Meet Florida’s Other Half

St.Pete's Beach pier as seen in ManAboutWorld, the gay travel magazine
The beautiful St. Pete Beach pier

This month, we hit the road, up and down Florida’s west coast, intent on solving one of the great travel mysteries of our time: if the Gulf Coast of Florida is still in the shadow of Miami, then how the hell is it so sunny? It’s a good question and one we were determined to get to the bottom of. And we mean “the bottom.” So we set out to explore some of the Gulf Coast’s best cities: St. Petersburg and Tampa and their small town neighbors like the pristine family harbor town of Clearwater, and the strange Greek enclave of Tarpon Springs. We drove down to Sarasota, and further still to the idyllic islands of Captiva and Sanibel, where we sailed into sunsets and watched dolphins leap like trapeze artists.

And what we found was a region ready to burst out of the shadow of Miami and into its own as Florida’s undiscovered gay hot spot. We found cities like St. Petersburg, young and bustling with first-rate museums and cool, hipster restaurants, a vibrant live music scene and cute gay boys holed up inside straight bars.

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Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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