Everyone under the Sun: As gay couple travelers, we had been eagerly anticipating the LGBTQ+ festival Pride of the Americas (POTA) in Fort Lauderdale for years after its cancellation in the spring of 2020. Naturally, we were excited to experience our first pride event in 2023, also the first-ever Pride of the Americas, presented by Visit Lauderdale. POTA promised to attract guests from all over the North, Central, and South of the USA and the Caribbean. And while our time in Wilton Minors flew by, we were looking forward to joining in the festivities and celebrating our community, the LGBTQ+ community. Enjoy our best photos of Pride of the Americas = Pride in Fort Lauderdale and see the rainbow celebration in the US-American South-East through a Couple of Men‘s eyes.
– in paid collaboration with Visit Greater Fort Lauderdale –
Best of Pride of the Americas 2023 in Fort Lauderdale
On the first day of the festival, Friday, February 10th, we attended Pride on the Drive, an outdoor event that took over the Shoppes of Wilton Manors parking lot. The event featured two stages with acclaimed international club DJ/Producers Thunderpuss (Chris Cox and Barry Harris), as well as Caribbean music and entertainment.
The crowd’s mood was electric, with dancing bears, twinks, cubs, and all the other handsome people from the queer community in Greater Fort Lauderdale. And so was the rainbow-colored atmosphere at the big party at the Hunters Nightclub, where we danced the night away with our friends Jose and Dyron from Miami. We couldn’t wait for the parade the next day.
We found some great deals with flights worldwide and in Europe via Amsterdam (and return) with gay-friendly KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. That includes direct connections with KLM or their partner airlines, Air France and Delta Air Lines. *subject to availability / last check: 2023
Fort Lauderdale Pride Parade 2023
The following day, we just had to fall out of our beds, get dressed in our rainbow pride outfits, grab a quick late breakfast and head over to the beginning of the Pride of the Americas’ Parade. The parade stepped off at noon, following scenic GAY1A (Route A1A) along the beach. The parade was free and open to the public, and we were thrilled to see the crowds of people who came out to support the local LGBTQ+ community.
Music groups from schools, colorfully decorated trucks, drag queens, and several queer groups representing almost all letters of the LGBTQ+ acronym alike definitely ranked among our highlights. Of course, we can’t forget to mention the enormous rainbow flag that had to be carried by at least a dozen volunteers because it was so big. We also mingled with the demonstrators, took photos and videos, and danced happily and in love in front of the dreamlike sight of the rainbow flag in front of the turquoise waters of the Atlantic.
For the second part of our summer holiday in Fort Lauderdale, we stayed at the Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, just a block from the white sandy beach overlooking the Intracoastal Highway. And we should find out why Fort Lauderdale is also known as the “Venice of America”.
The hotel has been recently refurbished in a vintage Floridian style. Our highlights were the spectacular rooftop terrace with a pool overlooking the intercostal highway.
1st edition of the Pride of the Americas
The Pride of the Americas festival was a testament to the progress that has been made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Seeing people from all over the Americas come together to celebrate diversity and love was heartwarming. Fort Lauderdale itself is a welcoming and diverse community with one of the largest concentrations of LGBTQ+ households in the nation. No wonder, Greater Fort Lauderdale remains a popular destination for gay and lesbian travelers year-round.
Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park
The parade flowed directly into the new Pride festival site at Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park, which opened its gates at around 1 pm. The festival site was impressive, with various vendors, food and drink stalls from all over the Caribbean, and a huge entertainment stage for diverse artists. But also smaller shops and booths of the local LGBTQ+ community were set in between. These included the multitude of medical services, which made an essential contribution to the fight against AIDS, from HIV tests to PREP education.
We spent the afternoon exploring the site hand in hand and enjoying the festivities, trying some delicious delicacies here and there. As the evening approached, we made our way to the main stage, where international recording artist Boy George gave an entire concert to a packed crowd singing along and was equipped with LED lights. It was an incredible experience, and we were grateful to have been a part of it.
Over 45 years of Pride in Fort Lauderdale
As we reflected on our time at the Pride of the Americas’ festival, going through all our photos and videos, we couldn’t help but think about the history of Pride Fort Lauderdale. The festival has been serving the LGBTQ+ community for over 45 years, and its mission is to bring awareness and unite the LGBTQ+ community through its annual Pride Festival and Parade. This long history underscores Fort Lauderdale’s exceptional position as one of the most queer-friendly cities in Florida, in fact, in the entire United States of America.
The United States of America is a great country to travel to. Especially the more prominent cities along its East and West coast conquered our hearts during our travels as an openly gay couple in the past couple of years. But where to stay? Where to go? What to do? We give answers to your questions about a gay-friendly gaycation in the USA!
Pride in Fort Lauderdale and beyond…
For us, the first-ever Pride of the Americas in Fort Lauderdale in 2023 was a gigantic success. As an openly gay traveling couple, we were proud to be a part of it and to celebrate with our fellow LGBTQ+ community members coming from all over the world. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Pride Fort Lauderdale and the Pride of the Americas festival. But we definitely want to make sure to be back for Pride or a relaxed, free, accessible, and safe vacation in Fort Lauderdale.
Queer Faces of Pride of the Americas 2023
Don’t say Gay? Keep saying Gay!
In recent years, the LGBTQ+ and gay community in Florida has faced significant challenges in terms of equal rights and representation. In 2020, Florida had the highest number of reported hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals in the country. Transgender individuals face even higher rates of discrimination and violence. Additionally, there has been the controversy over including queer LGBTQ+ literature in school curriculums, with some conservative groups advocating for censorship. Despite these challenges, many organizations and advocacy groups are working to support and uplift the LGBTQ+ community in Florida, such as Equality Florida and the Orlando Youth Alliance.
Read more from the National Education Association >
Known for its vibrant nightlife, welcoming LGBTQ+ community, and various queer venues and attractions, Wilton Manors in the suburbs of Fort Lauderdale is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a fun and inclusive vacation in Florida. Read more about our time in Wilton Manors with tips and our highlights.
Interesting Posts for Your Pride Travels
- Read all about our Gay Pride Trips around the world >
- All about our Gay Travels around the world as an openly Gay Couple >
- Reviews of Hotels around the world: Gay-friendly tested Hotels >
Time to plan your trip to Fort Lauderdale for the Pride of the Americas
We are curious: Did you ever attend Fort Lauderdale Pride in the U.S. state of Florida? It was our first time, but definitely not the last time, in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Lucky us, we still have some days to explore the local queer community and the “second-gayest city in the USA”, Wilton Manors.
Fort Lauderdale in February is just the perfect place for us sun-hungry North Europeans to get some sun, and a light tan on the skin while not having to handle the humid heat of the summer. We will share our experience in our Gay Travel Fort Lauderdale Guide soon!
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Would you like to learn more about us gay travel bloggers and experience our queer adventures with us? Then stay tuned and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram! See you in Florida, Wilton Manors, or on one of our next Gay Pride trips worldwide!
Karl & Daan.
We want to thank Visit Lauderdale, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and the Cabanas Guesthouse & Spa for the invitation, support, and opportunity to experience Fort Lauderdale in an accessible and authentic way.