Plan My Vacation?
August 10, 2018 4:57 PM   Subscribe

I have off until August 24. I want to take a 5-day or so vacation to somewhere relaxing (i.e. can get some beachside and/or poolside lounging in most of the days), but which also has arts and cultural stuff to check out, good food, and preferably some kind of LGBT/queer nightlife. I don't mind driving some, but if I'm flying, I'd be leaving from BWI. I'd be leaving for this trip on Thursday night at the earliest.

I considered Mexico City, but the weather is supposed to be not super great so I cancelled and refunded my last-minute tickets. I also considered Europe (for a 7 or 8 day trip -- a trip to Athens is really cheap right now), but I really need more time to plan something like that to make the most out of my time over there. So I'm probably limited to the US.

Budget-wise, I don't mind spending up to ~$700 for a flight if that's normally the cost of a flight ticket to the destination, but want to keep my hotel costs low -- about ~$100/night max (I don't mind doing AirBNB and renting a room in someone's place) -- though I do want to stay at a place with an outdoor pool and/or near a beach. I've been to Florida a number of times and I always really liked my time in Fort Lauderdale-area and Miami, but I feel like I should go somewhere new. I am considering a few days in Dallas (have an old friend there) and a few days in Austin (have a new friend there), but not sure how fun it would be of a vacation generally outside of seeing my pals.

Also, I tend to enjoy doing outdoorsy stuff when I'm on vacation, but it's not a deciding factor.

Looking forward to your suggestions and thanks in advance!
posted by sevenofspades to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think you should rethink Europe. You have time to make plans and you should not feel like you have to maximize every second you are there. Some of the best trips are the ones where you make few plans and just go for it. You can read guidebooks on the plane.

If you do want to stay in the US, I was going to suggest Austin, so I think your split between Dallas and Austin sounds good. Pick out a few things you want to do in each town and invite the friends along. You can still go do them if they don't want to. My other idea is San Diego which has plenty of beaches and nature.
posted by soelo at 5:06 PM on August 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you go to Austin I highly recommend just hanging out at Barton Springs Pool while you are there for your “pool”side lounging.
posted by raccoon409 at 6:40 PM on August 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Asheville, NC has everything you describe save a beach. Grade-A outdoorsy stuff, Grade A++++ food. It's my hometown, I live here, and I am a local authority, so please feel free send any questions my way.
posted by Jennifer S. at 7:25 PM on August 10, 2018

How about Provincetown on Cape Cod? Beach, relaxation, seafood, big queer nightlife scene.
posted by saturngirl at 8:11 PM on August 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I love Austin and there’s a ton of stuff to do there and in the nearby hill county, but keep in mind it is really freaking hot in Texas right now. Like face meltingly so. Just one factor to consider!
posted by itsamermaid at 8:13 PM on August 10, 2018

St Petersburg, FL has beaches galore, tons of culture (including the fantastic Dali museum) and is bonkers queer friendly. MeMail me if you’d like specifics.
posted by _Mona_ at 8:34 PM on August 10, 2018

Sorry, just noticed you’ve been to Florida before. I got ahead of myself.
posted by _Mona_ at 8:36 PM on August 10, 2018

Provincetown was my first thought. Sounds like exactly what you want.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:55 AM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

3rding Provincetown
posted by tealcoffeecup at 10:44 AM on August 11, 2018

Agree with itsamermaid — the weather in Austin totally sucks in August. There’s tons of outdoorsy stuff to do, sure, but even if you get up at 6 am to hike, it’s still pretty miserable because it doesn’t really cool off at night. Your mileage may vary if you’re acclimated to the heat.
posted by liet at 5:45 PM on August 11, 2018

Thanks all! I decided on Dallas + Austin. Thanks for the heads-up on the heat; it's been pretty hot where I'm at now too, so we'll see how it goes. I did look into Provincetown, but on such short notice (and probably even on longer notice) it was definitely out of my price range. $250+/night even for an AirBNB room in someone's house. Might look into it for next summer though!
posted by sevenofspades at 9:33 AM on August 13, 2018

Just wanted to give a quick recap: it was INDEED very hot in Dallas and even hotter in Austin (at one point, I described it as "positively apocalyptic"), but I had a great time. Dallas was meh, but it was nice seeing my old friend again, and I had a lot of fun in Austin. As my friends advised me, since it gets so hot, people tend to be out and about more in the evenings so I tried to plan outdoor stuff for the latter half the afternoon/early evening and it kept things manageable.

Some recs:

Dallas -- Mia's Tex-Mex for brisket tacos, Round-Up Saloon for some Texas-style gay nightlife, take a walk around Deep Ellum and check out some of the stores and mural art, Pecan Lodge (but not if you're super hungry -- the wait is always at least 45 minutes).

Austin -- Elysium for 90s night on Sunday (not LGBT-specific, but all kinds of folks were in attendance, everybody was dancing and I had a great time), Tacodeli, Gordoughs (lunch donuts!), Hippie Hollow (clothing-optional swimming -- was my first time doing so and it was a unique experience), Barton Springs pool (a very cold swim in a huge public pool), Cuvee Coffee Bar for cold-brew coffee, The Good Life Bar Bar (speakeasy-style behind a barbershop with a friendly bartender and regulars), and Floppy Disk Repair Co (if someone tells you the secret password, that is -- a bar with swings! and more friendly Austinites).
posted by sevenofspades at 9:49 AM on September 15, 2018

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