by Ed Walsh, SF Gay Travel Examiner

If you are tired of the Bay Area cold and are considering a trip to Florida, it doesn’t get any gayer than Fort Lauderdale.  Just 30 minutes north of Miami, the Greater Fort Lauderdale area boasts more gay clubs and gay resorts than Miami and Key West combined.

And airfares are dirt cheap now.  Just after Christmas, I found a roundtrip fare from SFO to Fort Lauderdale for as little as $215!  Check out my favorite flight search engine, sidestep.com, for the very lowest fare from your closest Bay Area airport.

The City of Fort Lauderdale’s next-door neighbor is Wilton Manors, one of the gayest cities in the country.  According to City-Data.com, the small city of just 13,000 has the highest percentage of gay male couples of any US city.   Estimates put its gay population at 40-50%.   While almost all the gay resorts are in Fort Lauderdale, most of the gay nightclubs are in Wilton Manors.  Unlike Key West and Miami Beach, where you are better off without a car, it’s a good idea to rent a car in Fort Lauderdale if you want to explore the city’s nightclubs and dining scene.   But if you are content to stay at the beach, you can get along without wheels.

Accommodations

If you want to be in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, close to all the bars, clubs, gay restaurants and the most popular gay area Wilton Drive, you should stay at the Cabanas Gay Guesthouse and Spa. The Cabanas is the only gay guesthouse and spa in Wilton Manors and is just a short walk from exciting Wilton Drive.  This gated private resort is also the only gay waterfront resort in Ft. Lauderdale, and once inside you’ll know why The Cabanas Guest house is a perfect gay bed and breakfast. The tropical settings of palm trees, lush foliage, and serenity are what make our accommodations unique.  Once you see the beautiful waterfront accommodations, you’ll know why The Cabanas Guesthouse was voted Best Gay Guesthouse Accommodations by the “Peoples Choice Awards.”

Nightlife

The club scene is centered in Wilton Manors with Georgie’s Alibi and the Boom nightclub which are part of a strip mall that includes a wide variety of gay-focused clothing stores and shops. One of the newest gay clubs in town, Scandals,  is western-themed and already attracts a big following.   Sidelines Sports  Bar features flat screen televisions, pool and darts. The Cloud Nine Lounge  is a lesbian club in Davie, which is just southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

The Sights

Fort Lauderdale (pop. 186,000) is a city of canals where the super-rich can ride their million-dollar yachts up to their multimillion dollar homes.  The famous Jungle Queen Riverboat  is good way to get an up-close look at how the other half lives in style along the canals.

The huge Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, just across the street from Fort Lauderdale beach, affords great views of some of the canals   The park offers some great cycling, picnicking and you can even take a guided Segway tour of the park, offered by the MCruz Rentals concession in the park.  Or if you want to go supergreen, they will also rent you a bike.

Eating Out

The super-rich of Fort Lauderdale support some of the finest restaurants you will find anywhere in Florida.     The Trina restaurant is the signature restaurant for the Atlantic Resort and Spa.  It features Mediterranean dishes.   You can dine outside overlooking Fort Lauderdale beach.

Other gay favorites include the gay-owned and operated Hi-Life Café with fine dining by candlelight, and the newly opened Lips which is beautifully decorated to resemble a jewel case.  The dinner here includes a drag show here.

If you need assistance with your travel arrangements, contact The Cabanas Guesthouse and Spa