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A Beginner's Guide To Naturist Beaches


  A Beginner's Guide To Naturist Beaches

Find out what to expect when you are on one.

Going to a nude beach is liberating. There's no shame in being comfortable in your skin. Apart from a lack of swimwear and a stronger feeling of community spirit, it is not that much different from attending a “textile” beach. Everyone, whether solo or in groups are just doing their own thing, playing games, enjoying the sunshine, and feeling the sand between their toes.

If you are inspired to visit a Naturist Beach after reading this article. ANW has over 1500 beaches listed worldwide, some are illustrated and reviewed and rated by various members of the site. We have also written 34 (and counting) in depth beach Blog posts with photographs and created several beach Albums. All aimed at encouraging the use of the many marvellous naturist beaches around the globe.  


To get the most out of your first visit, do a little bit of preparation before venturing forth and you will have a great time:

Are you familiar with best beach behaviour?

Take a look at our 10 Tips to Naturist Beach Etiquette; your guide to nude beach behaviour. To ensure you get the most from your visit, and possibly save yourself a few awkward moments.

So why go nude at the beach? 

1. Maybe the main reason is comfort. Who wants to spend their time at the beach sitting in uncomfortable wet swimwear? When you know you can enjoy going into the water and that you will dry off in no time at all, without having to lie around in cold, wet soggy pants.

2. Body Confidence: Stripping off does wonders for your self-confidence. Being confident enough in your own skin to go nude in front of strangers is liberating and transformative. In fact, being naked makes you less conscious of your own body than when you are wearing a swimsuit. You don’t have to worry if your clothing is see-through when wet, or if a nipple has slipped out from your bikini top or hair needs tucking in your bikini bottom. Naturism promotes the concept of the body as a whole instead of individual parts.

3. Body Acceptance: Going nude encourages self-acceptance of your body and breaks down the taboos in society. Not only will you see people are all colours, shapes and sizes, but you will gain self-acceptance of your own body too. Don’t be afraid – no one will stare at you or take much notice unless you try and attract attention.

4. You will find the naturist sections of the beach are more secluded and away from the high traffic and tourist areas. There are fewer people, music and loud noise. It is more free of litter and much more relaxed and laid back.

Take a look at the ANW article Ten Reasons to Be a Naturist if you still aren't convinced. If you still have concerns then read Ten Poorly Conceived Reasons for Not Trying Naturism to dispel any worries.

Official, Clothing Optional Or Tolerated Beaches Which is Which?

A naturist beach should not be confused with a topless beach or top-free beach), where upper body clothing is not required for women or men, but swimming costume covering the genital area is required for both men and women.

A naturist beach should be considered as a clothes-free beach.

These are the following categories:

Official Naturist Beaches: Also known as clothes-free beaches or FFK beaches (Freikörperkultur  German movement translates to Free Body Culture). Are legally sanctioned beaches where users are at liberty to be naked. There will be clear signage at the entrance to these beaches.

Clothing Optional: These beaches are so-called because visitors can wear clothes. It's not mandatory to be nude or not.  On such beaches, there may be a mixture of nude, clothed and everything in between. Signage is often used to warn unfamiliar beach users about the specially designated areas on the beach.

Tolerated or Unofficial: Also known as wild beaches. These are not legally sanctioned but are tolerated by residents and law enforcement. You will generally find that they are some distance away from cities, and access is at times more difficult than at a regular beach. You will also often find the facilities at these beaches tend to be very basic and often have no lifeguard services, so you will need to take care when swimming in the sea and make sure the tides do not cut your access back out of the beach off. You may not see any signs or markings. If that’s the case, you’ll know if you’re at a nudist beach when you spot the other naked people. 

Which Beach Should I Choose? 

It depends on what you are looking for; tolerated / wild beaches are generally going to be much quieter for your first time nude beach experience, but it brings with it the uncertainty of not being allowed and is more difficult to access.

A clothing optional beach gives you more choice as to the beach location, but you will be around a higher number of textiles (people in swimwear/clothing), although it is more likely they will be in a separate area.

Or an official naturist beach where everyone is the same, you will not feel out of place but official status are not as common. If you want an overview of the beaches and its facilities along with directions of how to get to it, we have developed a worldwide list to help you decide.

Browse through over 1500 beaches, lakes and parks in ANW for Inspiration. 

So What Should I Take?

1 - A wind block is a possibility, it not only provides you with protection from the obvious but will help you feel more shielded for your first time.

2 - Something to lie on, like towels, to prevent the sand getting to those awkward places, don’t forget to take them with you for hygiene reasons if you are visiting a beachside restaurant in the naturist section.

3 - Suntan lotion. Sunburn is bad enough, but worse still in those places that have not seen the light before. Also, consider insect repellent. Some beaches, particularly in warm climates, have all sorts of bugs and creepy crawlies with the potential to leave you with a nasty bite.

4 - A Parasol, not all beaches have trees or coves in which to find some shade so consider taking good protection.

5 - Water – keep hydrated – you may wish a picnic but certainly water/drink

6 - Good shoes – If you are planning to scramble down some rocks to reach the nudist beach area, flip flops will not be suitable.

7 - You may wish to bring a camera or phone use them with discretion- don’t point them at others

Do not bring shampoos and body gels for washing in the shower, however, these are frowned upon at all beaches naturist or not as they have a negative impact on our environment. The showers are just provided to wash the sand and salt away.

How Do I Prepare Myself Emotionally?

The best advice is don't over think it. Just head to a beach and strip off as soon as you can.

It doesn't matter if you are alone, part of a group, couple or family. There will usually be a good mix of people and everyone who is respectful of the beach and its users are welcome.

The idea of being naked among others may seem petrifying at first, but it becomes very easy, very quickly and within minutes you will wonder why you worried in the first place. Remember no one is going to be shocked by your body being naked and you will only attract attention if you try to.

Naturism is family friendly and not sexual so don’t worry about what you may witness. The vast majority of people using the beach will be there for correct and appropriate reasons. However, there may be a small minority of badly behaved people like on any non-naturist beach or anywhere else for that matter. In the unlikely event of coming across offensive behaviour, do not let this put you off. We should not allow anti-social behaviour to damage our own enjoyment and support of naturism.

Naturists tend to be a friendly bunch, the removal of clothes seems to encourage people to be more open. You will not be pestered if you want a quiet time but people will be happy to have a chat and give advice and encourage their children to play with your own. 

Many men worry about erections. They are rare but can happen especially if you are new to naturism mainly due to the new sensation of the sun on the skin. The best thing to do is to roll over onto your stomach or sit in a way that does not show it off and wait until it subsides. 


Nude Beach Laws:

Most nude beaches are on public lands, this makes the enforcement of standards of beach etiquette a more personal matter, subject to the deterrence of local laws. The standards of conduct take different forms in different countries. Other than the fact that people using a nude beach expect to find naked people there most other local laws and customs continue to apply. Be sure to do your research before you go, be respectful to other beach users and behave appropriately to help naturists keep a good name and those all-important naturist beaches open. 

Thanks for Reading - Anna and Steve

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Anna and Steve have shared over 150 articles and blog posts on and write regularly for naturist publications. If you would like to collaborate with them on any naturist / nudist promotional activity or quote from any of their work please contact them via email at [email protected]