Although it's still a hugely popular destination among gay travelers, and it's the site of such blowout galas each year as the Miami Winter Party in March and the Miami Beach White Party in November, Miami is less the destination for gay cruising and sex than it was in the '80s and '90s—much of that scene has moved just north to Fort Lauderdale.
But Miami is still home to one of the longest-running gay bathhouses in the country, and it's home to a pair of beaches with enormously loyal gay followings. In other words, guys on the make will still find some very easy opportunities to meet other guys. It's an especially hot destination among gay men from throughout Latin America, as Miami remains very much a mecca with gay guys from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, and elsewhere in the Caribbean and South America.
The city's main sex plex is Club Aqua Miami (2991 Coral Way, 305-448-2214), which back when it opened in the early 1970s went by the name Body Center. Located just north of the city's historic gay enclave, Coconut Grove, and about 5 miles west-by-southwest of downtown Miami, this spacious, expansive facility still has a popular spot among some, especially Hispanic and Afro-Latino guys of all ages. The management actively courts younger men by offering free entry and lockers for up to four hours to any guys between the ages of 18 and 24, but the crowd is—as at many bathhouses—pretty varied in age, depending on when you come here. This also means it can be a bit hit-or-miss as far as finding a decent number of guys to hang out with.
Unfortunately, the club is in somewhat mediocre condition and could use a refurbishment. It's an option, for sure, but if you're staying in South Beach, where it's a 25- to 35-minute drive depending on traffic, a visit here may not be worth the effort, especially if you don't have a rental car and are taking a cab.
Miami's Gay Beaches
Another option for hooking up in Miami is heading to one of the popular gay beaches. There are two choices, and they're very different, each with its own pros and cons. The most famous of these is the 12th Street Gay Beach, which has a convenient location in South Beach within walking distance of countless swanky hotels and several gay bars—it's actually just across sceney Ocean Boulevard from the iconic gay bar and grill, the Palace. If you're a fan of toned and tanned bodies, this is a lovely place to relax for a few hours—the eye candy is impressive. However, it's in no way secluded, and swimsuits or other attire are required, so consider this more a place to admire and mingle with guys, not to get down with them. It's very easy to find this one—just walk from 12th Street at Ocean toward the water, and you'll see the many rainbow flags.
The beach in Miami where you're apt to encounter explicit cruising is Haulover Beach (10800 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), which is one of the most famous and popular clothing-optional beaches in the country. It's well north of South Beach, about a 30-minute (10-mile) drive up Route A1A from South Beach, easily reached via Bus 120, which runs along the shore. From downtown Miami, it's also about a 30-minute drive—take I-95 north to NW 95th Street east, then U.S. 1 north to the Broad Causeway (Rte 922), which leads across the bay to Route A1A, onto which your turn north. Once you arrive, park at the northern end of parking lot No. 1 (it's $5 for the day), walk through the pedestrian tunnel, and stroll out onto this lovely stretch of sand.
Typically, hundreds of gay men flock here, and it's quite easy to locate the gay scene. In comparison with the more see-and-be-seen beachfront in South Beach, Haulover is a lot of laid-back, appealing to all ages, shapes, and sizes, and drawing some women along with the guys. Sexual activity is not permitted (the police do patrol the beach, and you do risk arrest), but there are definitely plenty of guys here cruising and making connections.
Nearby Fun in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County
In less than 30 minutes by car, you can also avail yourself of the extensive gay bathhouse scene of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, just north, which also has numerous clothing-optional men's resorts, some of which sell day passes. A lot of guys in South Beach prefer the scene up north at places like Club Fort Lauderdale and the Slammer to Miami's Club Aqua.