Celebrities' Favorite Beach Vacations
When celebs need a little R&R, the world’s most exotic beaches, exclusive nightlife and luxurious resorts become their oyster. Here’s where to go (and stay), so you, too, can vacation like a star.
St. BartsThis glamorous Caribbean island boasts glitzy nightlife and glamorous sunbathing at St. Jean beach where you can rub elbows with celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyonce or Jessica Alba, who dock their yachts at the glistening port.
A-List Accommodations: Eden Rock, Hotel Saint Barth Isle De France 960 1280
Lake Como, ItalyOne name -- George Clooney -- comes to mind when you conjure up images of Lake Como. Can't you just see yourself relaxing at his oceanfront 18th-century villa alongside Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and half a dozen of his other famous pals? Well, one can daydream.
A-List Accommodations: Villa D’Este, Grand Hotel Tremezzo 960 1280
Rio de Janeiro, BrazilBefore the excitement of the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics, celebrities like Madonna, Gerard Butler, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have long flocked to Rio's Ipanema Beach for a piece of tropical paradise (and perhaps a few caipirinhas at Carnival).
A-List Accommodations: Fasano Hotel, Copacabana Palace 960 1280
St. Tropez, FranceThis Cote d'Azur seaport continues to attract celebrities including Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise, Rihanna, P. Diddy, Jack Nicholson and Catherine Zeta-Jones to its over-the-top beach clubs like Club 55, first made famous by French beauty Brigitte Bardot.
A-List Accommodations: Intercontinental Carlton Cannes, Villa Romana Club & Restaurant 960 1280
Bondi Beach, SydneyWith its world-famous surfing and sailing under the Harbour Bridge to Coogee's cliff tops, Bondi Beach attracts celebrities like Nicole Richie, Hugh Jackman, Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio when they are looking for a little adventure Down Under.
A-List Accommodations: The Park Hyatt in the Rocks, InterContinental Hotel 960 1280
Cabo San Lucas, MexicoJust a 2-hour flight from Los Angeles, it's no wonder this Mexican resort city has become a mainstay for stars like Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Ryan Seacrest and Julia Roberts looking for a little rest, relaxation and … margaritas.
A-List Accommodations: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Esperanza, One&Only Palmilla 960 1280
Maui, HawaiiOf Hawaii's many islands, Maui seems to attract the most star power, whether it’s Paris Hilton vacationing with her flavor of the week or Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox tying the knot on its romantic coast. Who are the other stars giving Hawaii a resurgence of star power? Owen Wilson, Oprah, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, to name a few.
A-List Accommodations: Four Seasons Resort Maui, Grand Wailea 960 1280
South Beach, MiamiShe may still be "Jenny From the Block," but it's no secret that Jennifer Lopez has spent plenty of time in sexy South Beach. Miami's bustling nightlife and Art Deco charms have also convinced stars like the Kardashians and Shakira to vacation stateside.
A-List Accommodations: Fonatinebleau, The Delano 960 1280
Necker IslandRichard Branson's 74-acre private island estate has been rebuilt after a tragic fire in 2011 (when Kate Winslet heroically carried his mother to safety). We're sure it will continue to host the very rich and very famous, such as Oprah, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg, for years to come.
A-List Accommodations: You have to join the ranks of these gazillionaires to afford to rent out this private estate. 960 1280
Turtle Island, FijiWhat superstar doesn't value their privacy? This super-secluded resort has nearly 100 staffers on hand to cater to a maximum of 28 guests at a time. Both Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears have honeymooned here (with their now exes).
A-List Accommodations: Turtle Island 960 1280
Amalfi Coast, ItalyBrad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's mutual attraction is rumored to have been sparked at the picturesque cliff-side Hotel Santa Caterina while filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith -- and with vistas like that, who could blame them?
A-List Accommodations: Hotel Santa Caterina 960 1280
Bora Bora, French PolynesiaThe privacy that these over-the-water bungalows provide (not to mention the romance) have attracted stars like the Kardashians, Nicole Kidman, Eva Longoria, Rob Lowe, Sharon Stone and Charlize Theron.
