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Gay Miami: The Ultimate Gay Travel Guide 2024

We quickly realised on our first visit that Miami was welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers – more on that below – but we were very happy to discover just how gay Miami was.

We have been travelling to Miami every year for the past 6 years – we always find ourselves there when we take our annual Atlantis gay cruise, and we usually only spend a couple of days either side of the cruise – so our previous gay Miami experience was always a little limited.

However, this year we flew out a full week prior to the cruise, and so naturally we decided to really explore the full extent of ‘gay Miami.’

We loved checking out the different gay hotels in Miami, trying new gay bars, and even seeing what type of activities were on offer for gay travellers to Miami.

Here is everything you might need to know in our Gay Miami travel guide.

Is Miami Gay Friendly?

gay miami

Short answer – yes!

Miami has one of the largest and most prominent LGBTQ+ communities in the United States, and attracting over 1 million LGBTQ+ visitors each year has become known as somewhat of a gay mecca.

The Miami area has been gay-friendly for years; in fact, it is one of the few places in the world where the local LGBTQ+ community has their own chamber of commerce, the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC).

Whilst Greater Miami and Miami Beach are welcoming as a whole, the South Beach district in Miami Beach is the heart of the LGBTQ+ scene. It is here where the two popular gay hotels are located, as well as the majority of the gay nightlife.

It’s not uncommon at all to see fellow LGBTQ+ travellers out and about holding hands with their significant others, which is always great to see.

Safe to say we feel very comfortable as a gay couple whenever we are in Miami!

Things to do in Miami for Gay Travellers

There are countless things to do in Miami, both beach based in and around the iconic South Beach as well as in downtown Miami. And when it comes to things to do for gay travellers, we could of course focus on ‘the usual’ – gay nightlife, the gay scene and relaxing at the gay beach.

But during our most recent visit to Miami, especially as we had more time there, we wanted to delve a little deeper and experience more of what this destination had to offer – and we stayed busy!

Here are our personal recommendations for what gay travellers should do whilst in Miami.

Treetop Trekking Miami at Jungle Island

miami gay guide

This is something that was right up our street!

Treetop Trekking Miami is located at Jungle Island eco-adventure park, on Watson Island (a man-made island connected to both mainland and South Beach by causeway) and is actually South Florida’s only aerial adventure park.

Strapped into a climbing harness (bit different to the harness we would wear the following week on Atlantis!), we explored the jungle canopy as we climbed, swung, navigated suspension bridges and zip-lined through the treetops.

There are a number of different treks you can do, to suit either age or experience, but naturally we had to go for the ‘’Thrill-Seeker’’ Trek – the most challenging option! Despite being a lot more work, and aching head to toe the following day, it was worth it for the views we had of the Miami skyline!

And being located at Jungle Island, either before or after your treetop-trek you are invited to explore Jungle Island too, and see the various wildlife such as flamingos, lemurs, and capybaras.

Find out more and book for yourself here.

Address : 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami FL 33132

Thriller Speedboat Adventure

Yet another thrill-seeking activity – this time on the water.

After our morning amongst the treetop canopies, we headed to downtown Miami to depart on our ‘’Thriller Speedboat’’ tour.

The tour departs from Bayside Marketplace and is a 45-minute sightseeing cruise onboard the Thiller Miami Speedboats. The tour was great fun, taking us along the Miami coastline, past the various islands in the Bay of Biscayne, including Star Island – which is home to various celebrity mansions, including J Lo and David Beckhams!

After the cruise is over, we highly recommend having a look around Bayside Marketplace, a two-story open air shopping centre. It is full of shops, bars, and many dining venues, and with a great view out to the Bay and the marina.

Book your own speedboat adventure here.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

gay guide to miami

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is the former villa and estate of a wealthy American businessman, located on Biscayne Bay in the Coconut Grove neighbourhood of Downtown Miami.

This huge 20th-century estate (dating back to 1916) is home to the villa itself, now a museum, and 50 acres of land, 10 acres of which are the stunning Italian Renaissance Gardens.

A National Historic Landmark, Vizcaya is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Greater Miami area, and we can see why! It has even been used as a filming location for many films, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bad Boys 2, and Iron Man 3.

For more information and to book tickets you can visit their website.

Address: 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33129

A meal at Giannis – the former Versace Mansion

We have been to Miami multiple times and can’t believe that this is the first time we went to eat at Giannis Restaurant – located at the former Versace Mansion!

