15 best gay nude beaches around the world

Stefan Arestis

What can we say? We love a nude beach!

With Stefan growing up in a cold and often wet London and Seby in the mountains of France, it's safe to say we were deprived of our fair share of Vitamin Sea. And of course, we always applaud anywhere we can get our kits off…!

Throughout our travels, we've visited many excellent beaches, some gay, others nudist and a select handful, both! We've put together this list of our favourite gay nude beaches from around the world so you know where you can feel free to explore your naturist instincts – with your partner to hand.

Just remember to apply plenty of sunscreen as the last thing you want is to get a nasty sunburn around the crown jewels…

1. Balmins Beach in Sitges, Spain

Sitges is one of the best gay resort towns we've ever been to. Located around 44km (27.3 miles) south from Barcelona, this has to be one of our favourite gay destinations. There is an official gay beach right in the heart of Sitges, with rainbow flags proudly flying in the wind. In terms of the gay nude beaches here, the main one is “Playa del Muerto” (it literally translates to “Beach of the deceased”) which is a good 50 minutes walking distance away from the main town. This may be a tad too remote for some.

Instead, we prefer to head just outside the centre of Sitges towards the east, right before Port D’Aiguadolç, where you'll find “Playa de las Balmins”. It's in quite a secluded area, which has allowed nudism to thrive. Balmins is a mixed clothing-optional beach, full of gay lads proudly chilling in their full birthday suits.

Balmins is also the perfect place to chill as it's away from the hustle and bustle of nearby family-friendly beaches…you know what we mean: no screaming kids anywhere in sight on Balmins!

2. Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines in New York, USA

Could this be any more iconic? We first heard about the gay nude beaches of Fire Island after they were featured in an episode of Sex and the City (yes, we are showing our age, and how gay we are).

Fire Island is a thin island that runs parallel alongside the south shore of Long Island in New York and is accessible only by passenger ferry. It's become a huge gay mecca, where the Manhattan gay boys come to party in the summer. The gay bits are Cherry Grove (or “the Grove” for short) and Fire Island Pines (aka “the Pines”).

The Grove and the Pines have been gay havens since the 1960s and have largely been left alone as self-governing communities. This has developed into an “anything goes” attitude, allowing beach nudity to thrive. In reality, it's more a case of who's got the skimpiest swimsuit on! The main nudist spot is located on the wild stretch of beach between the Grove and the Pines, separated by a large forest. As you enter the forest between the two communities, continue heading towards the beach ahead and there you'll find all the gay nude dudes. The total walk from either the Grove or the Pines ferry dock is around half a mile.

Most people come here as a day trip, but the best way is to try to stay overnight: cars are banned on Fire Island, so you know you're going to have complete peace and serenity here.

3. Obelisk Beach in Sydney, Australia

When you think of Sydney beaches, you probably think of hot Aussie surfers, lifeguards, and endless nights of partying.

And what better way to spend your time on a beach than to get your kit off? The Obelisk beach stretches for over 100 metres and is a lot quieter than you'd expect a beach in Syndey to be. With stunning views of the harbour towards Hornby Lighthouse, we felt like the world belonged to us, and only us.

Naturist lovers spent a good few years battling for a private spot where they could swim free, just as the good Lord above created them! Eventually, the Australian government relented and allowed Obelisk and Lady Bay Beaches to be officially nudist. Lady Bay is easier to reach, which makes it more popular and therefore can get more crowded. Obelisk is more remote, so the place to come for more privacy.

Overall, Lady Bay has a more mixed/hetero crowd whereas at Obelisk you'll find more gay men. The best way to reach Obelisk is either by boat or land taxi, but both are quite expensive. You can take the 244 bus (from Wynyard Station), but it's every hour, so make sure you plan ahead carefully.

