The Allure of Skinny Dipping Abroad

[Side note: For those who don’t have the desire to jump into a body of water free of all material goods, and be embraced by the water (warm or cold) - then that is also totally fine! Honouring yourself is my life motto, and if you live your entire life without daring to go bare in the water, you will still have lived a whole and beautiful life.]

For those who want to try skinny dipping, and even better for those who want to try it while traversing the world - this is for you!

As a girl who grew up in a naturist family, skinny dipping is not a bucket list item but rather, a “way of life”. As a seasoned pro, I can assure you that the feeling of water against every inch of skin is absolute magic - better than any silk robe or cashmere sweater (sorry J. Crew). While splendid in oh-so many ways, skinny dipping remains an elusive bucket list item for many people. But it doesn’t have to be - skinny dipping can happen day or night (nighttime is best for those who want a more concealed skinny dip experience!). So let’s lay it all bare and get you nude and into some glorious water.

Skinny Dipping Etiquette 101

If skinny dipping had one synonym it would be freedom. Absolute freedom. Stressing over which bathing suit to wear? Stress be gone - no bathing suit required. But with no bathing suit comes some responsibility. These rules are mainly for those who are looking to check out a nudist beach or pool during the daytime! For those looking to jump in and out during the darkness of night, the main tip is to stay safe - swim sober, swim with other people (don’t swim alone) and pay attention to where you’re swimming (especially to currents if swimming in the ocean - day or night!).

One. Always, always carry a towel. Even within the nudist community, nobody wants to put their tush where your tush has just been. So, whether you’re at the beach or the pool, be sure to bring a towel with you.

Two. No matter how tempting, don’t stare. A body is a body is a body. A body’s meaning changes based on context. Nudist beaches and nudism/naturism in general is not sexual in nature - it is as it says, natural. Bodies as bodies as bodies. So when venturing into the world of skinny dipping, embrace your body, and embrace other people’s bodies (not literally, but figuratively). If even if you see a beautiful body that you have to observe, look respectfully and look away respectfully. Nudist beaches and environments are meant to be safe places.

Three. Don’t comment on other people’s bodies. You will see bodies of all shapes and sizes, ages, and colours. They are enjoying the space as you are, and are there to enjoy. And naturally, do not take photos without a person’s permission! Remember, this is a safe space.

And finally, four. Bring sunscreen and apply generously everywhere -  no one wants a burnt tush or breasts!

So grab your essentials and let’s send you off to enjoy your naked beach or pool swim!

And when you feel that slight tinge of doubt about this entire skinny dipping adventure, recall the wise words of my grandmother - happiness is no tan lines.

Overcoming the “OMG I am naked in front of strangers” moment

Despite coming from a naturist background, I definitely experienced this moment the first time I endeavoured to go to a nude beach on my own. I was at Wreck Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and decided that despite being on my own, I would go bare. While accustomed to the feeling (and freedom) of going nude, even I experienced a moment of “okay, I am naked and alone on the beach”. But soon I met other genuine nudists and felt at home. So be assured, that moment of panic is normal and it will pass. And if it persists, you can always put your clothes back on or simply run into the water! Ample choice.

And now for the difference between clothing optional, topless, and nude beaches!

Be in the know: How Nude Beaches are Organized

Consider where you want to skinny dip. Will you skinny dip during the day or at night? Will you do it on a nude beach where you can be naked and free, or in a not-so-nudist friendly spot on a beach or in a pool (for those who choose the latter - what a thrill seeker)?

Nude beaches are customarily divided into 3 sections:

Clothing optional section (different from the mandatory nude section): Here you can wear a bathing suit or not. So you will have an assortment of bathing suit clad, semi- clad, and not all clad (nude) swimmers and sunbathers. The full mix. Embrace it.

Topless section: This is where you want to be if you’re a woman looking to go topless but with bottoms on!

Nude section: And finally, the nude section. Where you are not allowed to wear a bathing suit - because the truth is that even nudists are more comfortable when everyone around them is nude. There is a community to it - a very strong one in fact. And there is also less ogling, because everyone is in it together!

Where oh where to skinny dip?

Your safest bet is to swim in a private pool or lake, or at a nudist resort, or at a nudist beach (or in the midst of night on a beach somewhere).  But in the event you can’t find a private pool or beach to swim bare, let’s explore public spots where you can bare it all!

There are some countries where nudity is offensive and certainly not welcome. So before you strip down, be sure to be attentive to where you are, and only choose to skinny dip in a country that will not arrest you for it! On that note - abide by the laws of the country you’re in, read the signs, and dive in!

Here are some great public options:

Donauinsel FKK Nude Beach - Vienna, Austria

The largest nudist beach in Austria, the Donauinsel is on the edge of the Danube River.

While in search of nudist beaches in Europe, you will likely come across the acronym FKK, which stands for a German movement called Freikörperkultur (FKK) is a German movement whose name translates to mean Free Body Culture (aka: naturism in North America).

Orient Bay Beach - Saint Martin Island

Orient Bay Beach is known as the St Tropez of the Caribbean. White sand and crystal blue waters, you’ll be surrounded by imagery straight out of a postcard. At the far south end of this popular beach, you will find a naturist section where you can skinny dip to your heart’s content! There is also a family friendly naturist resort that calls the beach home, which has been around for decades.

Lady Bay Beach - Sydney, Australia

A popular public nude beach, near South Head in Sydney Harbour National Park, this is a must visit if skinny dipping is on your to-do list while visiting Australia! It is known for its scenic harbour views and fabulous swimming.

Nugal Beach - Marska, Croatia

This all nude beach is located on the Maraska Riviera, north of Split. Totally hidden, this beach is accessed via a pebbled pathway protected by steep cliffs. Given that it is literally off the beaten path, this beach may be a good choice for those more hesitant skinny dippers looking to dip their toes, both literally and figuratively!

Black’s Beach – La Jolla, California, United States

The San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz have most of California’s clothing optional beaches (shockingly there aren’t any in Los Angeles – it seems LA is less scandalous than people think). Black’s Beach is the nexus between Torrey Pines City Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach, but there are plenty of options in the area - for more nude/clothing optional beaches, check out this great resource.

Wreck Beach - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This is one that I can vouch for from personal experience. Located on the University of British Columbia campus, this clothing optional beach is a true slice of magic in the city. Central to the spirit of Vancouver for years, Wreck Beach has incredible splendour! Divided into sections, all of which are clothing optional, the energies vary widely in each. The main beach has vendors and music abound - littered amidst the tree trunk strewn sand are nude sun worshippers with music and spunk. Other sections of the beach have a much quieter, more tranquil vibe. I spent a great deal of time on this lovely beach last summer, and was struck by its splendour. Accessed by one of the many trails that takes you through the dense, lush forest to the waters’ edge, go bare and explore this peaceful paradise in the city.

So after all that, what does it mean to skinny dip?

So what does it mean to skinny dip? It means letting go of social norms, embracing your truest self, telling your body you love it the way it is, and most importantly living in the present and embracing your adventure. So let the wind meet you where it’s never been, take a deep breath as you devour the thrill, and enjoy life. After all, you only get one.

And when you feel that slight tinge of doubt about this entire skinny dipping adventure, recall the wise words of my grandmother - happiness is no tan lines.

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