The venue itself is stunning, as you would expect, being located in one of the most historic buildings in South Beach, but equally the service was flawless, and the food was delicious.

Giannis is open for both lunch and dinner, and it is highly recommended to make a reservation as early as possible.

We went for a lunch date, and both had the 3-course lunch menu which had plenty of choice, and we were shocked to discover was just $38 per person – an absolute steal considering the setting and the quality!

We already can’t wait to return and sample their dinner menu!

Book your table here.

Address: 1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Drag Brunch at Palace Bar and Restaurant, South Beach 

gay miami

We’ve been to a few drag brunches in our time, but Palace South Beach has to be the best we have been to! We enjoyed it so much that we even went back a second time – we can’t recommend it highly enough!

Palace has been the number 1 drag bar in Miami for over 30 years and we can see why! The queens performing are top of their game, and they certainly know how to work a crowd. The energy and atmosphere during the 2-hour show was incredible, exactly what we needed to wake us up after a night exploring the South Beach gay scene!

At the time of writing, the drag brunch is a fix price, at $55 per person for the brunch menu and 2 hours of bottomless mimosas.

The drag brunch is such a popular activity in South Beach that Palace offers two seatings Friday through Sunday, at 11am and 2pm, and have even added an additional show on Mondays at 12pm.

We strongly recommend booking as far in advance as you can as this does book up – reserve your table here.

Address: 1052 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139

Walk Ocean Drive to South Pointe

This was something we did most mornings during our visit, as we found it the perfect way to start our day!

Given that the jetlag coming from the UK is just enough to cause us to wake a couple of hours earlier, we decided we may as well get up and make the most of it. So, we grabbed a Starbucks, and set off walking down the Ocean Drive seafront promenade.

The walk itself is beautiful – and what we loved the most about walking down the promenade is that all the iconic images you picture when you think about Miami become a reality – people roller skating, topless men working out on the sand, power walkers with their morning coffees and smoothies, and countless joggers sprinting alongside their dogs!

We walked down the paved promenade all the way to South Pointe Park – a beautiful green space right at the southern-most tip of Miami Beach. The view from here is incredible, especially if you head out to the end of the pier. You can see the skyline of Downtown Miami, Port Miami and the cruise ships docked here, as well as the shoreline of South Beach stretching north.

South Pointe Park itself is relatively small but lovely to walk around – there is a small playground, picnic and barbeque facilities, a jungle gym, and if you have come down here to exercise, there are several winding paths throughout the park for running, cycling or roller skating.

There is also direct beach access from South Pointe Park, with chairs and umbrellas available for rental.

Check out Muscle Beach, I mean, Lummus Park

gay muscle beach

Okay, we had to include this one. I mean, it’s an iconic location within South Beach, and so of course we had to stop by and check it out – and not just for the eye candy.

Muscle Beach is located within Lummus Park, which is itself found between 5th Street and 14th Place and nestled between Ocean Drive and the actual beach. Lummus Park is more than just Muscle Beach – it’s home to a playground, paved pathways for running, cycling and rollerblading, benches to sit and read and people watch, volleyball courts, but of course, for us, the main attraction was Muscle Beach Fitness Area, found adjacent to 9th Street.

Whilst the name given to the actual beach here, Muscle Beach is also the name of the outdoor fitness area for exercise, weightlifting, and gymnastics. For people who prioritize working out whilst on vacation, this is a must-visit location, as one of the best things about Muscle Beach is it is open to all and free to use!

Whilst Sion was keen to get stuck in, I was more content sat on a bench and watching the tanned and toned locals working up a sweat.

Gay Hotels in Miami

Being such a welcoming destination for LGBTQ+ travellers, it’s of little to no surprise that there are many gay and gay friendly hotels in Miami to choose from. So many in fact, that we wrote a dedicated blog post listing the top gay hotels in Miami to help you choose for your next trip.

But for the purposes of this post, we wanted to share with you the two gayest hotels in Miami that we stayed at during our most visit to Miami.

AxelBeach Miami, South Beach

gay hotel miami

If you’ve been following our travels over the years, then you will already know that we are huge fans of the Axel chain of hotels, having stayed at many of their properties in Europe.

We love that they describe themselves as ‘hetero-friendly,’ as well as their playful touches across all their hotels such as the iconic ‘Please Disturb’ signs to hang on your door.

