outstanding. And most importantly, we always felt comfortable being open holding hands and being ourselves on the property and throughout San Juan.

Because Puerto Rico in a U.S. territory and thus does not require passports for Americans, and is a direct flight away from many U.S. cities, it’s an outstanding choice for a queer vacation. In San Juan and at La Concha, you can have it all – and we did. We explored Old San Juan and the history of the fort, La Morra. We visited the local beach / gay beach and we ate (and drank!) our way through the city. The live music is fantastic. The piña coladas are abundant and the people are kind and joyful.

Almar Luxury Suite Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. PV is known as a very popular gay male destination, there’s really something for everyone. This spectacular “straight-friendly” queer resort has an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean from every suite. When we arrived, we were even greeted with rainbow cookies and guava juice at check-in

We stayed in a one-bedroom jacuzzi suite with two balconies featuring incredible sunset view views. Everything was brand-new in the space. The kitchen is high-end. There is plenty of space in the suite for entertaining and there are even two bathrooms with L’Occitane amenities.

After we explored our suite, we made our way down to the Mantamar Beach Club which is owned by Almar. Because Almar is tucked up in the hill you either have to walk downstairs to the beach club or take their shuttle bus. The beach club is extraordinary. First of all, the food and beverages are great. Many of the chairs on the sand have umbrellas and there are tons of beautiful cabanas for reservation at both the beach and pool areas. The service is wonderful, full of kind and lovely servers who really enjoy serving the queer traveler. The infinity pool has a swim up bar and three Jacuzzi tubs. Mantamar is available to Almar guests and it’s also available to the general public with a day pass. 

The city of PV is a fun one, with a strip of queer (but mostly gay) bars and clubs, open air markets and restaurants, and bright colors everywhere you turn. The charming cobblestone streets feel authentically Mexico and not at all touristy.

The sunset from this particular part of the world is absolutely breathtaking. The shades of color that the sky turns are out of this world and something we won’t soon forget. 

The Red Inn, Provincetown, Massachusetts. Travel to the tip of Cape Cod, to the tiny beach resort of Provincetown (or P-Town), and you’ll feel like you’re at the edge of the continent. The Red Inn is a beautifully appointed beach inn with luxury amenities, and a great restaurant with a beautiful deck. Many of the rooms have resort views.

Walk out the Inn and you’ll be able to explore Provincetown on foot. The former artist’s colony turned queer destination has incredible restaurants, galleries, and shopping at every price point. From Memorial Day (historically a very popular weekend with queer women) to Labor Day, Commercial Street is packed with queer folks having the time of their lives.

Commercial Street faces Provincetown Bay which is dotted with sailboats in the summer. Low tide reveals ample beach space for romantic walks or beach volleyball   On the Atlantic side, Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach are the two beaches, with Herring Cove more popular with queer folks (especially to the left of the guard booth). Note: the water is usually pretty chilly until late summer, but it’s fun to lay out anyway.

You can’t go wrong with the Red Inn (or many of the other dozens of inns in P-Town). A weekend (or more) in P-Town is something everyone should experience once.

So grab your Outplay gear and head on out to your favorite spot to relax, have some fun, and recharge your batteries. Let us know in the comments below some of your favorite queer-friendly posts to go to.

Bernadette Smith is an entrepreneur, author, pragmatic idealist, & believer in creating spaces that allow others to carry themselves with dignity. www.theEqualityInstitute.com