A culture of belonging, where all are welcome. A destination that’s meaningful, passionate and sustainable. It’s who we are in Monterey County, and we encourage you to Find Your Way Here. 

LGBTQIA+ trailblazers and allies from across the country share what PRIDE means to them.  These industry leaders highlight their favorite experiences in Monterey County and how they plan to celebrate PRIDE.  

We had the opportunity to speak with:

WHY IS PRIDE MEANINGFUL TO YOU?

Pride is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ history, culture, and identity. It’s also a time to reflect on the progress made in LGBTQIA+ rights and to fight for continued equality. Pride is important because it allows me to celebrate who I am with my community. - Bryan Quinan

As the president of a regional chapter for the national organization SITE, focused on the value and impact of incentive travel, a leader with a representation company for a collection of global hotels & resorts, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, PRIDE is a celebration of authenticity, diversity, and the progress toward inclusion and equality. Our industry plays a critical role in creating transformational social and economic change through our meetings & events. PRIDE is especially meaningful as it promotes visibility and representation of our community and to raise awareness of the importance of people living with authenticity and inclusion. - Gary Murakami

I believe in living authentically.  There are so many great qualities of each of us, and I enjoy getting to know how those qualities shape other people's experiences and what they bring to the table as someone I know or someone I work with, either on a volunteer or professional basis.  For that reason, I like to be proud of the different qualities I bring and let them offer something different through my perspective as an advantage to any friendship or organization. Pride is a time to celebrate that diversity. With diverse qualities included, all can have a sense of belonging and contribute to their society in a special way. - J. Grant Caplan

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS IMPORTANT TO AN LGBTQIA+ TRAVELER AND WHAT MAKES MONTEREY COUNTY AN IDEAL DESTINATION?

This is an image of a couple sharing a meal at Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur overlooking the dramatic Big Sur coast LGBTQIA+ travelers want to visit welcoming, inclusive destinations that offer vibrant culture and diverse entertainment. Monterey County stands out as an ideal destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers due to its progressive community, picturesque landscapes, and variety of activities catering to all interests. Events like Pride celebrations and inclusive festivals further create a sense of belonging, making Monterey County a perfect getaway for LGBTQIA+ travelers looking for fun, relaxation, and community connection. - Cameron Curtis

As a hotelier, I will say it’s important to make all guests feel welcome. That is done by providing DEI training, diversifying your marketing materials, providing diverse entertainment, and having resources to direct the customer to entertainment within the community. Treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s just that simple. While I don’t get to stay in Monterey as often as I like, when I am there I love brunching at Estéban and having dinner at Nepenthe because I love the breathtaking views. It’s so delightful! - Dzidra Junior

WHAT EXPERIENCES IN MONTEREY COUNTY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO AN LGBTQIA+ TRAVELER?

All the nature! Sunsets at Carmel Beach or The Inn at Spanish Bay. Wildlife in Monterey Bay and the Carmel Valley. The incredible restaurants, art, and shopping are all highlights and there are tons of options for live music. Wineries and vistas always pair well, and of course the glamorous cars and fashions. - Shane Orser

Wine tasting in Carmel Valley, walking the beach in Carmel by the Sea and having lunch, video games at High Scores in Downtown Old Monterey, cocktails and dancing at Pearl Hour in New Monterey. - Michele Pearce

Plan your all inclusive meeting in Monterey at MeetInMonterey.com!