Nude Beaches: Resources and Info
Author's note: Don't be surprised if some of the websites linked to in this article contain photos of people without clothing. If you have a personal objection to public nudity, you probably won't be terribly interested in an article on nude beaches anyway.
People around the world take to various beaches sans clothing, unafraid to bare some or all of their bodies. While the legality of the practice varies from place to place, nude beaches remain an important draw for tourists and local beach dwellers alike.
Sure, you could chance slipping off your swimsuit at the more remote beaches in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Standard practice, however, is to bare your skin at beaches designated as clothing-optional or nude beaches. In fact, most nudists (sometimes referred to as "naturists") maintain a fairly strong code of ethics regarding the practice. Organizations like the International Naturist Federation work to promote those ethics, including the idea that "nude is not lewd."
Despite efforts to educate the public and promote nude beaches, significant controversy remains regarding them. Most recently, the U.S. state of California cracked down on nudity at the beaches of its state-owned parks after a nearly 30-year period of lenient enforcement was ended in June 2008. Nudists who frequented Trail 6, a formerly clothing-optional beach in San Onofre State Park, mounted a legal battle against the State but ultimately had their case overturned in 2009. Visitors to the beach are still fighting back today, making small victories.
In other parts of the world, people are creating proposals for topless and nude beaches, though not always successfully. Back in July of last year, AOL Travel's Fran Golden reported that New Jersey's Asbury Park City Council declined a topless beach proposal due to inflexible city ordinances. And last month in Australia, the Nudist Association of Victoria was planning to organize a petition for a new nude beach in the City of Bayside, a suburb of Melbourne.
But what of the areas that are already legally considered to be safe for topless and nude activity? Which of those topless and nude beaches tend to be receiving the most praise? Up until 2006, Forbes.com used to give an annual list of top topless beaches. While a little dated, their list still holds merit. (Black's Beach is an exception to the list; it faces the same problems as the previously mentioned Trail 6.) Tom Johansmeyer over at Gadling also ventured a list of five top nude beaches back in 2009. But for those who want more detailed information about the world's topless and nude beaches, here are some solid resources:
• WorldBeachList.com: Kept relatively up-to-date, this site offers an extensive look at the world's clothing-optional beaches. The site owners focus on publicly accessible beaches only, shying away from private nudist resorts and retreats. They also do their best to verify that the beaches are indeed legal for nude activity. Users are able to submit additional beaches that meet the site's criteria. The nude beach listings include links to maps, neighboring towns and cities, hotels, and additional beach information.
• NudistBeaches.info: Although not as organized as WorldBeachList.com, this site still has pertinent information about nude beaches around the world. Beaches can be found using their world map or their more localized maps. Click on a red dot on the map to open a page with more information about the beach. Some of the information may be a little outdated, however.
• Wikipedia – Social Nudity Places in North America and Wikipedia – Social Nudity Places in South America: Since anyone can edit Wikipedia, you should be sure to do additional research on any particular location. Still, this is a good jumping off point.
• Gadling.com – Top five tips for newbies visiting nude beaches: Tom Johansmeyer reviews nudist etiquette and things you should bring if you're new to spending time on a nude beach.