There is no shortage of beautiful and relaxing beaches for gay travelers to choose from when it comes to planning a getaway, and each will offer its own unique atmosphere and experience of local gay culture. From the tranquil, sun-soaked stretches of Koh Samui to Rio De Janeiro’s vibrant Ipanema, there is a beach for every gay traveler. To give you just one less thing to think about, we’ve compiled a list of the best gay beaches across the globe.
For the most visually stimulating gay beach in the USA, look no further. 12th street Beach epitomises Miami’s gay culture, with hoards of attractive, half-dressed guys, rows of rainbow flags and pristine white sand as far as the eye can see. Conveniently, the beach is also located within walking distance of many of Miami’s premier gay nightlife venues.
The central location means that 12th Street Beach is a popular hang out for the cities LGBTQ+ population year-round, but it’s during Miami’s annual pride celebrations that the beach truly flourishes. Every year, thousands of gay travelers from across the world descend on its soft sands for days of parties and non-stop hedonism.
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Kiosk 7 is a rainbow dot on the vast sandy beaches of Maspalomas. From the top of the cabin, a pride flag can be seen blowing in the wind, and there is a permanent congregation of revellers surrounding it. Kiosk 7 serves food and drinks throughout the day and is especially known for its Sangria- the perfect drink to sip as you watch one of the beach’s stunning sunsets.
This is one to go for if you’re looking for the ultimate gay beach destination. The kiosk and the surrounding beach have become so established as a gay hotspot that it is common for gay tourists to travel for hours just to enjoy this lively and convivial slice of Canaries paradise. The kiosk is reachable by a 30-minute walk across the rolling sand dunes and is most certainly worth the trek.
With the backdrop of the Twelve Apostles mountain range, a dramatically rugged landscape and South Africa’s year-round sun, Sandy Bay beach is unlike any of the other destinations mentioned. Arguably the ‘gayest’ of Cape Town’s beaches, Sandy Bay is unusual in its clothing-optional policy. Throughout the year, the bay is a popular spot for gay travelers seeking some nude sunbathing under the constant rays of the Southern Hemisphere.
There is a strong LGBTQ+ presence here, and when the beach is busy, its popularity with the city’s gay population is strikingly clear. Like most nudist beaches, however, Sandy Bay is a little trickier to access, with the best choice being a 45-minute stroll from the more popular Llandudno Beach.
With miles of windswept dunes, picturesque Cape Cod architecture and thousands of scantily clad men, Herring Cove Beach is instantly recognisable as one of Provincetown’s top gay beaches. The small New England town is high up on any list of the USA’s most popular gay destinations, and it isn’t hard to see why. Herring Cove is just east of Provincetown’s bustling central avenue and is easily accessible by the seasonal shuttle bus service.
Provincetown’s status as an LGBTQ+ mecca means that any beach you’ll visit will have a noticeable gay population, but Herring Cove beats them all. The beach’s sand dunes are a popular cruising spot, but if that’s not your style then why not swim, sunbathe or even go for a cycle. There is also a large and lively beach bar that entertains guests well into the night.
Herring Cove really comes alive in the early evening, as gay revellers from across Provincetown descend on its sands to enjoy one of the best sunsets in New England, and, to the north end of the beach, the iconic Race Point Lighthouse can be seen; a dot of quintessential New England style on the sandy peninsula.
To be known as the best gay beach on an island as gay as Mykonos means there must be something special about Elia Beach, and if Elia Beach is anything it is special. For starters, the beach is massive, with its dazzling white sand stretching for miles along the coast of Southern Mykonos. The size of the beach does mean that it has been hard to keep Elia Beach a secret amongst the islands gay population, and it is now one of Mykonos’s most popular beaches.
There is room for everyone however; with a lively bar catering to the tastes and needs of any LGBTQ+ traveler. The atmosphere is friendly and it’s easy to chat and connect with gay locals and tourists from all over the world. The opposite end of the beach to the bar is quieter and if you’re looking for some discreet cruising amongst the rock formations this is certainly one to go for.
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It would be easy to overlook Clovelly Beach, but anyone who’s visited knows what a mistake that would be. Tucked between rocky outcrops, Clovelly is sheltered away from the wind, making for crystal clear, flat water; one of the most popular activities here is snorkelling and underwater wildlife is in abundance.
The relaxing atmosphere of Clovelly Beach attracts a quieter gay crowd, and the sense of LGBTQ+ community is certainly noticeable in the high summer months. The beach’s location near the main road means it’s one of Sydney’s more accessible beaches, and there is a selection of cafes, shops and bars located within easy walking distance. If you’re looking for quiet relaxation in the company of other gay people, look no further than Clovelly Beach.
Read More: The Best Gay Beaches in Sydney
If you were to describe an image of a tropical paradise, your description would likely resemble Chaweng Beach. Chaweng is Koh Samui’s gay beach, and it is arguably one of the most picturesque in the world. Here, bent palms hang lazily over white sands, and the crystal waters of the Gulf of Thailand lap gently at the shore. The beach is also the most developed on Koh Samui, and there are plenty of hotels, bars and beach clubs hidden amongst the lush greenery.
The most popular section of the beach with gay tourists is around the end of Soi Lamdin, where sunbathing is the number one activity. Gay individuals from across Koh Samui come to Chaweng to make the most of the stunning scenery and gay-friendly atmosphere. If you’re looking to go for something a little more action-packed, a variety of watersports activities are available along the shore.
There are few beaches that conjure up such glamorous visions as Ipanema, and with its tree-lined promenade, year-round sun and party atmosphere, this beach certainly does not disappoint. Located in Rio’s wealthy Leblon Beach neighbourhood, Ipanema has been a hub of activity and entertainment for decades and is a popular hangout for the city’s diverse LGBTQ+ crowd.
The close proximity of many of Rio De Janeiro’s most popular gay nightclubs to the beach means that gay revellers often spill out onto its stretching sands. Casa De Lua is a thriving club that occupies a spot just up from the beach, and whilst not an exclusively gay venue attracts largely LGBTQ+ people.
If maintaining a tan is more important than the experience of Rio’s hedonistic clubbing, then fear not; Ipanema is also the ideal place to relax and unwind. The east end of the beach is the unofficial gay area and the perfect place to meet like-minded locals and travelers alike.