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Maui: The Gay Side of the Valley Isle

LBGT guide to Maui beyond the beach

Thanks to John Fairbanks from GayTravel.com for contributing this post to GoGirlfriend. We're a community-based travel blog and we welcome submissions from everyone. Whether you're a budget-baller or a first-class only kinda traveler, we'd love to hear from you. Visit our Writer's Guidelines and learn how you can share your travel advice, stories and adventures!

On the quest for a sunny, romantic respite? Grab your rainbow leis and get ready to explore the beautiful island of Maui. From snorkeling to whale watching and lounging on a remote gay beach, Maui is paradise found. With a population of less than 150,000 people, the gay scene is much smaller on Maui than in Oahu and it's home to a small, welcoming LGBT community.

Now I lay me down to sleep

gay friendly mauigay friendly mauiThe first step in planning your memorable jaunt to the Valley Isle is sniffing out the right accommodations. Luckily, you'll easily find several gay and lesbian owned or friendly hotels and resorts on the island. Some properties, like the Maui Sunseeker, offer LGBT specific packages and host commitment ceremonies. In 2010, Hawaii became the seventh US state to legalize civil unions.

Outdoor enthusiasts, get ready to get happy

Maui: The Gay Side of the Valley IsleMaui: The Gay Side of the Valley IsleWhether you surf, canoe or kayak, you'll find several outfitters that offer visitors equipment and training. Looking for a lower impact adventure? Maui is the leading whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands. Head to the beach to spy a Humpback, dolphin or sea turtle. Stick around and be sure to catch one of the most amazing sunsets you'll ever experience. No Ka Oi Adventures offers nature-based excursions organized for gay and lesbian travelers. The operator specializes in nature-based excursions and offers the queer traveler small group tours featuring off-the-beaten-path destinations on the island.

Maui beachsideMaui beachsideThe amazing coastline is one of the main reasons to visit Maui and Little Beach is our favorite gay beach. You'll find this nude beach in Makena State Park, South of Wailea at the end of Wailea Alanui Road. Just stroll past the Big Beach and over the lava-flow trail to get there. It's a great place to meet and greet the local gay set and gay tourists from all around the world.

Hot spots in MauiHot spots in MauiWhile there aren't as many nightclubs in Maui as in Honolulu, there's no shortage of fun. One of the most popular bars for gays and lesbians on the island is Ambrosia. Named by Maui Time Weekly as best bar (two years in a row), Ambrosia offers daily entertainment and eclectic décor. If you want to try some exotic local drinks, you'll fall in love with Ambrosia. Their specialty - a wide variety of unique martinis. You'll also find great drink specials and a happy hour every night from 6pm to 9pm.

Betty's Beach CafeBetty's Beach CafeBetty's Beach Café is also a great place to eat, drink and be Mary! Their Sunday brunch features epic omelets, egg scrambles and signature cocktails. No trip to this tropical venue would be complete without trying one of their "Betty" drinks. From the Bettie Paige (red wine, peach schnapps and pineapple) to the Betty Rubble (a Blue-beri Hawaiian), there's truly a vice for everyone. Happy hour is always a blast at Betty's. Every afternoon from 2pm to 5pm enjoy $3 Mai Tais and $4 Longboard Kona Beers. Stay or come back later in the evening for Betty's evening happy hour, from 9pm to 11pm every day.

Visit during Maui Pride Week

Maui Pride is October 5-7, 2012 and it's always a celebration to remember. The festivities begin with an Aloha Reception at the Maui Sunseeker. This mixer is a great opportunity to hobnob with the local queer community.

Maui Pride celebrationsMaui Pride celebrationsThe main event will be held at the Maui Tropical Plantation on Saturday, October 6. Entrance is free and there will be a wide variety of vendors and activities. That morning the Pride committee will also be sponsoring drag races and other fabulous events. Saturday night, return to the venue to hula your ass off!. DJs will be spinning and live performances (including the local Deborah Vial Band) are scheduled to entertain the masses. The final day of the Pride festivities kicks off at Stella Blues for breakfast (8am to 10am). Cap off the final day with a snorkel tour or hidden waterfall hike.

Maui's spectacular treasuresMaui's spectacular treasuresBefore you leave Maui, during Pride or any other time of the year, you MUST take a helicopter ride overlooking the island. Air Maui and other operators offer flights for tourists and it's only about a 45-minute flight. The sea cliffs are breathtaking. The waterfalls, awe-inspiring.

When the luau is over and you're depressed that it's time to leave the dream vacation of a lifetime, take solace, when you say "aloha" it means goodbye and hello. The friendly islanders will be there to welcome you back with sweet, sun-kissed smiles!

Article by Jon Fairbanks, courtesy of GayTravel.com, which connects gay and lesbian travelers with gay friendly destinations, hotels, cruises and tours throughout the world. Their missions is to provide visitors with the most comprehensive and accurate information available to ensure that every vacation is both pleasurable and comfortable. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

Have you been to Maui? What was your favorite spot on the island? Follow GoGirlfriend on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's start talking!

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Gay travel agents just back from Maui! Stayed at the Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei, where we met up with two lesbian couples on their honeymoon. We found the place to be very gay friendly and the rates a steal considering quality of hotel - and we wern't staying on any special industry rates - just the same price we sell the hotel for to our clients. Really comfy beds, friendly pool and bar with great $4 happy hour drinks, very nice staff. 15 minutes plus drive to Little Beach parking.lot. Walking distance for dining- all price ranges. More remote, but closer to Big and Little Beach was the Makena Beach Hotel. Whike a pricier option, but still a steal for Maui, we thought it was the ultimate chill out spot.. More of a resort, but with a tranquil vibe. We can arrange stays in either.

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