Retirement: the chapter of life where you can finally prioritize your well-being, embrace new passions, and savor the sweetness of existence.
But for LGBTQ+ seniors, finding a place that truly understands, accepts, and celebrates their identity is a game-changer.
That’s where the magic of gay retirement communities enters the stage.
These extraordinary havens are purpose-built to provide a safe, nurturing, and joy-filled environment for LGBTQ+ people to enjoy their golden years.
In this article, we’ll explore the crème de la crème of big cities, charming small towns, and communities that roll out the rainbow carpet for gay older adults.
And to ensure you make the perfect choice, we’ll set out the key factors you should consider when selecting your dream gay retirement community.
What City is Best for Gay Seniors? (Top 10)
When it comes to selecting a city for retirement, LGBT seniors seek places that offer not only a varied social scene but also a strong support network and inclusive policies.
Let’s take a look at ten standout cities that consistently rank high in terms of LGBTQ+ friendliness:
San Francisco, California
San Francisco, the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, has long been a haven for the community.
The Castro district is famous for its gay culture and offers a range of LGBTQ+-oriented retirement communities.
The city’s inclusive policies and plethora of LGBTQ+-friendly services, such as healthcare facilities and support organizations, make it a top choice for gay seniors seeking a place to call home.
Seattle, often associated with progressive values, is an ideal destination for same sex seniors looking for a culturally diverse city.
Its Capitol Hill neighborhood is a focal point, offering an array of bars, restaurants, and social clubs.
The city’s commitment to equality, coupled with its stunning natural surroundings, makes Seattle an attractive area to consider for gay retirees who want to live in a supportive and inclusive community.
Miami, located in the sunny state of Florida, is a popular destination for those seeking a lively and diverse city.
With its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and thriving nightlife, Miami offers a dynamic environment for gay retirees.
The city is known for its numerous LGBTQ+-oriented events, such as the Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival.
From its LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhoods like South Beach to its outstanding healthcare services, Miami provides a welcoming and exciting retirement experience.
The nearby city of Fort Lauderdale and its suburb of Wilton Manors in Broward County are also welcoming to LGBT retirees and make for an easy getaway to explore more fine dining and gay bars without going too far from home.
Palm Springs, California
Nestled against the backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs has long been a magnet for LGBTQ+ people, including retirees.
This desert oasis in California boasts a warm climate, stunning natural landscapes, alongside the Arenas District, with its plethora of gay-owned businesses, restaurants, and bars.
The city also hosts the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, attracting cinema enthusiasts from around the world.
Portland is renowned for its forward-thinking ethos and relaxed vibe – a place that champions inclusivity and cherishes differences.
If you’re an LGBTQ+ senior, you’re bound to feel welcome in this supportive community.
The city has a wealth of businesses, events, and organizations specifically geared towards the LGBTQ+ community, including the annual Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade each June.
If you retired here, you could immerse yourself in the city’s lively arts landscape or the bustling gastronomic scene.
Plus, the city’s awe-inspiring natural splendor adds a whole different dimension to its appeal.
Choosing to retire here means embracing a lifestyle where equality is not just a word, but a lived experience.
New York City, New York
For LGBTQ+ seniors seeking an urban retirement experience, New York City is an invigorating and iconic choice.
The city’s rich LGBTQ+ history, particularly in neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, has made it a symbol of pride and acceptance.
New York City offers a wide array of LGBTQ+-oriented services, including healthcare facilities, social clubs, and support organizations.
As you no doubt are aware, the city boasts a diverse cultural scene, world-class museums, and a renowned theater district with endless opportunities for entertainment and enrichment.
With its fast-paced energy and inclusive atmosphere, New York City offers a unique retirement experience for gay seniors.
The Windy City of Chicago has a long-standing reputation for its LGBTQ+ inclusivity and thriving gay community.
There are a variety of LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhoods like Northalsted (also called Boystown), and Chicago offers an active social scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and community centers catering to the needs and interests of the LGBT community.
The city also hosts the annual Chicago Pride Parade, drawing thousands of participants and spectators.
Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville presents an extraordinary mix of breathtaking landscapes and forward-thinking ideals.
This city is widely acknowledged for its warm acceptance and support of the LGBTQ+ community and has been in the top lists of gay communities for years.