AxelBeach Miami has all of the usual features of the Axel brand but is also very much a property with its own style and character.

Quite a lot of buildings in South Beach, in particular along Ocean Drive and the parallel Collins Avenue, are built in the Art Deco architecture style. In fact, South Beach Miami holds the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world, and whilst many hotels are trendy and modern inside, a lot of work is being done to preserve the character and external façades of these historic buildings.

AxelBeach is no exception, and the hotel maintains many elements of its original Art Deco design, such as the ornamental fountain at the hotel’s entrance, and the windows.

The hotel has of course been modernized, with facilities such as the hot tub, poolside restaurant, outdoor bar with dance floor, gym and spa all being added.

The hotel is also adults only – always a plus in our eyes and couldn’t have a more central location within South Beach – just one block to Ocean Drive and the beach, and also walking distance to the gay beach.

Take a look at the availability and book your stay at AxelBeach Miami.

Address: 1500 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Hotel Gaythering, South Beach

gay miami guide

We have stayed at plenty of gay and gay-friendly hotels over the years, but we both agree that the Hotel Gaythering in South Beach has to be the gayest hotel in which we have ever stayed!

We thought Axel was cheeky with their ‘Please Disturb’ signs, but Hotel Gaythering takes cheeky touches to another level. The hotel tagline is ‘where gay men stay and play,’ and they even class themselves as ‘the gayest hotel in Miami Beach’ – we can certainly see why!

The hotels primary target market is definitely gay male guests, and with its provocative style and naughty room touches, it delivers!

We loved the artwork around the hotel, the fact that the floors were labelled as ‘top,’ ‘vers’ and ‘bottom’ in the elevator, and the mini store at reception selling toys, lube, and poppers.

And for more of the touches that we shouldn’t really mention here, you can check out our Instagram reel where we show you exactly why it really is the gayest hotel in Miami.

Hotel Gaythering even has an onsite gay male sauna, complete with jacuzzi, dry sauna, steam room and even cabins to get to know your new acquaintance better – unless you decide to head upstairs to your room of course. After all, the sauna is free for hotel guests, and only $25 for a day pass for non-guests.

And if all of the above isn’t enough to convince you to stay at Hotel Gaythering, they even have an onsite bar with nightly events such as drag bingo, a shuttle bus to the nude beach, complimentary beach chairs, and complimentary bike hire.

Check it out for yourselves and let us know if you think it is the gayest hotel!

Address: 1409 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Gay-Friendly Hotels in Miami

It’s fair to say that you will be welcomed with open arms pretty much whichever hotel you choose to stay at in Miami, especially in and around Miami Beach/South Beach.

We have listed the two hotels below based on our personal experience of staying there during our most recent visit, but again check out our full list of gay and gay friendly hotels here.

The Balfour Hotel, South Beach

gay friendly hotel miami

The Balfour Hotel was where we first stayed when we arrived in Miami on our recent visit, and we had a fantastic stay here.

This boutique hotel is located in the heart of South Beach and is another beautiful property that falls under the category of historic Art Deco architecture.

The Balfour Hotel is on Ocean Drive, meaning you couldn’t be any closer to the beach. The hotel even provides complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas. And being on Ocean Drive, the hotel is also walking distance to the shopping and dining options that Ocean Drive is well-known for.

Address: 350 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Kimpton EPIC, Downtown Miami

gay friendly hotel miami

Our most recent visit to Miami came before our annual Atlantis cruise, which is always a crazy and very exhausting week.

Whilst we loved the time we spent in South Beach, we wanted a couple of days immediately prior to sailing to switch off and relax – and Kimpton EPIC was the perfect choice to do that!

We have always loved the Kimpton hotel chain because of how supportive they are of the LGBTQ+ community; both the Kimpton brand and their parent group IHG Hotels have done some incredible work, such as being proud supporters of Trevor Project – so stepping foot in one of their properties you immediately feel welcomed as a gay traveller!

Kimpton EPIC is a gorgeous 4-star property located in downtown Miami, away from South Beach and all its temptations, which we needed!

The hotel is a luxurious property, with two rooftop pools, two onsite restaurants, a fully equipped gym, and a poolside bar serving delicious craft cocktails. Every guest room also comes with a private balcony, with incredible ocean views.

And for travellers that are visiting Miami pre/post-cruising, the hotel is a short taxi ride to the cruise terminals, making it the perfect choice all-round.

