Gay Fort Lauderdale – Your Complete Gay Travel Guide to Florida's LGBTQ+ Capital
In addition to the fabulous gay beaches like Sebastian (pictured above) and nudist Haulover, we highly recommend taking a day trip to the Everglades for a thrilling ride on an airboat to see dolphins, alligators, snakes, turtles, and a variety of birds. It's a must if you've never done it before. With Everglades Day Safari, every tour includes a wildlife drive, nature walk, delicious lunch, airboat ride and boat cruise.
Overview – As one of the most progressive and welcoming gay travel destinations in the United States, Fort Lauderdale's gay scene continues to grow and evolve. We've been coming here for years, and on our most recent trip, we were pleasantly surprised to see new venues opening and improvements made to long time staples. We also noted there has been an influx post pandemic of new arrivals from New York to L.A. which continues to gentrify many of the neighborhoods in Greater Fort Lauderdale. You will also find a large number of LGBTQ+ retirees here. Overall, the vibe is friendly, and you'll meet people from all over the world. Everyone is welcome here.
Fort Lauderdale is also home to one of the busiest cruise ports in the world where you can sail on new ships like the Celebrity Apex, Beyond and Ascent from gay-friendly Celebrity Cruises. We met many travelers (like us!) who booked a stay at Pineapple Point or The Worthington Resorts either before or after their cruise. We should also point out that the Port of Miami, the world's cruising capital, is less than an hour's drive. Our cost using Lyft was shockingly only $35. For new riders, grab your $7 credit by signing up here.
Top 10 Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale
Head to the gay beach -At Sebastian Street, you will find Fort Lauderdale's colorful gay beach packed with locals and tourists. For a gay nude beach, it's worth the trek to Haulover Beach.
Book a day pass at a gay resort -If you are not already staying at a clothing optional gay resort, call ahead and book a day pass. The Worthington Resorts is popular with locals.
Stroll Las Olas Boulevard -With shopping, dining, and entertainment, Las Olas is a great stop for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon stroll. We love Louie Bossi's resto-bar-pizzeria.
Adventure down to Riverwalk -After lunch or dinner, enjoy a leisurely walk along Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk Park. You'll find museums, art galleries, and access to the water taxi.
Take the water taxi -Our favorite way to get around Fort Lauderdale and to discover the many waterways, yachts, and mansions of the rich and famous. Buy your all-day ticket here.
Sightsee on the Jungle Queen -This fully narrated 90-minute roundtrip cruise along the New River is super popular and has been around for years. Book your ticket here.
Visit Sawgrass Mills -With over 300 retail outlets and numerous restaurants, Sawgrass Mills is the largest single story outlet mall in the U.S. We regularly find amazing deals here!
Explore Wilton Manors -For the best gay bars, restaurants, and clubs in Fort Lauderdale, go to Wilton Manors, the gayborhood. Start with happy hour at DrYnk or dinner at Rosie's Bar & Grill, two of the friendliest places around.
Day trip to Key West -If you're short on time, we've made this day trip before. It's a long day, but lots of fun if you plan it right. Hit the sights and then go for lunch at Island House.
Enjoy an Everglades safari -As mentioned in our destination highlight, an airboat safari tour over the flooded grasslands of the Everglades is super unique and thrilling.
When to go – High season and high season prices run from mid-November to mid-April as snowbirds and travelers from colder climates flock to warm and sunny South Florida. In the summer and early fall (roughly June through November), it's the Atlantic hurricane season so definitely keep on top of any weather developments before traveling to South Florida during this time. FlockFest, a fast growing and popular local gay event held in summer is one worth traveling off season for... They also hold events throughout the year, so check the FlockFest website for the latest events info.
Getting here – Visitors to Fort Lauderdale are spoiled for choice when it comes to getting here. There are 3 international airports within an hour's drive. The closest is Fort Lauderdale International Airport (airport code: FLL) where a Lyft to the gay beach resorts will take approximately 20-25 minutes for the 7-mile trip. Alternatively, we would recommend flying into Miami International Airport (airport code: MIA) followed by Palm Beach International Airport (airport code: PBI).
If you are exploring more of South Florida and/or adding a visit to the theme park capital of the world in Orlando, Brightline, one of the only high-speed trains in country, is now operational. From Orlando International Airport (airport code: MCO), you can now quickly travel to West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, and Miami in South Florida.
