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Why The Art Coast Is A Must-Visit Destination For The LGBTQ Traveler


When it comes to LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations, the Art Coast has earned its well-deserved spot on the map, attracting visitors from near and far. Nestled along the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck/Douglas offers a warm and inclusive atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, a vibrant arts scene, and a thriving LGBTQ community. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a fun-filled vacation, or simply a place where you can be yourself, Saugatuck/Douglas promises to deliver.

A Vibrant LGBTQ Community

Saugatuck and Douglas have long been known as welcoming communities, embracing diversity and fostering a sense of inclusivity. The LGBTQ community here is vibrant and active, making it easy for travelers to feel at home and connect with like-minded individuals. Along with the pride flags that fly year-round, you’ll encounter rainbow-painted crosswalks and benches, signifying the friendly atmosphere. It’s no wonder that this area is home to The Dunes Resort, the Midwest’s premier LGBTQ resort and one of the largest gay and lesbian resorts in the country.

Attractions and Activities

Aside from its LGBTQ-friendly ambiance, Saugatuck/Douglas offers an abundance of attractions and activities to suit all interests. Visitors can explore the sand dunes at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, take a leisurely cruise along the Kalamazoo River on The Star of Saugatuck, enjoy a thrilling jaunt on the Saugatuck Dune Rides, or spend a day sunbathing on Oval Beach, named one of the best beaches in the world. Our area also boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, artists’ studios, and The Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which showcases the performance talents of national artists on stage as well as featuring visual arts in its exhibition spaces.

Additionally, the LGBTQ traveler will find a variety of LGBTQ-owned businesses here to discover. For the ultimate shopping experience, explore these gay-owned boutiques and galleries: Amazwi Contemporary Art, Mixed Media Gallery, Roan & Black, Saugatuck Art Traders, The Laffing Glass, Upscale Mercantile, Brackett & Company, Kindel & Company Lifestyle Mercantile, Lakeshore Pet Boutique, The Pink Patio, Tuck’s Christmas Shop, and Woosah.

And while all our restaurants and bars are welcoming, there are a number of LGBTQ-owned establishments, which include: Guardian Brewing Company, Coast 236, Belvedere Inn & Restaurant, Pizza Mambo, Scooters, Outside Coffee Company, Biggby Coffee, and Isabel’s Market + Eatery.

And for LGBTQ-owned accommodations, places like the Lake Shore Resort, Kirby Hotel, Hidden Garden Cottages, Saugatuck Retro Resort, and The Pines Motor Lodge showcase the breadth and diversity of the lodging available in the Art Coast.

Accolades and Mentions

Over the years, Saugatuck/Douglas has received numerous accolades and mentions from the press, solidifying our area’s status as a must-visit LGBTQ-friendly destination. Here are a few recent examples:

“Celebrate Pride Month in these 5 U.S. Gayborhoods” - Roadtrippers (2023) hails Saugatuck/Douglas as one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the Midwest.

“This Tiny Michigan Town Is One of America’s Best LGBTQIA+ Destinations” - Thrillist (2022) heralds Saugatuck/Douglas as the Midwest’s greatest gaycation spot and a haven for the arts and star-caliber dining.

“6 LGBTQIA-Friendly Small Towns You Need to Visit” - Thrillist (2022) has us keeping good company with cities like Provincetown, Massachusetts and Key West, Florida and notes that our stunning nature hikes, historic landmarks, and wineries can be appreciated all year long.

“22 Small LGBTQ-Friendly Cities In The U.S.” - Vacationer (2022) highlights our area’s stunning natural surroundings and has us joining ranks with places like Ogunquit, Maine and Northampton, Massachusetts as being safe and welcoming to LGBTQ+ travelers.

“This Small Midwest Town Should Be Your Next Weekend Getaway”GayCities (2022) recognizes Saugatuck/Douglas as a hidden gem thanks to our progressive attitudes, gay-friendly businesses, and scenic beauty.

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