This post was updated February 20th, 2020.
Miami Beach has for decades been a hotspot for the LGBT community both for locals and visitors alike. But as LGBT acceptance improves and the next generation becomes a dominant force in the travel sphere, you might wonder if Miami Beach still has the desire it once had.
Gone are the days where we can only vacation openly in the small gay getaways like Key West, Palm Springs or Fire Island. Today you can see LGBT people out and proud in most major western cities around the world. But while this trend is fantastic for our community, the decreased demand for gay-only places has caused a rift and created challenges for many LGBT businesses, gay bars and gay-only hotels. Like many cities, Miami Beach has fallen victim to this trend and now only has a handful of LGBT venues. But even with the decline over the years, there’s still a sense of community and it’s important to note that Miami’s gay scene is still strong.
If you’re not sure yet about visiting Miami Beach, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite recommendations on where to stay, go out and relax plus highlights on annual events and the best times to go.
Where to Stay?
On our recent visit we stayed at Hôtel Gaythering, which is the only gay hotel in Miami Beach. The property opened in 2014, but you’d think it’s been around for years given how the local community has embraced its arrival. More than just a hotel, Gaythering is a place where you can meet, socialize and enjoy a laid back Miami vibe. The hotel bar is open to the public every night and the locals come for drinks, trivia and events throughout the week. The hotel offers nice rooms with a modern yet vintage flair and a unique, artsy theme. They even have “crate style” rooms which start at just $99 per night offering an affordable, small but private space with shared bathrooms that’s budget friendly for all. The hotel also has a men’s only spa (sorry ladies!) available to both guests and locals – and yes, it’s 100% clothing optional.
Where to Go Out?
If you’re into games then the Hôtel Gaythering bar is a great option on Wednesdays when they host their trivia night, or stop by on Fridays to start at the weekly “Bears & Hares” night. In addition to Hôtel Gaythering’s bar, you can check out Twist, Score or Palace Bar. Twist is a great option for any night of the week and you can socialize and get tipsy while sexy go-go boys dance in the background. Score is the only gay club in Miami Beach and is a local hotspot. They host a variety of themed events but it’s typically busiest on Saturday nights. Palace Bar is a restaurant and bar located on Ocean Drive in the heart of the Art Deco district. It’s a must-visit venue and well known for its daily drag shows. Each evening and on Sundays for brunch, Palace Bar puts on a fun and interactive drag show outside just in front of the terrace.
Where to Relax?
During the day you can’t miss a trip to Miami’s gay beach located at 12th Street and Ocean Drive. All the beaches in Miami Beach are generally gay-friendly but this is where you’ll find the gay flags and concentration of gay men and straight friends with a sprinkling of lesbians mixed in. For cocktails or a bite to eat, head over to Balans Restaurant. It’s located in the heart of the pedestrian portion of Lincoln Road and is a great place to sit outdoors on comfy couches for a relaxing drink and a meal all while people watching and taking in the South Beach vibe. If you want to get hot and steamy then head over to the men’s spa at Hotel Gaythering to enjoy the steam room and Jacuzzi open until 11pm weekdays and 1am on weekends.
When to Visit?
Miami is dreadfully hot and humid from June to August so not surprisingly this is the low season. Still, if you plan on being at the beach and hanging indoors you’ll pay lower rates for flights and accommodation. February through April is high season and this is when you’ll find amazing events including Miami Beach Gay Pride (April) and the Winter Party (March). If gay parties and events are your thing then this is the time to come. September through January is mild, and short of just a couple months in the winter, it’s almost always beach weather in Miami.
So is Miami Beach still a top destination for LGBT travelers? After visiting for the 2nd time, we found the community alive with locals, visitors and even foreigners mixing together creating a sense of openness and diversity. Miami Beach itself is one of a kind – still a top destination in our mind famous for its beaches, architecture and the energy that pulses into the night. We even noticed an active and very public lesbian community which is often not the case in many big cities. So boys, ladies, gender queer and non-conforming, book your flight, pack your bags and take that trip to Miami that you’ve always dreamed about. The city awaits you with its stunning beaches, thriving nightlife and amazingly diverse community.
Have you ever considered a trip to Miami? Let us know your thoughts on visiting in the comments below.
Note: this article was sponsored by Hotel Gaythering but rest assured that all opinions are 100% our own and we don’t sacrifice our integrity for a sponsorship. In fact, we thoroughly enjoyed the property and would happily stay with them again on any trip to Miami.