This guide is broken down into the following sections:
Key West, Florida
Palm Springs, California
Western Ski Towns - Aspen, Telluride, Vail, Park City, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth...
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Florida's Other Gay Hot Spots: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and St. Pete
Gay Spring Break Road Trip: San Diego to Santa Barbara and Beyond
New England Ski Towns: Stowe, Killington, Sugarloaf, and the White Mountains
Money's Not a Concern? Consider Hawaii, Costa Rica, or the Caribbean
Las Vegas, Nevada
New Orleans, Louisiana
What About the Hetero Spring Break Meccas - Cancun, Panama City, Padre Island?
Spring break partying and vacationing has been a rite of U.S. college life for decades, and as gay and lesbian students continue to become more visible, active, and socially connected on college campuses, "Gay Spring Break" trips are becoming wildly popular. The spring break seasons runs from around the first week in March through early April, depending on when colleges schedule their breaks, and the top GLBT destinations range from lazy beach resorts to action-packed ski towns.
To a large degree, the leading spring break spots - and this is true regardless of sexual orientation - tend to be sunny, relatively affordable, and abundant with nightlife. Beach resorts have long led the charge, dating back to the '50s and '60s, when Fort Lauderdale attracted swarms of partying students. Interestingly, that city eventually began to discourage spring break visitors, in an effort to redevelop its beachfront into a more upscale, sophisticated resort destination. By the end of the '90s, Fort Lauderdale had succeeded, in part, by courting gay and lesbian visitors and rebranding as one of the nation's GLBT vacation hot spots. Not surprisingly, Fort Lauderdale has again become popular with both straight and gay spring breakers, although the scene is comparatively upscale and a bit more mature these days.
The spring break meccas you hear most about - Panama City, Florida; Cancun, Mexico; South Padre Island, Texas - fit the tradition of affordability, beaches, and clubbing. These three spots aren't especially popular with gay students, however. The best bets for gay spring break include a mix of classic gay resort destinations (Key West, Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta, and to a lesser extent Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, San Diego, and Los Angeles), along with the key ski towns in Colorado, New England, and to a lesser extent Utah as well as Lake Tahoe.
Not all spring breakers are keen on vacationing among huge groups, nor necessarily restricted to places with affordable hotels and cheap flights. If you've got the budget for it, and you're up for a more romantic, upscale, adventure-driven getaway, you might consider Honolulu or other islands in Hawaii, or perhaps Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, or Curacao. The variety of inviting, gay-friendly spring break locales is considerable - and diverse.