Our bumper gay travel guide to Fort Lauderdale including where to stay, and where to play…read why we LOVE this Florida gay mecca so much!
“Fort Lauderdale is almost too gay to function!”
Over the past few decades, Fort Lauderdale has evolved massively to become the gay capital of Florida as well as one of the top LGBTQ destinations in the USA. The city has everything to suit all LGBTQ travelers including clothing-optional male-only resorts, gay beaches, many gay events taking place throughout the year, and of course the gay scene of Wilton Manors!
We've been several times to Fort Lauderdale, either as a stopover for a cruise, or to go to one of the many gay parties they have here throughout the year like “Wicked Manors” on Halloween. We always love coming here, particularly as it's a 365-day destination. There's always something happening and you're almost always guaranteed gorgeous sunny weather.
This is our detailed gay guide to Fort Lauderdale featuring highlights from the gay scene of Wilton Manors, the best gay beaches, events, and gay hotels to stay. Read why we included Fort Lauderdale in our detailed guide to the best vacation places in the world for LGBTQ travelers.
New to Fort Lauderdale? Join a gay tour!
One of the best ways to discover the gay scene of Fort Lauderdale is with a local gay guide. We did the gay party time in south Florida tour and cannot recommend it highly enough! Our guide was Pedro, who took also showed us the local gay beaches and went with us on a kayaking trip.
Is Fort Lauderdale gay friendly?
Fort Lauderdale has evolved so much over the past few decades to become one of the gayest places in the entire country, especially Wilton Manors. It's so gay that in the 2010 US Census it was ranked as the second gayest place in the USA after Provincetown for most gays couples per 1,000.
Even the community leaders of Wilton Manors are predominantly gay. The city’s first openly gay mayor was John Fiore who was elected in 2000. He was then succeeded by Jim Stork in 2002, making Wilton Manors the first city in the United States to elect two consecutive openly gay mayors. More recently, Justin Flippen was the openly gay mayor of Wilton Manors, who sadly died in early 2020 from a brain aneurysm.
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Wilton Manors also has many gay businesses, from bars, clubs, hotels, guesthouses, and even a very proactive LGBT Chamber of Commerce. If there's a large gay event happening in the country, you can be sure that Fort Lauderdale will be at the focal point of it, such as the first Pride of the Americas, which was scheduled to take place right here in Fort Lauderdale in 2020…but sadly had to be postponed due to the global pandemic.
So yeah, when it comes to gayness, Fort Lauderdale's got your back!
Fort Lauderdale gay area
The main gay neighbourhood of Fort Lauderdale is based in Wilton Manors, located around 15 minutes drive inland from the beach. Wilton Manors comprises several blocks with many gay bars, clubs, boutique gay shops, cafes and restaurants. The biggest parties take place on weekends, but there is always a large crowd on every night of the week.
One hidden gem in the area you should check out is the unassuming road near Wilton Manors called “Eucalyptus Gardens”. It's a Bohemian block of cafes and colourful gay friendly hangouts. One particular favourite of ours in Eucalyptus Gardens is “Voo La Voo“ who do the best crepes and omelettes we've ever tried, as certified by our discerning Frenchman.
Finally, be sure to check out the Stonewall National Museum for an excellent history lesson about LGBTQ culture, as well as the World AIDS Museum for a fascinating insight about the history of AIDS and the steps taken to alleviate it (more about it below).
Best gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale
The number of gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale is impressive: each time we visit, we seem to stumble on a new “male-only clothing-optional” resort, which is a testament to how gay friendly the city is. We tried several gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale and list the best ones below. For more, check out our guide to the best guesthouses in Fort Lauderdale as well as our comprehensive guide to Fort Lauderdale's best gay Airbnbs.
The Grand Resort & Spa
Male-only and clothing-optional
Why we love it
- Largest gay resort in Fort Lauderdale
- Amazing spa with super talented masseurs
- Clothing-optional pool and Jacuzzi area
- Small gym to work on those pecs and biceps
Grand Resort is one of the most famous gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale, mainly due to its association and sponsorship of the earlier series of Ru Paul's Drag Race – you may have seen THAT photo of Aja completely disrobed by one of the outdoor showers!
