Fort Lauderdale is an impressive city in its own right, however, what makes this hub of gay culture so special is its impressive 23 miles of beaches. The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are some of the best in Florida and the United States, regularly winning awards and playing host to some of the most popular resorts in the country and some incredible eye candy!
There is a great amount of diversity amongst the area’s coastal landscape and gay travelers can enjoy plenty of beach environments from rugged forest coves to stretching strips of untouched white sand. Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are also bustling locations of activity with a range of watersports, outdoor pursuits and entertainment to suit any traveler.
Here’s our rundown of the best gay beaches in Fort Lauderdale and those that are within touching distance of the city.
BEST GAY BEACH: Sebastian Street Beach is one of the USA’s most popular beaches amongst gay travelers, who flock to the beach to enjoy the year-round sunshine, soft white sands and the local gay community. Situated in the heart of Fort Lauderdale and just steps away from Las Olas Boulevard, the beach is lined with resorts and hotels and as such often gets busy in peak months.
The gay part of the beach can be found between Sebastian and Castillo streets and is easily accessible by a walk down Sebastian Street, the main hub of gay nightlife and community in Fort Lauderdale, with many of the city’s most popular and stylish bars located along this sunny boulevard.
BEST CLOTHING-OPTIONAL BEACH: If clothing isn’t your thing consider a trip to Haulover Park Beach. Situated on the coast of the stunning and biologically diverse Haulover Park, this beach is clothing optional, meaning visitors are welcome to sunbathe, stroll and swim in the nude. Unlike most nudist beaches, Haulover Park Beach isn’t hidden away or off the beaten track, it’s a family-friendly location that offers both clothed and nude areas, making it one of the best gay beaches.
The beach is also a popular location with the Fort Lauderdale’s gay locals and tourists alike, who come to unwind and sunbathe next to the mesmerising blue waters. Haulover Park Beach is a mix of serenity and fun, with visitors often playing frisbee on the pristine sands. There’s also a weekly food truck festival, where a wide range of cuisines can be sampled.
A QUIETER GAY BEACH: Just a few minutes away from Sebastian Street Beach but claiming smaller crowds is Terramar Street Beach. Another popular destination for gay travelers and locals, the beach is as beautiful and enchanting as any other in Florida, albeit slightly quieter.
Whilst the beach isn’t specifically gay focused, it is common to find a noticeable gay population enjoying the warm shallow waters and sun-kissed sands that make Terramar Street Beach so special. The beach is perfect for gay travelers hoping to unwind and relax on a comfortable beach to the gentle sound of nearby waves.
GAY BEACH FOR CRUISING: Smaller than Sebastian Street and certainly quieter, Northeast 18th Street Beach can be hard to find, but once located it’s well worth a visit. The main gay cruising beach in Fort Lauderdale and just as scenic as the rest, Northeast 18th Street Beach is a popular destination for local gay guys seeking fun and connection on the gently sloping sands.
Visitors will often be able to find gay individuals looking for cruising opportunities in the more secluded areas of the beach, so if that’s what you’re after be sure to keep an eye out.
MOST POPULAR BEACH: Located just a mile from Las Olas Boulevard and boasting some of the most stylish and upmarket restaurants and bars in the city, Fort Lauderdale Beach is a hive of activity. The paved promenade and award-winning wave wall stretch the 7-mile length of the beach that is punctuated by numerous resorts and hotels. The beach is one of the most popular amongst all tourists and is fully protected by lifeguards throughout the summer months. The pristine white sand on Fort Lauderdale Beach is the perfect place to unwind and relax after a day exploring the city.
If relaxation isn’t your thing there are also a range of watersports and outdoor activities available up and down the beach including, boating, windsurfing, jet skiing and rollerblading. There truly is something for everyone on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
SECLUDED BEACH: Quieter, greener and more rugged than many of its neighbouring locations, Dania Beach is a slice of peace and quiet in an often loud and bustling part of Florida. Dania Beach is one of the least crowded beaches near Fort Lauderdale and is popular amongst locals and fishermen keen to escape the tourist trap areas.
The bordering forest is luscious and full of winding paths and trails, most of which can be cycled or hiked and there are numerous bike rental centres nearby. The Dania Beach Pier is one of the best places in Fort Lauderdale to get freshly caught and prepared seafood, and guests can enjoy their meals while appreciating the stunning views across the ocean.
BEST BEACH OUTSIDE FORT LAUDERDALE: Hollywood is quietly nestled between the cosmopolitan hubs of Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and this quieter patch of sun-soaked Florida is famed for its beautiful stretch of beach. The Hollywood Beach is known for its 2.5-mile oceanfront boardwalk that reaches along the coastline, separating the many hotels that span its length from the sea. The area is packed full of resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars, meaning there’s no shortage of entertainment for visitors.
The bustling promenade is home to a large section of dog-walking beach and a water park. Hotels and guesthouses are plentiful in the area, and Hollywood Beach is the perfect destination for a day-trip or longer stay.
For a rundown of other attractions in the city, read our guide to the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
by George Pizani | More: Gay Fort Lauderdale