In 2017, we went to our first nudist beach in Adelaide, Australia. At the time, we were broiling on the Maslin beach sand, in the “clothed” area, getting up occasionally to jump in the water. Jackson found out that down the beach a little ways was an FKK (nude) beach. Curious, we walked over.
We’re always game for trying out a new experience and this one was great! We got a great tan and enjoyed getting up and taking a dip in the water without the worry of our bathing suit sticking to us.
Since Australia, we’ve explored nude beaches in Croatia, the Caribbean (St Martin), gone hiking and camping nude in South Africa, and explored the Costa Del Sol in Spain for nudist beaches. Although I wouldn’t categorize us as seasoned pros, we’ve gotten our fair share of the outdoors, naturist lifestyle.
I think, in today’s world, people are looking for new and exciting experiences and going beyond a drunken skinny dip and into a full-on nude beach is one of the bigger thrills of a traveler abroad. That said, ain’t nobody on that beach wants a group of total noobs coming in to gawk, take pictures and act like general idiots.
Look, we get it: if you are new to this you might be a bit self-conscious, but the last thing you want to do is draw more attention to yourself by acting like you don’t know what the hell you are doing.
So, here are some tips for nudist beach etiquette so you can avoid being that guy/gal on your first time:
1. Nude Beaches Are Marked (Sometimes)
Make sure you are at a nudist beach before you take your clothes off and start sunning. I know this seems silly, but it’s good to check.
In some countries nude beaches will often have large signs that state that you are about to enter a nudist area. You won’t likely stumble onto a nude portion of a beach public beach, they are generally well marked.
If it is a public beach, odds are the portion reserved for the “suns-out, buns-out” people will be well marked by either signs or spray painted “FKK” markers.
On the chance that you’re exploring some more wild beaches, 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.
Update: We received some feedback pointing out that in the UK, nude beaches aren’t usually signposted, and usually only exist on more remote beaches. I’m sure this also applies to some other countries, so do a little research before you set out. With luck you’ll find some concrete guidance online! If you’re not having any luck online, drop in at /r/nudism or /r/naturism on Reddit, and ask around.
2. Everyone Should Get Naked
If you are in a group or came as a couple, don’t rock up to the nude beach section and then keep your clothes on. It’s not the appropriate place to do that and you’ll look weird. If you go: go all in. Some spots are clothing optional (meaning it’s mixed use for both naked and clothed beach goers), but you’ll likely stand out more if you’re clothed than if you aren’t.
Looking out at the sea from the perch of one of the nude beaches in Croatia
3. Do Not Take Pictures
Please ask for consent before you snap a picture. Some people are just out for a good tan and don’t want their butts on your instagram feed. This makes you a creep and makes the beach feel weird.
4. Come Prepared
Nudist beaches are usually off the beaten track and often don’t have amenities. Make sure you bring plenty of water, snacks, a blanket, and whatever else you like to have at the beach so you’re not left stranded and parched!
Because the FKK sections are more off the beaten path, it’s important to clean up after yourself and keep the beach clean! Please take everything you brought in, out with you.
Also! I’d bring blankets, if you have them, and maybe an umbrella just in case your bits start to fry in the sun.
5. Don’t Stare
Be cool, man! It’s really shocking first stepping on to a nudist beach. We feel strange every time we do it, but then after a few minutes the shock wears off and it doesn’t matter anymore. The people at this beach have seen it all before!
If it’s your first time, you’re gonna see all types: fat, short, skinny, old, good-looking, and super-not-good-looking. The best thing to do is not gawk and just play it cool.
But, like, to be honest: there are people who have been doing this for years and they don’t give a flying fuck how saggy their boobies are, so maybe you shouldn’t either?
6. Put on Sunscreen (Especially on the Parts Where the Sun Don’t Shine…)
Biggest noob mistake!! Don’t burn your johnson! Don’t singe your buns! These areas are likely pasty white and unused to the sun’s rays. Do yourself a favor and lather up!
Here are some tips we adhere to when we go:
1. When applying sunscreen, take off all clothes and then apply. It’s easier to get to all parts of the body without clothes to get in the way. If you’re doing it at the beach, you want to be fully covered, and if you’re doing it before, you’ll need to reapply on your previously clothed areas anyway. Better to just do it naked.
