© Andreas Müller

While you should dress in many layers here in the coming month it will make a lot more sense to dress with as little as possible in the south of the US. Swimming trunks will be your best choice. Florida’s beaches are in high season during the winter months – and the LGBTIQ* scene also has plenty of events such as the Winter Party in Miami, the “Bone Island Bare It All” weekend in Key West or the Pride in Fort Lauderdale.


FORT LAUDERDALE

Located at about an hour’s drive north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is considered the stronghold of Florida’s LGBTIQ* community. You can doze the day off in the sun on the gay beach near Sebastian Street – and enjoy barhopping in one of the numerous trendy bars along Wilton Drive at night. Right at the beginning of the new year, Fort Lauderdale celebrates its Pride – on the beach. “Carnaval” ist the motto of the still young festival that will take place for the third time from 21 to 24 February. Fans of singer Cher should mark 19 January in their calendars when the pop diva will be on stage in Fort Lauderdale as part of her “Her we go again” tour. www.sunny.org/lgbt

 

TAMPA

With a cool hipster scene and the Bush Gardens amusement park, Tampa is always worth a stop during a round-trip through Florida. Especially on weekends it is worth visiting the gay scenes of Ybor City. Where Cuban cigar makers used to sweat in small factories, people drink and dance today. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival gives the town plenty of colour from January to March. The highlight is the “Parade of the Pirates” that comprises the arrival of a pirate hip on January 26th.  This is in memory of the invasion of Tampa by  buccaneer José Gaspar and is considered the third largest parade in the US. www.visittampabay.com

© Visit Tampa Bay

Gasparilla Pirate Festival

KEY WEST

Palms instead of snow. At the southernmost point of the USA, sunshine is guaranteed even during the winter months. No wonder you won’t have to worry about what to wear during the “Bone Island Bare It All” weekend from 28 November to 2 December. Whether pool party, shopping night, boat trip, bingo or meals. Gay men meet here as God has created them. The Shoe Drop, which takes place on New Year’s Eve from the balcony of gay Bourbon Street Pub, has become a national cult as it is televised to the entire country. Local drag queen Sushi is let down to the ground in a giant red glitter pump at the turn of the year, just like the ball in New York’s Time Square drops. www.fla-keys.de

© Andy Newman/Floirda Keys News Bureau

Shoe Drop vor dem Bourbon Street Pub


ST. PETE/CLEARWATER

The beaches of St. Pete and Clearwater are regularly voted among the best in the country. The holiday region, home to Florida’s largest Pride Festival also surprises the LGBTIQ* community with a large night parade and over 200,000 visitors. Also in the winter months, there is a big pool party on Sundays at the gay Flamingo Resort. The Party attracts queer guests from nearby Tampa and even from Orlando. Despite the summer temperatures St. Pete offers also a little Christmas spirit: From the end of November to the end of December, 1 million LED lights make the Botanical Garden an enchanted garden. www.visitstpeteclearwater.com

 

MIAMI

The beach-metropolis on the east coast of Florida also lives up to its name as a party stronghold in winter. The famous White Party has returned to the historic Villa Vizcaya with its equally impressive garden. A live performance by Grammy winner Kimberly Davis gives the charity event on 24 November the necessary glamour. At the same time, the Matinee Group will be hosting the Miami Circuit Festival from 22 to 26 November, including a LaLeche! Beach Party at Lummus Park. The gay Winter Party Festival, which lasts from 27 February to 5 March, stages its big beach party at the same location (3 March). www.miamiandbeaches.de

© Andreas Müller

Winter Party

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