A-List Accommodations: Four Seasons Bora Bora, Bora Bora Nui Resort 960 1280
Malibu, Los AngelesOf course, the No. 1 beach for celebrity-spotting would be right in their own backyard. Here, David Beckham catches a wave with sons Cruz, Brooklyn and Romeo in Malibu.
A-List Accommodations: Malibu Beach Inn, Four Seasons Los Angeles, Chateau Marmont 960 1280
SydneySydney has 6 gay-friendly beaches that have become popular LGBT destinations, including North Bondi Beach, Bronte Beach and Tamarama Beach. Obelisk Beach and Lady Jane Beach are popular, secluded spots for nude sunbathers. Water taxis are provided as transportation to Obelisk Beach, and during the summer, expect frequent visits from one of the famous Sydney Harbor Ice Cream Boats to help keep things cool. 960 1280
CancunCancun is a hot beach destination for spring breakers, but it’s also the location of a popular gay beach, Playa Delfines. The water is generally treacherous to swim in, but the white sand is perfect for sunning, and the view is incredible. This beach is also popular for surfing and a great place to take surfing lessons. Gay couples and singles enjoy Playa Delfines, and it has become known unofficially as the gay beach in Cancun. 960 1280
MauiWe’d be remiss if we didn’t have at least one Hawaiian beach on our list. Gay and lesbians converge on “Little Beach” in Makena State Park, located about 1 mile past the Maui Prince Hotel. This beach is so secluded that you have to hike up and over a lava-flow trail to get to it, but it won’t be hard to miss. 960 1280
Fire Island, New YorkHead to Fire Island’s Pines Beach if you’re looking for a fun party beach with gay-friendly shopping, hotels, vacation rentals and a vibrant nightlife. Nudity is allowed on the shore. The island plays host to several LGBT events, including the multicultural Fire Island Black Out in Cherry Grove. 960 1280
Tel Aviv, IsraelTel Aviv is famous for its never-ending beach line. Nearly 9 miles of blue sea, open horizon, sun and lots of people make it the perfect beach destination. The city has a few gay-friendly beaches, including Ga’ash nude beach, a popular gay beach outside Tel Aviv. Visit Hilton Beach if nude sunbathing isn’t your thing. It’s a little strip beach located near the Hilton Hotel. 960 1280
Fort Lauderdale, FloridaKnown as the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale is where the boys are. Sebastian Street Gay Beach, located near most of the gay resorts, is one of the most popular beach destinations for gay tourists. Along with dozens of gay-friendly shops along the beach, the city also thrives with fun gay bars and restaurants, such as Hamburger Mary’s, a great place to start or end the night. 960 1280
Vancouver, British ColumbiaVancouver has a couple beaches that attract a LGBT crowd. English Bay Beach (pictured) is located on the city’s West End, close to the Davie Street Gay Village. Sunset Beach and Wreck Beach are 2 alternate beach options. However, a little hike is required to reach secluded Wreck Beach, where nudity is permitted. Take the path marked Trail No. 7 to get there. Gay and lesbian couples and singles converge on the area south of the North Arm Breakwater. 960 1280
Manuel Antonio, Costa RicaEco-friendly Costa Rica has long been a vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts, but it also has a popular gay beach, Manuel Antonio’s Playita Beach. La Playita, aka Playa Dulce Vida, is a semiprivate beach, accessible by climbing over large rocks north of Playa Espadilla. Just don’t get trapped during high tide. And just so you know, there’s no nude sunbathing in Costa Rica. After having some fun in the sun, grab a drink at Bar Tutu or the Liquid Lounge. By the way, there are gay-friendly vacation rentals and hotels available in the area. 960 1280
Miami BeachSouth Beach, or SoBe, conjures up images of sunny days at the beach, a continuous flow of sexy men and women, high-end shopping on Lincoln Road, fine dining on Ocean Drive and nonstop nights of partying at popular gay bars and clubs, including Twist, Score, Palace and Mova. Every year, SoBe plays host to the world-renowned White Party in November and, in March, the Winter Party, the biggest gay beach party in North America. Check out Miami’s Haulover Beach if you’re looking for a nude beach. 960 1280
