Say Va­cay

Take a 'fam­ily' va­ca­tion to any of these pop­u­lar LGBT spots.

GA Voice - - Front Page - By MATT SCHAFER

um­mer has ar­rived, and with it a boun­ti­ful num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get out of At­lanta dur­ing the swel­ter­ing, 90-de­gree plus days ahead.

While New York, Los Angeles, Bos­ton, Chicago and San Fran­cisco are al­ways some of the top des­ti­na­tions, many Ge­or­gians like to kick off their sum­mer with a trip to the Florida panhandle for Me­mo­rial Day weekend. While Destin, Florida, is pop­u­lar with the fam­ily set, Pen­sacola kicks off the sum­mer with one of the big­gest beach par­ties—many beach par­ties to be ex­act—of the sum­mer.

There’s also the hottest les­bian party, billed as “Sex­a­cola,” put on an­nu­ally at Cap­tain Fun’s Beach Club by the own­ers of At­lanta’s My Sis­ter’s Room. This year’s head­liner for the weekend party is Uh Huh Her on Satur­day, with the pop­u­lar White Party on Sun­day hosted by Sarah Bet­ten­court and Whit­ney Mix­ter.

There are nu­mer­ous other par­ties dur- ing the Me­mo­rial Day weekend with events through­out the city’s gay bars and clubs. Emer­ald City bills it­self as the largest gay dance club on the Gulf Coast, and Gen­eral Man­ager Ted McCrary says that Pen­sacola will be awash with people look­ing for a good time in and around the city.

“Me­mo­rial Day is our weekend of the year, “McCrary says. “We have people driv­ing in from as far as Texas, Ten­nessee, Ge­or­gia—it’s a big weekend.”

Long known for its his­tory of con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics, Florida bills it­self “fam­ily friendly.” But Pen­sacola is a dot of blue sea in the mid­dle of the red state and the beach par­ties last all sum­mer.

“Be­cause we’re a beach town we have a pretty con­sis­tent flow of people com­ing in for a week or a weekend. Most people come here for the beach. There are very few places in the coun­try where you have that white su­gar sand beach, and we have it here,” he says. “Pen­sacola is like an oa­sis in (the Panhandle), there’s a large gay pop­u­la­tion, and most people feel very com­fort­able here… most gay people find com­ing to Pen­sacola very re­lax­ing. From my talk­ing to cus­tomers they don’t find Pen­sacola un­com­fort­able like they some­times do other towns in the Panhandle.”

(Photo via Key West Pride)

Key West Pride is June 11-15 this year and at­tracts close to 10,000 vis­i­tors each year.

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