2. Give yourself a few minutes to let the sunscreen “dry” on your body for maximum protection.
3. Reapply often. It’s easy to forget to apply or to talk yourself out of it (believe me: we’ve done this a bunch and have regretted it when we do). Even if there are some clouds or you didn’t get into the water in the last two hours, reapplication is so important!
4. While at a nudist beach, when we get out of the water we’ll air dry rather than towel off. This helps keep the sunscreen on better and provide better protection.
5. If you have sensitive winter skin: give yourself a break and don’t go at sunbathing hard until you’ve built up a “base layer” of tan. We once got SO BURNED in Fiji because we decided to go sunbathing in December and our skin was not ready for that kind of exposure!
7. Don’t Make Any Overt Displays of Sexuality
This is a two-pronged rule:
If you see a hottie and you can’t control your body go take a cold dip and chill the ‘eff out. This is especially true for men who might be spending their first time at a nudist beach and see some sweet breasts… need I say more?
If you come here with your partner and start to get your freak on: leave. Just ’cause people are naked doesn’t mean they want to see you get it on. This is still a public place and, also: ew. Save it for your hotel room, please!
8. Don’t Say Inappropriate Things to Other People
“Nice balls!” is not a greeting at a nudist beach.
Tanning, reading, snoozing, going for a walk, taking a swim: these are activities that are what being at nude beaches is all about. Relax!
10. Get Dressed Before You Leave
Being in your birthday suit is all well and good while in your designated nudist beach area, but once you are ready to leave please throw your clothes back on! It’s important to be respectful of other people who are not nude.
Common Questions About Nude Beaches:
Q: I’m scared everyone is going to stare at me if I go to nude beaches, do you have any advice?
A: Unless you are horrifically disfigured, I doubt you’ll be causing any kind of stir. Like I mentioned earlier, some of these people have Seen. It. All. The point of being naked is feeling free and relaxed! So don’t worry about what you look like.
Q: I’m a single female, should I go to a nude beach alone?
A: I think this is a judgement call you need to make. Maybe getting an idea of the vibe on the beach would be a good idea before you go. If there are families and other groups, that might be a good place to chill, if there are lots of single dudes out and no one else, maybe reconsider.
Q: Aren’t people creepy on nude beaches?
A: Not necessarily. Like anywhere, you’ve got to read the signs. We’ve been to some places where it was super chill and we felt very comfortable. And, we’ve been to some beaches that were full of creepy old dudes touching themselves (yuck!). I can’t say that universally nudists are going to be respectful. So, read the signs.
Q: Can I bring my kids?
A: While in Croatia, we saw a number of families on the nude beaches. These were little kids just running around and playing in the sand and there was nothing lewd about it, we thought it was sweet. Again, I can’t speak for all nude beaches, you’ll have to get a lay of the land.
Q: What if I get an erection?
A: First of all: don’t worry, you are not a perv. Breeze boners are real and can happen to the best of us. That said, if you do get an erection and there are other people around, think about rolling onto your stomach or going for a swim. Flaunting your woody is not appropriate, if you can help it. Trying to tense your thigh muscles to help draw blood away from the problem area is another way to help manage.
Q: Can I do yoga?
A: Yes? But use some common sense. Overt displays of sexuality are not welcome, so maybe be aware of what you’re showing and doing.
Q: Can you have sex on nude beaches?
A: Technically, yes? But, please don’t in front of other people. If you are on a beach that is private or empty, then… maybe?
Q: Where can I find a nude beach near me?
A: We wrote about our favorite nude beaches in Croatia. And there is an excellent list for FKK beaches in New Zealand here. Otherwise, a google search should give you a fair few options. Some countries do not condone nudism at all (Morocco, for example) so be careful about your geographical location.
Q: Is there a community for nudists?
A: Yes! You can find more information from google or by looking them up on naturist.com. There is also a great resource for other etiquette over at Naturist Etiquette, which goes into more detail for other social non-sexual nudist circumstances.
Q: I’m still on the fence about going to a nudist beach. Why is it any better than a regular beach?
A: My favorite part of going to a nudist beach is that I get an excellent tan, and I don’t have to worry about a bathing suit getting wet and sandy. A lot of people think that being nude = being lewd and I don’t think that’s fair. Although I am not a fan of being naked all the time, there are places where it feels more natural for me, like the beach! Swimming in the ocean/lake/river while naked feels really good and I don’t have to worry about tight bits or scratchy sand. I think being at nude beaches makes for a really relaxed environment once you get used to it.