Summer's Hottest Parties: Sun, Sex & Sand

The wildest places to party: from yachting with celebs to all-night raves.

July 10, 2008— -- Some like to dance on speakers in stilettos amid strobbing lights and dry ice in one of the world's biggest discos, in Bodrum, Turkey. Others prefer to indulge in "diet pills" and stay up all night writhing barefoot on the beach in Ko Phanghan, Thailand, to honor the full moon.

Now in the sweltering summer months, party scenes around the world are heating up, offering everyone a chance to let loose and strip down, regardless of one's style.

Whether you're looking to spray champagne on Puff Daddy in St. Tropez, France, sail alongside the mega yachts in the star-studded port of Hvar, Croatia, or simply groove in designer tunics with local/celebrity surfers in Montauk, N.Y., check out this list of summer's hottest spots to find the wildest party raging near you.

Ibiza, Spain

Once a sleepy art colony, Ibiza bloomed into Europe's wildest 24-hour party scene during its 1960s hippie heyday. In the decades since, this tiny Spanish island has continued to draw droves of jet setters and backpackers alike, seeking sun on glistening beaches and a chance to dance all night to house music.

Two reliable fixtures on the so-called "super club" circuit include Pacha and Amensia -- that helped make foam parties a global phenomenon.

Local authorities have recently cracked down on all-day parties, though, such as the 22-hour Sunday marathons at Space. Now that clubs can't open until 4:30 p.m., instead of 6 a.m., revelers with stamina spend their days dancing in the sun at beach parties. calls Playa de las Salinas "the hippest" of the sandy scenes.

If you need a little detox or down time, check out some of the desolate pebble beaches scattered around the island, hike into the hills to see stunning views or check out one of Ibiza's well-known yoga retreats.

Ko Phangan, Thailand

Every month almost 20,000 people flock to the island of Ko Phangan for the legendary Full Moon parties.

"It's a young crowd, a lot of tie-dye, a lot of trance, a lot of dreads," mostly from Europe, Australia and North America said Lisa Gill, senior editor at Conde Nast Traveler.

Partygoers often paint themselves in UV paint and pop a few "diet pills" before heading off to Had Rin Nok, on the southeast side of the island, for a three-day rave that culminates with the full moon.

Since starting in the 1980s, the festival has become a must-stop for backpackers in Asia, but has lately attracted more upscale restaurants and some top international DJs.

A more mellow option to partake in the fun, but still get to enjoy the stunning and tranquil beaches of southern Thailand is to stay on the nearby island of Ko Samui and take one of several ferries daily to Ko Phangan. Click here to find out more.

Havr, Croatia

The glitzy Croatian island of Hvar has quickly become one of Europe's top partying destinations, staking out a rivalry with other Mediterranean hot spots such as Ibiza and Mykonos, Greece.

The former Venetian island offers both culturally-rich sightseeing in its picturesque towns and all-night entertainment along the harbor.

Don't miss the nightly passegiata through the main square, Trg Sveti Stiepan, in Hvar town, or the late-night scene at celebrity hot spot Carpe Diem. During the peak summer months its weekly theme parties go full-steam after 2 a.m., with a mix of wealthy Europeans and local Croatians.

Hvar is a must-sail spot for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who parks his mega yacht in port for a few days each summer. For those without a private boat, you can also take the twice-daily ferry from Split. For some downtime, enjoy a cruise out the small, scattered islands of Pakleni Otoci or a drive through the island's breathtaking fields of lavender.

Hamptons, New York

Along the South Fork of Long Island, New York's wealthiest and most socially insatiable make a weekly pilgrimage to the Hamptons' beautiful duned beaches. Some come for the surf and beautiful scenery, but more come to see and be seen -- in too much jewelry and designer flip-flops.

This summer, the Surf Lodge in Montauk has reopened and quickly become the hottest spot on the East End. Unlike the swankier scenes at Nello or Dune in Southampton, Surf Lodge offers a laid-back vibe, a sprawling outdoor waterside lounge area and live music. So far, its winning vibe of socialite-meets-surfer has kept the restaurant-bar-hotel packed day and night.

If you'd rather not make the trip out to Montauk, on the easternmost tip of Long Island, try Sunset Beach on Shelter Island for a similar all-day, beachside lounging vibe and upscale cocktail scene at night -- the closest thing to the French beach clubs in America.

Bodrum, Turkey

The chic seaside town of Bodrum is where Turkey's beautiful people go to play. More of a bustling port than a beachy retreat, it's the perfect jumping off point for a gullet or yacht tour of the coast.

All summer long young and old alike head here for weeks at a time to stay up eating, drinking and dancing till the early hours of the morning. The most notorious spot is Halikarnas, a.k.a. Vegas on the Agean, which claims to be the largest disco in the world. If you can hang on until 4 a.m., you'll catch a mesmerizing light show cast against views of the sea.

For something lighter, try some of the popular bars and cafes scattered around the main harbor, such as Fink and Kuba. When the nightlife gets to be too much, be sure and book yourself on a four-plus-day cruise along the breathtaking coast.

St. Tropez, France

Long-favored by wealthy Europeans as a summer retreat, St. Tropez quickly transformed into one of the world's best-known jet set scenes after Brigitte Bardot posed on its beaches in a white bikini more than 50 years ago. Since then, celebrities and aristocracy from around the world have flocked to this tiny port town on the Cote d'Azur every summer to soak up the sun and glamour.

At the heart of St. Tropez's exclusive nightlife is the Byblos hotel and its baroque inspired night club -- Les Caves de Roy, which regularly hosts everyone from Mick Jagger to Jay-Z. The over-the-top nightly scene typically involves Elle McPherson lookalikes pumping their fists to hip-hop remixes, with Saudi royalty dancing along as waiters usher in a steady stream of sparkling magnums of champagne alongside them.

If you'd rather not stay up until 6 a.m., you can get your kicks -- and celebrity-sightings -- at some of St. Tropez's "super-chic" beach club scenes, such as Le Club 55 or La Voile Rouge along Pampelone beach (where Bardot filmed "And God Created Woman").

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