The Grand Resort was Fort Lauderdale’s first gay resort when it first opened shop back in 1999.
It’s conveniently located a few blocks back from the main beach, tucked away in a quiet residential area which affords it plenty of privacy. The Grand Resort also hosts occasional events such as nudey parties and more.
As soon as you enter inside the Grand Resort, the testosterone hits you – this is one gay haven you won’t want to leave in a hurry! However, it’s friendly with zero attitude and men of all shapes and sizes in their 30s and older. The front part of Grand Resort includes a pool area which has the first lot of rooms surrounding it over two floors. Over in the back of the complex is the second building with another 2 floors of rooms with the outdoor clothing-optional hot tub – an area that gets super busy in the later darker hours of the day!
The Spa is a must! The masseurs are really talented and give you fantastic advice on posture and exercises you can do to help massage your muscles by yourself. We recommend the deep tissue massage. Another thing we also loved about it was the ease with which you can strike up a conversation with other guests and quickly make new friends.
Prices at The Grand Resort & Spa start from $195 per night:
Pineapple Point Resort
Male-only and clothing-optional
Why we love it
- Male-only clothing-optional gay resort
- Large sociable outdoor pool area with Happy Hour
- Luxurious and spacious rooms
- Always busy: need to book well in advance!
This is a real treat! Although located a bit of a drive away from the gay beaches of Fort Lauderdale it was one of the best gay hotels in the city. It's pricier than the others but worth every cent!
The luxurious rooms are all hidden within the lush tropical garden spread over 6 buildings. The gardens are absolutely stunning – you know they’ve been cultivated by a gay man! Every nook and cranny here is incredibly photogenic, the perfect backdrop for your next thirst-trap.
The main pool area as you enter the complex is the heart and soul of Pineapple Point where most guys hang out during the day. There is a bar here which hosts a Happy Hour every afternoon, offering free drinks to guests to encourage them to mingle. Further back as you wander through the greenery to find your room, you stumble on a few Jacuzzis, another smaller pool and even a small gym – all clothing-optional spaces. Have you ever seen another man working out in a gym in his birthday suit? Oh, you will at the Pineapple Point!
The rooms are stylish, spacious and have everything your sweet gay soul could desire, from a nifty packet of rubber Johnnies to a wonderful selection of adult DVDs to get your heart racing! The overall feel of Pineapple Point felt like we were staying in a traditional Key West Conch-style house, which is what makes it so easy on the eye. Finally, the staff – super friendly and go out of their way to make sure everyone is smiling and having a great time.
Prices at Pineapple Point Resort start from $225 per night:
Mixed but very gay friendly
Why we love it
- Trendy, hip upmarket gay friendly hotel
- Well located right by the main beachfront
- Hosts gay events, brunches and even gay weddings
- Absolutely stunning rooms, perfect for hosting your own after-party!
We are huge fans of the W hotels. Not only are they world-famous for being gay friendly, but they are also super hip. Their appeal is to affluent millennials and always have a trendy, chic feel to them. Even the lift feels like you’re entering a cool nightclub! This particular W is one of the largest in the world with no fewer than 550 rooms.
The rooms at the W are a treat and a half with floor-to-ceiling windows. They are huge with the most comfortable beds (350-count sheets anyone?) – like you’re sleeping inside a cloud!
We recommend booking one of the Suites with an ocean view and private balcony – the perfect spot for hosting your own private after-party after a night out at Wilton Manors…
The W has an impressive gym – large, with full weights and cardio equipment, though we’d expect nothing less from the W! The outdoor pool area is also a fun spot to chill out at and people-watch. It has a stairway dividing the glass-bottomed “peek-a-boo” pool area that looks into the hotel lobby. It’s a mixed hotel, so expect straight couples and families here, but at sunset the crowd thins out and you get the area almost to yourself. The El Vez restaurant was another highlight of the W, serving delicious food and cocktails.
What we love about the W Fort Lauderdale is that they frequently host numerous gay events including gay weddings, Drag Brunches and parties like “Night of 1,000 Chers”. Location wise, it’s perfect, just across the road from the beach where the hotel hosts fitness classes like Yoga on the Beach and Boot Camp.