Known for its lively artistic and musical culture, Asheville also prides itself on its farm-fresh culinary delights and a community rich in diverse cultures.
The LGBTQ+ populace in the city is notably vibrant and involved, staging various social events and gatherings annually.
For senior members of the gay community looking for a tranquil haven and a robust sense of camaraderie, Asheville stands as an inviting and inclusive choice for retirement.
Tucked amidst the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, Denver masterfully blends an adventurous outdoor spirit with a forward-thinking and supportive atmosphere for the LGBTQ+ community.
The heart of the city’s LGBTQ+ activity thrives in the Capitol Hill district, celebrated for its energetic after-dark scene, LGBTQ+-run enterprises, and societal organizations.
Denver’s proximity to awe-inspiring natural wonders, encompassing nearby national parks and ski havens, is indeed a delight. It’s this combination of a dedication to inclusivity and a plethora of leisurely pursuits that makes Denver a perfect retirement locale.
Atlanta is known as the South’s unofficial gay capital and has a city government that advocates for the rights of gay and transgender people.
Surrounded by lush parks and urban gardens, the city boasts a variety of cultural and recreational amenities.
Home to the High Museum of Art, the Fox Theatre, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola (the soft drink was invented here), as well as the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta offers mild weather, annual Pride events (along with other events throughout the year), and an inclusive social vibe.
12 Best Gay (Or Gay-Friendly) Retirement Communities
The best gay retirement communities are designed specifically to cater to the unique needs and desires of LGBT people.
These communities offer an array of amenities and services, fostering a sense of belonging and promoting a fulfilling retirement experience.
As you begin the journey of choosing the right place to retire, consider factors such as community atmosphere, amenities, location, affordability, legal protections, and personal preferences.
Then try to envision how they align with your desired retirement lifestyle as you explore the unique offerings of each community.
Here are 12 outstanding gay retirement communities renowned for their welcoming atmospheres:
Rainbow Vista, Gresham (Portland area), Oregon
Nestled in the heart of Portland, Rainbow Vista is a progressive and LGBTQ+-focused retirement community that provides a safe and affirming space for active gay seniors (it does not have assisted living or memory care options, however).
Rainbow Vista is an apartment complex that offers two housing options – studio and one-bedroom apartments.
It also has a range of amenities such as a game room, event area, and music room, and some included utilities, parking, and laundry facilities.
Carefree Cove – Boone, North Carolina
Carefree Cove, situated in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, is a gated, log cabin style gay and lesbian retirement community known for its tranquility and natural beauty.
It comes complete with picturesque mountain views, hiking trails, and a strong sense of camaraderie among its residents.
For LGBTQ+ seniors who are looking for the slower pace of mountain living, Carefree Cove would be a serene retreat.
Their website says, “Carefree Cove residents enjoy a member-maintained hiking trail, a community garden, picturesque water features and rustic architecture nestled among the 165-acre site. Several residents interact with local organizations that appeal to a variety of interests – book clubs, musical groups, spas and gyms – the opportunities are limitless.“
The Resort on Carefree Boulevard – Fort Myers, Florida
Situated in sunny Fort Myers, Florida, The Resort on Carefree Boulevard is a thriving lesbian retirement community that offers both homes for sale and RV lots for purchase.
The Resort is set among natural preserves and lakes.
Residents can partake of a wide range of amenities, including pools, tennis and pickle ball, a fitness center, and social clubs.
There is also plenty of opportunity to fish (catch and release), kayak, and bike the nearby trails. If you aren’t ready to buy a home or lot, you can rent, which is a great way to try before you buy!
Fountaingrove Lodge – Santa Rosa, California
Located in Santa Rosa, California, Fountaingrove Lodge is an upscale gay retirement community nestled in the heart of Wine Country.
This luxurious community offers 5-star amenities, such as a salon and spa, wine cave and bistro, plus stunning views, gourmet dining options, and a range of recreational activities.
Fountaingrove Lodge features apartment living, as well as bungalows and has a full time nurse available on site, along with a wellness center.
They pride themselves on being a safe and welcoming space for gay seniors to enjoy an enriching retirement filled with fine wines, natural beauty, and a strong sense of community.