Obelisk Beach is Sydney's best gay nude beach for enjoying the Aussie sun!
Obelisk Beach, Sydney” by Ernest McGray, Jr. is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 | Cropped from original

4. Sandy Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

It's sad how rarely we find ourselves adding African entries to our Best of lists, but hey, that's the reality right now. We hope to one-day tackle other parts of the continent and see it become more gay friendly, but for now, we will settle for just having South Africa.

Sandy Bay Beach is the only unofficial gay nude beach in South Africa. It's quite secluded from the rest of the city and can be rather difficult to reach. Tucked alongside a hidden road between Cape Town and Cape Point, Sandy Bay doesn't like to make its presence known too loudly. Yet, this only adds to the beautiful and tranquil atmosphere.

With stunning coastline views, plenty of caves to peer into, plus a fantastic mix of people both old and young, it's the kind of place you'd want to go to when you are looking to be off the beaten track.

Surrounding the beach is also a stunning hiking trail, which you can explore if you're feeling a bit more adventurous! There are guided tours available that take you along the sights by the beach, as well as through the Cape Penninsula and Winelands. Read more in our guide to the highlights of Cape Town for gay travellers.

5. Brighton Naturist Beach in England, UK

What? An English entry on a list of beaches where one would want to be nude? We even surprised ourselves with this one!

But credit where credit's due – and Brighton's nude beach needs to be given fair praise. Though the weather is not always perfect, it means a lot to us as it's close to our home city of London.

Although… you might not get to prance around as much on this beach due to all the stones and pebbles, so definitely remember to bring your flip flops or sandals. Also, facilities here are limited, so ensure you pop into the local ASDA along the way for supplies.

The Brighton Naturist Beach is located outside the city centre to the east, close to the Marina and the Electric Railway station. Once you've located the McDonalds at the Marina, continue walking until you pass the Cineworld, then turn right by Pizza Hut and continue walking through a tunnel into the car park until you reach a car wash. You eventually reach a concrete walkway, which runs behind the beach. Head for the Electric Railway station and the nude section of the beach is just beyond. Phew!

In terms of privacy, this beach is hidden from the railway by a shingle bank. The crowd is very mixed: we saw groups of students, gays of all ages, fabulous lesbians and plenty of couples.

Brighton Naturist Beach is one of England's best gay nude beaches, even if it is covered in pebbles
You'll need a thick towel to sunbathe on the pebbles of Brighton's nude beach!

6. Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica, California, USA

Situated in the gay mecca of Santa Monica, Will Rogers State Beach is definitely the most fabulous place to be. As Katy Perry once said, “California is fine, fresh, and fierce!”

This is one of the most famous gay nudie beaches in the US, located near lifeguard tower 18 in Pacific Palisades on the Santa Monica Bay. It's nicknamed “Ginger Rogers Beach” and is the unofficial gay beach of LA. It's also famous for being the filming location of Baywatch before it was moved to Hawaii.

The beach is well maintained so it's always very clean. The people who hang out here are extremely laid back, which of course is true of much of the West Coast.

In what is a famous surfing spot in the region, you can hit those waves in between games of volleyball or gymnastics. Everywhere you look there is a hive of activity going on, with people just embracing the bodies they were born in – shame-free!

Nearby you can enjoy a bike or hiking trail, which meanders right through the beach and around the coastline, though you'll need to be wearing at least a pair of pants if you want to cycle off the beach. Close by is a totally lush gay bar called ‘The Birdcage' – yes, just like the movie! The bar throws a Beach Club party every weekend with great music, drinks and fun!

7. Platja Es Cavallet in Ibiza, Spain

Just like the Venga Boys said, “We're going to Ibiza…” and we love it on this Spanish party island!

Ibiza is synonymous with mega-clubs – some of the best we've ever been to. But it's not all about partying here. Ibiza also has some stunning beaches to check out, and even a gay nudey one called Platja Es Cavallet located in the south.