Brighton, East Sussex, EnglandBrighton is the UK’s gay capital. The town’s seafront has bars, restaurants, nightclubs and amusement arcades between the piers. Brighton Beach has a nudist area, south of the easterly part of Kemptown, aka the “gay village.” West Beach, Telscombe Cliffs, Duke’s Mound and Shoreham are a few hot beach spots. Visit Brighton and find out why the bohemian atmosphere of this beach town has led to the largest LGBT crowds in the UK. 960 1280
Ibiza, SpainStraight or gay, everyone knows about the small island of Ibiza’s reputation as a party haven, but it’s also known for its beaches, each with its own distinctive beauty. Figueretes, the town beach, is for sunbathers who enjoy a low-key crowd and calm sea. Es Cavallet, located on the southern side of the island, is the main gay beach, where nudity is welcomed. Visit Cala Conta for stunning sunset views. Port Des Torrent is perfect for gay couples, and Ses Salinas is known for its diverse crowd and great beach bars. 960 1280
Provincetown, MAProvincetown, a gay and lesbian resort community at the tip of Cape Cod, ranks among the world’s great seaside vacation destinations. Along with hosting its annual Gay Pride celebration, P’town continues to improve with more upscale inns, fine art galleries and superb restaurants. Peak season for the New England town is usually July through August. Stay in the town’s West End, go for a fun bike ride and go sunbathing on Herring Cove Beach or Race Point Beach. 960 1280
Sitges, SpainSitges’ Playa de la Bassa Rodona is increasingly becoming a straight beach, but it is packed with gay men during the peak season. This beach is located below the Picnic Restaurant and across from Hotel Calipolis. Nude sunbathers looking for more privacy should head to Playa del Muerto or Playa de las Balmins. Visit Barcelona's Barcelonetta Beach if you're looking for a quick day trip. Barcelona is only a 45-minute train ride away from Sitges. 960 1280
Cape Town, South AfricaMost people know about Cape Town's turbulent history, but few people know about Clifton, the small, affluent suburb located outside the city. There are 4 beaches, but the Clifton Third Beach has become the popular spot for gay sunbathers, primarily men. This paradise is a great spot to watch the sun set in the summer, but be mindful of the no-public-drinking policy. It's strictly monitored, so don't say you weren't warned. 960 1280
San DiegoSan Diego is a beach city, and Black’s Beach is the popular beach hangout for gay travelers. This is one of the oldest nude beaches in the US. The expansive beach has room for everyone, and even the dolphins and seals make an appearance offshore. Just a word of caution: The climb from the beach back up the cliffs is a tough hike. 960 1280
Mykonos, GreeceMykonos has become a well-known spot for beach lovers and partygoers. The Greek island’s Elia Beach is probably one of the most gay-friendly stretches of sand in the Mediterranean. It’s a United Nations of gays from all over the world, basking in lounge chairs while sipping cocktails and gazing at the electric-blue waters. Just a word of caution: It may be wise to plan ahead. Taxis may be hard to come by, and buses and ferries stop at relatively early hours. 960 1280
Rio de JaneiroWe know all about the popularity of Copacabana Beach, but Ipanema Beach (pictured) is what’s really hot! Ipanema’s gay spot, Farme Gay Beach, is a little to the east of Rua Farme de Amoedo. It’s the best place to make friends with the locals outside of the bar and club scene. Party promoters often distribute fliers with discounts to gay parties and clubs. After the beach, head to the popular hangout Cafeína e Tô nem Aí for a beer or a snack. 960 1280
Nice, FranceThis is not the typical gay destination in Europe, but it is slowly becoming a popular spot. Nice is now the second-most-visited city in France for gay tourists, after Paris, and with more than 35 gay outlets, we're sure there’s something for everyone. In addition the vibrant gay and lesbian club scene, this beach town has several museums, high-end shops and a famous flower market, and it plays host to the annual Pink Parade. Nice has a gay and gay-friendly beach, Coco Beach and Castel Plage, respectively. For adventurous sunbathers, there are 2 more gay beaches located outside the small French town. 960 1280