Prices at W Hotel start from $449 per night:
Gay beaches of Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is famous for its long white sandy uber gay beaches, where local lads come for their morning run, people watch, flex their pecs and show off their Speedos! Sebastian Street Beach is the main one and in our opinion one of the finest gay beaches in the USA. But there are also a few others to check out:
Sebastian Street gay Beach
Sebastian Street Beach is the most popular gay beach of Fort Lauderdale, located at the end of Sebastian Street near the Ritz Carlton Hotel and next to the Fort Lauderdale main beach. It gets particularly busy here on weekends and has parking, places to buy food/drinks and umbrella rentals. Note this is not a nude beach, but you will definitely bump into Mr Right Now here!
Haulover Nude beach
Haulover is located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale and is Florida's only official legal nude beach. We love it because it is a zero-attitude zone! You can choose to cover up, or be completely undressed – no one cares. Whatever your shape and size, everyone is welcome. Note that although it's generally a family-friendly beach, there is a gay section in the Northern-end, which is where we recommend you head to.
Northeast 18th Street beach
This is a smaller beach than Sebastian and less touristy. It's located further away than Sebastian beach and more protracted to reach so it mainly has a more local crowd. It's also a lot more cruisy here. Note, this is also sometimes referred to as the “NE 18th & A1A” beach and can be hard to locate, so click here for more specific directions.
Gay bars of Fort Lauderdale
These are just a sample of the dozens of gay bars in Fort Lauderdale over in Wilton Manors – one of the most famous gay villages in North America! Our best advice is to head to Georgie's Alibi first and take things from there. For solo travellers or first-timers, we recommend doing a gay nightlife tour with a local who will show you the best hangouts. It's also the best way to quickly make new friends. Also be sure to check out our article about the best gay bars and clubs of Fort Lauderdale.
Rosie's is a gay institution in Wilton Manors. Whenever we come for a night out in Fort Lauderdale, we always start the night here with a burger and a few cocktails before heading out to party at Georgie's Alibi or Hunters. Their menu is hilarious with some of the funniest campy names for each dish like “Big Girl Plates” and the “Bacon Bitty Bang Bang” burger. Cocktails are particularly good during their Happy Hour afternoons, which is on weekdays until 7pm. We also love coming here for Sunday brunch, which is also another busy peak time for Rosie's – perfect for cruising/people-watching!
Rosie's is located at 2449 Wilton Drive and is open every evening until around midnight.
Georgie's Alibi is one of the largest and oldest gay bars in the Wilton Manors strip of Fort Lauderdale, and the one we suggest you start out at. It's got one room devoted to Latino music and hilarious OTT drag shows, another with a large dancing area, and also a buzzy outdoor patio. Like Rosie's, Alibis also has a kitchen/restaurant attached to it, which serves up some pretty decent award-winning burgers. Look out for some of the themed nights like GROWL Friday Bear nights and the Fame Karaoke Monday nights.
Georgie's Alibi is located at 2266 Wilton Drive and is open every evening until around 2/3am.
We really liked DrYnk. It's a more chilled bar, less hectic and intense than Georgie's Alibi located just across the street from Hunters in the Wilton Manors area. It's designed to look like a countryside lodge with the heads of wild animals mounted on the walls! We like hanging out in their courtyard at the back where there's always a fun crowd gathering. Draft Beers and Craft Cocktails are their specialities and they sure know how to serve up a mean cocktail!
DrYnk is located at 2255 Wilton Drive and is open every evening until around 2/3am.
Gay clubs of Fort Lauderdale
These are just a sample of the main gay clubs in Wilton Manors. There are many!
For first-timers or solo LGBTQ travellers who may find it overwhelming, we highly recommend doing a nightlife tour with a gay local who will show you the best parties happening. It's also a fantastic way to quickly make new squirrel friends.
Everyone will at some stage end up at Hunters! It's one of the main gay hangouts in Wilton Manors, which means it's always busy. It has a large dance floor area on one side and an equally big bar in the building adjacent to it. We also love it because it's always guaranteed to have a crowd whichever night of the week you come. Check out some of their awesome themed nights like karaoke on Mondays/Tuesdays and “Fur Friday” for the bear boys.
