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 travellers 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.
The Gay Area of Fort Lauderdale
Just tell your Uber or Lyft driver to head straight to Wilton Manors. This is where all the action happens. It's comprised of several blocks where all the gay hangouts can be found as well as gay shops like Pride Factory, and museums like the Stonewall National Museum and the World AIDS Museum.
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 omelettes we've ever tried, as certified by our discerning Frenchman:
Gay Bars, Clubs & Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
These are just a sample of the best gay bars in Fort Lauderdale. There are many in Wilton Manors! For a more detailed guide, be sure to check out our article about the best gay bars and clubs of Fort Lauderdale.
Rosie’s Bar and Grill: 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 Alibis or Hunters. The menu is hilarious with gems like the “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. Rosie's closes around 11pm, later on weekends
Bubbles and Pearls: 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). Their oysters are absolutely delicious and their Key Lime Pie is one of the best we've tried in Florida. B&P is open daily from 5pm to 10pm (11pm on weekends).
Hunters: the main gay club in town, which we ended up at almost every time we partied in Wilton Manors. There's always something happening here, whether it's karaoke night or “Fur Friday” Bear night. When we came here on a Saturday evening it was packed, but a lot of fun..
Gay Beaches of Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is famous for its long white sandy beaches. These are the main gay beaches to check out in Fort Lauderdale:
Sebastian Street beach: this 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 beach. It gets particularly busy on weekends and has parking, places to buy food/drinks and umbrella rentals. Note this is not a nude beach.
Northeast 18th Street beach: a smaller beach than Sebastian, but more cruisy with a more local crowd. Note this is also sometimes referred to as the “NE 18th & A1A” beach.
Terramar Street beach: not as popular as Sebastian beach, which means it won't be as crowded. It is located at the end of Terramar Street near the Royal Palm Resort and opposite the Atlantic Hotel.
View the original post at for Nomadic Boys for their complete South Florida Gay Beach Guide
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.
Pride Fort Lauderdale Carnaval (Feb): one of the few Pride events with a parade that takes place on the beach. As it coincides with the Carnaval season, this is the theme for each one. Therefore, the more extra your outfit, the better!
Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride (June): this is Fort Lauderdale's second Pride, which takes place in Wilton Manors. It includes a parade and street festival.
Out Shine Film Festival (Oct): the main film festival of South Florida, which takes place across 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.
Wicked Manors Halloween party (31 Oct): we love dressing up for Halloween and had to come to Wicked Manors when we heard about it. It is a large street party in Wilton Manors every year on 31 October. The surrounding roads are blocked off to traffic to allow the Halloween street party to take over the entire area. It includes costume contests, entertainment, music, live DJs and plenty of parties.
View the original post for Nomadic Boys complete South Florida Gay Events Guide
Where to Stay 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 testament to how gay friendly the city is. We tried several gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale and list the best ones below. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list, simply the ones we had a positive first-hand experience of, which we confidently recommend to other gay travellers:
Grand Resort & Spa: one of the most famous gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale, mainly due to its association and sponsorship of Ru Paul Drag Races (which we're massive fans of). It's also located a few blocks from the beach, which for us ticks all the boxes. The front part includes a pool area, and the back includes a hot tub and relaxation area, which is clothing optional. We also loved the Spa a lot, particularly the deep tissue massage.
Pineapple Point Resort: although it's not so close to the beach, this is one of the best gay hotels in Fort Lauderdale. It's more expensive than the others, but worth it. It's full of greenery, the rooms are huge and has more communal (all clothing optional!) areas, each with different hot tubs, pools and more. The happy hour at 6pm is a sweet touch, which encourages socialising between guests.
W Fort Lauderdale: this is one of the largest W hotels in the world with 550 rooms. It's also super trendy and chic, with a super cool bar and highly rated restaurant called “El Vez”. What we love most about the W brand is that it is world famous for being very gay friendly. For example, upon arriving at the W Hotel Fort Lauderdale, we noticed gay weddings are openly advertised in the lobby, and they also frequently host LGBTQ events like “Night of 1,000 Chers”.