It’s been an especially long winter this year, but those screams of “Keep those carbs away from me!” heard echoing from gay haunts across the northern hemisphere can mean only one thing: Summer 2013 is finally on its way.
Just in time, we’ve compiled our annual spring list of the world’s top gay beaches, complete with visuals sure to put you in your best sunny seaside mood.
It’s a big world, so if your favorite gay beach didn’t make the cut, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.
We’ll be back next week with our naked picks for the world’s best nude beaches.
Meanwhile, enjoy the view.
Photo by Ernesto Sarezale.
Click through to our sister site Gay Cities to see our 2013 picks for the world’s best gay beaches.
First up: Rio’s Ipanema
Easily one of the most famous and beguiling gay beaches on earth, the Farme section of Rio’s Ipanema is home to the city’s “Barbie” set – that’s local lingo for the city’s seemingly endless supply of stunningly hot muscle men. Bears and trans gals prefer Copacabana’s Bolsa, but all are welcome at Farme, and the vibe is Rio-ifically relaxed and unabashedly gay. If you’re thirsty after the beach, hit Bar Bofetada on nearby Rua Farme de Amoedo.
Next up: New York’s Fire Island
One of the world’s first gay beach meccas is still one of its best, New York’s incomparable Fire Island. Despite a couple of tough hits from Mother Nature in the past few years (a fire swept through one of its most popular clubs at the end of 2011, then Hurricane Sandy struck a year later), New York City’s queer beach is back in business and fully ready for the usual summer onslaught of gayness. The hub of the party action is at The Pines, though some prefer the more mixed and eclectic (and more nudity-friendly) Cherry Grove.
Photo by vitofun
Next up: Gran Canaria’s Maspalomas
Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
It may not be well known to many gay Americans, but for Europeans, Gran Canaria is gay beach nirvana. Part of Spain but so far south that it actually straddles the bottom of Morocco’s coast, Gran Canaria is the most popular of the Canary Islands, and its biggest town of Maspalomas is gay central, especially in the Playa del Inglés area. The dunes at Maspalomas are famously gorgeous and cruisy, and the nearby golden sand beach – especially around Kiosk 7 – is filled with gays from across the continent. What’s more, a brand new Axel Hotel opens here next month.
Next up: Sydney’s North Bondi
Far more peaceful than the raucous main beach at Bondi, North Bondi is also where the gays go – the further north one heads, the gayer it gets here, especially around the outdoor workout area by the North Bondi Surf Club. No booze is allowed on the white sands, but plenty of pubs line the beach and fill with bronzed bodies toward the end of the day. Gay Sydney nudists often prefer the more secluded Lady Jane or Obelisk Beaches.
Photos 2 & 3 by HardieBoys
Next up: Fort Lauderdale’s Sebastian
Fort Lauderdale’s strong gay populace means that pretty much all of its beaches are at least a little homo-fied, but this lovely strip at the end of Sebastian Street is gay sand ground zero. Most of Lauderdale’s gay resorts are within blocks, and both local gays and visitors from around the country flock to Sebastian, especially on Sundays.
Next up: Mykonos’ Elia
Greece’s enchanting island of Mykonos has been luring gays for decades, and when they’re not strolling the quaint alleyways of Mykonos Town, they’re often here on the other side of the island at Elia Beach. (Super Paradise, the island’s former gay beach of choice, has straightened up in recent years.) As one of the island’s largest beaches, Elia boasts fine sand and shallow, clear waters, plus a great view of Naxos, the next island over. The gay (and partly nude) section is on the right, and you’ll find lots of cruising on the rocks.
Next up: Provincetown’s Herring Cove
Lying at the very tail end of Cape Cod, Provincetown’s Herring Cove is the area’s most popular beach, drawing straights, lesbians, and gay men, who largely keep to their own kinds in different sections here. From the parking lot, head left and pass the lesbians to find the guys, and go even farther for the nudist area (though be warned, it’s not legal, and tickets are not uncommon). In the nearby dunes happens everything one would expect to happen in gay beach-adjacent dunes.
Next up: Tel Aviv’s Hilton
Having had a bit of a gay presence for decades, Hilton Beach is now the best known and most popular gay beach in Tel Aviv, a city that’s seen a remarkable recent explosion onto the global gay travel radar. As one might guess, the beach is near the Tel Aviv Hilton, along the sea just north of it, directly across from Independence Park and the large cliff-top eagle statue. The vibe here is lively, friendly, rather cruisy, and Mediterranean-ishly sexy.
Photos by Ernesto Sarezale
Next up: Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio has long been one of the gayest areas of Costa Rica and all of Central America, and its huge public beach has its own unofficial gay section – known locally as La Playita – at the northwest end, beyond the rocks (just don’t make the journey at high tide). Though the nearby opening of a luxury hotel a few years back mostly put the kibosh on naturism, Playita’s beauty still draws gays from across the world.
Next up: Cape Town’s Clifton 3rd
Clifton is one of Cape Town’s toniest suburbs, and it’s here that you’ll find its best and best known beaches, simply named Clifton 1st through Clifton 4th. The gays have long preferred Clifton 3rd, with its gorgeous west-facing setting making for incredible ocean sunsets. For the more cruise-minded and/or birthday suit-wearing, Sandy Beach is just a couple miles away.