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Summer Pilgrimages: Five Tried-and-True Women’s Destinations That Still Inspire

Summer Pilgrimages: Five Tried-and-True Women’s Destinations That Still Inspire

Are you looking for a summer travel destination that has more to offer than salt water taffy and $20 silk screened tees? Here are our top five summer travel spots for the girls.

Are you looking for a summer travel destination that has more to offer than salt water taffy and $20 silk screened tees? Here are our top five summer travel spots for the girls. 

Provincetown, Massachusetts

First reached by the Pilgrims in 1620, Provincetown has been attracting visitors for nearly 400 years with its breathtaking beachscapes and one-of-a-kind mix of restorative solitude and cosmopolitan community. The modern gay history of P-town, as fans the world over affectionately call this former fishing village at the tip of Cape Cod, began in the early 20th century with the establishment of a thriving colony for artists, poets, playwrights, and radicals. Today, with a 90-minute fast ferry connection to Boston, this New England classic continues to draw adventurers in search of natural beauty, vigorous outdoor activities, peaceful reflection, and happening culture and cuisine. A multi-seasonal roster of special events caters to singles, women of color and families.


Fed up with shouting matches about birth control mandates and mothers working outside the home? The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival offers your back-to-the-land escape from the noise of the culture wars. Michfest, as the regulars call it, takes place each August on the Land, a parcel of feminist perfection near Hart, Mich. Entirely built, staffed and operated by women, the largest and largest-running festival for “women born women” offers music, workshops, culture, and community. Worth the once-in-a-lifetime journey, although many first-time attendees have been known to become lifers.

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Lesbos, Greece

The grandmommy of women’s summer pilgrimages, a trip to Lesbos, a Greek island in the northeastern Aegean Sea, puts women in touch with Sappho. The poet wrote erotic lines directed toward other women as early as the 6th and 7th century B.C., making her homeland a perennially popular lesbian destination. So popular, in fact, that a group of outraged locals went to court in 2009 seeking the exclusive right to use the name “lesbians.” Not surprisingly, they lost the case. Women travelers flock to Sappho’s birth city of Eresos to meet like-minded pilgrims, but the petrified forest, a marvel of fossilized plants on the island, offers a mind-blowing excursion into pre-historic times. Lesbos, sometimes known as Mytilini, is the third largest of the Greek islands, and with Turkey nearby, options for adventure abound.

New York City

The concrete jungle may seem an unlikely summer destination, but remember, Manhattan is actually an island, albeit one of the world’s most densely populated ones. Still, many locals clear out during the sticky summer months while others lay low, creating a more relaxed vibe and leaving the world-class attractions and activities to visitors unafraid to break a sweat. One of the country’s largest Pride celebrations takes place in the last week of June, surrounded by the history of Stonewall and a downtown skyline that’s brimming with future possibilities in the decade of rebuilding since 9/11. This year, the state will be celebrating the first anniversary of the marriage equality law, so what better way to recognize the anniversary than to take the plunge yourself? An unrivalled number of summer festivals serve up arts and entertainment offerings of all kinds, many of them free, while the beaches are never too far away. Try the endearing weirdness of Coney Island for an afternoon in the far reaches of Brooklyn, or plan a weekend getaway to Cherry Grove, a long-time favorite for women on Fire Island.

Toronto, Ontario

Warm summer months lift the cold burden off Canada’s largest city, and inhabitants flood the streets where festivals and activities occur in abundance. Start things off in late June with one of the world’s largest Pride festivals, which offers a ten-day celebration of the Toronto LGBT community’s famous diversity. Outstanding parks and beaches offer places to soak up the sun when not taking in the vibrant cultural scene. Close to home, but just different enough for many American travelers, this gem of a city has been attracting the gay market for half a decade with the slogan, “Toronto: As Gay As It Gets.”

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