Nude Beaches: Take It All Off!

These beaches are the perfect places to work on that all-over tan.
By: Melanie Mize
While nude beaches remain largely taboo, there are a number of strands, from North and South America to the Caribbean and Europe, that cater to naturists and those who want to feel sun and air on completely bare skin. Here's a list of the best beaches where these sun worshippers can shed their skivvies and work on an all-over tan.
1. Little Beach

Photo by: Thinkstock

Thinkstock

Known as the "unofficial clothing-optional beach" in Maui, Little Beach is an isolated strand surrounded by high shrubs, craggy volcanic rocks and driftwood. Although nude sunbathing is illegal in Hawaii, the law has not been enforced here for years. As a result, Little Beach has become a favorite hangout for naturists and has even attracted the likes of nude recreation expert and artist Dr. Leisure, who has been painting colorful scenes from nude beaches for more than a decade. Activities at Little Beach are plentiful, including swimming, body surfing and whale watching.
2. Haulover Beach

Photo by: Mr Boz, flickr

Mr Boz, flickr

Just north of Miami lies one of the few county-run and government-sanctioned clothing-optional beaches in the United States. For years Haulover Beach has been a haven for naturists from South Florida as well as snowbirds from Canada and Europe. Thanks to the efforts of the South Florida Free Beach Association, this beach has certified lifeguards and organized group activities, such as swimming and volleyball.
3. Red Beach

Photo by: Thinkstock

Thinkstock

With its cobalt-blue waters, sun-bleached cottages, ancient ruins and red sandstone cliffs, Crete's Red Beach is remarkably picturesque. Made famous in 1968 when hippies from across Europe flocked to its shores, the resort at Red Beach has remained a naturist favorite thanks to its rustic charm and its tolerance (nudity is allowed everywhere except the dining room). Visitors to Red Beach will find the area's ancient caves interesting, as well as sunken bits of history from off-shore shipwrecks that wash ashore from time to time.
4. Praia do Pinho

Photo by: Andrew Herdy, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Andrew Herdy, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Although the barely-there, dental-floss bikini is said to have debuted here, nude beaches in Brazil are somewhat rare. However, naturism has caught on in some parts of the country, including Praia do Pinho (Pinho Beach), located in the southern state of Santa Catarina. Pinho opened in 1987 as the first sanctioned au naturel beach, and nudists who frequent this area make a point of saying "clothing is not an option" despite the strand's official description as clothing optional. Pinho Beach is located in the town of Balneario Camboria, a popular destination for beachgoers from Argentina and Uruguay. The town's population is said to increase tenfold from December through February. Beyond the beach, the town's prime attraction is Brazil's second largest monument, Cristo Luz, a giant statue of Christ.
5. Hedonism II

Photo by: Johann Vanbeek, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Johann Vanbeek, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Unlike most other nude beaches, Hedonism II promotes a freewheeling and indulgent naturist experience for playful singles and couples. Located in Jamaica along Negril’s famous 7-mile white sand beach, the all-inclusive resort is divided into "nude" and "prude" sections, with separate facilities for swimming, sunbathing, volleyball and more. Clothing is optional, however, throughout the entire complex. Visitors can expect to find vast spreads of food and drink, a thumping party scene and, to quote the resort, a "lush garden of playful passion."
6. Samurai Beach

Photo by: Raguy, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Raguy, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Relaxed and lively, Samurai Beach lies about 2 1/2 hours north of Sydney via the Pacific Motorway. Along Samurai's 1/2-mile expanse of white sand, nudists let it all hang out while playing volleyball, tug-of-war and Frisbee. To reach Samurai, visitors must traverse the tricky terrain of One Mile Beach (think scrub and rocks) and are advised to pack adequate footwear.
7. Wreck Beach

Photo by: MsNina, flickr

MsNina, flickr

Named for a hulking, wrecked vessel that once sat on the sand, Wreck Beach was Canada's first government-sanctioned, clothing-optional beach. The 3-mile-long beach is also a wildlife and nesting area for bald eagles. Still, some sections of the beach assume carnival-like atmosphere thanks to its proximity to the University of British Columbia and its popularity with students. One stretch of sand known as Vendors' Row is a 1-stop shop for souvenirs, refreshments and ever-important sunscreen.
8. Ocho Rios

