Jax is back, and for LGBT travelers, it’s bigger than ever. It’s long been the largest city proper in Florida, but it was recently ranked among the top five “emerging cities of gays and lesbians” by The Advocate; growth within that community has been brilliantly explosive. This beach- and riverfront—St. John’s, to be precise—hot spot has become even more so with the burgeoning San Marco, Riverside, Springfield, and Avondale areas. Conveniently in or around the downtown areas, these historic, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods aren’t hard to find.

Riverside and South Bank’s San Marco, bastions of history and, now, gay social life, are leading the march to progressiveness, the latter’s upscale businesses, including a theater and a gay bathhouse, anchoring it. However, Riverside currently has the advantage, with Historic Five Points—an eclectic, young neighborhood that caters to the artistic and the alternative—housing many of Jacksonville’s gay bars, dining, retail, and culture, at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Nearby Avondale delivers a more refined experience with its notable restaurants. Of course, no visit to Florida is complete without a stop at the beach! Find the oldest gay bar in the region at Bo’s Coral Reef on Jacksonville Beach. Need more great outdoors? There’s 80,000 acres of parkland and shoreline between all the businesses and museums to explore.

Good to Know

  • Lively and actively expanding gay scene
  • San Marco, Riverside, and Avondale form the primary hubs
  • Generally inclusive
  • Gay marriage legal since January 2015

Featured Resorts:

Omni Amelia Island Plantation and The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation Resort


Set on 1,350 acres between the beaches of the Atlantic and the marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway, lies this secluded island paradise offering a wondrous resort experience.

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