Address: 270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131

Gay Bars in Miami

Miami Beach, and in fact Greater Miami, has long had a reputation for being a hotspot for LGBTQ+ travellers in search of gay nightlife.

Whether you are looking for a boozy drag brunch or drag show, quiet social drinks with friends, or looking to dance the night away in a nightclub, there is something to suit everyone in Miami.

One thing to note however, which is unfortunate to say, is that like most big cities, some of the gay bars in Miami have a reputation for pickpocketing. So please be careful with your phone / other belongings.

Twist, South Beach

gay bar miami

Twist is quite possibly Miami’s most famous gay bar, having been in operation for almost 30 years. We love their motto – ‘’never a cover, always a groove’’ – and this has been the case every time we have visited!

Spread across two floors, with 7 bars and 3 dance floors to choose from, Twist will always have something on to suit everyone. Open 7 nights a week, and with happy hour specials as well as different nightly events, such as drag shows, go-go dancers, Twist is a must visit for gay travellers to Miami.

Address: 1057 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Nathans Beach Club, South Beach

Nathan’s Beach Club is another of South Beach’s best-known gay bars, with its central location on Washington Avenue, and just a few blocks from Twist.

Nathan’s is a slightly more ‘chill’ venue, the front bar is almost more of a classy lounge, and on weekends there is a speakeasy style back room.

During the week, most nights are themed with a DJ and dancing, so it’s the perfect choice for a midweek night out, and on a weekend is a great place to start your night.

Address: 1216 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Bar Gaythering at Hotel Gaythering, South Beach

gay guide miami

Located inside the popular hotel, this lobby bar is a well-known meeting point for many of South Beach’s LGBTQ+ residents, and so for visitors to Miami it is the perfect place to meet locals and dip your toes into the local gay scene.

The bar hosts multiple theme nights during the week, as well as various events – karaoke, trivia nights, and drag bingo to name just a few.

And with a daily happy hour 5pm to 8pm, with 50% off drinks, why wouldn’t you come and check it out!

Address: 1409 Lincoln Rd F1, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Palace Bar and Restaurant, South Beach 

We have already introduced you to Palace above in relation to their super popular drag brunch, but Palace is more than just a brunch spot.

This iconic Ocean Drive gay bar is the number one drag bar and restaurant in Miami Beach, so of course you need to swing by whilst checking out the South Beach nightlife offerings.

Palace queens perform every night, between 7pm and 11pm, with shows roughly every 15 minutes. We highly recommend stopping by, trying one of their delicious craft cocktails, and letting the high energy performances give your night out a great kickstart!

Address: 1052 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Azucar Nightclub

If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat than sitting in a South Beach bar, then Azucar Nightclub could be the choice for you.

Located just off Coral Way, in downtown Miami, Azucar Nightclub is a lively LGBTQ+ nightclub catering towards Miami’s thriving Latino community.

The nightclub specializes in drag – with various cabaret shows, performances and comedy events throughout the week, as well as of course, being somewhere to dance the night away on a weekend.

Address: 2301 SW 32nd Ave, Miami, FL 33145

Sky Bar at AxelBeach Miami, South Beach

gay miami

One of the common elements most Axel hotels share is their ‘Sky Bar,’ and AxelBeach Miami is no different.

Sky Bar at AxelBeach Miami is an al fresco bar, situated behind the hotel within the tropical courtyard, surrounded by palm trees. It’s the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a refreshing cocktail before hitting the cool light-up ice-block dance floor!

Address: 1500 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Miami Gay Beach

miami gay guide

Like any beach destination with a large gay population, and gay scene, it goes without saying that at least one beach becomes ‘the gay beach’ – even if unofficially!

And Miami goes as far as to have two beaches to choose from – 12th Street Gay Beach, in the South Beach area of Miami, and Haulover Gay Beach, which is a little further north.

12th Street Gay Beach is pretty easy to find and get to, especially if you are staying in South Beach, where most of the gay nightlife is. You would just walk down 12th Street until you hit Ocean Drive, cross over onto the beach, and look out for the rainbow painted lifeguard tower, which is even numbered ‘12’.

Haulover Gay Beach is a little further away, roughly 12 miles north of South Beach, and so you would need to use public transport or have access to a car to get here. However, you might feel it is worth the journey because Haulover is a ‘nude’ beach. Whilst it’s technically ‘not legal’ to be nude in Florida, Haulover Beach has an officially designated clothing-optional area, the only one in the entire state.

