Editors' Picks: Favorite Beaches

Where are our favorite beaches in the world? From Nantucket, MA, to Koh Tao, Thailand, see where our editors like to bask in the sun when they're not working.

Photos

JAWZ Fish Tacos

JAWZ Fish Tacos

JAWZ Fish Tacos in Hawaii started as a beachside food truck, but has since grown into a restaurant on Kihei Beach. 960 1280

  

The Coyote Grill in trendy Laguna Beach, CA, is an unpretentious locals’ spot. 960 1280

  

The Coyote Grill

The Coyote Grill

The Coyote Grill has been serving Baja-style Mexican breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1989. 960 1280

  

Montauk Beach House

Montauk Beach House

In the heart of downtown Montauk, the Montauk Beach House is a bustling hotel which prides itself on its lively environment. 960 1280

  

Schooner or Later in Long Beach

Schooner or Later in Long Beach

Visitors to Schooner or Later in Long Beach, CA, come from all over for their hearty breakfast. 960 1280

  

Long Beach, CA

Long Beach, CA

A view of the marina at Long Beach, CA. 960 1280

  

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

You can find lobster rolls, French fries, tuna steaks and more on the menu at the Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY. 960 1280

  

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

Clam Bar in Amagansett, NY

The fresh seafood available at the Clam Bar not only keeps diners coming back, but also adds to the beachy atmosphere. 960 1280

  

Kihei Beach in Maui

Kihei Beach in Maui

A view of Kihei Beach in Maui. 960 1280

  

"The Mess" at Schooner or Later

"The Mess" at Schooner or Later

"The Mess" at Schooner or Later is an infamous breakfast plate -- with all of your favorite breakfast foods chopped up and served as one dish. 960 1280

  

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ, is a throwback to the ice cream parlors of the 1950s. 960 1280

  

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Cool Scoops in Wildwood, NJ

Go back in time with a classic chocolate malt at Cool Scoops. 960 1280

  

The ribs platter at Aloha Mixed Plate

The ribs platter at Aloha Mixed Plate

The ribs platter at Aloha Mixed Plate is just one of the many “mixed plates” available that combines the flavors of different Asian cultures for one delicious meal. 960 1280

  

Schulzies Bread Pudding Shop in Venice, CA

Schulzies Bread Pudding Shop in Venice, CA

Schulzies Bread Pudding Shop in Venice, CA, offers an alternative to the traditional boardwalk snack with their gourmet bread pudding selection. 960 1280

  

The road to Hana is long and winding, with interesting stops along the way. Four miles into your trip will bring you to the colorful town of Paia where you can get a fish burger at the popular Paia Fishmarket, then head to Hookipa Beach, also known as the windsurfing capital of the world. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Located on the mid-slope of Maui's Haleakala volcano, Makawao has one foot in its plantation past and another in its thriving arts community. It's also the biggest little town in the area known as Upcountry Maui and is famous for its Hawaiian cowboys, known as paniolo. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

From the air, the Hana Highway looks like a zigzag line drawn by a three year old. It twists and turns for 52 miles and takes anywhere from two to four hours to traverse depending on how many cars you meet on the one-way bridges. In fact, there are 54 bridges and 600 curves to make sure you're paying attention. And please do, because in addition to the traffic, the flowing waterfalls, plunging pools, scenic rainforests and the town of Hana are well worth the drive. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

There are rewards in life that are all the sweeter because of the effort it took to get there. Hana is such a place. Separated from the rest of Maui, you'll feel as if you stumbled upon the land that time forgot. Spend a few nights in Hana and soon you'll have trouble remembering where you came from and wondering why you'd ever go back. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Take a farm-to-table culinary journey at Oo Farms in Upcountry Maui. Located along the slope of Haleakala, the fertile soil of Upcountry is home to some of Maui's finest farmland. Oo Farms is owned and maintained by I'O and Pacific'O restaurants in Lahaina, so their perfect peppers, hearty greens and even local asparagus go straight from harvest to your favorite dish. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Every evening on the northernmost cliffs of Maui's Kaanapali Beach, a cliff diver lights the torches then dives off Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. This dramatic show is a reenactment of a feat performed by Maui's revered King Kahekili. Surrounded by restaurants, the ceremony also takes on a modern twist, signaling the end of the day and the start of your own private celebration. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Maui has always been a magnet for those who love the sea, from Hawaiian voyagers to whaling ships and modern-day catamarans that glide upon the water. Complete your Maui vacation with a few hours offshore, tacking up and down the coastline with the West Maui Mountains in your view. Add a splash of champagne or a frosty mai tai and there's nothing else like it. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

