Gay Travel In Hawaii

3.5 stars from 2 reviews
Gay traveler who plans to vacation in Hawaii? LGBT couple looking to get married in Hawaii? Read on while we cover the basics of Gay Hawaii.

• General: Educational

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Are you a gay traveler planning a trip to Hawaii? An LGBT family who has concerns about acceptance and safety? Or maybe a same-sex couple who is looking to tie the knot during a dream wedding in the Hawaiian Islands. Either way, you probably have some questions or concerns and I'll try to list out the most common topics I hear when it comes to gay travel in Hawaii.

Safety & Discrimination

Hawaii is generally a pretty safe place for anyone to travel. State and federal laws protect against discrimination based on race, color, sex, and even sexual orientation. Hawaii is also a generally happy and tolerant place and the people here are generally open to other cultures and lifestyles. For the most part, a LGBT traveler in Hawaii would be treated the same as anyone else.

Hawaii also has a pretty large and supportive gay community. While you’ll find this community in various places throughout the islands, it’s most prevalent in the city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Within Honolulu, Waikiki is going to offer the most gay restaurants, bars, and shops. See our Waikiki Guide.

Of course, as with every place on the planet, that doesn’t mean that every single person you’ll run into in Hawaii exudes the Aloha Spirit, tolerance, and acceptance.

Gay Marriages In Hawaii

Hawaii is a pretty tolerant place and, as of 2013, same sex marriage was officially made legal through the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act. So the good news is that today in Hawaii a same-sex couple can legally be married and enjoy the same rights that married couples have been enjoying for years prior.

As of mid-2015, over 4,000 same-sex couples had been married since the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act was put in place. Those 4,000 marriages made up over 10% of all Hawaii marriages during that time and it’s estimated that same-sex marriages contribute over $26 million annually to Hawaii’s economy.

Now that same-sex weddings are legal in Hawaii, you’ll want to read all about Getting Married In Hawaii to better understand how the process works, what is required, and what to expect.

LGBT Friendly Hotels

Hawaii is in the business of tourism and with hundreds of hotels on the islands each hotel is in a constant battle for accommodating their guests. Because of that need to accommodate, hotels are generally very accepting of LGBT travelers, couples, and families.

There are certainly some hotels that make their LGBT friendliness levels more publically known than others, but that doesn’t mean the others are in any way against gay travelers. Some of those that are more well known as gay friendly include The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, The St. Regis Princeville Resort, Travaasa Hotel Hana, Maui Coast Hotel, and (of course) the Kohea Kai Resort Maui LGBT Resort.

Some hotel chains that are gay friendly include Hyatt Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Westin Hotels, and Starwood Hotels.

Gay Friendly Beaches

All beaches in Hawaii are public beaches, so there really isn’t any beach that is specifically geared towards a particular type of person or lifestyle. So there isn't anything that is specifically a gay beach in Hawaii. Sure, there are plenty of people who will suggest that a beach here and there may attract more of the LGBT crowd than another beach but that’s often not the case.

For example, Queen's Beach @ Waikiki is often considered a “gay beach” when you search the Internet. But when you go there you’ll likely find just as many straight folks there as well. LGBT couples are common on many beaches in Hawaii but you may find higher numbers at most of the Waikiki area beaches simply because the crowds are just so large and Honolulu (where Waikiki is located) has a large gay community.

Now, if you’re looking for an incredibly accepting beach (in general) then you may enjoy Maui’s Little Beach (Pu'u Ola'i Nude Beach) which is about as accepting of a place as you can find. Straight, gay, or whatever you want, you'll be accepted here as long as you're just as nude as everyone else. Talk about a place where you'll want to make sure you have your sun block on so you can Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer.

Gay Pride Parades & Celebrations

Oahu has the annual Honolulu Pride Parade while the Big Island has the Hawaii Island Pride Parade & Festival. Film buffs might enjoy the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival. Keep an eye on our Events Calendar for these events and more.


The bottom line is that traveling as a gay person in Hawaii is really the same as traveling as a straight person to Hawaii. Alternative lifestyles, races, and cultures are what Hawaii is all about and you'll probably find that the people here are very accepting of everyone.

Hopefully this article has answered some of your questions or addressed some of your concerns. If you have more questions or would like to add helpful information for the LGBT community, please feel free to review this article and add your comments or contact us directly.

Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 46
Gay Travel in Hawaii is just like it is in most parts around the world it depends on the location and beliefs of the locals. Just because it is a law written down on paper does not mean everyone accepts it which is a shame. Having an adopted son who is gay, this makes me sad that when he travels with his husband they are discriminated against.
John G
Joined: Jan 2017
Reviews: 4
Likes Received: 1
When I first moved to Oahu, I thought I was going to be in the most tolerant and gay-friendly areas in the world. On paper, Oahu and Hawaii seem perfect for the LGBT traveler. There are anti-discrimination laws, which include sexual-orientation, and Hawaii has long been known to be very tolerant and welcoming of many diverse cultures, lifestyles, ethnic groups, etc.

However, sexual-orientation in Hawaii is much like everything else in Hawaii. It is presented as one way, but you will quickly learn if you stay around long enough that what they really mean is something just a little bit different. Hawaii is very tolerant of the LGBT traveler. I believe that is the key word "tolerant". Let's put it this way, you are not going to be in San Francisco! They are tolerant of LGBT people as many of the natives are also LGBT themselves, but it is a subject they do not speak about. It is not like in the South where they do not speak about it and condemn you to hell. It is much more liberal than that because of their native religion that didn't focus on homosexuality. There is a lot of homosexuality here in Hawaii, but it is more of what they call it in the African-American community, "on the DL (down low)". This has just been my personal observation living and working here as a gay man.
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