Cavallet beach is a super chilled place to hang out at during the day after a night out partying in one of the island's mega clubs. This was also the first gay nudie beach we ever went to. We remember standing behind the dunes, peeking out onto the horizon where Seb swears he could see Formentera…

You can reach Cavallet beach either by driving here or via a long bus ride from Ibiza Town, followed by another good 20 minutes walk through a forest. When we went, it was peak summer period in July, so packed full of gays of all ages from all around the world. It's also where you will find the club flyer boys hanging around and giving out discounts to that evening's big parties. Yet, despite the crowds, we love that you can still always find a quiet spot at the Cavallet gay nude beach.

8. Bellevue Beach in Copenhagen, Denmark  

With Denmark being one of the most gay friendly countries in the world, is it any wonder they have one of the best, gay, nudist beaches too?

The Bellevue Beach, also referred to as Miramare, is located around 10km from Copenhagen centre. You can reach it via a short train ride to Klampenborg Station. When you come out of the station, you will soon see the water towards the east. The gay nude bit is by the northern end.

Plotted throughout the beach are the geometrically shaped lifeguard towers. The blue striped posts, with its retro style build, are a signature on the beach. If you feel up to it, join in on a game of polo – the beach is famous for the sport! Though don't get too competitive, as the Danish are generally more chilled when it comes to playing, and won't appreciate a Monica from ‘Friends' style approach.

The site of one of the most popular European holiday destinations in the 1930s, Bellevue Beach has been specially made up throughout the years to become one of the most lavish, and stunning spots that it is today. With a cafe lounge area nearby, feel free to grab a coffee or an ice-cream in between dips in the water.

9. Mar Bella in Barcelona, Spain

This beach is like no other.

Mar Bella is located in quite a secluded area, so it feels super intimate and cosy. It's easy to reach – take the metro to Poblenou and from there it's just a 10-minute walk. Mar Bella attracts a mixed crowd of all ages, both locals and foreigners. We spotted guys throwing beach balls, playing music, and laying back under the sun.

Close by is the BeGay restaurant, which also serves drinks. If you want to bring along any extra supplies, like sun lotion or shades, then there are a few small supermarkets just 10 minutes up the road.

This beach famously hosts the epic Circuit Festival every August, which is one of the main annual gay events in Barcelona. Though it does make finding a spot to sunbathe a real pain, which is why it's important to go there early if you're there in the peak summer months.

10. Elia Beach in Mykonos, Greece

Elia Beach is our favourite of all the gay beaches on Mykonos Island in Greece and also where nude sunbathing is allowed. It's located at the southern end of the island, around 10km away from Mykonos Town. It has a gay section (look out for the rainbow flags waving in the wind) and a nudie section (look out for all the willies waving in the wind!).

To get there, it's easiest to hop in a rental car or buggy. Sometimes scheduled boat services can take you here during the peak summer seasons. Otherwise, you can reach it by bus, but be prepared for a long ole' windy journey.

The beach is generally very quiet in the morning, so if you're just looking for a place to relax, then use this time to do it! Things start to get a little bit more active in the afternoon with tons of gorgeous gay men descending onto the beach for a day of socialising, partying and swimming.

The busiest period is during the XLSIOR gay festival which takes place at the end of August and early September. Read more about it in our gay guide to Mykonos.

11. Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Spain

Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands in Spain, located just off the coast of West Africa. Gran Canaria has become a gay haven, with a massive gay scene around the Yumbo Centre in Playa del Ingles. Just south of this is the gay nude beach of Maspalomas by kiosk #7, hidden by the island's famous sand dunes.

To reach the gay beach, first, you have to work your way through the sand dunes, which doubles up as a popular cruising area… We got lost several times here, but if one of you has basic navigation skills (which we don't), or even has Google Maps to hand (which we didn't) – then you'll be just fine…! Otherwise, just follow the path of scantily clad dressed gay boys.

