July 5 to 11, 2021 is National Nude Recreation Week — so says the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR), the authoritative voice of naturism in the U.S. for over 90 years. In case you hadn’t heard, the second week of July has been set aside in the last few years to raise the profile, and promote the benefits of, nude recreation.
Naturism, also known as nudism, is all about enjoying life without the encumbrance of clothes — when it makes sense to do so. Have you ever seen a two-year-old running around when freed from their diaper? They always have a grin from ear to ear as they enjoy their newly found freedom. Well, that’s pretty much what it feels like when you first step outside into the warmth wearing absolutely nothing at all. And no matter how many times you have enjoyed nude recreation, the exhilaration and sense of freedom that comes with stepping out of your clothes never seem to diminish.
Millions of people globally have discovered the joy of spending time naked, from Australia to northern Europe and, yes, even here in the U.S.A. Naturism is traditionally a family pursuit — head to Europe and you will see three generations of family enjoying life on the beach with not a stitch of clothing between them. Grandma, daughter, and grandchild will all be equally unclothed. You may think naturism is the preserve of aged hippy boomers (and to some extent it is) but they’re far from alone. Enjoying life naked, whether it’s an extended three-week vacation or a quick day trip to the beach, is not restricted to any one age group, demographic, or gender, and in naturist circles, you will come across older couples (“We’re at that age where we don’t care what we look like”), younger couples, groups of friends, families with children, single men and women, gays, lesbians, white, black, large and small, tattooed and pierced, people with disabilities, others sporting foot-long scars and any other combination you can think of.
So what is a nude vacation, and why should you consider experiencing one? Simply put, a nude vacation (or “nakation” as it is cutely called) is one where you can experience doing all the things you normally enjoy on vacation, but without clothes. It may be as simple as taking a beach vacation where the beach is clothing optional. Stay at a regular hotel or condo but spend your time sunbathing and splashing in the water sans clothing.
On a recent nude cruise, we found that over 75 percent of passengers were returning guests — an incredible return rate when you consider the average cruise return rate is nearer to 30 percent. So why do people return to take nude vacations year after year and why should you consider joining them? Here are eleven good reasons.
1. It’s Liberating
Vacations are a time to relax. Being naked is the most liberating feeling in the world. Stepping out of your clothes gives you a sense of freedom — not only from tight, constricted clothes but also freedom of the baggage that comes with it. No more worrying about how you look — “Does this match?” “Do I look big in this?” and no more continuous adjustment of bra straps or swimming shorts. It’s just so much easier, allowing you to relax on a whole new level.
2. You Will Lose Your Inhibitions
When you lose your clothes, you also lose your inhibitions — it makes you freer. It doesn’t mean to say you act inappropriately or do things you wouldn’t do dressed; it’s just easier to kick back and destress. Many find that their worries tend to get left behind with their clothes.
3. Experience Less Judgment
Being naked among others is a great social leveler. It’s hard to judge or pigeonhole someone when they are naked. Suddenly you find your prejudices have also been left behind with your clothes.
Some will have known the naturist lifestyle from birth; others will have stumbled across a clothing-optional beach and been tempted to try it. The one age range which is sometimes less common are the early teens — our two sons were happy running around naked until they reached puberty. At that point, they would happily sit talking with their (male and female) friends around the pool, all with a towel wrapped around their waists but as soon as they went for a swim, they would all drop their towels and splash around in the water. Once out of the pool, the towels went back around their waists. Go figure.
So, if naturists are not just retired boomers or old hippies with addled brains, who are they? They’re you. Naturists come from all walks of life — but here’s the thing: When everyone is naked, you cannot tell if someone is a millionaire CEO or earning minimum wage and has just finished the night shift. You cannot tell if they have a Ph.D., just completed a long brain surgery, given their last sermon for the day, or are chilling out before going to restack an Amazon warehouse. The one thing they have in common is that they have discovered the freedom of nude recreation and enjoy vacations where they can literally let it all hang out.