Hunters is located at 2232 Wilton Drive. It is open every night of the week until around 2/3am. For more, watch our video to get an idea of what a night out at Hunters looks like.
The Manor Complex is an epic gay club in Wilton Manors, famous for its weekend after-parties. This is the place to head when all the other Wilton Manos clubs have shut their doors at 3am! The Manor is until much later, so most head here after partying at Hunters. As it's only open on weekends, it allows them to make every night unique, with shows and special guests like some of the famous queens from Ru Paul Drag Races. See more on their Instagram profile.
The Manor Complex is located at 2345 Wilton Drive. It is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings until the early hours of the next morning.
Gay massage in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has plenty of options when it comes to gay masseurs. We're talking about good old fashioned muscle kneading here – no happy endings or hanky panky! There are lots of other places you can go for that in the city (see below). These are some of the best gay massages in Fort Lauderdale:
The super gay Grand Resort we mentioned above is also famous for its excellent Spa. I tried the deep tissue massage and Seby the sports massage. They were gooooood! Robert, the massage therapist, knows his stuff and also offered us some really useful tips for stretching out after a gym session. They offer a mix of treatments and services including hair & grooming, manicures, pedicures, body scrubs, or packages that includes a mix of everything. Massages are available for non-guests, during the day, every day of the week.
The glorious Pineapple Point has two dedicated massage therapy studios with a team of very handsome and super talented masseurs (Joel…swoon…!) The studios have a tranquil atmosphere with soothing Enya-like music, soft candlelight and lavender essence. Their masseurs are topless studs that do a really good job, but most impressive is that they are completely professional and respectful whilst still being personable. Massages are available for non-guests, during the day, every day of the week.
Achille is a licensed massage therapist serving the gay community in both Fort Lauderdale and Miami. As well as being a cutie, he's very thorough and literally puts his whole body into the massage. Get your mind out the gutter – we didn't mean it like that! Check out his YouTube Channel to watch Achille in action. He offers a full range of treatments ranging from needle-free acupuncture, full-body massage, scar release therapy, and more. Achille Touch is located at 1599 NE 34th Street, 33334 Oakland Park, and is open daily from 9am to 9/10pm.
Gay saunas in Fort Lauderdale
If you're looking for good old fashioned hanky panky fun, Fort Lauderdale's got you covered! There are several places you can head to, but for gay saunas or gay bathhouses in Fort Lauderdale, these are the two best ones to check out:
The Club is one of the most popular gay saunas and bathhouses of Fort Lauderdale. It has a full state-of-the-art gym, outdoor heated pool, sauna, a range of different video rooms, and two dark areas, one with a sling, the second with lots of different sized holes in the walls. They offer a daily rate, but the vest value is to get their 6-month membership which costs around $50.
The Club is located at 10 NW 5th Avenue. It is open everyday from 8am until 11pm with a 6 hour cap on visits.
Clubhouse is a private club for gay/bi men over 18. It is popular with the bear boys and the leather crowd, but everyone is welcome. It features a steam room, sauna, whirlpool, golden shower area, private cabins and video lounge. Peak times are around lunchtime, especially on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Clubhouse II is located at 2650 East Oakland Park Boulevard and is open daily from 8am until 11pm.
Gay events in Fort Lauderdale
As Fort Lauderdale is one of the gayest places in the US, they have many LGBTQ events taking place throughout the year. We've set out the main ones below, including the best ones that take place in gay ‘ole Miami, which is only a 45-minute drive away.
Pride Fort Lauderdale (February)
Fort Lauderdale's Pride is the oldest in Florida, dating back to 1977 when the first one began as a protest. Today is has evolved to one of the best Pride events in Florida that also coincides with the Carnaval season, so you KNOW it's going to be one very colourful experience – so the more extra your outfit, the better! In 2020, Pride Fort Lauderdale hosted the first-ever Pride of the Americas – a fantastic initiative with many different countries across North and South America as well as from the Caribbean.
