Sunshine, surf, and ocean breezes, does it get any better? These are the hottest gay beach communities in Florida
St. Pete’s continually ranks among the top cities for LGBTQ+ people to live and visit, on the Gulf side of Florida. Famous for its number of sunshine days and it also boasts popular beaches. Grand Central District, which stretches along Central Avenue between 16th and 31st streets and is lined with fun boutiques, antiques shops, restaurants and bars. Home to the Progressive Pride mural at the intersection of 25th Street and Central Avenue.
One of the west coast’s premiere gay beaches, Sunset Beach is on the southern tip of St. Pete’s Treasure Island, among the string of barrier islands that extends along the Gulf of Mexico to the west of St. Petersburg. Known for its turquoise water and white sand beach dotted with tiki huts, restaurants and bars. It’s been nicknamed “the gay beach” for its mostly LGBTQ clientele. Entertainment includes Enigma, Cocktail St. Pete, Lucky Star Lounge if your thirsty for a cocktail. St. Petersburg is also home to The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum) dedicated to the works of Salvador Dalí. It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive.
Moving over to the Atlantic side of Florida, Sebastian Street Beach is the main Ft. Lauderdale gay beach, the white sands, nightlife and gay community make it a favorite. Nestled along the corner of Sebastian Street and A1A across from the Casablanca Cafe. You will find many clothing optional guesthouses for men at this popular lgbtq destination. Fort Lauderdale is also the home to the Stonewall National Museum & Archives. The area’s beaches and boating canals are known for their upscale restaurants and boutiques, it also boasts a large yachting community. Luxury hotels and housing are an attraction for people from around the globe.
About a 20 minute drive North from Sebastian Beach lies the Wilton Manors dubbed South Florida’s most famous gayborhood. Wilton Manors is also known as a gay village, it ranks 2nd in the U.S. for its percentage of gay couples as a proportion of total population. Wilton Manors neighborhood in Florida has a lot to offer. “The city now is home to the Pride Center, a community center that hosts “safe-space” meeting groups, activities and support for the LGBTQ community in Florida; the annual Stonewall Pride Festival and Parade, which attracts some 30,000 people yearly; and the expanded Stonewall National Museum — Wilton Manors Gallery, an LGBTQ-focused cultural institution with historic artifacts, digital archives, and visual exhibits aimed at promoting understanding.”
Miami & Miami Beach
Moving farther south lies Miami and Miami Beach. South Beach district in Miami Beach is the heart of the LGBTQ+ scene. Miami’s South Beach, also nicknamed SoBe, is known for its beaches and the glamorous scene around its happening nightspots and celebrity-chef eateries. Ocean Drive is the core of South Beach, it runs parallel to the shoreline. Quoted as “hippest, hottest, most happening gay travel destination in the world”. You will find places like Palace Bar, a gay fixture known for weekend drag shows, BuffBoyz Male Strippers, Twist DJ’s and drag queens, Nathan’s an easy going lounge and much more in the area. For women, watch for lesbian-focused soirees at trending venues, with awesome DJs and entertainment organized by Pandora, events like the June party Girls in Wonderland. In the 80s, there were about 200 lesbian bars in the U.S., now there are somewhere between 10-20.
The city also hosts two “semi-official” gay beaches: 12th Street Beach, with its rainbow flags, and Haulover Beach, with a designated “clothing-optional” area. The area around 12th Street Beach and Ocean Drive is the main gayborhood where you will find saunas, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Miami Beach Pride, a celebration that happens in April, is a multi-day celebration of arts and culture including an incredible 2-day Festival and Parade, featuring special events, family-friendly community activations, social mixers and world-class entertainment. MBP is the leading LGBTQ+ cultural arts organization in South Florida regularly attracting 170K + attendee’s.
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