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Do you dare go bare? Surely you've thought about going au naturel on a beach, shedding your clothes and your inhibitions to be more free and one with nature — or at least that's the theory. If you're keen on checking out a clothing-optional strand, ditch your modesty (along with your swimsuit), slather on the sunscreen, and give these nude beaches a try. Just remember: gawking and taking photos are no-nos.
No need to worry about tan lines while on Tahiti Beach, one of the most famous clothing-optional beaches in Europe. Located in the glitzy resort town of St. Tropez, Tahiti was the beach where a scantily clad Brigitte Bardot frolicked in the opening scene of the 1956 film And God Created Woman. Beach-goers have been shedding their swimsuits to soak up a little of that French Riviera glamour ever since.
Orient Beach on the Caribbean island of St. Martin is a pretty 2-mile-long white-sand strand with beach bars and restaurants, as well as sun loungers for rent. At the southern end is a nude beach in front of Club Orient, a family-friendly clothing-optional resort. Many visitors, once they get their nerve up, migrate from the covered-up side to the au naturel side, so they can tell their friends back home that they skinny-dipped in the Caribbean Sea!
The party island of Ibiza has several nude beaches, including Aguas Blancas (popular with locals) and Es Trucadors (off the beaten path), but the most popular, especially among tourists, is Es Cavallet Beach. This dune-lined, gay-friendly strand on the island's southern coast has a party vibe, so not only can you sunbathe in the buff, but you meet up with free-spirited people from around the world. Sleep off your wine buzz at places like Sol Beach House.
Catch some rays in your birthday suit while on Little Beach, one of the most well-known nude beaches in Hawaii. It's a bit of trek to reach this Maui beach: you must head to the north end of Big Beach (just south of Wailea) and take a rocky path over a lava outcropping. But the reward is worth it as it's an incredibly scenic spot. If you're looking for an experience, plan to go on Sunday evenings when there are fire dancers and drummers.
Haulover Beach is a mile-and-a-half stretch in Miami, and at its northern end is a section for those who prefer to go sans swimwear — this is the only legal nude beach in the Sunshine State. There's a sign in the sand that clearly states "Beyond This Point You May Encounter Nude Bathers," so no one will get an eyeful without advance warning! The beach has lifeguards, shaded picnic areas, and a concession stand. Haulover is about a 40-minute drive from the South Beach, known for its trendy hotels like the Delano.
If you're in the New York area and feel the need to bare it all, you'll have to cross state lines and head the shoreline of New Jersey. The Garden State's only legal nude beach is Gunnison Beach, located on the northern end of Sandy Hook's Gateway National Recreation Area. You might encounter a few beachgoers playing a game of volleyball in the buff or tossing a Frisbee, but otherwise, Gunnison is low-key and pretty quiet.
If you're partial to fabulous views along with your in-the-nude sunbathing, then Baker Beach in San Francisco is the place for you. The clothing optional section at the northern end of this mile-long stretch boasts jaw-dropping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Due to strong riptides, swimming is not recommended, but there's nothing to stop you from dipping your toes (and other bits) in the water.
St. Barth's, one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands, is known for its aquamarine beaches, such as Grand Salines, which also happens to be a clothing-optional strand (make a right if that's what you're looking for!). The beach, on the island's southern coast, is undeveloped and doesn't offer any services (umbrellas, chairs, etc.), which, of course, is what visitors find so appealing.
The Aegean island of Mykonos has numerous party beaches, but one of the most famous is Paradise Beach, the island's original nude beach on the southern coast. Expect plenty of beach bars with DJs, sun beds, water sports, and lots of tourists getting their day drinking on. Though the stretch doesn't attract as many nudist bathers as it once did, it's still one of Mykonos' classic clothing optional beaches. Hit the pillow at upscale hotels like Bill & Coo.
Lady Bay Beach, also known as Lady Jane Beach, is a nude beach on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour National Park. This small beach — it became the country's first clothing-optional strand in 1976 — attracts a mostly gay crowd, but all are welcome. To get there, take a ferry from Sydney's Circular Quay to Watsons Bay. If you want to overnight, Watsons Bay Hotel is near the beach and has an excellent restaurant — but the clothes must come back on.