Gay8 Festival (February)
Gay8 is a Latino based gay festival taking place in Little Havana on 8th Street in Miami. It gets very popular with the Fort Lauderdale Latino gay boys…as well as their many many fans! It has a mixture of events for both men and women, which include, the Macho Dance Party, the Women's Quinceanera, salsa classes and a mini film festival.
Winter Party Festival (February/March)
Live Free. Play Hard. Give Back. The Winter Party Festival is an annual, week-long celebration of music, dance and community in Miami Beach. Their mission is to raise funds for the LGBTQ community. It is run by the National LGBTQ Task Force who supports around 75 not-for-profit organisations in South Florida. It's been going strong since 1994 and each year draws thousands of people from all around the world.
Miami Beach Pride (April)
Miami Beach Pride is Florida's second-largest Pride event after St Pete's and the biggest in South Florida attracting around 200,000 people each year. It is a nine-day celebration with special parties, socials, a VIP gala, an incredible 2-day festival and of course, a loud, wonderful and super colourful Parade! It's also famous for attracting lots of celebs in the past such as Gus Kenworthy, Ross Mathews, Gloria Estefan and Adam Lambert.
Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride in June is Fort Lauderdale's second Pride event, which takes place in the gay neighbourhood of Wilton Manors. We love it because all the (many!) LGBTQ businesses in the area come together and put on an incredible festival which is essentially one giant gay street party. It includes a very colourful parade on the Saturday evening from around 5-11pm.
Out Shine film festival (October)
OUTrageous. OUTspoken. And OUTstanding. The Out Shine LGBTQ Film Festival is the main film festival of South Florida. It takes place every October in various locations between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It's been going strong since it started in 2008 and has grown to become the largest LGBTQ cultural arts event in South Florida. It includes an award ceremony at the end where the Jury present prizes for each film category winner.
Wicked Manors Halloween party (31 October)
Wicked Manors is one of the best Halloween street parties we’ve ever been to! It’s a large street party in Wilton Manors every year on 31 October. The surrounding roads are blocked off to traffic to allow the Wicked Manor gays to take over the entire area. Watch our video clip (below) to get a flavour of what it’s like. Also, check out our article about the best gay Halloween outfits for more inspiration!
White Party Week (November):
The White Party Week is one of the largest Circuit-style parties in the world. It takes place every November (except in 2020) in Miami and includes over a dozen parties. Expect lots of chiselled hot-blooded Speedo-clad Latino boys (and their admirers!) everywhere, with live DJs, lots of drag shows and live DJs. They also have parties of the ladies called Women’s White Party.
Gay shops not to miss
Wilton Manors has lots of quirky gay shops selling everything from Speedos, harnesses, string vests and even a Trump-shaped toilet cleaner! Yup, you read right…
There are several excellent shops in Wilton Manors to check out. These are the two main ones that caught our eye:
To The Moon is one of our favourite things about Wilton Manors. They sell the funniest souvenirs you can imagine. From cute rainbow socks to a toilet cleaner in the shape of Donald Trump’s face! They also have a wide range of old-school candies from everywhere around the world, lots of novelty toys(!), bumper stickers, metal lunchboxes, cocktail naps, superhero gifts… You get the idea – kitsch and eclectic pretty much sum it up!
LeatherWerks is the best shop for leather and other hanky panky clothing. They have everything from rings for your ding-a-ling(!), armbands, hats, gloves, harnesses, neckwear, belts, pants, shirts, square peg toys, gauntlets, impact toys, watches, and lots of other accessories. Whether you’re into leather or not, it’s a useful place to come and top up your outfit, particularly if, say, you’re missing a mask to compliment your Wicked Manors Batman outfit…
Gay restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
There are many gay restaurants in and around Wilton Manors, which also double up as bars and are great places to come for dinner/drinks before going out to party. These are some of the best ones which we highly recommend from our personal experience:
This is one of the best restaurants we ate at in Fort Lauderdale. It's owned and managed by lesbian couple Marcy and Josie (who is also head chef). The name ‘bubbles and pearls' alludes to the fact that they focus on champagne and oysters. Their oysters are absolutely delicious and their Key Lime Pie is one of the best we've tried in Florida. They also do excellent ceviche, poke bowls, cocktails and mocktails, with vegan options on the menu.
