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Top 5 gay getaways from Salt Lake

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With the summer heat well underway, it’s time to get some fresh mountain air or relax on a beach with an umbrella topped mojito. Whether you’re looking for the best nightlife, spas or adventure, there are destinations off the beaten path within a (long) drive from Salt Lake that can satisfy every queer traveler’s needs. Get out of the Utah and see someplace new.

1.     Taos, New Mexico

This rustic and artistic town has developed a following of queers, hippies, ski bums and other societal outcasts. The feel of the town is liberating, beautiful and psychedelic. Spending time in Taos is like stepping into another dimension; one where sexuality isn’t an issue and relaxation and exploration are paramount. While this may not make the top of most travel lists, the location is perfect for a long summer weekend and Moab is conveniently located as a perfect halfway point. Stop in the red rock city for a night, hike the arches and then finish the trek down to Beautiful Taos, New Mexico.

Where to stay

While there are no specific gay and lesbian hotels or other accommodations, there are several affirming locations that will make guests feel right at home.

Cottonwood Inn B&B
The quaint and cozy family-run business is the perfect combination of elegance and comfort. The views from the grounds are breathtaking and the environment is safe and welcoming. For more information, go to Taos-Cottonwood.com

Where to Play

The Adobe Bar
The bar and the adjacent restaurant, Doc Martin’s, is the main hangout for LGBT crowds in the city. The historic building is full of old-time character and the service, drinks and food are first class. For more information, go to TaosInn.com.

Taos Pueblo
Located just outside of the downtown area, this set of ruins is more than 1,000 years old. Tours and guides are available.

Downtown Taos
Art galleries, cafés, charming stores and fine dining are all available in the picturesque town.

 

2.     Sedona, Arizona

 

Some consider Sedona, Arizona to be the spa and relaxation center of the world. Surrounded by gorgeous desert mountain vistas, the desert air is just what the doctor ordered for a rejuvenating weekend. Located just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, the eight-and-a-half hour drive can seem daunting, but the trip is worth the price. While there are no specific gay bars in Sedona, there are clubs and venues that host gay nights. For a complete listing of LGBT-oriented events throughout the summer, go to SedonaGayPride.org.

Where to Stay

The Lodge at Sedona
This place has the best of it all. From one of the most gay-friendly bars in town to the most luxurious accommodations, guests can pull up to the impressive bed and breakfast and leave a few days later feeling totally relaxed and recharged.

Where to Play

Massage/Skin Care
Again, while there are no gay-specific spas or resorts, most are fabulous and affirming. One of our favorites is the Sedona Rouge. This outstanding resort has some of the finest skin treatments in the world. The grounds are astounding and the spa is unbelievably elegant. For more information, go to SedonaRouge.com.

 

3.     West Hollywood

 

OK, we know that West Hollywood is more of a gay Mecca than an off the path destination, but there are plenty of activities and areas to explore. Aside from some of the oldest gay bars in the country, this area is home to designer shopping, legendary tourist traps and some of the sexiest eye candy in the nation.

Where to Stay

The Redbury Hotel
While nearly all West Hollywood hotels will be safe and encouraging, our favorite is the historic and retro Redbury Hotel. Located at Hollywood and Vine, guests are in the heart of all the action. For more information, go to The RedBury.com.

Where to Play
Andrew Christian Outlet Store
The designer underwear outlet has the largest selection in the world of some of the sexiest cuts and fabrics available. Stop by to check out the Show-It, Almost Naked and Nano fit cuts.

Sunset Boulevard/Santa Monica Boulevard Shopping
West Hollywood is famous for celebrity-class shopping for the finest and sexiest clothing and jewelry in the world. Art galleries and designer labels abound on the world-renowned streets.

The Abbey
Winner of countless awards and often regarded as the best gay bar in the world, The Abbey is a piece of gay Americana. For more information, go to AbbeyFoodandBar.com.

 

4.     Boulder, Colorado

 

Denver has become one of the premier destinations for gays and lesbians in the intermountain west. The pride festival attracts more than 300,000 attendees and there are more than a dozen gay-friendly bars in the area. However, just a short 30-minute drive to the north lays a pristine mountain town that is extremely welcoming to the queer community. Boulder is perfect for those that want to get away from the crowds but still have the option to explore some nightlife because it is so close to Denver.

Where to Stay

Briar Rose Bed & Breakfast
Leading the pack of progressive and beautiful B&Bs, Briar Rose is a sustainable and green facility. With organic meals, organic sheets and fair-trade and organic coffee, the friendly hotel is one of Colorado’s premier green destinations.

Where to Play

Rocky Mountain National Park
Just a short 45-minute drive from Boulder, the national park is home to stunning wildlife, spectacular vistas and world-class hiking and sight-seeing.

University of Colorado Boulder
This college town revolves around the campus and its events. From plays and musicals to a gay group that meets at a local bar once a month attracting hundreds of people, to stay connected plug into the campus and its events.

 

5.     Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

With about 10 bars that are either gay or lesbian specific or extremely welcoming and friendly, this city has an enormous gay scene. The drive will take about 10 or 11 hours and Moab is a perfect halfway point for a great overnight stop. The arts are alive and vibrant in Santa Fe and the scenery is spectacular.

Where to Stay

Inn of the Turquoise Bear
Guests staying here do not have to be large and hairy. This award-winning bed and breakfast is welcoming of all diverse crowds. Located within walking of the arts districts and other gay areas, this is the perfect place for the queer traveler to rest his or her head.

Where to Play

Silver Starlight Lounge and Cabaret
The large stage and huge dance floor make this club the perfect place to capture a cowboy or cowgirl. The crowds are massive and the cocktails and martinis are delicious. This club frequently makes the top 10 best gay club lists in the nation.

Cowgirl BBQ
Sexy waitresses in cowgirl boots, fall-off-the-bone ribs and juicy porterhouses are just some of the specialties for this restaurant and bar. While the crowd is often dominated by women, the traveling gay man can also feel comfortable stopping by.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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