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Summer 2004 | The Most Gorgeous Gay Beaches on Earth

Summer 2004 | The Most Gorgeous Gay Beaches on Earth

Sensational surf and sand, from Michigan to Mykonos

Summertime approaches, and the living is easy on the world's great gay beaches. Sure, there are the well-known, suntan lotion?slick scenes of Laguna Beach in Southern California and Fire Island in New York, but what about just visiting a gay beach for the pure, raw scenery (of the natural setting, that is)? Here's our list of the most dazzling gay-popular beaches in the world

1 Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Our number 1 pick is cozy Little Beach at Makena, on an arid corner of Maui. With no development, a horizon dotted with isles, and humpback whales breaching offshore, you couldn't ask for a more perfect setting. The boogie boarders, straight couples, hippie naturists, and local gay boys always mix happily in the sun-kissed social atmosphere. Don't leave the Aloha State without catching some cosmic rays here.

2 Sandy Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Eleven miles from the center of lively Cape Town is otherworldly Sandy Bay. It feels like a thousand miles from nowhere despite the upscale neighborhoods nearby. Huge granite slabs separate different parts of this roomy beach, and the surrounding virgin forests cascading to the sea are part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve. The magical spirit of Africa is felt everywhere here.

3 Elia Beach, Mykonos, Greece
Although its next-door neighbor Super Paradise Beach is one of the gayest beaches in the world, we prefer quieter Elia Beach, just over the hill from its more famous sibling. This secluded stretch is home to electric-blue waters that contrast with the rugged Mediterranean landscape dotted with whitewashed Greek homes. You'll want to make like Shirley Valentine and never leave.

4 Black's Beach, San Diego, Calif.
Although its steep cliff trail is a sweat-inducing chore to get up and down, the effort is well worth it, since this wide and spacious beach is lined with dramatically carved cliffs. Hang gliders soar above while dolphins and seals frolic offshore. Families, bears, couples, surfers, and lovers of the outdoors commingle in Californian peace.

5 Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada
Right under the verdant cliffs below the University of British Columbia, fans of the long gray-sand Wreck Beach have fought developers for years, which has kept this beach fun and social. You may even find nudist vendors selling everything from gourmet falafel to hand-crafted jewelry. The deep forests of British Columbia stand guard in the back.

6 Farme Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although the beach in front of the landmark Copacabana Palace Hotel attracts gay volleyballers, Ipanema Beach--just east of the Rua Farme de Amoedo--is the more happening gay sand spot in Rio. Farme Beach attracts muscle heads, smooching lesbian couples, chatting twinks, and the odd closeted Brazilian TV star. The hazy mountains and city skyline add to the drama.

7 Tamarama Beach, Sydney, Australia
Although Sydney's Bondi Beach has its trademark hunky lifeguards with their Speedo wedgies (a practice that keeps the left and right side of their brains separated, according to the Aussies) and is the better-known gay hangout, Tamarama (a.k.a. "Glamarama") just to the south is more intimate and picturesque. Tamarama is lined with massive sandstone boulders holding up a shelf of attractive beach homes and bungalows.

8 Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand
The gayest beach resort in all of Asia can be found on Phuket Island at Patong Beach, where gay flags flap in the breeze, drag queens are on the bill at every bar, and the flamboyant annual Gay Festival puts some American pride parades to shame. The town fronts the graceful arch of Patong Bay, lined with nearly two miles of pearly white sand populated with colorful umbrellas and lots of friendly gay Thais.

9 Bassa Rodona Beach, Sitges, Spain
The beach at this cobblestoned coastal town (popular with gay European vacationers) is wonderfully scenic, despite the gay section at Bassa Rodona Beachhaving wall-to-wall chaise lounges covering every grain of sand in high summer. But beyond them you see virgin hills, and just north of the beach a picturesque little church watches over the gay and lesbian sun worshippers.

10 Oval Beach, Saugatuck, Mich.
While not technically a beach, this series of rolling dunes next to a river lagoon is still quite handsome, snuggled along the eastern shores of wide Lake Michigan. The mellow gay twin resort towns and artist's communities of Saugatuck and Douglas, with their down-to-earth queer Midwestern vacationers, are just a short drive away.

The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. We suggest that you confirm all details directly with the establishments mentioned before making travel plans. Please feel free to e-mail us at if you have any new information.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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