The World's Best Nude Beaches
In most places, hitting the beach in the buff comes with such pesky side effects as “public indecency charges.” Or it involves going all-in on a naturalist resort, throwing you into a whole different lifestyle when you just want to go snorkeling without trunks on. But sometimes, a nude beach experience can be a little slice of fully nude paradise.
We've already shared our favorite nude beaches in the US and outlined the rules of nudist resorts. Now, we’re looking around the globe for the best places to soak up the sun, au naturel. Sure, most are just places we’re daydreaming of at the moment. But you can use that extra time to plan the perfect trip… and maybe do a few extra crunches.
Spiaggia di Guvano
This small shoreline's a far cry from the Riviera's tourist-packed beaches, but well worth the short trek through a pitch-black tunnel (don't forget a flashlight) in the mountainous Cinque Terre region. You'll be rewarded with an isolated beach populated by naked Italians. In fact, you'll probably be the only tourist there. Just make sure you don't fall to your death attempting to reach it.
MORE: The non-nude beaches in Italy are pretty stunning too
While Red Beach gets its name from the rusty color of the sand, here's a better fun fact: A naked Frenchman camped out here for five years in the '90s -- carving animals and faces into the limestone -- until the locals expelled him for being a bit too creepy. But as long as you don't try to become an unofficially tenured professor creating permanent art installations, feel free to enjoy the beach, which even has its own coffee/beer stand. Pro tip: The sand's a little coarse, and "a little coarse" can be an understatement when your tender regions are exposed… so bring a towel.
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Nude beaches are often pretty laid-back affairs. Paradise Beach, on the other hand, is the rare type that's as fun when the sun goes down as it is when it's up: in fact it's perhaps the best nude party beach in the world. One of the world's most popular gay destinations (though all are welcome), there are two bars on site to keep the party going and the inhibitions at bay. Don't miss the monthly full-moon party, which is just as outrageous as you’d expect from a nude beach in Mykonos.
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Plage de Tahiti
St. Tropez, France
The beaches of St. Tropez are famous for pioneering the topless sunbathing craze of the '60s, and Plage de Tahiti's no exception. It's also a well-known celebrity haunt, so leave the camera at the hotel and keep your eyes peeled, because you might spot somebody like Eva Green. You'll probably spot Gerard Depardieu, too, but hey, you take the pros with the cons.
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Patara's the longest beach on the Turkish Riviera, and features the requisite soft sand and warm, shallow water of all the world's truly great shorelines. It's also a protected nesting site for sea turtles, meaning that: a) the odds of slashing your foot on a carelessly discarded broken bottle are pretty slim; and b) you should be completely comfortable with turtles seeing you naked.
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What you may not know about Latvia (despite having watched that episode of Seinfeld many times) is that the country's coast is over 300 miles of pure, uninterrupted Baltic beach -- not bad for a country the size of West Virginia. Just north of Latvia's capital is the country's biggest naturist beach -- the nude-friendly portion of shoreline spans from Vecāķi to Kalngale, and is also popular among locals as a beach volleyball spot. That's right: Naked Latvians playing beach volleyball. We'll leave it at that.
During the summer months, Bellevue Beach is the antithesis of a nude beach full of uninhibited retirees: It's a hotspot for younger, rowdier Danes who come from nearby towns looking to party. One half of the beach is strictly topless-optional, while the other welcomes fully nude revelers -- it should be immediately clear which one's the fun half. Both!
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Port Stephens, Australia
Along with the nearby One Mile Beach, Samurai's located next to Tomaree National Park and is well-maintained year round (don't worry, the chances of a bloodthirsty koala making its way down from the park are pretty slim). Unlike the family-friendly One Mile, however, Samurai is entirely clothing-optional. Here, those old "Coed Naked Beach Volleyball" shirts are an actual reality.
MORE: Australia is also home to one of the world's most perfect spans of sand
The soft sands of South Beach are what one might describe as topless tolerant, but if you want to strip all the way down in Miami, head north to Haulover. Europeans and South Americans mix with brave locals, as the beach has become an international tourist attraction for those headed to South Florida. It’s less than half an hour from South Beach, or anywhere else you’d want to go in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, so you can easily check it out if you’re in town. Just keep in mind that though it’s well-marked, more than a few fully-clothed beach joggers find themselves running through here, so it’s not exactly private.
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Koh Phangan, Thailand
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Phangan is famous for its moon parties, but it’s also home to a beach where every day is a full-moon party. Leela, on the south tip of the island, is a surprisingly chill affair in a region whose beaches are known to be a little more raucous, especially in a country whose emergent naturalist community is ever growing. This is a party island through and through, but if you need a little private time, ironically the best place to get it might just be its famous nude beach.
