Beer, bears, and bearded men – We felt right at home in Oregon! Known as the hipster metropolis of the USA, Portland, and the rest of Oregon have been a queer haven for a very long time. We spent almost a week in the “City of Roses,” attending the Portland LGBTQ+ Pride Festival, before starting our Oregon road trip. For our Queer Oregon Travel Guide, we drove to Crater Lake National Park with its stunning waterfalls, and from there, we made our way west towards the Pacific. But Oregon has so much more to offer to the traveling queer community. Enjoy a Couple of Men‘s LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide.
– in partnership with Travel Oregon –
LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide
Known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant cities, Oregon is home to a thriving LGBTQI+ community. And it is a fantastic destination for queer travelers celebrating Pride. Immerse yourself in multiple queer scenes, explore welcoming neighborhoods, and participate in all the LGBTQI+ welcoming events, such as the annual Pride Festival in Portland that brings together thousands of people in a colorful parade. Or the Winter PrideFest in Bend that celebrates diversity on and around the snowy mountains of Mt. Bachelor. So, whether you’re a local or a traveler, Pride in Oregon celebrates love, acceptance, and the state’s unique charm.
Pride in Portland
The “City of Roses,” with its warm summers and mild winters, is the place to start your queer adventure through Oregon. Portland Pride Festival in July shows the city’s diversity at its best. Explore daily LGBTQI+ culture in walkable neighborhoods like Hawthorne, Mississippi, and Alberta. And for all the bookworms, don’t miss Powell’s City of Books in central Portland. Are you more interested in films? The historic Hollywood Theatre hosts QDoc, the world’s only film festival dedicated to LGBTQI+ documentaries.
Just outside of Portland, make sure to visit the stunning Multnomah Falls. And when you do, keep on driving for some summer rainbow relaxation along the Columbia River. Here, you will find the clothing-optional Rooster Rock State Park. Visiting Portland in April? Then put Pride Day at the ski resort Mt. Hood Meadows on the list! Find the rest of our Portland adventures in the city gay guide.
Pride in Bend and Mt Bachelor
The second-largest Pride event in Oregon happens in the city of Bend during June. The Bend Pride festival features events like the 5K Pride Run/Walk, the Drag Dash at Drake Park, and OUT on the Runway, which showcases self-made glamorous outfits.
Since 2018, Central Oregon has been organizing Winter PrideFest on Mt. Bachelor. The festival celebrates Pride, inclusivity, and a love for the snowy outdoors. With events like Snocial, a queer film festival, drag brunch, and a wig-wearing ice skating party, Winter PrideFest in March has become a full weekend of rainbow winter fun. We can’t wait to visit this queer ski week and tell you all about it in our LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide!
Pride in Willamette Valley and Eugene
Nestled in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine region, you will find Remy Wines. This winery is led by lesbian winemaker Remy Drabkin, who also happens to be the city’s mayor. Drabkin is a co-founder and president of Wine Country Pride. This organization is responsible for most annual Pride Month events, including the Queer Wine Fest. You understand why we had to include this awesome event in our LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide. This unique celebration brings together queer-owned wineries, queer-made wines, and queer-grown vines from across the country, creating an outdoor tasting like no other.
Oregon’s third-largest city, which houses the University of Oregon and the second-biggest LGBTQI+ community, celebrates Pride in August. For the rest of the year, Eugene’s cute queer neighborhood Whiteaker is the place to explore in this progressive hub.
Crater Lake National Park
Next to all these progressive urban areas, Oregon’s heart and soul lie within its breathtaking nature. Crater Lake National Park is more about the actual rainbows, so it should be included in our LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide. Because after all those people, we needed some time in the woods. We drove down the Umpqua River and visited as many waterfalls as possible. Hiking fans should consider at least a day (or two) to see them all. But the natural big attraction is Crater Lake. Due to the height of the volcano crater, you might not be able to reach the crater lake and visit Rim Village because of snow and ice. Lucky us, the road just opened two days before our visit. So don’t forget to check the official park website and buy your National Park entrance ticket.
