As I send good thoughts to my many friends in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastal regions who are contending with Hurricane Sandy, I'll post about a part of the country that has experienced quite a few huge tropical storms over the years: southwestern Florida's Gulf Coast, with its inviting and relaxing hubs of Fort Myers, and 45 miles south, Naples. Although the gay tourism market isn't as developed in this part of the state as it is a bit up the coast, in St. Petersburg and Tampa, this stretch of beautiful white-sand beaches and posh resort isles like Sanibel and Marco Island does receive its share of LGBT visitors.
Many who come here are seeking out a quieter vibe, an ideal destination for families, and an alternative to the party scene that dominates top Florida gay destinations, like Miami (with its White Party coming up soon) and Fort Lauderdale. Still, if you should find yourself visiting the southwestern Gulf Coast, and you are up for a night on the town, or meeting a few like-minded souls for drinks and dancing, do keep in mind the handful of gay bars in the region, all of them drawing a mix of men and women, and even quite a few straight folks. With that in mind, check out our Naples Gay Nightlife Guide and Fort Myers Gay Nightlife Guide.