4. Gain Body Confidence
Surrounded by others of all colors, shapes, sizes, scars, and disfigurements, you realize no one has the perfect body (whatever that is), and, you know what? You stop worrying about your own body or caring about others’. I recall one very large woman in Greece making her way into the swimming pool. Instead of gently climbing into the pool, she jumped in. To this day, I can vividly recall her in mid-air, large boobs like Dumbo’s ears flying behind her. It was an amusing sight and one that has stayed with me because she was so comfortable in her own body. Naturism will do that to you.
5. Accept Others For Who They Are
It’s so much easier to accept others for who they really are when they are stripped of external paraphernalia and you have left your preconceived ideas and prejudices on the floor with your clothes.
6. No Tan Lines
What looks or feels better than sporting a healthy tan? After your vacation, that sense of wellbeing stays with you as it’s reflected in your all-over tan. And, with no tan lines, you look good no matter what you wear.
7. Make Real Friends For Life
On a nude vacation, you spend time with like-minded people. We have found our best friends through naturism, and I suspect it’s because everyone is so open. There are no airs and graces; you see people for who they really are, and so it’s much easier to make friends and lasting relationships.
8. Travel Light
Let’s face it, you won’t be packing as much stuff when you travel. For starters, leaving the swimming costumes at home (chances are you won’t be needing them ever again anyway). You might not be nude for a full two weeks, but you sure won’t need three outfits a day. And for small kids, this has to be a blessing. So, packing is easier and you have less luggage to haul around.
9. It’s Cheaper
There really is no need to buy a new swimsuit every year. Grown out of those summer pants? Who cares, you won’t be wearing them anyway. Yes, you will need clothes, but not as many! Pack light and don’t pay for that additional bag.
10. There Are So Many Places To Try It
Haulover Beach on Miami’s Atlantic coast is a great place to experience your first nakation. If you like to enjoy the great outdoors under canvas, pitch your tent in a remote spot in the countryside or check into a more rustic naturist resort. Either way, sleep naked and don’t bother to dress until you have packed away your tent. If you enjoy sightseeing, how about staying in a nudist-friendly B&B (Nuance in Michigan is a fine example) or a condo with a secluded pool you can use in the raw; check out B&Bs in Key West, for example.
If sailing is your thing, charter a crewed clothing-optional tour or join other like-minded folks on a nude cruise (check out Bare Necessities). If you are ready to go “all in,” stay at a naturist resort — there are hundreds to choose from in North America alone — where you can be nude all day (and night) long. Resorts vary in style — from basic “rustic” to five-star luxury, but they all offer the opportunity to relax, walk, swim, and often play sports — all without a stitch of clothing.
Venture farther afield to Europe and there are resorts where you can spend your whole vacation without the need to ever get dressed. Many years ago, my wife and I spent our vacation in a French resort with our two young sons; one suitcase, four towels — that was it. We stripped when we arrived and dressed only when we left two weeks later. In between, we enjoyed the beach and sea, rode our bikes, swam in the pool, went to the bakery for our fresh bread every morning, shopped for groceries, and even went to the bank. We never got dressed. It was one of the most relaxing vacations we have ever taken. And that’s a sentiment millions of others have found, too.
11. It Just Feels So Darn Good
The most important reason you should consider a nude vacation — it just feels so darn good to lose your clothes and feel the warm, gentle breeze caress your body. Imagine walking out of the sea, up the beach, and lying down on your towel. No tight, soggy swimsuit that clings to every crevice and no sand in those most intimate places. Let the sun dry you off as you say aaaaaghhhhh.
National Nude Week is an opportunity for naturists to raise the profile of this wonderfully liberating lifestyle. Nude vacations are on the increase, and this summer is definitely the time to plan yours. For more information, check out The Naturist Society (TNS) and AANR for naturism in North America, the International Naturist Federation for overseas, and the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) referenced in the first paragraph of this article.
Taking the plunge? Don’t forget these seven things you must pack for your naturism vacation.