When Richard Gray opened The Royal Palms doors in 1991, it kicked aside the last remnants of Fort Lauderdale's reputation as an out-of-control spring break destination and heralded the gay sea change to come. Now, this groundbreaking property is an anchor for one of the world's top-rated gay resort destinations.
Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 150 gay-operated businesses, many of which are concentrated in the clearly defined gayborhood of cafes, bars and shops along Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors. The sands at Sebastian Street mark the city's official gay beach, a swath of oceanfront that playfully reinvents the Where the Boys Are motif of yesteryear for modern travelers. (It's an easy 10-minute walk south of the Royal Palms.)
Few other destinations can compare to the diversity of gay nightlife here – from casual sports pubs to downtown dance clubs, leather bars to drag cabaret – and it's all attitude-free. Throw into the mix chic seaside restaurants, expansive shopping, and a wildly beautiful subtropical wilderness and it's an irresistible package. Now you just need to figure out how to add more days to your vacation…