When I first received an invitation to visit Argentina, I really didn’t know what to expect.  It’s seemingly always been overshadowed in the media by neighboring Brazil, so I really had to do my research to see exactly what I was going to experience.  After about an hour of scavenging through Google, I realized that I needed to accept the invitation.

Inmates on paradise

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"/Nothing beside remains./Round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.” – From Ozymandius, by Percy Bysshe Shelly, 1792-1822, poet, dramatist, essayist, novelist, traveler, friend of Byron & Keats, perhaps homosexual.

Some 70 miles west of Key West, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, one encounters a “colossal wreck, boundless and bare.” However, it is not a massive monument to some long-forgotten king, although the structure is on a desert isle. Out in the blue one finds Fort Jefferson, which impossibly rises out of the water, built with some 16 million bricks, bleached more of a pink over the course of its 150-year-history.

Colorado's most famous gay ski weeks are held in Aspen and Telluride, in mid-January and late February respectively, but over the past few years, Vail Gay Ski Week (http://vailgayskiweek.com) has begun drawing serious crowds. The gathering takes place in late March and includes the usual mix of fun on the slopes and hobnobbing back around the fireplaces and hot tubs. In winter, skiing and snowboarding may be the region's big draws, but it would be unfair to describe Vail (www.visitvailvalley.com) and nearby Beaver Creek (www.beavercreek.com) as mere ski towns. These scenic communities in the heart of the Colorado Rockies offer plenty of diversions.

Arguably the most glamorous of Hawaii's islands, Maui is home to some of the state's swankiest resorts and acclaimed restaurants. It's a favorite with visitors in search of lazy beach naps, leisurely laps in the pool and soothing spa treatments. But don't let the island's cushy reputation fool you into thinking it lacks history, culture, and an impressive variety of rugged outdoor adventures. Maui vacations can be as unhurried or as thrilling as you choose.

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Tel Aviv has long been a gay paradise, one of the few places in the Middle East where gays feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public.

Now, thanks to its balmy climate, vibrant nightlife and a creative government-backed branding campaign, the city has become one of the world's top gay tourist destinations.

Although America's Gulf Coast doesn't have any major gay beach resorts, the Texas barrier island of Galveston has steadily become a popular destination with GLBT travelers. About 220 miles south, the coast's largest city, Corpus Christi, contains a number of notable attractions as well as the coast's only gay bar south of Galveston. And at the southern tip of the Texas coast, scenic South Padre Island has developed increased cachet as a getaway, thanks in part to biannual Splash South Padre Island gay parties.

Here's a look at these three classic coastal getaways in Texas.

Michigan Vacation: Saugatuck, Ann Arbor & Detroit

As the cooler weather of early autumn settles in, southern Michigan becomes a particularly enchanting spot for a vacation. Here's a look at three very different communities in this part of the state: artsy and coastal Saugatuck, collegiate and progressive Ann Arbor, and scrappy and culturally rich Detroit. Each makes an appealing weekend destination, or you could easily visit all three of these places as part of an extended road trip through the region.

Here's the skinny on what these three Michigan destinations have to offer, from friendly gay bars and stylish restaurants to some of the Midwest's most acclaimed cultural attractions.