South Roosevelt Boulevard
Key West, FL 33040
Quite possible the best overall beach in one of the nation’s top destinations for gay travelers, Smathers Beach may be opne of the best gay-beach destinations in the nation. Smathers’ waters are shallow, and the beach usually has virtually no undertow. It’s located just a short distance from Duval street and Old Town, with restaurants and shops nearby. Oddly, the Keys are not known for great beaches, and Smathers is a bit unusual as Keys beaches tend to be small and a far cry from the sugar sand beaches of the panhandle, but Smathers is a 2-mile strip with something for everyone.
10800 Collins Avenue,
Haulover Beach Park Website
While Haulover beach is best known as Florida’s only official nude beach, it is also one of South Florida’s most gay-friendly beaches. The pristine white beach is among the best in South Florida, but only part of the mile-and-a-half stretch is set aside for those who prefer to sunbathe unclothed. That area, at the north part of the beach, is clearly marked to prevent people from being surprised by their neighbor on the sand disrobing, and is also subdivided into “gay” and “straight” areas. The entire beach is protected by lifeguards, and it also offers a host of amenities including various shaded picnic facilities, beautifully landscaped sand dunes, and concession stands. The beach is ideal for surfing as well as swimming.
Ft. Lauderdale Beach
7 Miles of beach starting at
State Rt. A1A and SW 17th Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Ft. Lauderdale is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations for gay travelers, and on Ft. Lauderdale beach, located along State Rt. A1A, you can find many businesses owned by gays and lesbians, along with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. There’s a one-block area which is the ‘unofficial’ gay beach. It’s not marked, but anyone in the community can direct you. The whole beach is available without hotels trying to segregate areas for their own guests, and it’s a long, glowing strand of white and azure blue. The City’s award-winning wavewall and signature beachfront promenade highlight Fort Lauderdale’s world famous coastline, which is punctuated by an array of shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and entertainment venues. The views are breathtaking, and offshore it’s easy to watch big cargo ships and cruise liners head up the coast. Arrive early for the best parking.
Lummus Park Beach (South Beach)
10th St & Ocean Dr
Miami Beach, FL 33139
It’s the beach to the stars. Look to the right, and you might see a sunning supermodel. Turn to the left, and you could spot a commercial photo shoot. The wide, wide strip of sand, much of it imported from the Bahamas, stretches from South Pointe at the end of Miami Beach to the giant hotels 30 blocks to the north. The beach is fronted with trendy restaurants and art-deco hotels, and the area is home to a large gay community. There are volleyball courts around the park before you enter the beach. You can rent beach chairs and an umbrella and use them until 5 p.m.. If you do this you stake out your spot, so around lunchtime you can walk across Ocean Drive to one of the open-air cafes or bars and recharge. Then, it’s back to the sand and your little oasis to catch some rays and people-watch. The best area is is between 5th and 15th along Ocean Drive. One note: the beach attracts a lot of Europeans who are not as hung-up about topless sunbathing as are Americans. If this bothers you, or if you bring kids, keep this in mind.