Bubbles and Pearls is open daily from 5pm to 10pm (until 11pm on weekends).
Rosie's is a great spot for a meal before heading out to party, with lots of American classics like tacos, cheesesteak, big salad bowls and mouthwatering burgers. We love coming here for a burger dinner before heading out to party in the Wilton Manors gay bars. Each week they produce a new Bow-Wow (Burger of the Week) and have a weekday happy hour from 11am to 7pm. Sunday brunch is also wonderful, with a DJ, mimosas with freshly squeezed orange to enjoy along with your food.
Rosie's is open every day from 11am to 11pm (until midnight on weekends).
For the Ultimate in Drag Dining, you've gotta go to Lips! This is one of the best places to come for drag shows in Fort Lauderdale, with some really funny and entertaining shows to complement your meal. The dinner menu includes yummy classics like ravioli, grilled chicken, ribs and steak, with affordable set menus as well. If you come for the Dragalicious Gospel Brunch on Sunday you'll also be able to enjoy unlimited mimosas and champagne!
Lips is located in Oakland Park and is only open Tuesday-Sunday till 10pm (after midnight on weekends).
Voo La Voo is a fabulous French restaurant that specialises in crepes and omelettes that are so good even my fussy Frenchman was impressed! It's located on a road called Eucalyptus Gardens which has some other gay friendly hangouts and cafes, but Voo La Voo is our fave. You can choose from savoury or sweet crepes, omelettes and other French specialties like French onion soup, French toast, quiche and Croque monsieur.
Voo La Voo is open daily for breakfast and lunch (from 7.30am until 3 or 4pm). They are also open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm till 10pm.
In Fort Lauderdale you can have French for brunch and then Greek for dinner at Thasos, a modern Greek restaurant. Everything about Thasos makes you feel as if you have actually been transported to a Greek island, from the decor featuring white lines and reclaimed wood to the dishes prepared from the freshest Mediterranean ingredients. They focus on seafood, so meals like octopus, mussels and fish are all delish. Their lamb and meat are also amazing, as are the sweet desserts. Sometimes they have live Greek music which adds to the ambience.
Thasos is open Tuesday – Sunday from 4pm until 9 or 10pm.
Top things to do for gay travellers
The gay scene in Fort Lauderdale is amazing, but there's more to do than hang out in the bars and clubs! From beautiful beaches to the exciting Everglades, active travellers will not get bored. There are also some must-visit cultural spots, so read on to see our favourite things to do in Fort Lauderdale:
World AIDS Museum
The World AIDS Museum is a must-visit in order to better understand the history of the disease. Through text and images, you can learn the facts about AIDS from its discovery through to the societal response and stigma to today's treatment and hope for an eventual cure. Along with the facts, there are also art and multimedia pieces which include heartwarming stories. AIDS is such a devastating disease with a complicated history so we think it's important that all travellers to Fort Lauderdale visit the museum to learn more, regardless of gender identity or who they love.
Stonewall National Museum & Archives
Another really important site for gay travellers is the Stonewall National Museum and Archives. It's one of the largest gay archives and libraries in the United States as well as a really interesting museum about the history of gay culture around the world. It's completely run by volunteers and free to visit, although a donation is of course appreciated. The changing exhibitions are fascinating, with recent ones examining 20th-century gay art, the history of gay clubs and even examining love letters between gay couples.
See the Everglades
The Everglades is a natural region of tropical wetlands in the south of Florida, and you're ideally situated to explore them while in Fort Lauderdale. About a 25-minute drive from the city is Sawgrass Recreation Park, where you can visit the Everglades on one of the famous airboats. This airboat tour gives you the opportunity to spot alligators and other wildlife, as the local guide tells you about the history of the area. You'll also get to go into an exhibit area where you can touch baby alligators and see other reptiles from the wetlands.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Hugh Taylor Birch was a lawyer and nature enthusiast from Chicago who ended up buying a lot of land in Fort Lauderdale. He gave three miles of beach back to the city of Fort Lauderdale while still alive, as well as 180 acres for a start park which is now the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. It's a gorgeous area, with space for picnicking, skating, cycling, swimming, kayaking and fishing. You can join a fun Segway tour of the park if you want to explore as much as possible in a short time.
