Although the Southwest Florida region does not aggressively promote itself as an LGBT destination, it is overall gay-friendly given its arts scenes and chic beaches. In Fort Myers, relatively secluded Bunche Beach is a favorite for the gay community as well as bird-lovers. The city has its share of bars frequented by the LGBT crowd.
Sarasota perhaps has the most to offer LGBT visitors in this region, starting with its robust theater, opera, ballet, film, and even circus calendar. For alternative entertainment, there are drag and cabaret-style burlesque shows, plus a gay and gay-friendly choral group called Diversity: The Voices of Sarasota. The series OUT@AsoloRep partners with LGBT organizations for award-winning theater and education.
Sarasota’s Harvey Milk Festival features live music, performance arts, contemporary theater, film, and political activism for three days in mid-May. In its eighth year in 2017, it is hosting 10 bands downtown at Five Points Park. The annual Sarasota Pride festival takes place in October, also downtown, with LGBT organizations’ exhibits, live music, food and arts.
Sarasota also boasts a number of gay-friendly bars. Plus, on the first Thursday of every month, different bars and restaurants throughout Sarasota host G2H2: Gay Guy Happy Hour; L2H2: Lesbian Lady Happy Hour takes place every third Thursday.