Big cities in the Mid-Atlantic tend to be the most tolerant, and many have long-standing gay communities. Charlottesville and other small cities with universities also tend to have more relaxed attitudes.

Hot Spots

Mid-Atlantic cities with gay and lesbian scenes are Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA, Washington, DC, and Delaware's Rehoboth Beach.


Most major US cities have visible and open LGBTIQ communities that are easy to connect with.

However, note that the level of public acceptance varies nationwide. In some places, there is absolutely no tolerance whatsoever, and in others acceptance is predicated on LGBTIQ people not ‘flaunting’ their sexual orientation or identity. Be aware that bigotry still exists here. In rural areas and conservative enclaves, it’s unwise to be openly out, as verbal abuse and even violence can sometimes occur. When in doubt, assume that locals follow a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Prior to 2015, 37 states (and DC) allowed gay marriage. In 2015 the US Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. This means that no state can ban same-sex couples from getting married.


The Queerest Places: A National Guide to Gay and Lesbian Historic Sites, by Paula Martinac, covers the country and is full of juicy details and history. Visit her blog at

Advocate ( Gay-oriented news website reporting on business, politics, arts, entertainment and travel.

Gay Travel ( Online guides to dozens of US destinations.

National LGBTQ Task Force ( The national activist group's website covers news, politics and current issues.

Out Traveler ( Gay-oriented travel articles.

Purple Roofs ( Lists gay-owned and gay-friendly B&Bs and hotels.

Gaycation ( VICE TV's excellent documentary series on same-sex issues in the US and beyond.