Snorkelling and diving off the coast
Due to the fab location, it's no surprise that Fort Lauderdale has a LOT to offer in terms of aquatic activities and sports. From surfing to fishing, jet-skiing and even flyboarding there's plenty to get the adrenaline pumping. We love snorkelling and the waters off Fort Lauderdale are home to lots of pretty tropical fish. Fort Lauderdale is actually known as the “wreck capital of Florida” due to all the wreck sites, so it's the perfect destination for those who like diving and exploring shipwrecks, perhaps by using the cool new SEABOB snorkelling apparatus?!
Shop until you drop
While there are many excellent shops within the city centre, the outlet shopping centre Sawgrass Mills on the edge of the Everglades is NEXT LEVEL. It's the largest single story outlet mall in the whole of the United States, and the 11th largest out of all the outlet malls. You could easily spend an entire day here, shopping at places like Versace, Jimmy Choo, Prada and Bloomingdale's all at discounted prices. There's also multiple restaurants and places to eat, like the Cheesecake Factory as well as two food courts.
Plan your trip to Fort Lauderdale
We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own gay vacation to Fort Lauderdale. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.
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How to Stay Safe Whilst Traveling?
As gay travelers, safety is our #1 priority! This is why we've put together our Ultimate Travel Safety Checklist for LGBTQ travelers.
How to get there: Most visitors to Fort Lauderdale will either fly into the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport or arrive by car. Many cruises depart and return from Fort Lauderdale, but you may also find yourself docking for a day in which case you will be arriving at the Port Everglades, which is next to the airport. It takes about 25 minutes to get from the airport to the city centre, depending on traffic. We recommend pre-booking a private airport transfer when you arrive so you don't need to worry about navigating public transport with luggage and your driver will be waiting for you.
Getting around: American cities can be difficult to navigate without a car but luckily Fort Lauderdale is not one of them. You can use water taxis, regular taxis and Uber to get around as well as the Sun Trolley which has stops downtown as well as along the beaches. Fort Lauderdale also has plenty of bike lanes and a bike rental system if you want to explore while getting some exercise!
Travel insurance: Please don't leave home without the security of travel insurance! It's comforting knowing you'll be covered if anything goes wrong – such as stolen bags, cancelled flights or unexpected medical bills. We've been using World Nomads Travel Insurance for years and cannot recommend them highly enough. Their coverage is very comprehensive and it's easy to make a claim online if you need to.
Travel credit card: Our favourite credit card for travelling is the Alaska Airlines Credit Card. For every purchase, we get 1 point for every $1 we spend. We also love the fact that there is no expiration on points, so we can redeem them whenever we want with no pressure. The Alaska Airlines credit card has no foreign transaction fees which means we get the best exchange rate when travelling abroad and it comes with many perks when we travel on Alaska Airlines or partner airlines. What else could you ask for? Ah yes, for only $100 annual fee, we get all the benefits and a welcome bonus of 40,000 points. No need to think twice!
Sightseeing and adventure: Another site we love using and recommend you do too for your Fort Lauderdale trip is GetYourGuide. They offer fun tours, excursions and other exciting experiences all over the world. It's easy to book online and they provide excellent 24/7 online customer support.
When to visit: You can pretty much visit Fort Lauderdale any time of the year, but it's most popular between November and April when northerners flock down to Florida to escape the cold. Summer is also quite busy, but it's very hot, humid and often has thunderstorms.
Fort Lauderdale gay map
Here's our gay map of Fort Lauderdale which includes all the gay bars, clubs, hotels and sightseeing highlights we've mentioned in this post. Use it to plan your own amazing gay trip to Fort Lauderdale!
For more inspiration:
- Check our our gay guide to Tampa
- As well as these romantic things to do in Tampa
- Have a read of our Sarasota gay guide
- Then check out the best romantic things to do in Sarasota as well
- Check out our gay travel guide to the Florida Keys
- Read our complete Key West gay guide
- Find out which are the best gay resorts in Key West
- Check out which Caribbean islands are the safest for gay travelers
- As well as the best gay ski events around the world