BY Mark Chesnut

Once the autumn and winter months roll around, many people assume you need to board a plane if you want to enjoy a great gay getaway. But a year-round LGBT vacation paradise lies much closer: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (, the upscale resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Decidedly one of the best hotels in Atlantic City, Borgata offers an impressive array of LGBT-friendly activities through its OUT at Borgata ( program, which includes hotel packages, entertainment and special events year-round. I recently attended Pride Bingo, which starred “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars” winner Trixie Mattel, and the property also hosts the annual Miss’d America Pageant in September. Every Thursday, hotel guests can enjoy the Burlesque Show, a glittering production with male and female dancers and performers.

In case you’re considering tying the knot, the resort also provides lots of possibilities for same-sex weddings and honeymoons.

Borgata offers so many options for relaxation and excitement that you could easily spend several days there without leaving the grounds. I stayed in the Water Club, the luxurious tower with stylish accommodations that offer spectacular water views. We sampled mouthwatering cuisine at several of the 15 dining venues, including a variety of hip restaurants run by celebrity chefs including Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck. And the Borgata bakery is a true delight, with thick sandwiches and sweet treats like “cupcake in a jar” and adults-only spiked milkshakes.

Must-try amenities include two expansive spas as well as two beautiful indoor swimming pools, where the lush landscaping just might make you feel like you’ve jetted off to a tropical getaway (there are also two large outdoor pools for the warmer months). You can also indulge in some elegant shopping, and there are four unique nightlife options, including Premier Nightclub, where top DJs from around the globe often keep the beats flowing, and the light system is simply hypnotizing. And let’s not forget the 161,000-square-foot casino, for travelers who crave gaming.

In case you do decide to leave the property, both the legendary boardwalk and the Rainbow Room, Atlantic City’s gay bar, are less than 10 minutes away by car.

Big-name performers are among the draws at Borgata, with upcoming shows by Sting and Shaggy (September 21), Modest Mouse (October 7), The Temptations and the Four Tops (October 26), Garbage (October 26), the Doobie Brothers (November 3), Il Divo (November 24) and 98 Degrees (December 15).

Borgata also proves its LGBT friendliness through its membership in the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance. In addition, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named Borgata one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” in both 2016 and 2017.

OUT at Borgata: