Summer’s here, which means its time to hit the sand and surf. And gays have staked their towels on some of the best real estate in the world.
Below, check out NewNowNext’s roundup of the world’s best gay beaches. Don’t forget your suntan lotion!
Farme de Amoedo
People know the girl from Ipanema, but this part of the neighborhood is all about the “Barbies”–Rio’s famed muscle men, who strut and pose on the sand. “Farme Gay,” as Farme de Amoedo is nicknamed, is also home to Rio’s Carnaval, a legendary celebration that sees millions of half-naked revelers dancing in the streets. Tranquil, it’s not.
Herring Cove is the perfect beach destination for couples looking for a romantic getaway, with whale-watching and sunsets that seem to melt into the ocean. Stay to the left for the gay-friendly and clothing-optional side of the beach.
North Bondi Beach
Sydney is a queer vacation mecca with a half-dozen gay beaches, including the eminently popular North Bondi. Here, both queer boys and lesbians take in the sea, sights and skin–including lots of Speedos (a.k.a. “budgie smugglers”) and some nude sunbathers. Note: the water can be a choppy–which is great for surfing, not so hot for wading. If you need some last-minute pumping up, hit the outdoor workout area near the North Bondi Surf Club.
Playa De La Bassa Rodona
The proximity to Barcelona means urban boys flock to Playa De la Bassa Rodona in spring and summer. (Year-round, actually: Sitges Gay Carnival in February is one of the most popular LGBT celebrations in Europe.)
Like many gay beaches, Rodona is becoming increasingly popular with straight folk. To find your tribe, just start along the white-washed facade of Hotel Calipolis and look for a sea of muscular Spaniards.
Praia Da Galheta
Not feeling Rio? Think Floripa! This well-kept secret is home to both gorgeous white sand and a plethora of local delights, like the renowned passion fruit caipirinhas, that will make you never want to leave. A tranquil respite from the surrounding party towns and beaches, Praia Da Galheta is the perfect spot for a relaxing and rejuvenating excursion. Speak of relaxing, this beach is nude-friendly, so disrobe and prepare for a luxurious, serene day by the water.
Playa Los Muertos
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Despite it’s creepy name (which translates to “beach of the dead”), Playa Los Muertos offers a beautiful and pristine shoreline just a few steps from Zona Romantica, Puerta Vallarta’s gayborhood. You know you’ve hit the right spot when you see dozens of telltale blue deck chairs, where gay tourists and sun-kissed locals flirt shamelessly.
If it all gets to be a bit much, wander over to Old Town, the city’s historic district, and check out the galleries, shops and restaurants that line its quaint cobblestone streets.
Fire Island Pines
Fire Island, New York
Fire Island’s two gay enclaves–the Pines and Cherry Grove–are divided by a no man’s land lovingly referred to as the Meat Rack. (Guess why.) Both offer great sun and sand, but as Cherry Grove is more developed, it attracts more crowds and kids.
On weekdays in summer, though, the sparsely inhabited beach at Fire Island Pines can make you feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Only, y’know, without the volleyball head and threat of starvation.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Named for the Hilton hotel that it borders, this beach is a gay gem in the not-so-gay-friendly Middle East. And it’s been that way almost since Israel was founded. (Nearby Independence Park has been a popular cruising spot since the 1950s.) You’ll find the boys congregating just north of the hotel, opposite the eagle statue on the top of the cliff.
Cape Town, South Africa
One of four beaches in the affluent Cape Town neighborhood of Clifton, this is the one favored by gay beachcombers. Large granite boulders provide an interesting backdrop, and protect the beach from the strong winds that can whip around the city even in summer.
Time your visit right (around 8pm in summer) and you’ll catch some of the most stunning sunsets on Earth. That is, if you can tear your eyeballs away from the bevy of beautiful boys.