Where to stay – In terms of the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale, we have stayed in dozens over the years but have narrowed down our selection to three options.
For the most luxurious beachfront option, it's not exclusively gay of course, but the Four Seasons Hotel Fort Lauderdale is as posh as they come. It's also located just one block from the clothing optional gay Worthington Resorts and gay-owned Archibalds Village Bakery, one of our favorite breakfast spots in town.
For the most luxurious clothing optional gay resort in Fort Lauderdale, don't hesitate to book Pineapple Point. Located in the upscale Victoria Park neighborhood, you are just minutes walking or biking to the Las Olas shopping, dining and entertainment district. In terms of facilities, Pineapple Point consists of six unique buildings spread over two very private acres. The property offers guests two heated pools and two hot tubs, a gym with all the essentials, a massage studio, complimentary bikes, and so much more. Literally, every detail has been thought of to ensure you have a perfect stay.
Where to eat and drink – To start your day on the right foot, gay-owned Archibalds Village Bakery is our favorite 'go to' spot for cold brew coffee, breakfast, lunch and pastries! Located just one block from the beach, the luxury Four Seasons Hotel Fort Lauderdale, and the Worthington Resorts, it's super convenient before or after the beach. If you're looking for their famous cinnamon rolls, they only make them on the weekends since everything here is freshly handmade. They also have a nice outdoor patio and service with a smile comes standard. You can genuinely feel the pride in every aspect of the cafe-bakery.
Another one of our favorite lunch or dinner spots is Louie Bossi's Restaurant, Bar & Pizzeria. Located on Las Olas Boulevard, you will be dining in the heart of the shopping, dining and entertainment district. Riverwalk is also just steps away if you'd like to explore after your meal. Stand outs here include their Negronis, Caesar salad, and wood-fired pizzas. Everything is prepared with the very best ingredients.
Where to find gay nightlife – Most if not all of the gay bars and clubs in Fort Lauderdale are located in Wilton Manors. Our hands down favorite gay bar is DrYnk. This warm and inviting lounge makes classic cocktails to perfection. Be careful though as these drinks are strong!
Just across the street from DrYnk is newcomer NO Manors, a high end gay cocktail bar with drink servers and comfortable seating. If you are looking to meet up with a date or group of friends, this is your place. The crowd is a good mix of both, and the happy hour specials are amazing. The bathrooms are also pretty fascinating with a mix of options from whichever to whatever to alien. You have to use your imagination for what's behind these doors.
Where to find gay beachgoers – At Sebastian Street and A1A, you will find Fort Lauderdale's gay beach. You can bring your own towel or rent loungers and umbrellas. There is also a shower and foot shower to wash off any sand when you're ready to leave. On the weekends, come early to find your preferred spot, as this beach gets very busy.
Travel Credit Card – For the best travel credit card, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve. We use it to book free stays with reward points, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary car rental insurance, lounge access through Priority Pass, and to avoid foreign transaction fees just to name a few of this card's incredible perks. To learn more, click here. Even though there is a hefty $550 annual fee, you get a credit of $300 for travel (i.e. airfare, uber, etc). For the remaining $250, the card easily pays for itself with free food and drinks at the complimentary airport lounges we frequent, including one experience at Kafe Kalik in Fort Lauderdale Airport's Terminal 4 providing $28 off the bill for you or $56 for you and a guest. Also, if you don't have global entry yet, another card benefit covers that application fee! Trai has had the card since 2017, and it's his only credit card.
Travel Experiences – Discover authentic, unforgettable experiences and explore the world with Get Your Guide. They offer top-rated tours and activities in Fort Lauderdale. We have used Get Your Guide for numerous adventures around the world.
Shop Our Travel Essentials – To keep all of your electronics charged around the world, we recommend this universal international travel power adapter. It's also the one airline crew receive! For more of our favorite travel essentials, check out our Amazon Storefront.
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Hi! We're Two Gay Expats
Hola amigos and welcome to our gay travel blog! We are Andy and Trai, a gay couple traveling the world with PRIDE 🌈 …and our rescue dog, Pattie!
After meeting in San Francisco in 2018 and later moving to Chicago, we decided to quit our jobs in 2021, sell everything, and become Two Gay Expats!
If you’d like to follow our adventures, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and add us on social media using the links below. We’d also love to hear from you and meet up if we’re in your city!
❤️ Andy + Trai