Why you should go to Fort Lauderdale !

Fort Lauderdale, a city of waterways, is known as the Venice of America and the Yachting Capital of the World. It forever became the quintessential spring-break resort town in 1960 with "Where the Boys Are," but it's a full-service destination today with museums, theater, art walks, nightlife, casinos, shopping, music festivals, horse racing, wilderness adventures, yachting, professional sports and fine dining. Its busy international airport has non-stop flights to more than 125 US cities and service throughout the hemisphere and to Europe. Port Everglades is the third busiest cruise port in the world and the 10th business container port in the US. And, yes, its beach remains iconic with 23 miles of golden sand from one end of Broward County - of which Fort Lauderdale is the county seat - to the other.

What makes Fort Lauderdale a standout destination for LGBTQ travelers is Wilton Manors, which isn't just a gayborhood but whole municipality having one of the highest LGBTQ populations in the US, sandwiched on some lists between Provincetown and Palm Springs. The two-mile-square (5 sq m) community was a rather nondescript residential neighborhood until the 1980s when a gay gentrification began. In 1988, it elected the first openly gay government official and by 2000 was the second town in the nation to have a gay majority on the city council. LGBTQ-owned businesses predominate with Wilton Drive - the main thoroughfare - an arts and entertainment district.

The annual Stonewall Pride festival in June draws 20,000 - 30,000 participants as does the Wicked Manors Halloween street party in October. It also has beach bear weekends, LGBTQ movie and theater festivals and the Stonewall National Museum and Archives.

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View itineraries for a sample day out in Fort Lauderdale

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General impression
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LGBT-friendly
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I had fiends who lived here for a few years so would visit when I could.

I really enjoyed the beaches. They have an air show that takes place along the coast too, which is quite impressive.

There are lots of bars and clubs for what is quite a vibrant scene. A little provincial (one bar had straw on the floor and men propping up the bar in stetsons!) but aside from that, generally very friendly. Unlike the UK, these scene is a lot more cruisy and people seem to just want to pick up rather than make friends or have a decent conversation.

I also enjoyed the boat tours through the wealthier neighbourhoods - it was not only a nice break from the hustle and bustle but ended up nearby a Hooters, which I made my regular watering hole. Less cruisy and lots of opportunities to out flirt my straight friends, who would look on in frustration as their oggling and testosterone-fuelled advances were rebuffed.

Port Everglade is a large cruise ship port here, where we also caught a ship to the Cayman and Jamaica. You can just turn up and pay on the day and for about $100 you get all your food thrown in (free 24/7 - including room service), which I'd highly recommend.

There's also a large mall for the shop-a-holics - if you want to cruise in the shade away from the blistering heat (I've known it to hit he 40 in May and June time) then head to the Target store, it's a meat market.

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