Although South Beach encompasses only a fraction of the 17.1 square miles that comprise Miami Beach, the area maintains a high profile in the LGBT community. Since the mid-to-late 1980s, South Beach has held a reputation as an LGBT haven, standing alongside San Francisco and NYC as an accepting and open city. That tradition continues on today, as South Beach culture has become nearly synonymous with the LGBT lifestyle.

Here’s a guide to why, where, and how to get plugged into the LGBT community in Miami Beach.

If South Beach is all about going big (and it is), its most fitting LGBT experiences are the White and Winter Parties. The White Party is an annual event held during Thanksgiving week. In 2014, it celebrated its 30th anniversary. What started as a one-night fundraising event is now a weeklong affair that houses no less than 13 of the city’s wildest events, attracting celebrities as diverse as Madonna, Calvin Klein, Jennifer Lopez and Yoko Ono. It’s serious about its fundraising too.

Every year, the White Party in South Beach raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the LGBT organization Care Resource, which is devoted to assisting those affected by HIV/AIDS. Bookending every winter is the appropriately named Winter Party. It too raises funds for local LGBT organizations, along with earning the distinction of throwing the biggest gay beach party in North America with more than 10,000 guests from around the globe. For a more local-centric event, head to Pride every April where South Beach hosts its biggest LGBT parade right on Ocean Drive.

Given South Beach’s renowned nightlife, you don’t need a special event to have a great experience. The longest running gay bar in South Beach and staple of the LGBT scene is Twist. With two floors, seven bars, DJs playing the hottest club music, and a 5 a.m. closing time, it’s no surprise Twist is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. For a slightly more chill vibe, check out The Cabaret, where you can see live shows every single night of the week.

Of course, a trip to South Beach would not be complete without a trip to the actual beach! Luckily, Gay Beach on 12th Street is there to meet your beach needs. You can find it by following the giant rainbow flags blowing in the sunny South Beach breeze.

Blue Moon Hotel is proud to offer the LGBT Unity package, providing support to our local LGBT community via a split donation to the LGBT Visitors’ Center and the Unity Coalition with every stay — in addition to ultra-comfortable accommodations, a tasty welcome cocktail, and breakfast on the house.