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November 14, 2011

The Best Places to Get Naked on the Road

A Google search on "nude travel" nets over 100 million results. That's a lot of flesh, so to speak, and while I'd rather not spend too long contemplating visions of sunburned boomers drinking mai-tais and comparing depleted 401k's, it did make me ponder the best possibilities for unpacking your birthday suit while traveling.

Dive Right In: Kurokawamachi, Japan

Onsen in Kurokawa, Kumamoto (david McKelvey/Flickr)

The venerable Japanese onsen—literally, "hot bath"—is the perfect place to wallow in the refinement of Japanese life. Traditionally fed by hot natural springs, the best of these baths are located in some beautiful outdoor spot framed by a babbling brook and rustling mountain foliage, so harmonious that you'll barely notice the exposed male and female flesh around you. Join families, couples, and travelers as they soothe away the aches of their day; some of the more famous baths in Japan even include simian bathers, though my favorites are adjacent to tiny ryokan in the picture-postcard town of Kurokawa, a traditional onsen resort on the slopes of still-smoking Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Hike to a Hot Spring: Aspen, Colorado

Conundrum Hot Springs, Colorado (bartlec/Flickr)

Imagine an infinity pool (like the one pictured above), but without the price tag of a five-star hotel room. There's no such thing as a free lunch, of course, so the price of admission is a nine-mile hike in to reach this pristine clothing-optional pool, perched at the top of Conundrum Pass in Colorado. Situated at 11,500 feet among the mountains above the Rocky Mountain town of Aspen, you'd be forgiven for not feeling a little smug that you get to enjoy this view together with the knowledge that you shaved a few ounces off your load by leaving your swimming togs at home.

Sweat It Off After Sweating It Out: West Sweden

Cottage at Lysekils Havshotell, West Sweden (Alistair Wearmouth)

Those Scandinavians sure know how to sauna, a regional pastime that's best preceded by a spot of outdoor exertion like kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking. Head to the glaciated coastline of West Sweden, north of Gothenburg, for some sweaty sauna action in the seaside resort town of Lysekil, though not before piloting your sea kayak around the nature preserve of Bassholmen with local outdoor outfitter Upplevelsebolaget. Back in Lysekil, the 15-room Lysekils Havshotell hides two intimate cottages that are literally built into the rocks overlooking Gullmarn Fjord. With the waves almost lapping your bed, a sauna and outdoor hot tub promise one of the best (and most private) views a nudist could hope for.

Get Nude With The Neighbors to the North: Vancouver, British Columbia

Inukshuk on Wreck Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia (Guillem Vellut/Flickr)

You didn't think we'd write a post about nudity without mentioning a nude beach, did you? As the only nude beach in the world on a university campus, we chalk this up as one cultural oddity: Wreck Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia. Located down a rickety wooden staircase off the back of the University of British Columbia campus in West Vancouver, Wreck Beach is a breathtaking wilderness beach with a freewheeling, devil-may-care vibe. Ironically, this tribute to the anatomical form is mere minutes from UBC's Museum of Anthropology, one of the country's best collections of First Nation and other indigenous art.

Vegas Uncovered, Baby!: Las Vegas, Nevada

Entrance to Bare at The Mirage, Las Vegas (toprankmarketingonline/Flickr)

Yeah, you know Vegas parties hard 24/7, most of it with the bare minimum of coverage (in contrast to the maxed-out cover charges). For those who tire of strobe-lit nightclubs but still like to press the flesh, DJ-ed daytime pool parties at resorts including The Palazzo, Hard Rock Hotel, and The Venetian are where it's at. If you're not shy, clothing-optional parties occur at the Flamingo's Go Pool and The Mirage's—you guessed it—Bare.

The Wild One: Burning Man, Nevada

Sculpture at Burning Man, Nevada (Tanais Fox/Flickr)

The hippies did it at Woodstock half a century ago, the Romans had their bacchanalia a millennium before, so getting your kit off during festival time isn't exactly breaking news. But as noted in a recent travelogue titled "The Nicest, Nakedest People on Earth," Burning Man Festival is one attitude-free clothes-free jamboree. An annual communal expression of art, music, love, and creativity, Burning Man unfurls in Nevada's Black Rock Desert each September. For Euro-bound festival lovers, the UK's Glastonbury permits nudity in specified naked zones (though we can't vouch for clothing-free weather, as Glasto is notoriously prone to rain and ensuing mud-splattered conditions).

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Related Topics: Asia Travel · Beach Vacation · Exotic Escapes · Trip Ideas


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I am 72, once young and beautiful but no more. It is not for oldies to flaunt their fat stomachs and wrinkles in places where the young and good looking gather and spoil it for them. Let them find some other places, preferably at home, or where they can roam free and alone with the birds and the bees.

The young and beautiful rarely stay young and beautiful forever, so I think it is only healthy for them to see what life holds for them. Besides, there are a whole lot more of old and out of shape in this world. Why should the majority hide to protect the sensibilities of a few empty headed young and beautiful people?

Mr. Bean's comment is not a nudist's attitude. Real nudists don't believe that nakedness is only for the "young and beautiful". That's the media's attitude, and a tremendous source of shame about our bodies that we're better off without.

There's nothing wrong with being naked, full stop. Except sunburn of course, but that's why god invented sunscreen!

Being without clothes is wonderful for the young and beautiful, but when your old and out of shape, you should keep your clothes on, so as not to scare the young and beautiful.

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