Top 10 Gay-Friendly Beach Towns Around the World

Whether you’re looking to tan au naturel, hit up the hottest beachfront party, or de-stress with the soothing sounds of the waves, there's a gay beach destination that will cater to all your needs this summer. According to a 2015 report, the global LGBT tourism market is valued at $200 billion in annual spending. And while New York was the number one destination for LGBT travel in 2015, many of the following spots went to cities that are also home to beachy areas. From the clothing-optional Baker Beach on San Francisco's rugged cliffs to Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coastline, here are 10 amazing gay beach towns around the world.

1. Fire Island, New York

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Jeff Pearce

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Jeff Pearce

Fire Island, a 32-mile island located off the shores of Long Island, is a go-to summer escape for gay New Yorkers. It's a short ferry ride from Sayville, which you can reach from the city via the Long Island Railroad or by car. There are no cars allowed on the island, so prepare to get around by bike or on foot. Although Fire Island is known as a gay retreat, the town also attracts vacationing families and straight couples, especially in the busy seasons of July and August. The gay sections include the Pines --famous for its party scene and Pines Pavilion nightclub -- as well as the more relaxed Cherry Grove area.

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2. North Bondi, Sydney

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Christian Schmitt

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Christian Schmitt

North Bondi, an eastern suburb of Sydney, offers plenty of sunshine in the summer, which kicks off on December 1. Once you've arrived, you’ll likely find gay men and women basking in the sun by North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. There are also five additional gay-friendly beaches, including the clothing-optional Lady Jane Beach and the all-nude Obelisk Beach. To make things convenient, the gay bars on Oxford Street are a short 15-minute car ride from the beach. There, you’ll find the popular Stonewall Hotel bar as well as The Shift and Arq nightclubs. 

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3. South Beach, Florida

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Phillip Pessar

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Phillip Pessar

From the White Party Week in November to the Winter Party Festival in March, there’s no shortage of soirees to attend in this trendy Miami Beach neighborhood. The gay nightclub mainstays like Twist and Score are always open for partygoers. Plus, Miami wouldn’t be Miami without the sandy beaches. The gay beach on 12th Street is marked with rainbow flags, so it’s easy to spot. And a little further north is the gay-friendly Haulover Beach, where sun-seekers can take a dip sans swimsuits. 

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4. Cape Town, South Africa

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Caz and Craig Makepeace

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Caz and Craig Makepeace

Cape Town, also known as the Pink City, is the gay capital of South Africa. Most flock to Green Point in February for the Cape Town Pride celebration or in December for the Mother City Queer Project. Bars like Beefcakes are also popular among visitors and locals. As for beaches, there’s Clifton Third and the nudist Sandy Bay. There are also plenty of beautiful sights to savor -- don't leave without taking a cable car to the top of Table Mountain.

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5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Since the first Vallarta Pride celebration in May 2013, the gay scene in Puerto Vallarta has expanded. The gay nightlife, cantinas, bars, and hotels are all clustered within walking distance of one another in the Zona Romantica, or Romantic Zone. Dance the night away in popular nightclubs like CC Slaughters and Paco’s Ranch. There are also gay-friendly cruises and whale watching tours. And don't leave without stopping by the gay beach at Blue Chairs Resort by the Sea.

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6. Baker Beach, San Francisco

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ernest McGray, Jr.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ernest McGray, Jr.

San Francisco has been a proud supporter of the LGBT community (and epicenter for the gay rights movement) for decades. In 1964, "LIFE" magazine called the city, which held its first pride parade in 1970 along with New York and Chicago, the gay capital of America. Unlike the others on this list, the misty San Franciscan weather doesn’t make for a conventional beach setting (you can kiss goodbye sunbathing!). Still, Baker Beach provides an Instagram-worthy backdrop, thanks to its rugged cliffs, rough surf, and Golden Gate Bridge views. Located in Presidio, the beach’s gay area is on the northern side and individuals are sometimes nude (weather permitting). 

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7. Brighton, England

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Dominic Alves

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Dominic Alves

Located an hour away from London by train, Brighton is referred to as the unofficial the gay capital of England. The seaside town celebrates Brighton & Hove Pride in August and offers gay-friendly activities like Piers and Queers, a walking tour in the warmer months. Brighton Pier features games and amusement rides for gay and straight families, while Kemptown boasts gay taverns, specialty shops, and the three-floor Club Revenge. Note: in the summer, the shingle beaches -- including the naturist beach near the marina -- are often crowded. 

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8. Waikiki, Hawaii

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Alan Light

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Alan Light

Honolulu's Waikiki neighborhood is a main hub for gay nightclubs and drag shows on Oahu (not to mention, stellar views of the Diamond Head). There’s also the open-air Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand across from the Honolulu Zoo, which offers weekly gay catamaran cruises. And within walking distance of the bar, near the Waikiki Aquarium, lies the gay stretch of sand known as Queen's Surf Beach. 

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9. Tel Aviv, Israel

Photo courtesy of Flickr/israeltourism

Photo courtesy of Flickr/israeltourism

Tel Aviv is often called the gay mecca of the Middle East -- and for good reason. The white sand beaches and mild weather (winter temperatures are at about 55 degrees; summer hovers between the 70s and 80s) attracts tourists year-round. Packed with beautiful bronze bodies, the gay-friendly Hilton Beach is the place to see and be seen. And if you’re new to the city, here’s a tip: hit up Evita, one of the city's oldest gay hot spots. 

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10. Provincetown, Massachusetts

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ted Eytan

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Ted Eytan

This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Provincetown. Affectionately called P-Town, the New England destination is a pricey resort getaway on the tip of Cape Cod. Be sure to visit Commercial Street, where you'll find gay clubs, shops, drag shows, bars, and potentially even a celebrity sighting or two. Plus, from Carnival to Bear Week, there are multiple festivals going on at any point in the year. When it's time to kick back and relax, make your way to the gay-friendly Herring Cove Beach. Longtime vacationers and locals recommend renting bikes or hopping on the Mayflower Trolley to see the town. A must for newcomers: the daily Tea Dance, an outdoor afternoon dance party at Boatslip Beach Club. 

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