With so many identities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, it’s easy for some to be overlooked, even in the most gay-friendly of cities. Yet Fort Lauderdale manages to break community barriers, promising a queer destination that’s more than a beach of sculpted, Speedo’d men. In fact, the classic gay stereotype of male pageantry and showmanship is the minority in a city that paints with all the colors of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Everyone’s represented and welcome in Fort Lauderdale.
It’s no coincidence the city has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country. Or that it receives 1.5 million LGBTQ+ travelers annually, corresponding to an estimated $1.5 billion in economic benefits. Want the proof? Start by visiting Wilton Manors, a thriving gayborhood among Greater Fort Lauderdale’s 31 municipalities. Here, the rainbow flags fly high along Wilton Drive (aka “the Drive”), a mile-long main street lined with novelty stores, personality-driven restaurants, coffee shops, specialty bars, and travel agencies like Freedom Travel, which cater specifically to the gay community.