While there is a slew of incredible, all-inclusive LGBT events confettied across the calendar — Prides, film festivals and cruises galore — there is also an increasingly hot and hectic social calendar for just the girls. This year sees some monumental dance parties, splashy summer pool extravaganzas, a carefully curated Canadian lesbian film festival, music festivals, outdoors events and super social sports competitions. Although it is a tough task to narrow it down to only 10, these are our top, women-focused picks for spring and summer 2016.
Palm Springs, California
March 30–April 3, 2016 (2017 TBA)
Camilla Grey, of Uh-Huh-Her, and Kate Moennig, formerly of the L-Word, are just two of the big names hitting Palm Springs’ pools and parties for this year’s Dinah. The duo is DJing at Saturday’s cabana pool party. In addition to these heavy-hitters, Lea DeLaria is bringing her inimitable comic stylings to Saturday’s big comedy show, Elle King is performing at Friday’s White Party and celesbian DJ Samantha Ronson takes to the decks for Saturday’s Hollywood Party. It’s an incredible, crazy, crammed schedule of parties, pool hijinks, comedy, film, food and fun.
London Lesbian Film Festival
April 15–17, 2016
This North American, lesbian film festival is held in London, Ontario, each April. In addition to an eclectic roster of international shorts and some excellent feature films (the Canadian-made Portrait of a Serial Monogamist, the shocking In the Hollow and the Italian Me, Myself and Her), the weekend features an opening reception, dance party and a Sunday morning comedy brunch featuring sassy Nigerian-British comedian Gina Yashere.
Dinah Shore Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
April 28–May 1, 2016
With high-octane events such as The White Party under the Eiffel Tower, VIP cocktails at Rio Las Vegas Wine Cellar and Glitter dance party at Voodoo Lounge, this is the glitziest girls’ weekend on the calendar. Host hotels are the Flamingo and the shiny new LINQ Las Vegas Hotel.
May 11–15, 2016
Promising five spectacular sunny days in the Sunshine State, Aquagirl has been going strong for 17 years and still attracts women from all corners of the world for its hectic combination of cocktail receptions, dance parties, pool parties and tea dances. All of the profits go toward supporting lesbian, bisexual and transgender wellness and equality in South Florida, allowing Aquagirl devotees to do good while doing shots and pulling killer moves on the dance floor.
Women’s Outdoors National Gathering
Hancock, New Hampshire
May 27–30, 2016
A lower-key women’s gathering than some of the others on this list, this annual outdoors event is a wonderful way to spend some time in the woods. Held in a woodsy camp near the tiny historic hamlet of Hancock, late nights are more about s’mores than schmoozing. Whether you fancy hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming and other such active pursuits or are more of a stargazer, writer, bird-watcher, painter or poet, you’ll find plenty of space and plenty of like-minded souls at this friendly annual event. Yoga classes, massage and workshops in orienteering, bicycle repair and camp cooking are all also on the bill. Accommodation is in yurts and cabins.
Girls in Wonderland
June 2–6, 2016
Thousands of women from all over the world head to Orlando for this long, hot weekend of dance parties, pool parties, after-hours parties, comedy shows (top billing goes to Suzanne Westenhoefer this year), cocktail receptions and happy hours. There are plenty of opportunities to pop into a theme park or two, as well; SeaWorld, Disney World, Legoland, Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are all nearby.
National Women’s Music Festival
June 30–July 3, 2016
Forty-one years since it first struck a chord, this four-day festival continues to hit the high notes. Musical and funny women taking to the stage this year include funky Nedra Johnson and the Fat Bottom Girls, comedienne Marga Gomez, conductor of the Michigan philharmonic Nan Washburn, jazz quintet Alive, pop-jazz artist Suede, folk rockers Violet and the Undercurrents and many, many more. There are also talks, workshops, open mics and live and silent auctions on the bill. The festival is held in the small town of Middleton, where there is a fine array of restaurants and some great bike trails when you want to work up a sweat rather than a beat.
July 19–23, 2016
Girl Splash offers the requisite array of parties and comedy, of course, but is particularly enticing because it complements them with beach bonfires, schooner sails, whale watching trips and the opportunity to soak up P-Town’s deliciously distinctive ambience. Just one of five big women’s events held in the Cape Cod town each year (along with May’s Single Women’s Weekend and Memorial Day Weekend, June’s Women of Color Weekend and October’s Provincetown Women’s Week), this is the big summer event for women in New England.
Festival of the Babes
Sept 2–5, 2016
This Labour Day, the 26th Festival of the Babes kicks off in Seattle. A four day–long women’s soccer contest with raucous nightly parties, FOB features seven-a-side games, two divisions, 24 teams and up to 300 sports-minded participants. All ability levels are welcome.
Key West, Florida
Sept 7–11, 2016
Dance parties, drag shows, pool parties, poker, karaoke, gallery shows, flag football contests, brunches, bicycle parades, trolley tours and a sunset concert at sea (starring Sister Funk) are just some of the hot events billed for this years’ Womenfest. Fly down to the self-declared “Conch Republic” or drive down the stunning Florida Keys to quirky Key West, an island with a character unlike anywhere else.