Photo by: Tomash Devenishek, flickr

Tomash Devenishek, flickr

The site for nude novices is the Couples Resort in Ocho Rios, a popular Jamaican port-of-call. A unique feature at the romantic, all-inclusive getaway is Tower Isle, a private, au naturel island approximately 200 yards offshore where playful pairs can enjoy a day of nudity. Located on the island are a pool, cozy nooks for lounging, a cabana bar and, of course, a pristine beach. Although the rest of the Couples complex has a dress code, Tower Isle makes it the ideal resort for letting loose year-round.
9. Montalivet Beach

Photo by: SORTIR, Wikimedia Creative Commons

SORTIR, Wikimedia Creative Commons

Travelers looking for an authentic nude beach experience should go to CHM Montalivet, the birthplace of the international naturist movement. Established in 1950, this nude beach resort on France's Atlantic coast provides a safe and legal wilderness setting for nudists and their families. Within the complex are more than 1,800 campsites, 172 bungalows, shops and facilities for activities like art classes, yoga and soccer. No other nude beach or camp on Earth rivals Montalivet's family-friendly environment.
10. Cap s'Agde
Cap d’agde, France

Cap d’agde, France

The French Mediterranean resort of Cap d'Agde is more than just a nude beach, it is a nude city. From March to mid-October, visitors must fill out paperwork and pay a fee to enter the guarded village, where clothing is not an option. Because Cap d’Agde is a fully sanctioned nude beach, it offers numerous activities, accommodations and restaurants for practicing naturists. For something completely different, Cap d’Agde also holds an annual “last swim of the year” on New Year’s Eve -- the only “polar bear” type of swim at a nudist beach.

Photo by: Photo by geogeek through Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by geogeek through Flickr Creative Commons

From March through mid-October, Cap d’Agde, one of the largest tourist resorts in the French Mediterranean, transforms into a nude city, where baring it all is not only an option – it is required. Close to the city of Montpellier and the vast vineyards of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, family-friendly Cap d’Agde is a cultured choice for both avid naturists and those who want to take the clothing-optional lifestyle for a test-drive.
11. Plakias Beach
Plakias Beach, Crete

Plakias Beach, Crete

On the south coast of Crete , between mountains and the Libyan Sea, lies Plakias, a tiny fishing village whose population swells during the summer months. Popular with backpackers, many of whom come here to stay in the most southerly youth hostel in Europe, Plakias is also a favorite with nudists, who can swim and sunbathe in the buff along the 1,300-meter (0.8 mile) Plakias Beach. Beyond the nudist strand, Plakias offers several beach options (Ammoudi, Damnoni, and Souda), mountain hikes and casual tavernas. Nearby, Mona Preveli, one of the most famous monasteries in Crete, is a worthwhile daytrip.

European hippies were the first to adopt this fishing village in Crete as a naturist destination. Since the 1960s, Plakias Beach, which is hemmed in by mountains and the Libyan Sea, has earned a reputation as a safe spot for those who embrace the clothing-optional lifestyle. Now many German, English and Dutch expats make Plakias their home year-round. Breathtaking landscapes, rustic Greek heritage, and its geographical position as the southernmost nude beach in Europe make Plakias Beach an obvious entry for a nude beach bucket list.
12. Baker Beach
Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker Beach, San Francisco

On the shore below San Francisco’s famed Presidio is where you’ll find half-mile-long Baker Beach. Baker is not only notable for its nude beach-- naturists sunbathe, swim and stroll in the northern section of the beach--but also for its spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge . Be wary of heavy fog and rough surf.