It doesn't matter how old you are'when you walk 'through an ocean,' the little kid in you comes out to play. Fantasy mixes with reality as you come nose to nose with wide-eyed tuna and white-tip reef sharks. Yellow butterfly fishes flutter like leaves around coral, while slick stingrays glide by without a care in the world. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Molokini is a small, crescent moon-shaped atoll off the coast of Maui. It's in a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District, which means fishing is prohibited, so it's teeming with life. Take a snorkel or scuba tour and you'll be treated to a kaleidoscope of over 250 colorful varieties of tropical fish. Tours are available out of Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina. Insider tip: Early morning is best because the water is clear. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Maui might be for lovers, but it's also for golfers. And if you love golf, that's even better still. There are 14 courses on Maui, with several ranked at or near the top of the 'world's best' list. The PGA TOUR's Hyundai's Tournament of Champions is held here each year, so you never know who you might see on the course. This particular breathtaking beauty is the Makena North Course. Now that's a view that'll challenge your concentration. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Sydney

Sydney

Sydney 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

Andrew Watson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Cancun

Cancun

Cancun 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

Veronica Garbutt/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Maui

Maui

We’d be remiss if we didn’t have at least 1 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. Your first clue will be spotting the gays free-balling in the Hawaiian sun. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Fire Island, New York

Fire Island, New York

Head 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. The island, adjacent to the south shore of Long Island, is packed with eye candy. Nudity is allowed on the shore, but most guys enjoy sporting their fabulous new Speedos. The island plays host to several LGBT events, including the multicultural Fire Island Black Out in Cherry Grove. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel 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. This beach is the perfect place to get both a tan and a hot, tanned guy. Just try not to get burned. 960 1280

Niv Singer, Flickr   

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Known 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

Thinkstock  

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver 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. The gays converge on the area south of the North Arm Breakwater. 960 1280

Kenny Louie, Flickr   

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Eco-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

Guiziou Franck/hemis.fr/Getty Images  

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

South 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

iStockphoto.com/Anna Bryukhanova  

Brighton, East Sussex, England

Brighton, East Sussex, England

Brighton 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

iStockphoto.com/DagDurrichPhotography  

Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, Spain

Straight 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

Getty  

Provincetown, MA

Provincetown, MA

Provincetown, 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

Harvey Barrison, Flickr  

Sitges, Spain

Sitges, Spain

Sitges’ Playa de la Bassa Rodona is increasingly becoming a straight beach, but it is packed with gay men during the peak season. It’s not difficult to miss the bronzed bodies, skintight Speedos and designer glasses. 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

iStockphoto.com/MarcPo  

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Most 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

Doberman Collection/Universal Images Group/Getty Images  

San Diego

San Diego

San 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. San Diegans are friendly and seem to all know one another, stopping for naked chats on the beach. The muscled surfers don’t seem to mind lying out nude either. Just a word of caution: The climb from the beach back up the cliffs is a tough hike. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos has become a well-known spot for beach lovers and partygoers. The Greek island’s Elia Beach is probably one of the queerest 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

Ingolf Pompe/LOOK/Getty Images  

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Rio is the hot spot for some the sexiest sunbathers in the world. We 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

Mike Vondran, Flickr  

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is already a hot spot for thousands of sunbathers, but the hot spot for the LGBT crowd is on the south end of Playa Los Muertos Beach. The flirty interplay between the mostly Mexican locals and gay visitors from around the globe is always fun to watch. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Nice, France

Nice, France

This 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

Pascal Blachier, Flickr  

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth 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, fittingly located near Queen Street. 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

Linda D. Epstein/McClatchy-Tribune/Getty Images  


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