Ultimate Lesbian Fort Lauderdale Guide
Ft Lauderdale is the ideal destination for your relaxing lesbian vacation with your babe or a group of friends. We have had tons of questions from you guys about this area so we were pumped about the opportunity to work with Hello Sunny. The beaches and restaurants draw you in but the LGBTQ community is what will keep you coming back.
Traveling as an LGBT person can be incredibly stressful. Having a great time while still maintaining your safety sometimes feels like a tightrope act. Luckily, that’s not the case everywhere and Ft. Lauderdale is one of the places you can be most authentically you. From the Wilton Manors historically gay neighborhood to the gay beach you can be snuggled up with your cutie simply enjoying the vacation.
The greatest thing about visiting Fort Lauderdale is you don’t have to wait for Pride to celebrate and find community. However, they actually have two Pride’s, Ft Lauderdale Pride at the Beach in February and Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride in June if you want to vacation plan for a little extra fun.
Ft Lauderdale Transportation
We have family that lives an hour north of Ft Lauderdale and it took us an embarrassingly long time to discover how awesome the Tri-Rail is. The train is just one line making it almost impossible to get lost, which is a huge plus for me. The real key with the Tri-Rail is that it connects to both Ft Lauderdale and Miami International airport. So check the flight costs to both airports before booking. Coming from Cancun, Miami is always the best option and when we were coming from Baltimore it was always Ft. Lauderdale. Once we were in the city we used Uber and as always had a fantastic experience. They do also have a Sun Trolley and Water Taxi for you to get around.
Snuggle up at the B Ocean
The B Ocean is the perfect spot to lay your head. The first thing that jumps out as soon as you pull up is this hotel is right on the beach. We got there late on Friday evening and could feel the energy coming from the famous Wreck Bar, where they host mermaid shows! The lobby is large and spacious with another restaurant and a smaller grab and go style coffee shop. When we got to our room we were blown away by the floor to ceiling windows giving us a view of the pool and ocean. The room had everything we needed including a deliriously comfortable king size bed. We even spent one-night eating room service in that big bed watching a storm roll in over the ocean. It’s the little moments this still blow me away when thinking about the life that Meg and I share. The location really could not have been better for the stuff we planned to do. Obviously being on the beach is clutch but it’s also just a short ride from Wilton Manors where we ultimately spent a lot of our time.
Things to do
Wander the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
We don’t shop much but it was really nice to wander along the beach popping in and out of the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk Stores. There are also a ton of places to eat at all different price points. You can pretty much find whatever type of food you want and enjoy it with a great view. It is also the perfect location for a morning bike ride. When I was a kid we always rented bikes during our beach vacation and would ride them to get fresh cinnamon buns before the morning crowds. I’ll forever love beachside bike rides for the flood of memories they bring back.
Get Creative with the Hollywood Murals Project
Meg and I are complete suckers for street art, in Peru, we even took a full day walking tour and met an incredible artist further cementing the obsession. So when we found out about the Hollywood Murals Project we were really excited. Rather than exploring alone, my sister and brother in law we able to meet us from Boynton Beach. Being away from family is by far the hardest part of our nomadic life so it was great to spend some time with them just hanging out. They are also expecting their first child and our first niece! So we used the murals as a backdrop for a couple maternity shots. The murals are located pretty close together and the map is easy to navigate so you can see a bunch without walking forever.
Sightsee in a River Cruise
Take in the sights of the city from the water on a Riverfront Cruise. The boat is large and comfortable with three distinctly different places to take in the views. If you need a break from the hot summer sun you can duck into the air-conditioned dining room. The Captain of our boat was simultaneously hilarious and informative. They do have a bar on board so you can sip a few while imagining what life would be like if you lived in one of those Millionaires Row, homes.
Splash in the water
When we lived in Pennsylvania we flirted with the idea of buying a kayak because we love it so much. However, travel is all about pushing comfort zones right? So we opted for the paddleboards at Waterway Adventures which scared us both a little. It ended up being a bit of a workout but definitely the most fun workout I’ve had in a long time. Spotting wildlife as you cruise through the mangroves makes for a pretty perfect afternoon. Make sure you take plenty of sunblock or maybe wear long sleeves, talking from experience here.
Explore our history at the Stonewall Museum, Wilton Manors
For anyone new to our blog, Meg is actually really into LGBT history. Before making the jump to full time blogging her entire career was spent working for some of the biggest LGBT organizations in the country. She was totally in her element at the Stonewall National Museum & Archive and could have spent all day going through the archives with their Director of Programming and Education, Emory. I still have so much to learn about the history and intricacies of the community so for me, it was an incredible learning experience. I was fortunate to be there with my very own historian wife, but if you end up there the museum has an incredibly knowledgeable staff. Visiting, learning and preserving our history is so important to the ongoing progression of the community. Make the time to visit, you won’t regret it.
Sip on something strong in Wilton Manors
I’ve highlighted throughout the post all the amazing places in Wilton Manors that we visited and loved on this trip. One thing that can’t be skipped over is the amount of fantastic Ft Lauderdale gay bars located in Wilton Manors. The Pub Wilton Manors, Rumors Bar and Grill, and The Manor Complex are just a few of the options lining Wilton Drive. If you’re planning to spend most of your time here there are tons on LGBT Bed and Breakfast options within walking distance to Wilton Drive.