A visit to San Francisco is always a good idea. Travelers looking to combine a naturist retreat with a jaunt to the city can visit nearby Baker Beach. Part of the Presidio, Baker Beach is a 1/2-mile-long strand with stunning, panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, making it a popular destination for beach walkers and photographers. For nude sunbathing and recreation, head to the northernmost section of Baker Beach. Note that swimming here is discouraged due to the dangerous surf.
13. Black's Beach
Black’s Beach, San Diego

Black’s Beach, San Diego

Known as San Diego ’s nude beach, Black's Beach is beneath the soaring, picturesque bluffs of Torrey Pines. Though nude sunbathing is technically illegal in San Diego, naturism at the north end of Black’s has been allowed for years, owing to the beach’s secluded location. Those wishing to sunbathe in the buff at Black’s must endure a hike along marked routes down to the beach. Black’s Beach is also popular with surfers, who make the most of the waves that ripple and curl offshore.

Nude beaches are technically illegal in San Diego. However, Black’s Beach, set below the 300-foot, mansion-topped bluffs of Torrey Pines, has long been known as the best clothing-optional beach in Southern California. Because of the beach's difficulty to reach, nudists at Black’s Beach are mostly left undisturbed. Visitors must follow a marked, but steep route down the cliffs to the beach or take a 20-minute walk along the beach from La Jolla Shores (which is impossible during high tide). In addition to nude recreation, Black’s Beach is popular with surfers.
14. Club Orient
Club Orient, St. Martin

Club Orient, St. Martin

St. Martin, the French-speaking side of the island also known as St. Maarten, is home to Club Orient, a family-friendly naturist resort that fronts one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Caribbean. Guests are invited to participate in all activities, from sunbathing to dining, while in the buff. When the nude bodies begin to bore you, head to the other side of the island for a visit to Maho Beach, famous for its planespotting.

Photo by: xitraveler, flickr

xitraveler, flickr

The wide sandy beach occupied by Club Orient is one of the best family-friendly, clothing-optional choices in the Caribbean. This St. Martin resort lets guests sunbathe, stroll and swim in the nude. Numerous services including laundry facilities, a fitness center, general store and 2 restaurants are located on the premises. Beyond the club, visitors can take excursions to Marigot, St. Martin's capital and the largest town on the French side of the island, or to Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, where they'll find casinos and shopping.
15. Hidden Beach Resort
Hidden Beach Resort, Mexico

Hidden Beach Resort, Mexico

For naturist fun on the Mayan Riviera, Hidden Beach Resort is an all-inclusive, adults-only playground. Guests here may be nude throughout the resort, from sunbathing to dining and dancing. There is even a full-day nude cruise. Beyond the resort, guests can sign up for visits to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, golfing, swimming with dolphins, or watching a bullfight, but clothing is required for these options.

Photo by: Photo by botafogo through Flickr Creative Commons

The beaches along Mexico’s Mayan Riviera attract everyone from spring breakers and honeymooners to convention-goers. Hidden Beach Resort, between Cancun and Tulum, caters solely to the naturist. Here, guests can sunbathe on white sand beaches, swim in clear Caribbean waters, dine, dance and visit the spa without ever wearing a stitch. The adults-only all-inclusive also offers a day-long nude cruise as well as clothed excursions to local points of interest, such as the Mayan ruins in Tulum, craft markets and bullfighting events.
16. Moshup Beach
Moshup Beach, Massachusetts

Moshup Beach, Massachusetts

Martha’s Vineyard, the island off the coast of Massachusetts long known as a getaway for old money scions and politicians, has a bit of a bohemian streak, which is best embodied by its small but beloved nude beach. Known as either Moshup Beach, after the Moshup Trail that leads down to the sand, or Gay Head Beach, because of its position below the scrub-topped Gay Head Cliffs, this strand has a clothing-optional section for sunbathing and recreation. Visitors must pay a $15 parking fee in order to access Moshup Beach.

Photo by: Brian Fisk, flickr

Brian Fisk, flickr

Just off the coast of Massachusetts lies the island of Martha’s Vineyard, long known as a getaway for old-money scions and politicians. Surprisingly, the island has a bit of a bohemian streak, best embodied by its small, but beloved, nude beach. Known as either Moshup Beach, after the Moshup Trail that leads down to the sand, or Gay Head Beach, because of its position below the scrub-topped Gay Head Cliffs, this strand has a clothing-optional section for sunbathing and recreation. Visitors must pay a $15 parking fee in order to access Moshup’s Beach.
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