The beach itself is a lot of fun, with sun loungers available for rent and guys of all ages, mainly tourists from North Europe on their gay holiday in Gran Canaria. The only downside about the Maspalomas gay beach is that when it gets windy here, the sand goes EVERYWHERE! So be prepared for this, or avoid going on a very windy day. Find out more in our gay guide to Gran Canaria.

Maspalomas is the lovely gay nude beach in Grana Canaria
Oops, looks like it's getting a little windy here…

12. Praia do Abrico near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  

Ipanema may be the main go-to gay beach in Rio, where all the tanned, muscly, hot Brazilian “Barbie Boys” hang out, but just outside the city is Praia do Abrico, a gay nude haven. It's a lot more chilled here than Ipanema beach, with zero attitude, so you can take your clothes off, lie back and enjoy the beach as nature intended without any judgement from anyone!

In our view, this beach has stolen the show! It's located around 1.5 hours drive from Copacabana on the east end of Grumari Beach, but definitely worth the journey. It's surrounded by stunning mountains, notably, ‘the twin brothers' – which can be seen on the western side.

There are always plenty of games happening – even if you're not that into sports, the crowds here are so inviting and engaging that you'll feel yourself becoming the next Sporty Spice within minutes! Try your hand at surfing, the waves here are to di…ve for, and the blue waters feel so relaxing underneath the piping hot sun.

13. Lokrum in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Reached by a ferry service, Lokrum is an island situated 600 metres from Dubrovnik in Croatia. A land of monasteries, botanical gardens, quiet country life…and a fabulous nudey beach! The whole region basks in culture and history. In fact, Maximilian, the former Austrian archduke, once spent a holiday here.

It's safe to say you can go without any clothes on the beaches anywhere along the island's coast – most locals go there to bathe or to relax. The gay section can be found on the east side. The bay offers great shelter, so you can soak up the sun and lap up the waters in peace.

While it generally has an open atmosphere, be wary that Croatia still isn't the most progressive country in the world. Displays of affection may be ok at the gay beach of Lokrum, but take care elsewhere in Croatia as homophobia is still prevalent across the country. Nonetheless, Croatia remains a favourite stopover amongst some of the best gay nude cruises.

14. Mari Pintau on Sardinia Island, Italy

In what translates as ‘the painted sea', the Mari Pintau beach certainly feels like a masterful work of art. It is located halfway between the picturesque town of Cagliari and Villasimius, next to the Kala e Moru beach on Sardinia Island.

This beach is not a sandy beach, it is covered in small round stones, so bring flipflops or sandals to avoid discomfort! With a nearby kiosk bar, you'll get delicious foods and helpful tips on how best to spend your time on the beach. We also love this beach because it is southwest facing, which means stunning sunsets every evening.

Plus, you can get nude! Surrounded by the lush Mediterranean bushes, we felt like Adam and … well, Adam, in the Garden of Eden.

15. Playa Chihuahua in Uruguay

Being one of the most gay friendly countries in South America, Uruguay was bound to have a stunning nudist beach nearby. Playa Chihuahua can be found just outside gay party city, Punta del Este.

Play by day. Party by night. Visiting this beach in the AM and the PM is like seeing two different worlds. In the morning, kids can be seen frolicking in the sea, building sandcastles, with parents reading under beach umbrellas. By night, all the gays come out of the shadows for an epic party!

Music. Dancing. Laughter. It's like the magic of the club being brought outdoors. So popular amongst younger crowds, it wouldn't be totally out of place to see a famous face or two amongst the festivities.

And the fact that the beach is clothing optional makes it so much better!

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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author of the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

2 thoughts on “15 best gay nude beaches around the world”

  1. I read about your travels, and I found them to be excellent; although I don´t travel very often, I´d love to so, just like you and your husband.
    I really love nudism on beaches, and being a Lawyer just like you, I would appreciate to exchange messages with you, on how I can help you in your magazine, as well in any other matters that you might need for such.

    Please consider me as a friend.

    Sincerely, Bill


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