Travel

Hey, gay couples: Need a place to tie the knot? Honeymoon? Look no further

With California's same-sex marriages making headlines, the state's Travel and Tourism Commission compiled a handy list of potential wedding and honeymoon sites.

After all, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Diego were among the top 21 cities that gay and lesbian travelers viewed as being gay-friendly, according to a 2006 national survey by the Travel Industry Assn.

Here are some of the recommended picks for those still contemplating where to tie the knot or where to honeymoon.

And just so you know: We haven't actually gotten married at any of these places.

Ardenwood Affairs

This garden in Fremont in San Francisco's East Bay is the place to get married if you want a horse-drawn carriage and a Victorian-style gazebo. Yup, I'm thinking lots of lace and frills. The setting is part of Ardenwood Historic Farm, a 19th century estate that's still a working farm and is run by the East Bay Regional Park District. Renting the site starts at $1,200 for a two-hour weekend ceremony and goes as high as $2,200 for a weekend evening rental. Click here for the website or call (925) 426-3055.

Angel Island

This 470-acre state park is actually in San Francisco Bay, which means you get great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County and the cityscape. It's pretty rustic -- good for the outdoors crowd who maybe want to kayak to the ceremony? -- and pretty inexpensive. Site rentals range from $82.50 to $132.50; depending on the spot, you may also need a special events permit that can run an additional $250 to $750. Check out the AngelCam to get a sense of the place. Click here for information on weddings and receptions or call (415) 435-5390.

Viceroy Palm Springs

This desert hotel describes itself as a "modern interpretation of the Hollywood Regency style" and also has a web page devoted to weddings. (Good for golfers.) The special "I Do for Two" package includes room, ceremony, two hour-long spa treatments, breakfast in bed and more. Rates start at $449 per night midweek. Info: Click here or call (760) 320-4117.

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

The Century City hotel has a special "Celebrate Pride 2008" offer for same-sex couples who stay two nights: a one-year membership to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The offer, which runs through Dec. 30, is good at 25 of Hyatt's hotels nationwide that are participating in this program, including the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, where PlanetOut will hold a Pride Rocks party on June 28. The package this weekend at the L.A. hotel runs $259 per night. Info: Click here or call (310) 228-1234.

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort

Squeeze in a yoga or Pilates class before getting married at this lush 100-acre resort in San Luis Obispo where hot springs, not oil, were struck in 1886. The garden gazebo, near a grotto water pool, is the spot at this resort to tie the knot. Weddings and receptions start at $2,500. Info: Click here or call (800) 234-5831.

The Ahwahnee

This national landmark in Yosemite National Park is as elegant as it gets amid the wild beauty of the Sierra. Ceremonies at the 1927 lodge are held on the wedding lawn, where you can see Upper Yosemite Falls, Royal Arches and Glacier Point. But with 300 weddings a year, plan on booking a year ahead for your ceremony, a spokesman says. (Insider tip: Consider winter, when there are fewer bookings and the park has a frosty beauty.) For honeymooners, the Romance Package includes two nights, dinner for two in the dining room, wine and flutes, a gift and more, for $1,269 per couple during the summer. Info: Click here or call (801) 559-4884.

Casa Laguna Inn & Spa

This Laguna Beach site built in the 1920s is for the beach-minded. The site has been playing host to gay-commitment ceremonies since 2000, according to the tourism association. The inn is offering a 10% discount to same-sex couples with a signed California marriage license. The Elopement Package includes a minister, flowers, cake, champagne and more for $1,000 (plus a minimum stay on weekends and holidays). Info: Click here or call (800) 233-0449.

Stanford Inn by the Sea

This is another coastal setting, but this time on the rugged shoreline of Mendocino. In fact, the resort sits on a hillside -- what isn't on a hillside in this town? -- overlooking Mendocino Bay. It too is a hotel that is used to same-sex weddings and, according to the tourism association, the owner conducts the ceremonies as a Universal Life Church minister. Info: Click here or call (800) 331-8884.

W San Diego

This downtown hotel is near the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego Bay, the Amtrak station and shops and museums. You might decide to bag the car -- and high gas prices -- if you decide to honeymoon here. The "Feel the Wuv" package for couples includes room, a 2 p.m. late checkout and a "bottle of bubbly," starting at $279 per night. Offer runs through Dec. 31. Info: Click here or call (877) 946-8357.

Penon Blanco Lookout

The namesake for this retreat three miles west of Coulterville is an old forest fire lookout station, which you can hike to atop a nearby peak. This inn sits on a 200-acre working ranch where John Muir reportedly once herded sheep (one of the suites bears his name) and is a short drive from Yosemite National Park. Good for couples who want to go horseback riding or rappelling to a cave where Joaquin Murrieta supposedly once hid out. Getaway package for two starts at $139 per night (with two-night stay). Click here or call (888) 257-4397.

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