Whatever your queer flavor at home in the LGBTQ-ATL, our fine city’s inland heat and humidity is no joke, especially this year. We find ourselves daydreaming of downtime in better situations with warm sands, ocean breezes and crashing waves.
Your heart rate just dropped several beats by just picturing it, right? As an escape for all you hot queers in Atlanta, we did some digging to fuel your daydreams, day-trips, distant destination to-do list, or all of the above.
We start by visiting several easy-access beaches in the Southeastern U.S., then hit the air and sea for global gay getaways you’d never forget. If you’re going to dream, dream big, right?
Whether it inspires you to plan your own holiday, or just gets you through the moment with that fan trained directly on your face, enjoy this week’s fantasy photo essay below.
Tybee Island is just a few minutes’ drive from historic Savannah. Come for the white beaches, stay for a Civil War historic site, a 300-year-old lighthouse, and restaurants with plenty of seafood and country cooking.
St. Simons Island is one of the more popular islands just off Brunswick, Ga. This is the most low-key and peaceful. After a day at the beach, drop by one of the super-casual local gay bars.
Myrtle Beach offers slow Southern style with a touch of class. Gambling boats on the Atlantic and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk will keep you entertained off the sand.
Hilton Head Island has 12 miles of beach behind the car dealerships and McMansions you drive through to get there. Your entire beach experience can feel more like a day at a country club, augmented by sophisticated shopping.
Charleston is often called Savannah’s sister with its historical, antebellum vibe. Charleston’s Tybee is Folly Beach, home to a namesake pier for shopping and dining with amazing views of the Atlantic.
Panama City just may be the birthplace of Spring Break, but it’s better in summer. Nearly 30 miles of beaches serve warm water and hot sand on the Gulf side of the state.
Jacksonville Beach is actually not far from St. Simons Island, but a world away in atmosphere. A thriving mid-sized metropolis comes equipped with bigger attractions like a world-class zoo. Supplement your beach days at a water amusement park or on-the-water shopping center.
Gulf Shores gives you white sand, warm water, and tons of summer adventures including zip lining, deep sea fishing, golfing and even a bird trail.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
One of the world’s jewels, Amalfi stacks sun-drenched homes and businesses up steep terrain to create breathtaking views. Private and public beaches are at every turn, from which you can kayak on crystal-clear waters. One place to spend the day is Positano Beach, then walk to galleries, bars, gelato stands and shops, and eat on scenic terraces. (Bottom photo by Buck C. Cooke)
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town boasts some of the most immaculate beaches on the planet, including exclusively gay beaches at Clifton, as well asshopping and dining on Camps Bay, are just five-to-ten minutes from this internationally savvy city. Drive down the coast of the Atlantic side of the cape for amazing views of the affectionately nicknamed South African Riviera.
Rio de Janeiro
Warm beaches, hot social hours and scorching nightlife. Welcome to Rio, one of South America’s most gay-friendly cities. From laid-back vibes on LGBTQ beaches like Ipanema Farme de Amoedo, Copacabana and Arpoador, to cosmopolitan dining and shopping in gayborhoods like Lebion and Leme, there’s something here for every queer mood that strikes you. When the sun goes down, enjoy some two-dozen LGBTQ clubs.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv is famous for its “never-ending” 9-mile shoreline – It has 14km, or 8.7 miles for us dummies over here. Pretty queer-friendly in general, Tel Aviv is home to the specifically LGBTQ Hilton Beach, and the gay Ga’ash nude beach.
This feature originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue below, and pick up your copy around town each week.