© Andreas Müller

While one should dress warm in this country in the coming months, in the south of the USA the swimming trunks should be packed. Florida’s beaches are in high season during the winter months – and the LGBTIQ* scene also has plenty of opportunity to let off steam at 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 about an hour’s drive north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is considered the stronghold of Florida’s LGBTIQ* community. During the day you can doze in the sun on the gay beach near Sebastian Street – in the evening you can enjoy barhopping in one of the numerous trendy bars along Wilton Drive. Right at the beginning of the new year, Fort Lauderdale celebrates its Pride – on the beach. Under the motto “Carnaval”, the still young festival will take place for the third time from 21 to 24 February. Cher fans should also make a note of January 19 when the pop diva makes a stop in Fort Lauderdale with 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 Florida round trip. Especially on weekends it is worth visiting the gay scenes in Ybor City. Where Cuban cigar makers used to sweat in factories, people drink and dance cheerfully today. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is really colourful from January to March. The highlight is the Parade of the Pirates including arrival of a pirateship on January 26th, which reminds of the invasion Tampas by the Freibeuter Jose Gaspar and is considered as the third largest parade of the USA. 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 don’t have to worry about clothes during the “Bone Island Bare It All” weekend from 28 November to 2 December. Whether pool party, shopping night, boat trip, bingo or restaurant visit: Gay men meet here as God created them. The Shoe Drop, which takes place on New Year’s Eve from the balcony of the gay Bourbon Street Pub, has become a national cult via television broadcast. In a giant red glitter pump, the local drag queen Sushi is let down to the ground at the turn of the year, just like the ball in New York’s Time Square. 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, and in terms of the LGBTIQ* scene, the holiday region with Florida’s largest Pride Festival also surprises 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, which also attracts guests from nearby Tampa or even from Orlando. Despite the summer temperatures, even in St. Pete there is a little Christmas spirit: From the end of November to the end of December, 1 million LED lights bathe the Botanical Garden in enchanting light. 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, celebrates its big beach party at the same location (3 March). www.miamiandbeaches.de

© Andreas Müller

Winter Party

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