We have written a detailed guide to both of these Miami beaches and how to find them, as well as a couple of other beaches you may wish to visit, here.

Gay Saunas in Miami

Despite being such a gay-friendly destination, there are actually not many gay saunas in Miami. It doesn’t seem like bathhouses are quite as popular in the States as they are in Europe. But, for gay travellers looking for a good time, there are two gay bathhouses/saunas to choose from whilst in Miami.

The Sauna at Hotel Gaythering, Miami South Beach

miami gay guide

As mentioned above, being such a gay hotel, it’s hardly a surprise that one of the amenities at Hotel Gaythering is a male only sauna.

Complimentary for hotel guests, visitors are welcome to visit the sauna with a day-pass fee of $25, or should you wish to visit more than once, a 30-day pass is just $100.

The sauna offers a dry sauna, a steam room, a jacuzzi, and a few private cabins. The sauna is open daily, but operating hours vary depending on weekday and weekend, as well as entry hours varying depending on if you are a hotel guest or a visit so it’s best to check locally before arrival.

Address: 1409 Lincoln Rd F1, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Club Aqua, Coral Gables, Downtown Miami

Club Aqua is the other main sauna in Miami, located downtown, and is actually more of a ‘health-club’ with its wide range of amenities:

  • Fully equipped gym
  • Steam room
  • Dry sauna
  • Outdoor pool
  • Sundeck
  • Video lounge

Despite all the above offerings, Club Aqua is actually very reasonably priced, with a one-off visit costing just $12 on a weekday, and $15 on a weekend, (both plus tax). And being open 24/7, it should be pretty easy to schedule a visit on your next trip to Miami!

Address: 2991 Coral Wy, Miami, FL 33145

Places to Eat in Miami

It would be absolutely impossible for us to list all the places we have eaten during our various trips to Miami over the years.

But during our most recent visit, we visited the below three dining venues, and absolutely loved them all for different reasons, and so felt that we had to include them as personal recommendations!

Giannis at the Former Versace Mansion

We have already told you about our lunch date visit to Giannis – but this place is seriously too good to miss!

Giannis is predominantly an Italian / Mediterranean restaurant and is open for both lunch and dinner. Just make sure you make a reservation!

We visited for lunch, where the menu consists of three courses for just $38 per person, with plenty of choice to suit us. The dinner menu is a little more extensive, also introducing more fish and seafood onto the menu.

The setting of the restaurant is definitely unique and adds to the experience – sitting at a table alongside the stunning gold-lined mosaic pool – and the food is absolutely delicious.

We definitely can’t wait to return on our next visit to Miami.

Address: 1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

El Turco

This place was absolutely fantastic, and definitely one to visit!

We have never ventured beyond South Beach on our previous trips to Miami, but we are so glad that we did as we had the most delicious lunch at El Turco – and we would definitely leave South Beach again just to eat here!

El Turco brands itself as ‘’the best Turkish food in South Florida’’ – and we can believe it! The restaurant is located in Upper Buena Vista in downtown Miami, in the Design District, so couple a lunch here with exploring the area. They also offer all day dining options.

The food here is so good, it is even on the Michelin Guide, winning the Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, but we also loved the location – within a shopping enclave, in an oak tree sheltered courtyard, it really was a hidden gem.

El Turco serves traditional, authentic Turkish food – we loved everything we ate and will definitely be back.

Address: 5026 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137

Palace South Beach

gay miami

You know a place is worth a visit when you include it in your blog post three times! But we can’t recommend Palace South Beach highly enough.

We have already introduced you to their drag brunch, recommended it as one of South Beach’s top gay bars, but it is also a brilliant dining venue to add to your list.

Of course, you can dine here if you visit for one of their weekend/Monday drag brunches – just take your pick from a menu with traditional brunch fare – pancakes, steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, French toast etc.

But actually, when visiting for lunch or dinner, Palace has an extensive menu, with everything from tacos, to burgers, to pasta dishes – and of course, all accompanied by a big serving of drag!

Being so popular with its Ocean Drive location, we highly recommend booking a table if you want to visit and dine and watch the shows, even if coming midweek.

Address: 1052 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Clearly, Miami has a lot to offer gay travellers – and it’s easy to see why we have fallen in love with Miami!

We will be back in Miami for our Atlantis gay cruise in 2025 and already can’t wait to explore more of this iconic gay friendly destination!