Why Is Ft. Lauderdale Florida’s Gay Mecca?


With seductive sandy beaches, sultry swimming pools, an abundance of gay-owned businesses and resorts, plus a vibrant cultural scene, it’s no wonder queer travelers are flocking to Ft. Lauderdale for some R&R. Below are just a few reasons the tropical paradise is near the top of our favorite places to visit.

• With nearly two dozen upscale gay resorts, many given fresh face lifts, there’s no shortage of queer-owned places to stay, which means bed linens with luxuriously high thread count.

• Although most of the city’s beaches are homo-friendly, the world-class Sebastian is considered the gay white-sand ground zero. Don’t forget your sun screen, the leathery look is so late ’70s.

• We can watch ourselves on the big screen. The Ft. Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will celebrate its fifth year with screenings of the best of LGBT cinema October 10-13

• Out and proud? The community supports two pride weekends – one in March and the other in June. This is in addition to a festive Halloween celebration.


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  • Cam

    Is this a paid ad? Because it sounds suspiciously like a Pride handout flyer on Ft. Lauderdale from a gay travel service.

  • QJ201

    My partner lived in Miami during the late 90’s when they gay scene was in the middle of packing up and leaving South Beach for Lauderdale…his take…1) Gentrification, everything became uber expensive and 2) The hip hop thug crowd arrived driving out the gays…big gay nightclubs now had shooting incidents between gang bangers and wanna be rappers. Anti-gay harassment and violence also increased.

  • JDJase

    @Cam: Hense the “this post is sponsored by” logo beneath the picture…

  • alterego1980

    @Cam: Of course it is…I don’t mind though because they’re right. Ft. Lauderdale is tons of fun, gay and otherwise.

  • Kenny1948

    Don’t see where it’s “so Gay”. Was there a few years ago. Yes Wilton Manors ( which is an island ) is very Gay, but the beach area is very very Hetero!

  • BigWoody

    Many younger gay men have not heard of the Marlin Beach Hotel, which probably had a big part in Ft.LaDeDa becoming a gay mecca. The lower bar had large windows behind the bar that provided a view into the deep end of the pool… underwater.

    “1974, the year the Marlin Beach completed its transition into a gay resort. (The transition from straight to gay was accomplished in stages, beginning with the upstairs disco in 1970.) This was still three years before Miss Florida Orange Juice, Anita Bryant, managed to “Save Our Children” in Dade County by denying basic rights to homosexuals. – The missed-story of the Marlin Beach hotel.

    The Marlin Beach is also where Annette Funicello starred in the beach movie – Where The Boys Are.

  • dvlaries

    Where The Boys Are is Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux, Paula Prentiss and Connie Francis. Annette isn’t in it.

  • gppm1103

    @dvlaries: Thank you. You beat me to it.

  • BigWoody

    Oops! Thanks for the correction.
    After scrolling through more of the website I linked to in my earlier post, – Where The Boys Are – was not filmed at the Marlin. The Marlin was shown in the background of a few shots. It is believed that the Marlin Beach adopted the tag line “Where the Boys Are” after the 1960’s movie which also had Connie Francis singing the song with same name at the end of the movie.

  • TVC 15

    Sorry, but I still think Florida is gross.

  • elSac08

    @JDJase: JD –thanx or your post. Pardon me however, for trying to be correct. It seems that you’re trying to do so, but . . . sophistication includes correct spelling of “Big Boy words.” It’s hence buddy!
    Have a great weekend.

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