When you love beach volleyball and you’re overdue for a vacation by the sea, might as well combine the two and make dreams come true. The best destinations deliver thrilling beach volleyball action and soul-satisfying scenery, which is one of the hallmarks of a great vacation. So where to go?
Beach volleyball can obviously be played anywhere you can find sand and a net. In the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, approximately 4,000 tons of sand were trucked into a 15,000-seat stadium for the beach volleyball event. But there’s nothing quite like a beach volleyball destination with a stunning ocean view.
If you’re going to take vacation time to play beach volleyball, might as well travel where the action is at its best and the scenery is most beautiful. With these goals in mind, we’ve rounded up the Top 10 Beach Volleyball Destinations throughout the world. Each of these destinations offers the best beach volleyball you can find on the planet, amid gorgeous surroundings, cool people and exciting things to do off the volleyball court. Pack that duffel and get ready to enjoy some of the best beach volleyball on earth built into a sweet vacation that’ll make you wonder why you didn’t plan the trip sooner.
#10 Plages du Prado, Marseille, France
The plages (beaches) in Marseille offer a beautiful backdrop for beach volleyball action. The beaches were actually created about 40 years ago using fill from the Marseille subway system, which was then under construction.
The beach at Roucas Blanca is heavily populated with volleyball players, and is surrounded by a bike path for leisurely cruising. Waterskiing and windsurfing excursions are available nearby.
When you’re ready to chill after a vigorous beach volleyball match, Marseille has a laid-back Mediterranean vibe that’s great for relaxation. Marseille is the second-largest city in France, next to Paris, but it is the oldest. And by old, we’re talking 2,500 years old. The city is also home to several art and history museums. The Musée d’histoire de Marseille was the first historical museum to celebrate Marseille History. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is perhaps second only to the Louvre as the finest art museum in France. Both make great afternoon adventures on the occasional rainy day when playing beach volleyball might not be top-of-list.
#9 Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, Canada
Kitsilano Beach is just west of Vancouver, one of the most breathtaking regions in British Columbia and a popular beach volleyball destination.
Many areas along the beach have sand volleyball courts with stanchions for nets. You can borrow a net from a lifeguard at no charge with a credit card or use your ID as a deposit. Bring your own ball.
Sections of the beach are reserved for swimming, so there’s no worry of getting konked by a boat or kayak. Kitsilano also offers all the water sports you’d expect at a beach resort.
Vancouver holds an annual Shakespeare festival in the summer. You can also devote an interesting afternoon to the Vancouver Maritime Museum to learn about the city’s deep connection to the sea. Kitsilano Beach and nearby Vancouver are bike-friendly, so you can enjoy leisurely sightseeing by bicycle when you’re not playing beach volleyball.
#8 Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town, South Africa
Camps Bay is a wealthy suburb of Cape Town, attracting world travelers mainly during the summer months for the warm climate, watersports and beach volleyball. The area is also a popular destination for scuba divers.
Beach volleyball tournament play begins at the end of November and runs to the first of March. The best way to join a game or tournament is through The Beach Bums Volleyball Club, the home of beach volleyball in Cape Town. They offer personal training, group training, and corporate events.
#7 Manly Beach, Australia
You’ll find this gorgeous sugar-white beach along the southeast coast of Australia in Sydney, New South Wales. This is a popular beach volleyball destination both for the sport and abundant water activities.
Manly Beach is home to the annual 9-day Volleyfest held from the last week of February into March. This event attracts some of the top beach volleyballers in the world.
Sydney’s world-famous opera house is nearby to satisfy your appetite for culture. A vibrant nightlife scene exists throughout the waterfront area, with a variety of hot spots cranking music to suit most any taste.
#6 Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Voted the best beach in New Zealand, Mount Maunganui extends across the waterline of the city of Tauranga, near the northeastern tip of the country. The local beach volleyball club has a Facebook page with regular updates on all the action.
Mount Maunganui is also a hot destination for surfing and boogie boarding when you need a break from the sand. Swim with dolphins if the mood strikes, or enjoy a harbor cruise. Learn about traditional Maori culture with a guided tour around Tauranga. For film buffs, visiting some of the preserved sets from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies is a must.
Beach volleyball league and tournament play runs from October-March in the land of the Kiwi.
The organization Volleyball New Zealand has most everything you’d want to know about getting involved.
#5 Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, USA
The AVP’s Hawaii Open happen on Waikiki in September. Beach volleyball is a core part of the Waikiki scene year-round. The Spike & Serve Hawaii Beach Volleyball tourney opens in November, with competitions for players at every skill level.
Besides beach volleyball, there’s the popular island nightlife scene, whale sighting tours, day trips to Pearl Harbor, and all the watersports you’d imagine. If you need one more reason, well, Hawaii.
#4 Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand
TripAdvisor gives four stars to Karon Beach, situated along the western coast of the amusingly named Phuket Island.
Karon Beach offers one of the longest sand stretches in Phuket. Karon is also the only place in Phuket where beach volleyball nets are set up every day for public use. The local volleyball club plays daily from 4 p.m. to sunset. Training sessions are available at the beginner, intermediate and professional level. Beach Volleyball Club Karon posts regular Facebook updates on the local action.
After a game, cool off in the crystal-clear waters lapping the shores of Karon Beach. Parasailing, snorkeling and kayaking are popular water sports when you’re not on the beach volleyball court, or rent a bike and cruise the coastline. Best of all, Phuket is a relatively inexpensive place to visit compared to some exotic locales.
#3 Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Besides beach volleyball from dawn to dusk, Rio is always hopping with activity. Seriously, New York isn’t the only city that never sleeps.
At Copacabana Beach you might find more people engaged in beach volleyball than sunbathing or splashing in the Atlantic. It’s always warm but not too hot on the sand and in the water. Ipanema is about 1 mile south of Copacabana and features just as vigorous a beach volleyball scene. Plus it’s famous for that quirky bossa nova song, the Girl from Ipanema, made popular once upon a time by Frank Sinatra.
Want nightlife? Rio is the place. Travelers and locals alike party and dance until the break of day. You’ll wonder when their legs are going to fall off. But save your strength. You’ll need it on the soft sand beach volleyball courts, where people have fun but play hard.
#2 South Beach, Florida
South Beach is a waterfront neighborhood in Miami, where beach volleyball players congregate on the sand almost as far as you can see in both directions.
The South Beach Volley sports club’s Facebook page covers all the action on the calendar. The group’s website has even more information on what’s going down on their turf between 8th and Ocean avenues.
South Beach boasts shopping galore and a vibrant nightlife scene. The whole strip lights up in pastel shades of glowing neon at dusk.
#1 Hermosa Beach & Manhattan Beach, California
Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach are barely 2 miles apart, and are within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region. More AVP players congregate in this area than any other part of the country, so opportunities to watch and learn from the best are plentiful. Beach volleyball doesn’t get better than the action you’ll find here. That’s why it’s our top beach volleyball destination. In addition to terrific beach volleyball play, there’s lots to see and do around Hermosa Beach and L.A.
Manhattan Beach is where you’ll find the AVP Manhattan Beach Open. They’ll hang a plaque in your honor on the pier if you win. The California Beach Volleyball Association also holds regular tournaments on Manhattan Beach.
Hermosa is one of the most beautiful beaches along the Southern California coastline. As a beach volleyball destination for serious players, this is where you meet the pros and watch beach volleyball played by men and women at the top of their game. Plenty of learning and training opportunities here as well. The area is home to VolleyCamp Hermosa where you can train with pro beach volleyball players while enjoying So-Cal fun and hospitality. All are welcome. Come join us.