Want to join a growing community of truly care-free travelers? Try going completely nude -- a travel trend that's slowly shedding its taboo reputation.
Of course, I don't mean doing anything illegal, like streaking at Machu Picchu or stripping down at Angkor Wat. Clothing-optional, adults-only tourism is well established in many places, from American beaches to cruises across the globe. The American Association of Nudist Recreation says it's affiliated with 200 institutions in North America alone.
Here are six ways to join the bare movement, if you dare.
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1. Cruise Naked
Is any travel trend truly validated unless it becomes the theme of an entire cruise? It seems there’s an ocean liner for every personality these days, and that includes nudists. The draw, converts have said, is the freeing feeling that comes with experiencing all the fun and sun of a cruise — but this time sans clothing. Naked gallivanting on these cruises is typically restricted to the recreation decks — clothes are required in dining rooms and at indoor events.
Cruise lines big and small, including Carnival and Holland America, are known to occasionally host nude cruises, attracting the clientele of travel agents specializing in naked travel. (Surprisingly enough, many exist.) Boarding a massive Caribbean-bound ship packed with disrobed tourists may not exactly ease you into your first naked travel experience, but booking one online is simple for anyone that’s up for it.
2. Bath Houses
If you want to combine care-free nudity with culture and architecture, it’s easy: Just head to Europe. Bath houses like those found in Germany and Turkey are steeped in history. The baths of Baden-Baden, Germany, for instance, will transport you to a bygone era, as you soak in the same mineral waters once enjoyed by Roman emperors — no bathing suits allowed.
3. Nude Beaches
Going topless or completely nude at the beach is arguably the most popular way to fit some nudity into your vacation. Best of all, American beaches are catching onto this growing trend more often associated with European and Caribbean beaches.
State-side nude beaches include Gunnison Beach in New Jersey, Collins Beach in Oregon, Baker Beach in San Francisco, and Haulover Beach in Miami. Some private hotel beaches also allow guests to frolic in the nude, like the W Vieques Resort in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Just make sure you follow the rules of proper nude beach etiquette.
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I jumped at the opportunity to get a full body Ayurveda massage in Sri Lanka at a local spa, and was somewhat surprised when I found myself naked in front of a stranger. While the, shall we say, intimacy went a tad further than I’d expected — they really do mean full body — I found that disrobing ultimately made the experience a more authentic one.
The hourlong massage was followed by a twenty-minute steam with my fellow Intrepid Travel tour group in nothing but our tiny towels and the oil with which we’d been slathered. While the spa was much more intimate than we expected, it turned out to be a great bonding experience that gave us all a good laugh. When faced with embarrassment, I found, we all chose laughter.
Ancient healing practices at spas like this can be a good way to experience foreign cultures — and many of them suggest or require nudity. Similar practices to my Sri Lankan Ayurveda experience that might require nudity include Viyada Thai spas, Korean spas, and traditional Turkish hammam spas.
Related Link: 10 Ways to Save on a Spa Vacation
5. Clothing-Optional Resorts
Nudity-friendly spots can be hard to find because public areas are typically subject to indecency laws, which is why private clothing-optional resorts are so popular. The Caribbean is rife with different types of nudist resorts, from couples-only to nudity-required, and like all resorts or hotels, each attracts a different type of traveler.
Panama’s Garden of Eden Resort is a remote, solar-powered establishment that’s ideal for couples looking to get away from technology as well as their clothes. Meanwhile, Mexican resort areas like Cancun and the Riviera Maya have plenty of party-focused options for those who want to get out of their swimsuits and into the swim-up bar. Other destinations known for having private nudist resorts include Jamaica, St. Martin, the Dominican Republic, and Curacao.
Also Check Out: 11 Clothing-Optional Resorts We Love
6. Naked Bike Rides and Runs
For a more adventurous nudist experience with a lower degree of commitment, some cities host events for nude or scantily-clad cyclists and runners—like the World Naked Bike Ride, or WNBR.
WNBR began in London as a movement to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists in traffic and the environmental advantages of biking. Now it’s become a worldwide event that brings together cyclists for a nude ride once per year in various cities — typically at night, and with permission from city officials.
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- The Best Adults-Only Resorts in the U.S.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Top Nude Beaches in the U.S.
- TSA Agent: We Saw (and Mocked) Naked Passengers
- Drunk, Naked Passenger Tasered on Flight
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