Post updated: March 2021 – The links were desperately out of date from the original version of this post in 2017. Hoping this helps a future naturist find their way.
I have made repeated mention in recent posts of my daughter and her 20/30-something friends – mutual friends, I might add – some of whom have become increasingly naturist-curious; a true bonanza for a long-time naturist blogger who gets googly eyed every time he gets a new follower on his blog. This, in an age where naturism is frequently dismissed by Millennials and younger. “This is most definitely something my somewhat deranged, post-modern, hippie parents don’t need to tell me about…”
It’s strange to me, really. I was a late bloomer. An by the time I came of age, we were in the Reagan era, California was cracking down on nude beaches, free love was under fire from the emerging religious right, and the AIDS crisis was just about to erupt into a firestorm. But the bizarre part of it all is the dichotomy of the strange relationship 20-somethings today have with immodesty. (The children and grandchildren of the Boomers!) I know quite a lot of people in this age bracket, most of whom are not particularly religious, don’t think twice about “hooking up with a friend,” (Do we still call that casual sex?) and frequently wear seductive clothing in everyday settings, but would never consider going to a nude beach or resort. “That would be too weird!” What’s up with that?
What’s up with that, says this humble blogger, is that we’ve made the whole social nudity thing seem so damn complicated! Try visiting a nudist resort in the United States and it costs a fortune (Maybe $50 for a day visit!) and that’s only after you submit to a full FBI background check to prove you’re not a sex offender or a puritanical ax murderer! Go to the wrong place, and you inadvertently end up at a naked geriatric center pondering your mortality in disbelief that skin could possibly have that kind of elasticity.
And thus, we offer a few thoughts and suggestions for the newbie naturist who finds the idea of no tan lines and swimming without wet nylon a least at little intriguing:
- If possible, leave the country! Assuming you’re reading this in the US of A, (or even in Great Britain,) you need to go someplace where people aren’t so freaked out by non-sexual nudity. The family naturist resorts on the southwest coast of France (La Jenny, Montalivet) are by far the most normal in terms of demographics, but they are the most difficult to get to. Croatia would be a good alternative, but timing is everything. If you go before the school holidays, you’re back to the geriatric thing. Do your research before you go.
- Go to a spa in Germany or Holland. Check out their website for information about FKK or Texteil Frei days, which for many of them is everyday. Elysium near Rotterdam, Bussloo near Amsterdam, or Therme Erding near Munich are particularly impressive, and draw huge numbers of young couples and singles who don’t consider themselves nudists, but wouldn’t think twice about getting naked with others. It just feels normal. By the way, if you’re a Nick and Lins fan, that’s where they got started.
- Search the blogosphere for things written by naturists. A lot of stuff out there is rubbish, and you’ll know right away what’s not going to be helpful. But now and again, you’ll find a blogger who really gets it, knows where to go, and when to go there. Send them a message and see if they’ll answer. I’ve found many of our favorite places that way, on the basis of personal recommendations, greatly reducing the chances that you’ll waste your time and money, while irreversibly damaging your psyche!
- Read Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews before you go – not just a few, but drill down. Many people adore Gunnison Beach in New Jersey, as it’s one of the only substantial and recognized nude beaches in the entire country, but if you read enough reviews, you’ll also learn about some of the oddities of the place as well. For starters, American nude beaches have big issues with gawkers, which is pretty much a sure-fire way to get a reluctant girlfriend to say, “Never again.”
- Decide if you’re an “all in” or an “ease in” person. “All in” means you’ll be more comfortable if everyone around you is naked, and you just need to follow suit. “Ease in” means you’re seeking a mixed crowd where nudity is permitted but not required, but also means you put it out there while others around you may not. You can usually figure out the clothing optional status from the aforementioned trip review sites, but it’s an important distinction that you want to know about before you get there.
- Go high-end, or go low-end, but beware of the middle. Though a bit counter-intuitive, you either want to stay at a nice naturist hotel like Vritomartis in Greece or Heliotel in France, or find a place with lots of tent camping – as opposed to miles and miles of RV campers. But tent camping? Why? The places in the middle tend to attract the folks who parked their travel trailer on a plot in 1967 and haven’t budged since. Lovely people, they may be, but if you’re looking for a youthful or adventurous vibe, seek out the tent campers. Check out Camp Full Monte in Montenegro, or Belezy in France. Valalta in Croatia seems to have struck a nice balance, but not so much before schools let out in early July.
- Beware of naturist/nudist message boards if you want to feel normal about the whole thing. Like the blogosphere, there are some very cool people out there who have a lot of helpful information, but receiving a nude pic from a lonely guy in Atlanta is probably not the introduction to social nudity you’re looking for. And don’t be afraid to use the “block” feature to establish a news-feed of stuff that’s actually helpful. You’ll be able to identify the genuine naturists pretty quickly if you simply follow their threads.
- Seek out resources geared to people in your demographic. Nick and Lins are now world famous naturists for their Naked Wanderings, Hector Martinez has become a champion for social nudity in Mexico, British Naturism has reinvented itself online during the pandemic, all in addition to recent grass roots efforts like Florida Young Naturists, Skinny Dippers Club, or Almost Wild. These are all great places to find out what’s happening now – and a good sign for the future of naturism.
There’s really no rocket science to be found in this post, accept to say that a bad first foray into naturism is more often than not the last foray into naturism. We started young – just months after we were married (remember, our kids are in their 30s now!) so we’ve been at this for a while. To a large degree, our naturist travels have defined our relationship; when our naked travels have taken us to places we would never thought to have visited, where we have met people we would have never had reason to talk to.
Short answer? Start young. Before you have children. Before life bogs you down. Have more questions in the meantime? Ask Naturist Dan! We naturists love to advocate for our cause.