Most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t even a little curious to forgo the swimsuit to try nude sunbathing. And just about anywhere on the planet where you find sand and a community of free spirits, you’ll find a clothing-optional beach. Spend the day at one of these nude beaches, and you won’t just lose the tan lines — you may even gain a cultural experience.
Elia Beach – Mykonos, Greece
The island’s longest beach, with brown-sugar sand and flat waters, is extremely popular with the LGBT crowd, with the gals favoring the left side of the beach, and gents, the right. In either direction, beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent at this low-key Eden.
Little Beach – Maui, Hawaii
Given that every beach on Maui has a distinct following — think moms, surfers, etc. — perhaps it’s not surprising that a gathering of hippies and earthy types have unofficially created this nude beach, meeting up for drum circles and fire dancing on Sunday afternoons. The rest of the week, it’s just a beach, although don’t expect solitude at this well-known hangout.
Grand Saline Beach – St. Barth
An afternoon on this secluded, couldn’t-be-more-scenic beach may feel straight out of a cologne ad: The sand is white, the waters are clear as a swimming pool, and the fit beachgoers are the picture of chic. The only downside: You’ll need a rental car or cab — don’t forget to book a return trip — to reach this outpost on the south side of St. Barth.
Cap d’Agde – France
Cap d’Agde isn’t just a beach, it’s a naturist compound. Acceptance is a staple of this relaxed, family-friendly nudist French Mediterranean community, nicknamed “Naked City,” where you can forget about shirts and shorts while shopping, dining and dancing late into the night.
Haulover Beach – Florida
Between Miami and Fort Lauderdale lies the Sunshine state’s only legally recognized nude beach. This half-mile stretch of sand is packed with amenities, from lifeguards keeping you safe in the water, to security guards protecting against gawkers. You’ll also find ice cream vendors and other concession stands, picnic tables, restrooms and shower facilities.
Orient Beach – St. Martin
This is perhaps the Caribbean’s most famous stretch of sand for the clothes-shunning set. It’s packed with bars and restaurants, chaise loungers and vendors on foot, making it feel like a non-stop party, albeit one where not all sun-worshipping revelers go topless. True nudists head to south bit of beach, in front of the nude resort Club Orient, known locally as “Club O.”
Guvano Beach – Cinque Terre, Italy
One of the only hidden gems on the list, this naked-friendly beach outside the village of Corniglia isn’t easy to find, but well worth the long trek, which includes a 15- to 30-minute walk through a dark tunnel. But don’t be put off — on the other side, the pebbly beach is sleepy, pristine and not overrun by tourists. In fact, you could be the only non-local.
Es Cavallet Beach – Ibiza, Spain
Of course this hedonistic isle has an official nude beach. Party people wishing to sun all their bits tend toward the middle of this largely undeveloped patch of coastline. Granted, it’s not without amenities: Restaurant El Chiringuito has you covered, serving anything-but-typical beach fare. Treat yourself to homemade lemonade, fresh juices — think apple-fennel-lime — plus full breakfasts, like eggs benedict, and lunches of flambéed mussels and gazpacho Andaluz.
Tahiti Beach – St. Tropez, France
Although cameras are anything but de rigueur at any nude beach, you’ll for sure want to leave it at the hotel when taking sun at this classic St. Tropez hangout, visited by models Miranda Kerr and Naomi Campbell — and their bodyguards. Celebs aside, this hideaway, accessible via unpaved road, has a vibe of nonchalance and privacy.
Lady Bay Beach – Sydney, Australia
Take a ferry from Sydney to reach this quiet cove where boulders bookend a swath of golden sand, granting further seclusion to the destination. Known locally as Lady Jane Beach, it belongs to Australia’s national parks, but no worries — nudity is perfectly legal here.