The word is out, Florida is a top LGBTQ destination. As a state that is renowned for its golden beaches and predominantly open attitude, it comes as no surprise that Florida offers some of the finest gay beaches in the USA. Luckily for you, we’ve done the homework and compiled a list of the 5 best gay beaches in Florida. From Fort Lauderdale to Key West, here’s our round-up of where you should be going this summer. So what are you waiting for? Grab your best set of swimmers, and we’ll meet you on the sand.
In terms of gay meccas in Florida, Fort Lauderdale is at the top of the game. Offering plenty of gay bars, clubs, and LGBTQ-themed restaurants, this sunny, coastal town continues to draw a crowd throughout the year. Sebastian Street Beach is the most popular gay beach in Fort Lauderdale, and is positioned within close proximity to the town centre. Strewn with rainbow flags, umbrella rentals and lounge chairs, this is a great spot to put your feet up and people-watch. If you’ve worked up an appetite from one too many laps in the sea, head to The Deck, which is scenically located on the foreshore and serves a varied menu. For more information on Fort Lauderdale, check out our insider tips from local misterb&b Fabul’hosts, Ed and Robb.
Heading to Key West? If so, a day a Smather’s Beach is a must. This is one of Key West’s best beaches, and it is also gay-friendly. Unlike many beaches in the area, Smather’s is laden with golden sand instead of pebbles, and slopes into the Atlantic Ocean. Key West has long been a popular LGBTQ destination thanks to its inviting ‘come as you are’ attitude, and its endearing motto from locals “close to perfect, far from normal.” Along with Smather’s Beach, the eastern end of nearby Duval Street offers various gay-friendly restaurants and bars, including the popular Bourbon Street Pub.
We all know how enjoyable it can be buying a new set of swimmers, and flashing your recent purchase on the beach for the first time. That is unless the option of nude is available...In terms of nude beaches in Miami, Haulover Beach is your best bet. This is the only legal clothing-optional beach in Miami, and regularly welcomes gay beach-goers throughout the year. If you fancy the idea of getting lucky on the beach too, you’ll be pleased to know that ‘Dog Beach Days’ also take place Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 8am-3pm #funforeveryone.
Located below the meeting point of 12th street and Ocean Drive, this beach is lined with colourful rainbow flags and is Miami’s most popular gay beach. This beach is unashamedly out and proud, and is most commonly populated by gay men. During Miami Pride, this is THE place to be, with many dance parties on and around the beach. Just across the street from 12th Street Beach, you’ll find the Palace Restaurant and Bar, which is an iconic gay-friendly establishment, serving plenty of food and beverage options certain to satisfy the palate.
If you associate beach days with nature and all-round tranquility, North Lido Beach in Sarasota will most likely tick all the boxes. Considered the best gay beach in Sarasota, this long stretch of sand is also flanked by towering dunes and the North Lido County Park. Whether it is your thing or not, the area is also known for the odd bit of cruising on and around the beach - we’ll let you decide once you’re there. One of the added bonuses of North Lido is that it spills into the Gulf of Mexico, meaning crystal clear waters are a given.
Cover Image: © Flickr/Ted Eytan
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