Miami Gay Travel
Miami gay travel recommendations for LGBT friendly hotels, restaurants, beaches, gay bars & clubs.
The Gay Travel Experience: Miami, Florida
Every time I’ve visited Miami, I’ve always had a blast. Miami, and especially South Beach, are just one of those wonderful places where everyone goes to be happy in the sun.
In my experience, guys in Miami are quite friendly. I’ve made some really awesome LGBT friends out at Miami gay bars.
Local Miami bodies may be muscled and intimidating, but the guys are certainly friendly people. If you’re on the shy side, South Beach is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.
Gay Miami: Hotels & Where to Stay
The hub of all gay life in Miami is in South Beach, near 12th Street and Ocean Drive. This is Miami’s gay district, where most gay bars and the gay beach are located. I recommend staying in a hotel or vacation rental around here.
The Royal Palm South Beach hotel was a fantastic choice back during my first trip to Miami. My room had a fantastic ocean view which I loved waking up to each morning.
The Royal Palm also has an open-air bar in the rear of the building. You can actually access this space if you are not staying in the hotel. I’d call and make a reservation just to be sure.
One of the noteworthy and classic Miami gay hotels is the Delano South Beach. Gay travelers have. been staying here for decades! The Delano is pretty iconic and has a staggeringly beautiful pool.
I highly recommend the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel if you’re not the biggest fan of staying directly in the heart of South Beach. This property embodies luxury in every sense.
So many gay travelers opt for the Fontainebleau, that you might as well consider it a Miami gay resort, even though it’s not exclusively LGBT. They have a plethora of dining, nightlife and outdoor activities on site. The below video shows some epic drone shots of the Fontainebleau, produced by MIADrones Media.
South Beach is relatively walkable, so it is easy to get most places on foot or via a short taxi ride. When I rented an apartment about 10 minutes inland from the beach, walking home late at night was no problem.
Miami Gay Travel Experiences
Miami Art Deco architecture is beautiful. If you are enthusiastic about architecture, book an Art Deco bike tour.
I spent a few hours walking through the historic neighborhood, taking in the pastel colors and popping into a few stores to cool off from the summer heat.
Walk down Lincoln Road enjoy some drinks and shopping. Many big-brand stores and coffee shops are here, where locals and tourists both spend time. Like sweet drinks? Stop at the Sugar Factory for some sharable drinks served with dry ice!
Is your visit to Miami super short? A bus tour with Big Bus Tours Miami is probably the best way to see as much of this wonderful city as you can in a short amount of time.
Also, seeing the heart of gay South Beach from an open-air bus is definitely a comfortable way to take in all the wonderful architecture.
Miami Gay Cruises
Several of the famous Atlantis cruises depart from Miami. So if you’re looking for the perfect Miami gay cruise, this might be a great option to consider.
Atlantis’ Virgin Voyages Caribbean gay cruise is a five-day adventure. The ship makes its way from Miami to the Dominican Republic, and then back again.
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Miami Gay Beach & Nude Beach
The official Miami gay beach is 12th Street Beach. It’s quite popular and easy to get to, so you should make a point to spend a day there. When you see a little lifeguard hut with a big LGBT flag, you’ve arrived! This is the heart of the South Beach gay area.
They’re open from sunrise to sunset, so Haulover is a great option for a full or half-day trip. Keep in mind also that they don’t allow inflatable tubes or rafts.
Restaurants in Miami
Española Way is always a good bet for good restaurants. Many places have outdoor seating in adorable pedestrian alleyways. I recommend avoiding the restaurants along Ocean Drive—the ones that have all the hosts and hostesses trying to get you to come in.
In my experience, these places pump out low quality food and charge too much for it. You are better off venturing a little farther inland from the beach.
My friends and I enjoyed cocktails and a fantastic gourmet lunch at La Côte. The restaurant is outside within the Fontainebleau hotel. Our good friend Derek was the sous chef that day, and we were delighted with all his entrée recommendations.
Casa Tua is popular with gay travelers, known for their Italian cuisine. The restaurant is right near the convention center on 17th Street.
Alternatively, you can grab a delicious and informal dinner in Little Havana. Make sure to walk down Calle Ocho, the famous stretch of Little Havana. Here you’ll find the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, where Cuban pop stars have their own stars of tribute in the sidewalks.
Perusing the streets and seeing older men playing cards while smoking cigars in this small neighborhood was so entertaining! It was quite a cultural experience as well. I stopped in a small diner and had some authentic Cuban food.
For breakfast food, I always find myself at The Front Porch Café. Delicious traditional American comfort food is good any time of day.
Aroma Espresso Bar is always a dependable option for a quick snack or your morning coffee. My friends and I love this place for their cozy outdoor seating.
Miami Gay Bars & Clubs
One of the best gay bars in Miami is Twist South Beach. I’d say its probably the overall crowd favorite. I love it because of the maze-like interior and spacious outdoor courtyard. It’s always a comfortable place to spend an evening.
Each room at Twist a different vibe and style of music, ranging from circuit music to Latin. The front room with the dancers always fills up first. Later on as the night progresses, guys will fill in room by room.
Here’s an iconic video of one of the Palace drag queen performances out on the street during the day!
Also, I love starting a night out at Palace because it is very informal and relaxed. For photos, events and reservations, visit their website.
Nathan’s Bar is a new addition to the Miami gay bar scene. They typically play a popular Latino mix on the weekends and during the week often host a sing-a-long night.
Expectedly as a new establishment, the interior of Nathan’s is modern and colorful. A few of my friends visited and also mentioned they enjoyed the outdoor seating.
Gay Clubs in South Beach
Score Nightclub is probably the most popular of Miami gay clubs in South Beach. With electronic beats and dancers, this awesome club hosts more of a circuit-style party.
The venue is a large club style with a smaller side area to hang out when not dancing. There will be a cover at the door in order to enter the party.
Glam Nightclub / Club Boi also hosts many Miami gay parties, although I have never been to this venue. However, I can say they’re probably pretty good since I am familiar with the people who promote gay parties here, like Cha da Alice for example.
Miami also hosts several special gay festivals and circuit parties each year, like Winter Party Miami as well as events produced by the Matinée Group.
Miami Gay Pride
As one of the “gayest cities in Florida,” Miami gay pride events are pretty spectacular. Visiting South Beach for pride is always a great experience.
Miami Beach LGBT Pride events are typically held in September. Joining the electrifying oceanside pride parade, showing support for everyone LGBTQ+ and partying all night are a great way to end the summer travel season.
One of my favorite things about South Beach gay Pride is that you see a large spectrum of our gay community, from the snappy young circuit queens to the older gay men and women who helped us fight for many of the LGBT rights we have today.
Miami Travel Tips
South Florida’s heat and humidity will definitely make you sweat. For destinations like Miami, I can’t live without these cleansing skin wipes, especially because they have an exfoliating side that helps wipe away dirt. They come in handy at the beach, too.
Lyft is always my go-to taxi application in Miami. It’s always super cheap. Even a ride from the Miami International Airport is quite affordable.
In my opinion, you should avoid staying in accommodations in the downtown area if you are visiting for a vacation. The vibe is quiet and you feel a bit separated from the buzz of South Beach, so you might feel a bit isolated.
Or, if you’re craving something even more tropical, check out these popular Key West gay hotels and resorts.