Pacific North-West Coast
We drove from the deepest woods to the magnificent Pacific Coast of Oregon. It was a four-hour drive from the Umpqua River valley along the ocean all the way north to Lincoln Beach. It is the perfect place for long walks along the sea and enjoy the handsome surfer boys at Pacific City Beach. Sitting down for a spectacular sunset at the Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint is an absolute must. And if you are lucky, you might be greeted by a whale or two.
Explore Lincoln City organizes the year-round event “Finders Keepers.” Not necessarily queer, but still a wonderful event to add to our LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide. It involves the annual hiding of over 3,000 glass floats along the seven miles of scenic beaches. From Roads End on the north to Siletz Bay on the south. These beautifully crafted glass floats made by local artisans serve as treasures for lucky beachcombers. Each float has a unique registration number. The finder can receive a Certificate of Authenticity and information about the artist who crafted the float.
How to get to Oregon and the North-Western USA?
We found some great flight opportunities with flights from Europe and Amsterdam with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and its partner airlines to Oregon. Within the USA, queer travelers can either fly to Portland PDX Airport, take the train or plan a road trip along the west coast of the United States of America all the way to Portland and Oregon.
We have found some attractive offers for flights worldwide and in Europe via Amsterdam with the gay-friendly KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. These include direct connections with KLM or its partner airlines Air France and Delta Air Lines. *subject to availability / last check: Spring 2024
Gay-friendly Hotels in Oregon
During our first LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide trip, we stayed in three entirely different accommodations. They all had one thing in common: They offered excellent service and should be considered queer-friendly. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to test any queer-couple-owned or operated accommodations.
Let’s start with our gay-friendly hotel in Portland, the Jupiter NEXT. The hotel rooms offer great city views in a modern and hip design. Our second hotel was right in the middle of the forest in the Umpqua River Valley. The Steamboat Inn is a beautiful base to explore the southwestern part of Oregon. Before we went back to Portland, we spent a couple of nights at the Pacific Seashore. The Salishan Resort & Spa took good care of us with an adventurous but cute aerial parkour and access to their beautiful Spa.
Of course, there are so many more LGBTQI+ friendly hotels across Oregon, which we have to test for you the next time we are there!
How LGBTIQ+ friendly is the USA?
The level of LGBTQI+ friendliness in the United States varies widely from state to state. And even within cities and communities. Nationally, the United States has seen significant progress in LGBTQI+ rights. Especially with the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. However, ongoing debates and legal battles about issues like transgender rights, conversion therapy, and religious freedom exemptions continue.
Research your travel destination
So, when looking for places to travel, it is still important to research the specific region and community you plan to visit to understand the level of LGBTQI+ friendliness and acceptance. Progress is ongoing, and while there have been many positive changes, challenges still exist for queer individuals in certain areas. We genuinely hope that the current US administration will continue supporting lesbian, gay, trans, intersex, and other queer people and see LGBTQI+ rights as what they are; human rights.
Queer welcoming Oregon
Oregon is often considered one of the more LGBTQI+ friendly states in the USA. The state has comprehensive legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals, including non-discrimination laws in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Cities like Portland and Eugene are known for their inclusive and vibrant LGBTQI+ communities. The state has many Pride events, supporting equality and celebrating diversity. That is why we feel safe to create a Queer Oregon Travel Guide.
The challenge of housing insecurity
Unfortunately, Oregon also faces a significant homelessness challenge, with thousands experiencing housing insecurity. Major cities like Portland have visible homeless populations, often due to high housing costs, inadequate affordable housing, and economic disparities. Local initiatives and social services aim to address this issue, offering shelter, support, and outreach to those in need.
Plan your queer-friendly trip with our LGBTQI+ Oregon Travel Guide
As Couple of Men, we maintain our authenticity by personally visiting and experiencing the destinations we write about. So, always double-check an accommodation, activity, or event before you travel. Our tips and suggestions might need an update. Please let us know when they do!
Do you want to know and see more of us gay couple travel bloggers? Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram! See you in the United States of America or on one of our next Pride trips worldwide!
Karl & Daan.
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Please note: This trip was made possible in close collaboration with Tourism Oregon, Travel Portland, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. A special thanks for the tips and support goes to our wonderful readers, followers, and friends worldwide. Although we work with tourism offices and the travel industry, we ensure our photos, videos, opinions, and writings are honest and authentic.