Check out all of the LGBTQ-friendly, Florida fun that awaits!
TORONTO, ON – (May 2021) – While this year’s Pride Month celebrations yet again look a little different, that hasn’t stopped Florida from celebrating! The Sunshine State rolls out the rainbow carpet for LGBTQ travellers all year round, beckoning with top-notch dining and clubs, inclusive events and festivals, and friendly accommodations.
Whether you’re a couple seeking a romantic getaway or a modern family searching for kid-friendly fun, here are some LGBTQ-friendly destinations you should consider when it comes time to plan your next Florida escape:
The Florida Keys, and specifically Key West, have been welcoming LGBTQ guests since the 1970s. Renowned for its “One Human Family” philosophy of unity and equality, Key West will celebrate Pride this year from June 2-6. Canadians can’t join in the fun just yet but know that when you do return, along with myriad shops and boutiques, you’ll find most of the town’s gay bars along the very walkable Duval Street, including Aqua Nightclub with its fun drag shows. When it comes to beach days, Smathers Beach is one of Key West’s top LGBTQ-friendly strips of sand (although you really can’t go wrong anywhere you decide to stretch out!). For more information, visit gaykeywestfl.com.
Fort Lauderdale, and the neighbourhood of Wilton Manors, typically welcome more than 1.1 million LGBTQ travellers every year. This year’s Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Street Festival & Parade will take place on June 19, but the rainbow flag is on full display all year-round. The city has more than 100 gay-owned businesses, including bars and clubs, cafés and coffeehouses, and award-winning hotels and guests houses, including the Grand Resort and Spa, one of the area’s first gay resorts. When it’s time for some sun, sand and surf, check out Sebastian Street Beach, one of Florida’s top LBGTQ-friendly beaches. For more information, visit sunny.org/lgbt.
The city’s LGBTQ Center is celebrating Pride Month this year with its first Drag Queen Brunch featuring a special performance by a RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner, along with Jacksonville’s top queens. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also hosting a LGBTQ film festival, ‘The Many Side of Pride’. Check out VisitJacksonville.com for more information on year-round activities and events.
Pride celebrations will be in full swing in June, with Pensacola Pride Festival in the Park, a free gathering that will be held in historic Seville Square being one of the main attractions over Pride weekend. No matter the time of year though, be sure to check out the Pensacola Little Theatre, which boasts LGBTQ-friendly productions like La Cage aux Folles, The Rocky Horror Show and others; and be sure to check out one of the city’s many experience festivals such as The Stamped Film Festival and the annual Foo Foo Festival.
Fingers crossed, this may be one Pride event that Canadians will be able to join this year. Postponed from its original date in June, Naples Pride Festival 2021 will be held on Nov 20, 2021 in Cambier Park.
St. Pete’s PrideFest is one of Florida’s largest gay pride events, drawing more than 100,000 participants to a downtown parade, street festival and concert every June. The heart of LGBTQ-friendly St. Pete is the historic Grand Central District, which features more than 70 LGBTQ-friendly businesses, and the adjacent neighbourhood of Kenwood. During your visit, be sure to check out Sunset Beach. Located on the southern tip of St. Pete’s Treasure Island, it is known as one of the west coast’s premier gay beaches, famous for its beachfront bars and Sunday beach parties. For more information on LGBTQ-friendly St. Pete/Clearwater, click here.
This city’s GaYBOR District – a coalition of gay and gay-friendly businesses that began on the west end of Tampa’s historic Ybor City neighbourhood – is a 12-block area that offers a fun mix of shops, bars and restaurants. Dubbed the “LGBTA Main Street for the West Coast of Florida,” the coalition has its own float and krewe that make regular appearances in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March, the St. Pete PrideFest in June, and the Tampa Pride Parade.
Dubbed the “Gay Riviera,” Miami Beach has been flying the rainbow flag for decades. The city’s legendary White Party Week – usually held in November – is the nation’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser, drawing more than 10,000 LGBTQ visitors for its high-energy dance parties hosted by top DJs and performers, comedy shows, sports and recreational events. Along with South Beach’s famed collection of Art Deco architecture and boutique hotels, the beach is a huge draw, especially the 12th Street Beach at Ocean Drive. The city also hosts a two-day Miami Beach Gay Pride, usually in the spring but now rescheduled to Sept 10-19, 2021, and the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Check out gogaymiami.com for more details.
What started as small group of people dressing in red and spending the day at Walt Disney World in 1991, has grown into one of the largest gay pride events in the world, attracting over 150,000 LGBTQ travellers to Orlando on the first Saturday every June. Gay Days at Orlando-area theme parks is now a week-long celebration that floods all of the city’s theme parks with a sea of red-shirt-wearing attendees. Later in the year, Come Out With Pride takes place every October in downtown Orlando and is one of the State’s largest pride festivals, with a street festival, fireworks, kid zone and concerts. Click here for more information.
In celebration of Pride Month, the Boca Raton Museum of Art is offering an informative presentation exploring LGBTQ identity. ‘Conversations that Matter: Identity’ will delve into issues and ideas that impact the LGBTQ community featuring leaders from the local LBGTQ and arts communities.
To more information on LGBTQ travel in the Sunshine State, and for travel inspiration for your future Florida gateway, click here.
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As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 79.8 million visitors in 2020, a decrease from the record 131.4 million visitors in 2019, attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $96.5 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.6 million Florida jobs in 2019. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $3.27 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.visitflorida.org. For inspiration from the Sunshine State, follow @VISITFLORIDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.visitflorida.com. For media resources, visit www.visitfloridamedia.com.
About VoX International
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