Rehoboth Beach, DelawareRehoboth is the quintessential beach town, with dozens of small shops, restaurants that serve up fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, and a boardwalk with a few amusement thrills and arcades. Poodle Beach is the gay section on Rehoboth Beach. It can get crowded here during the peak season, but there is an energetic social scene. Lesbians prefer North Shores Beach. And after the beach, most gay men grab a few beers or cocktails at the Aqua Grill or Blue Moon, 2 of the town’s popular gay hangouts. 960 1280
Best Gay Beach Destinations 20 Photos
Matira Beach, Bora Bora, TahitiHoneymooners flock to Bora Bora, Tahiti (aka “Romantic Island”) to experience the ultimate vacation in paradise. Most of the beaches here are private, but Matira Beach is open to the public. After a few hours of sunbathing, we suggest retiring to a rustic but comfortable bungalow over the water. 960 1280
Grande Plage, Biarritz, FranceWorld-class surfers hit the waves at Grande Plage in Biarritz, a resort town in southwestern France that’s also a popular destination for French royalty. Biarritz has been called "the queen of beaches and beach of kings," which is why the town has hosted surfing competitions, including the Quiksilver/Roxy Jam tournament. 960 1280
La Digue Beaches, SeychellesLa Digue is the third largest inhabited island of the Seychelles. Tourists can choose any of 8 beautiful beaches to visit, including Anse Coco, Anse Source D’Argent and L’Union Beach. Head to Anse Marron if you’re in search of a more secluded Robinson Crusoe-like beach. This is a must-see beach. 960 1280
Ko Phi Phi Don Island Beaches, ThailandBrilliant turquoise waters lure travelers to the shores of Ko Phi Phi Don Island, Thailand. Bamboo Island, Laem Tong Beach, Loh Dalum, Koh Phi Phi Leh and Loh Bagao Bay are some of the beaches found around the island, but Long Beach is the most popular and a great spot for snorkeling, too. 960 1280
Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilLocated in Rio de Janeiro, the iconic Copacabana Beach is home to some of Brazil's famous beach beauties. The beach stretches between lifeguard watchtowers 2 and 6. And you may not know it, but American football was introduced in Brazil through a game played on this popular beach. 960 1280
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, BrazilFinding a spot to sunbathe on Rio’s Ipanema Beach may be difficult, but it’s a great spot for people watching and to strike up a conversation with friendly locals. There’s no shortage of “tall, and tan, and young, and lovely” bodies on this beach, either. Surfing, football, volleyball and footvolley are a few fun beach activities to keep beachgoers occupied. 960 1280
Patong Beach, Phuket, ThailandEvery year, hundreds of tourists visit Patong -- home to the largest stretch of sand and the wildest nightlife in Phuket, Thailand. Tourists can experience the town’s hot nightlife by heading to Bangla Road or Paradise Complex. The mercury seldom falls below 70 degrees, which makes both roads -- lined with nightclubs, discos and go-go bars -- a prime destination for partygoers. 960 1280
75-Mile Beach, Queensland, AustraliaIn Australia, 75-Mile Beach is located on the eastern side of Fraser Island in Queensland. The island is the world's largest sand island and perhaps the only beach in the world that is a registered highway with a designated speed limit of 80 miles per hour. Nature-loving beach enthusiasts will appreciate the unspoiled natural paradise around the beach: The island is home to 230 species of bird and 25 species of mammals, including wallabies, flying foxes and dingoes. 960 1280
Folegandros Beaches, GreeceVardia, Latinaki, Vitzenzou, Pountaki, Karavostasi, Agios Nikolaos and Agios Georgios are just a few of beaches in Folegandros, Greece. Most maintain their natural beauty because they are not overwhelmed by tourists. Livadi Beach is a perfect spot for campers. We recommend visiting Angali because it’s the Greek island’s nicest beach. 960 1280
Tenerife Beaches, Canary IslandsThe lovely shores of Tenerife entice visitors to the Canary Islands archipelago, southwest of Spain. This beach town has more than a dozen beaches where tourists can feel the warm waters of the ocean lap at their feet while basking in the warm sunlight. Playa de la Tejita, Playa San Marcos, Playa del Camison, Playa del Duque and El Medano are all examples of secret, off-the-beaten path, over-exposed and black-sand beaches found around the island. 960 1280
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