Dance along at the Mai Kai Polynesian Show
As always we asked our Uber drivers what they’d recommend us doing while we were in town and all of them mentioned the Mai Kai Polynesian Show. Luckily, we had a reservation for this popular spot already set up. The restaurant is high energy, crowded but oh so much fun. We arrived and were seated about 45 minutes prior to the start time of the show. It was the perfect amount of time so that we didn’t have to try to order and eat while the show was going on. The music was fun and the dancers were super talented. They did a traditional dance representing each of the islands, at the end even bringing out flaming torches. Our food was also excellent I had a steak and Meg went with Pad Thai.
Soak up the Sun
Taking time to lounge on the beach is a must during your visit to Ft. Lauderdale. We learned during this trip that our bodies have adjusted to the weather in Merida as we relaxed back in our chairs wearing long sleeves beside others in bikinis. The scorching summer heat or Florida “winter” there’s just something so calming and relaxing about being by the ocean. The Sebastian Street Beach, across from the Fort Lauderdale Ritz Carlton is the go-to gay beach in the area. Get there early and snag a spot especially if you’re visiting during pride.
World Aids Museum, Located in Wilton Manors
Visiting the World Aids Museum was probably the part of this trip that stuck with me the most. We went on the most amazing and informative tour with Ed. When you go, call ahead and request the guided tour, Ed’s conversational style delivery made the entire experience for me. I learned just how incredibly misinformed I’ve been on the topic for far too long. The museum is set up in chronological order so you’re able to see the progression of the disease. You’ll also find a really inspiring art gallery in the back even a mind-blowing piece from Ed himself. The museum is not only teaching the history but they are also going into schools and educating kids. Meg actually puts together an entire article just on this experience. Plus at the end, we got to see the coolest Keith Haring collection!
Where to Eat
Bubbles and Pearls, Wilton Manors
Our meal at Bubbles and Pearls was such a good reminder that a truly great dining experience includes fantastic food, welcoming atmosphere and friendly service. Every box that could have been checked was by the staff at Bubbles and Pearls team. The Owner and former Top Chef contestant Josie Smith Malave’s infectious personality gets you excited about being there and experiencing the food. They are of course known for their impeccably fresh oysters and delightful champagne menu so that is what we ordered along with blistered shishito peppers and housemade biscuits and pork belly. We had a couple glasses of champagne and finished off the meal with my favorite, key lime pie.
Voo La Voo Cafe, Wilton Manors
The beginning of our love story is equal parts love and crepe shops. Our first couple trips together we kept stumbling upon crepes, always squeezing each other’s hands as if the crepe shop on the corner served as confirmation we were exactly where we were supposed to be. We even had unexpected crepes in the middle, yes the middle of our wedding. Note to self: write a behind the scenes of our wedding day post. Way off track here, but we were feeling all extra in love n’ stuff and went on a search for crepes, landing us at Voo La Voo Cafe. The crepes were delicious, Meg ordered Nutella, banana and strawberry ($8) and I had the gorgonzola, bacon, green apple and walnut ($11). They also had fantastic iced coffee, which speaks directly to our hearts.
We love the convenience of having a really great restaurant in the hotel we’re staying in. Especially after a full day of exploring it’s nice to just walk downstairs to grab a bite. We went to Naked Crab for breakfast apparently starving because when we placed our order the waiter looked at us funny and said: “I really don’t think you two can eat all that”, challenge accepted sir. We had a basket of warm muffin tops, bacon and chocolate chip pancakes as well as a mountain of crab topping avocado toast. The service was great and I drank a day worth of calories in squeezed orange juice.
The food is always spectacular but for the full GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill experience make yourself sunset reservation. The restaurant isn’t overly fancy but serves super high-quality food and something about a sunset always feels a little romantic to me. We sat outside and watched the boats cruise by as we sipped on a glass of wine. For dinner Meg went with her seafood favorite, lobster and I did the same ordering some incredible crab legs. The prices are significantly higher than most other spots on this list but the food and atmosphere make it well worth it. We’d highly recommend this one as a date night spot.
Rosies Bar and Grill, Wilton Manors
After being outside of the US for so long everything on this classic dinner size menu had my heart fluttering. I am forever getting homesick for food and Rosie’s Bar and Grill has all my sandwich favorites. The decor is quirky and the menu had Meg cracking up with all the gay cultural references. Located right in the heart of Wilton Manors, it’s even crowded at lunchtime. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a harder time deciding what to order, I went with the grilled chicken wrap with feta and Greek dressing. I’m starting to get hungry just thinking about the menu.
Warsaw Coffee Company
I’m a sucker for a good industrial themed coffee shop and Warsaw Coffee fits the bill, its okay you can tell me I’m a little basic. You’ll want to take a photo of your coffee and put it on your IG stories too. The coffee was strong and the breakfast was tasty. We ordered at the counter and snagged a table to get a bit of work done early on a weekday morning. The steady stream of customers shows visitors and locals alike have picked up on this gem. I had a fruit and yogurt parfait, that really tasty chocolate granola on it. If you visit later in the day they also have an awesome craft beer selection.
Switchbox Coffee Roasters
Switchbox Coffee Roaster is a bit outside the traditional “tourist” area but the super trendy and cool coffee shop is worth the stop. After checking out of our hotel we had a bit of time before catching our train. Luckily we found some fantastic coffee and only a few stairs when we walked in with our large suitcase. They really focus on the beans and the roasting process to get the full flavor in each cup. We both had lattes because coffee is the one thing we’re predictable about.
La Docta is located sort of in the middle of the Hollywood Murals. We stopped for some midday fuel and were excited by the endless empanada options. They had flavors from different regions all around the world. My sister and brother in law are notoriously picky eaters so they were a bit skeptical but both ended up really enjoyed their meal. We all go the lunch special of two empanadas and a drink for $8. You can’t really beat that for a lunch special.