Rose Villa – Portland, Oregon
A;though not specifically a gay retirement community, Rose Villa, situated in the charming city of Portland, Oregon, is LGBTQ+-inclusive and features a combination of independent living and supportive care services.
There are beautifully landscaped grounds, a community garden, and a range of amenities, such as their Wellness Center, spa, and creative arts initiative, that are designed to promote an active and engaged retirement.
Rose Villa actively fosters a welcoming and accepting environment for LGBTQ+ seniors, providing a welcome sense of belonging.
Stonewall Gardens – Palm Springs, California
Stonewall Gardens, located in the heart of Palm Springs, California, is an intimate and boutique-style assisted living community designed for gay men.
The community offers personalized care services in a comfortable and nurturing environment.
With its tranquil courtyard, stunning mountain views, and proximity to the gay scene in Palm Springs, Stonewall Gardens provides a safe and compassionate space for gay seniors to receive the care and support they need while enjoying the beauty of the desert surroundings.
A Place For Us – Cleveland, Ohio
Situated in the cultural hub of Cleveland, Ohio, A Place For Us senior apartment housing is “the first LGBTQ-friendly Senior Housing Community in the state of Ohio.”
This unique retirement community celebrates diversity and inclusivity and features upscale independent living options in its historic building.
The property is located in proximity to renowned cultural institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Orchestra and offers a sophisticated retirement experience for gay seniors who appreciate the arts and intellectual stimulation.
Triangle Square – Hollywood, California
Located in the heart of Hollywood, Triangle Square Apartments is a pioneering LGBTQ+-friendly retirement community catering specifically to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors.
This modern and vibrant community offers affordable, stylish apartments, a health center, and a variety of on-site social and recreational programs via the nearby Los Angeles LGBT Center.
With its prime location near entertainment venues, theaters, and LGBTQ+ landmarks, Triangle Square provides an exciting and inclusive retirement experience for LGBTQ+ seniors in the heart of the entertainment capital.
The Palms of Manasota -Palmetto (Tampa area), Florida
The Palms of Manasota is in a lush, tropical setting located near Tampa, FL.
Although it started out in the mid-1990s as one of the first gay retirement communities, over the years (and a bankruptcy), of the tiny neighborhood of 21 homes, the website reports that “now 15 of the 21 homes are gay-owned.”
Occasionally a home will come up for sale, so keep your eye on their Homes For Sale page if retiring in warm, sunny Florida is where you want to spend your golden years.
Living Out – Palm Springs
Living Out is a brand-new 55+ LGBT retirement community in Palm Springs that is completing the building of their flagship property at the time of writing this list. They expect to be open in 2023 and are currently accepting reservations.
Once it is open, Living Out will feature 122 apartments located on a 9-acre site near Palm Canyon Drive.
The apartments will boast spectacular desert views, a swimming pool and spa, a putting green, private theater, massage studio, salon, dog park and more.
Regarding Palm Springs, Living Out’s website notes that, “more than 50% of the town’s population is gay and you can guarantee that, for a Living Out resident, every experience in Palm Springs is just a little more exciting!“
On Top Oof the World – Clearwater, Florida and Ocala, Florida
While not strictly a gay retirement community, On Top of the World (OTOW) in Clearwater, FL is a 55+ condominium complex that’s worth mentioning because it boasts an active gay community, called the Lambda Club.
Clearwater is part of metro-Tampa and close to St. Petersburg, as well. These surrounding areas are gay-friendly, with tons of activities, world-class healthcare, and sunny, warm, tropical weather.
The Lambda Club’s blog reports that, “OTOW is a friendly place where we’ve found a home. The Lambda Club has a monthly social/cocktail party. Throughout the year, we also have dine-outs, game nights, potlucks, theater nights, and the occasional cruise. Our activities are all low cost but high fun.”
The sister community to OTOW, Clearwater is On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida.
This is a community of single family homes for those 55+ and is located in Central Florida. They also have a gay community, called the Silver Rainbow Club, that has monthly meetings and events.
The Residences at Seashore Pointe – Provincetown, Massachusetts
The Residences at Seashore Pointe is a condominium complex located in Povincetown, MA.
Only a couple of blocks from the beach, The Residences has a wellness center, a rehab department, fitness center, and boasts restaurant-style dining, housekeeping and maintenance among their many amenities.
