Over the past few years, Tel Aviv — with its hot parties, trendy bars and open, permissive seaside atmosphere — has become a world capital for the gay community. One of its great advantages is its proximity to the sea, which allows people to enjoy a combination of the urban experience and the free spirit of the beach.
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The official watering hole has become Hilton Beach, a crest of coast just below the Hilton Hotel in north Tel Aviv, between Metzitzim Beach and the Tel Aviv Marina.
Here you'll find the fittest, tannest guys in the tightest bathing suits playing matkot (paddleball), eyeing the water – and each other. The atmosphere of the beach is open and welcoming; straight residents of Tel Aviv go there too.
It’s not only the most liberal of Tel Aviv’s beaches — it’s also the most wheelchair-accessible beach in Israel, with a special chair for disabled people available during opening hours.
In addition to its rainbow pride, Hilton Beach has another attraction: its surfing club, which offers classes in wave surfing, windsurfing and kayaking. Athletic tourists can also play a game of volleyball on the nearby courts.
On the other side of the surfing club is a restaurant that offers coffee, sandwiches and cocktails. If you're not lucky enough to score a cushy cabana, you can wave over a waiter and order from the comfort of your towel. But be warned: prices there are even steeper than Tel Aviv’s usual prices, which are pretty high to begin with. Such is the tax for seaside service.
Hilton Beach has public restrooms and free lockers, but they’re not exactly pristine: The restrooms are dirty and neglected, and if you’re going to use them, don’t go in barefoot.
For a teaser of the scene, search #hiltonbeach on your social media network of choice and enjoy a slideshow of fitness buffs tucked into teenie-weenie Speedos, set against the Mediterranean in all its glory.