Cherry Grove on New York’s Fire Island has a rich LGBTQ history. Duke University Press has called Cherry Grove, “America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town” (though P-Town may beg to differ); the barrier island off of New York’s Long Island has been toted as a “gay and lesbian safe haven” for 90 years. In the 1930s, Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines were beginning to develop as a hub for artists, writers, and creatives alike. During this era, The Bowery Boys (a New York City Historical podcast) notes, “Performers at the Grove’s Community House and Theatre [there] helped define camp culture, paving the way for the modern drag scene.”
The barrier island was appealing to the LGBTQ community due to its seclusion. There are hardly any cars on Fire Island, and the only way to reach Cherry Grove is by ferry or water taxi. Once on the island, bars, pubs, and nightlife are all within walking distance. Staying on Fire Island can be pretty pricey, anywhere from $460–$1,200 a night. Unfortunately, the high prices make the town less accessible for many, but thankfully, you can always hop on a water taxi to the island and enjoy a day trip to the beach and head back to sleep somewhere less expensive
There are so many more LGBTQ-friendly beaches and beach towns out there. Please share your favorites in the comments.