Since it's technically part of an award-winning naturist campsite, Valalta's almost two-mile beach has something most others lack: adequate shade to make sure you're not overcooking where the sun don't (usually) shine. There's also a pool with an aqua-bar AND a water slide, plus an onsite brewery. Seriously, Croatians just get it.
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This secluded corner of Lake Travis has been Texas’ premiere nude beach for over 20 years, though it took some legal finagling in the 1970s to make it official. Since then it’s become a popular weekend spot where Texans drink beer under the sun while boaters cruise by and wave. And in a city bent on keeping itself weird in the face of a huge development boom, Hippie Hollow is a big help. Daylong parties are the norm here -- cookouts and booze are totally fine.
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The secret's out on this one, and during the peak summer months you're likely to find hordes of visitors along the white sandy shores of Es Trenc. Fortunately, the central area of the beach (the nude part) tends to be less choked than the rest -- motorized vehicles aren't allowed on the beach here -- so you can enjoy the incredible beauty of the place in relative privacy.
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Praia do Pinho
Balneário Camboriú, Brazil
Located about 50 miles north of Florianopolis, 2013's happiest city in the world, Praia do Pinho's widely considered to be the first naturist beach in Brazil, one where you can even rent cabins and settle in for the weekend. There are rules in this paradise. First off, nudity's mandatory here, so no taking off your shirt and then being all, like, "I'm totally going to get settled in first." Second, unaccompanied males aren't allowed on the beach, unless they're members of the International Naturist Federation. So if you're a non-card-carrying dude (though we're not sure where said cards are carried), be sure to show up with a female companion.
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Some might argue in favor of the black sand beach at Kehena, but our pick for the best clothing-optional beach in Hawaii is along the soft white sands of Maui in a hidden, woodsy cove with big Pacific waves breaking on a turquoise shoreline. It’s every bit the Hawaiian vacation fantasy, minus the bathing suits. Just be cool: Though technically nudity is illegal here, it’s tolerated by local law enforcement, so the nudity is kind of a secret (hence the nickname Secret Beach).
MORE: Once you're clothed, here are some other hidden Hawaiian gems
San Diego, California
The best nude beach on the Pacific sits just north of San Diego near Torrey Pines, where Californians flock to get line-free tans. Because of the location, it draws California beach-types rather than hippies, and feels more like Endless Summer than a beachside Woodstock (seriously, these are the best surf breaks of any nude beach, anywhere). Just remember it’s still the Pacific Ocean, so while being naked might be liberating, it can be a little chilly. And pay attention to where you strip down: Nudity is only legal on the state-owned portion of the beach.
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Sandy Hook, New Jersey
The National Parks system is one of our great American treasures, and perhaps nowhere can we appreciate it more than here at the largest clothing-optional beach on the East Coast. This former Army testing site is now managed by the NPS, and therefore exempt from New Jersey’s state laws outlawing nudity on beaches. And it’s close enough to NYC to offer stunning views of Brooklyn and the Verrazano Bridge. That also means it can get crowded, but hey, that's what booze is for, and since it's on federal land, alcohol is permitted.
Nicknamed Sunny Island, this Baltic Sea spot is split between Germany and Poland and boasts more average sunlight hours than just about any other spot in either country. So it's basically made for nudists in search of the perfect tan. Off the beach, the town of Albeck is a charming seaside resort city, with a bustling pier and opulent mansions, a sort of Newport for naturists, if you will. It’s also located near the island's trio of popular seaside resorts (or Imperial Spas, as they're known).
Playa El Torn
At almost a mile in length, El Torn's no slouch on the size, so you'll have plenty of personal space when the locals and tourists descend. It's a protected beach, backed by a pine forest that, once you put your clothes on, makes for some challenging hikes and offers spectacular views of the water. Or walk out onto the rocky promontory that is the island of torn, an interesting rock formation with an old abandoned watch tower. The beach is cleaned regularly and police patrol to make sure nobody's dumping empty Fanta bottles in the dunes.
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Cape Town, South Africa
It's hard to find a secluded place in bustling Cape Town, but if you're down for a little hike -- and, let's be honest, Cape Town is overflowing with great outdoor strolls -- you can stroll down the beach to Sandy Bay and reward yourself by skinny dipping in the Atlantic. This quiet stretch of sand, not far from busy Llandudno Beach, is surrounded by dunes and boulders, so it manages to be walled off from the rest of the area without being completely isolated.
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Anse de Grande Saline
Anse de Grande Saline is the opposite of what most of us think of when we think of a Caribbean nudist experience, which generally involves all-inclusive resorts like Hedonism II, where the concept nudity and an endless supply of food and alcohol come together with expected results. Here, you have everything you want in a Caribbean beach -- the white powdery sands, the crystal clear waters, the extreme serenity -- minus garments. And since it's a bit of a walk to the secluded cove, you'll be able to find a spot to enjoy it in relative privacy, if that's how you roll.
MORE: In case you were wondering about Hedonism II...