Their resident’s page states that “We welcome and respect diversity, which is an essential part of the Provincetown Community.”
In fact, we’ve listed Provincetown in the next section, because it is one of the best small towns we came across for acceptance of the gay and transgender community.
11 Best Small Towns for Gay Retirement
While cities often offer a plethora of options for LGBTQ+ seniors, some people prefer the charm and close-knit community of small towns.
Each of the towns on our list showcases its own distinct character, natural beauty, and vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, creating opportunities for gay seniors to connect with like-minded individuals and embrace a fulfilling retirement in a small-town atmosphere.
In these welcoming small towns, gay seniors can find acceptance, build strong relationships, and enjoy a sense of belonging.
The natural landscapes, cultural offerings, and inclusive communities provide the perfect backdrop for a fulfilling and enriching retirement experience.
Whether it’s the scenic coastlines, artistic communities, or the serenity of mountain landscapes, these small towns offer something special for every gay senior seeking a small-town retirement haven.
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Nestled along the banks of the Delaware River, New Hope is a charming small town renowned for its artistic community and LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
This Bucks County village features a vibrant downtown area filled with art galleries, boutique shops, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
With its historic architecture and scenic landscapes, New Hope offers a serene and culturally rich retirement setting for gay seniors seeking a tight-knit community.
Saugatuck and its neighboring town, Douglas, form a picturesque duo on the shores of Lake Michigan.
These small towns have long been LGBTQ+ havens, offering stunning beaches, charming boutiques, and more than 140 LGBTQ+-owned establishments.
With their friendly atmosphere and a calendar full of LGBTQ+ events and festivals, Saugatuck and Douglas provide an idyllic and inclusive setting for gay seniors to enjoy a relaxed retirement.
Tucked away in the Mule Mountains of southern Arizona, Bisbee is a quirky small town that has become a magnet for LGBTQ+ individuals seeking a bohemian lifestyle.
In fact, Movoto.com says, “One study from the Census Bureau has indicated that Bisbee is the most LGBT friendly town in Arizona. This is largely because it has the highest concentration of LGBT families in the state, a ratio of 20.9 per 1,000 households. The Arizona average is 8.8 per 1,000.”
With its colorful architecture, vibrant arts scene, and low cost of living, Bisbee would be a unique and accepting environment for gay seniors to enjoy a slower-paced retirement amidst the beauty of the desert Southwest.
Situated in the heart of California’s wine country, Guerneville is a small town renowned for its LGBTQ+ acceptance and welcoming atmosphere.
With its scenic Russian River setting and charming downtown area brimming with colorful murals and public works of art, Guerneville offers a tranquil and inclusive environment for gay seniors seeking a peaceful retreat surrounded by natural beauty.
Once known as the lesbian capital of the United States, Northampton is a vibrant small town with a strong LGBTQ+ community. It offers a variety of LGBTQ+-owned businesses, arts festivals, and progressive values.
With its charming historic architecture, lively Main Street, and scenic New England landscapes, Northampton provides a welcoming and engaging setting for gay seniors seeking a small-town retirement experience.
Lambertville, New Jersey
Nestled along the Delaware River, Lambertville is a quaint small town known for its LGBTQ+ friendliness and artistic community.
The town features art galleries, antique shops, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
It’s got everything from historic homes and scenic river views, to a strong sense of community.
Ogunquit, meaning “beautiful place by the sea” in the indigenous Abenaki language, lives up to its name.
This coastal town prides itself on its LGBTQ+ acceptance and stunning sandy beaches. The town’s website even says, “many of our restaurants, galleries, hotels and night clubs, are gay-owned and operated.”
Ogunquit boasts a lively arts scene, including a renowned summer theater. What could be more enjoyable than a retirement in a picturesque and welcoming retirement haven?
Woodstock, New York
Famous for its iconic music festival in the 1960s, Woodstock has evolved into a haven for artists, free spirits, and the LGBTQ+ community.
This small town in the Catskill Mountains offers an exciting arts scene, eclectic shops, and plenty of LGBT events. It also comes with stunning natural beauty and tons of outdoor recreational opportunities.
If you’re seeking a small-town experience for your retirement, Woodstock would be a great place to investigate.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach, known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital,” is a popular coastal destination those who love the ocean.
The town features beautiful beaches, a lively boardwalk, and a thriving LGBTQ+ community. They host annual LGBTQ+ events and are home to many LGBTQ+-owned businesses, restaurants, and bars.
Although it didn’t used to be this progressive (it started as a Methodist Meeting Camp), the Camp Rehoboth website says, “Now there is a huge gay population, many GLBT owned and operated businesses, a throng of LGBT visitors, and last year, just as USA Today called Rehoboth one of America’s best gay beaches, Reader’s Digest anointed it one of America’s top retirement destinations.”
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Eureka Springs is a picturesque small town known for its Victorian architecture and healing springs, “Eureka Springs has become the Bible Belt’s LGBTQ oasis,” according to a recent CNN report.
Eureka Springs has a long history of welcoming the LGBTQ+ community and hosts the annual Eureka Springs Diversity Weekend, celebrating diversity and promoting equality.
The town features unique shops, art galleries, and LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations.
Nestled on the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a picturesque coastal town known for its open-mindedness and acceptance.
It hosts an array of cultural events and festivals, including its renowned Provincetown LGBTQ+ Film Festival.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gay Retirement Community
Selecting the right LGBTQ+ retirement community is a personal decision that requires careful consideration.
Here are some important factors to keep in mind when choosing your ideal retirement haven:
Consider the atmosphere and sense of community within the retirement community.
Are the residents friendly and welcoming? Does the community organize social activities and events specifically for LGBTQ+ seniors?
It’s crucial to choose a community where you feel a sense of belonging and where you can foster meaningful connections.
Amenities and Services
Evaluate the amenities and services offered by the retirement community.
Are there recreational facilities, a fitness center, game room or community room where you can engage in activities and meet other residents?
Additionally, consider the availability of medical care services, personal care, and support systems tailored to the needs of LGBT elders.
Location and Surroundings
Think about the location and surroundings of the retirement community. Do you prefer a bustling city or a peaceful small town?
Consider the climate, proximity to natural attractions, and access to amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, and healthcare facilities.
The location should align with your lifestyle preferences and offer opportunities for recreation and exploration.
Take into account the cost of living and the financial aspects associated with the retirement community.
Assess the affordability of housing options, monthly fees, and any additional services provided.
It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the financial implications to ensure a comfortable retirement within your budget.
Legal Protections and LGBTQ+ Rights
Research the legal protections and LGBTQ+ rights in the area where the retirement community is located.
Understanding the local laws and regulations regarding discrimination and LGBTQ+ rights will give you peace of mind and ensure that you can enjoy your retirement without facing any unnecessary challenges or biases.
Reputation and Reviews
Do thorough research on the reputation of the retirement community you are considering. Read online reviews, talk to current or former residents if possible, and gather information about their experiences.
Learning from the firsthand accounts of others can provide valuable insights into the community’s strengths and potential drawbacks.
Look for retirement communities that have established support networks for LGBTQ+ seniors.
These networks can include LGBTQ+ organizations, social clubs, and support groups that cater specifically to the needs and interests of the community.
Having access to a support network can enhance your sense of belonging and provide a strong support system throughout your retirement.
Personal Preferences and Interests
Consider your personal preferences and interests when selecting a retirement community.
Do you enjoy outdoor activities, cultural events, or access to specialized healthcare services? Do you want to live in a gated community?
Ensure that the community you choose aligns with your lifestyle choices and provides opportunities for you to engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Finding the perfect retirement community is a significant step towards creating a fulfilling and inclusive retirement experience.
Whether you prefer the vibrant atmosphere of a city, the charm of a small town, or the amenities of a specialized retirement community, there are options available that cater specifically to LGBTQ+ seniors.
By considering factors such as community atmosphere, amenities, location, affordability, legal protections, and personal preferences, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and desires.
Remember, retirement is a time to celebrate and embrace your identity fully.
Seek out communities that not only accept but embrace your LGBTQ+ identity, creating an environment where you can age with dignity, pride, and a strong sense of belonging.
Your retirement should be a chapter of your life where you can thrive, surrounded by like-minded individuals who celebrate and support you every step of the way.