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Hippie Hollow Beach on Lake Travis is less than 30 minutes from Austin hotels.

Takin’ it Off in Texas: Beaches Where You Can Sunbathe in the Buff

Texas may be known as the epicenter of the conservative movement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sunbathe in the buff. While Texas law doesn’t prohibit toplessness on any beach, you need to know precisely what the rules are and where to head to avoid getting arrested for indecent exposure, public lewdness or disorderly conduct.

Officially Sanctioned Nudity

There’s only one official nudist beach in the state. Hippie Hollow at Lake Travis in Austin boasts slabs of rock for soaking up the sun and sliding into the lake for a swim. This site has restrooms, garbage bins and drinking water conveniently located near the lake.

Need to Know: The clothes-free option doesn’t extend to the parking lot, so keep yourself under wraps until you enter the park. You must pay an entrance fee to use the facility.

Stay Nearby: Stay downtown at an Austin hotel to be within a 30-minute drive of Hippie Hollow Park. Sheraton, Hyatt, Hilton and Radisson are just a few of the national chains you can choose from. If golf is your game, Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa has four 18-hole courses just 16 miles southwest of the lake.

Most Popular Nude Beach

Join the party on UFO Beach on South Padre Island — the area got its moniker when an emergency evacuation pod that looked like a UFO washed onshore. The sandy beach is the state’s most popular unofficial nudist beach, especially during spring break. The beach lies 10 to 12 miles north of Beach Access No. 6. Since you’ll be driving on wet sand, access the site in a street-legal four-wheel drive vehicle. ATVs not licensed for street use aren’t allowed.

Need to Know: The last chance for a porta-potty is at Beach Access No. 5, 3 miles south of Beach Access 6. There is a fee to access the beach.

Stay Nearby: South Padre Island is a four-hour drive from hotels in Houston, or you can stay closer to the beach on South Padre Island. The Hilton Garden Inn South Padre is less than a 10-minute drive from Beach Access No. 6. The hotel has rooms with ocean views, refrigerators and microwaves. You have direct access to a clothing-required public beach and can enjoy amenities such as a beach-side pool and whirlpool tubs.

Away From It All

Explore 60 miles of remote shoreline along Padre Island National Seashore. To access the beach, drive south from the Malaquite Visitor’s Center until you run out of pavement. While nude sunbathing isn’t officially permitted, it’s practiced discreetly. The remote and open nature of the shoreline lets you see a vehicle approaching long before it’s close enough to notice whether you’re naked.

Need to Know: Texas nudity law specifies illegal nudity as intentionally exposing your anus or genitals without regard for whether someone present will be alarmed or offended. Throwing a towel around your lower half while people are within viewing distance is sufficient to comply with the law.

Stay Nearby: Corpus Christi hotels put you within a 30-minute drive from the Malaquite Visitor’s Center. You can find national chains such as Best Western Fairfield Inn, Embassy Suites and Courtyard by Marriott in the area. Stay on the edge of Corpus Christi Bay at Hotel Corpus Christ Bayfront, a hotel with views of the marina and within walking distance of restaurants and city nightlife.

The Rise Of Nude Beaches: Uncovering A Colorful Past

Nude beaches have become a fixture across Europe and the Americas in the past century, as travelers seek out spots where they can enjoy nature and the water clothes-free. For supporters, the beaches are safe and supportive places to feel closer to nature and a part of community. For visitors, they offer an experience that encourages participants to feel comfortable with their bodies and unbound by material culture. But how did nude beaches get popular in the first place? And where are the best to go?

An Olympic Past

While approved nude beaches are a relatively new development since Victorian Era mores, fans trace similar comfort with the naked body and clothes-free activities back to ancient times. Greek athletes at the earliest Olympics famously competed nude to honor Zeus and show off their honed bodies, sometimes even using olive oil to accentuate the look. Nude beach goers have swapped in sunscreen for oil, but the mentality of being comfortable with one’s body in public lives on.

That comfort for nudity among athletes has seen a revival in recent years, from the “Nude Olympics” held at Baker Beach outside San Francisco to ESPN’s recent Body Issue in which top athletes bared all. At the turn of the 20th century, however, it was a pair of German writers, Richard Ungewitter and Heinrich Pudor, who helped popularize nudism for the average person in the early 19th century.

A Healthy Alternative

Advocates of naturism, a lifestyle centered around nudity, point to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century as an unhealthy influence—both bodily and spiritually—against which people were eager to find some relief. They looked to a renewed emphasis on the outdoors as a solution, from more time outdoors to swimming and spending time in more sunlight. It was a natural extension of that philosophy to see even more benefit doing so without more fabricated clothes.

In France and Germany at the turn of the century and then in America starting in the Roaring Twenties, nudists worked to make people feel comfortable with their naked bodies and what they believed was a healthier lifestyle. Kurt Barthel helped organize what would become the first nudist club in America, the Sky Farm community in New York City and then New Jersey, in 1929. Like Ungewitter, Barthel and his allies advocated fresh-air bathing as a key activity.

Hitting the Beaches

France led the way on establishing official nude beaches across its shores in the 1950s, leading to famous beaches like those at CHM Montalivet outside Bordeaux. Popular with tourists from Germany and worldwide, the complex houses about 1,000 bungalows and has campgrounds for hundreds more. Guests of nearby hotels like the Hotel Les Vieux Acacias can enjoy sports like tennis and archery and walk a 2 mile white sand beach. Camp d’Agde, down the coast from Montpellier on the Mediterranean, is another popular destination.

Scandinavia embraced nude beaches early on as well, and now nearly 20 clothes-optional beaches stretch across Norway and almost 70 across the more populous Sweden. Nudity in Finland is also widely accepted, from saunas to steam baths and beaches.

It took a while for nude beaches to take off in the United States, where religious and societal pressures were tougher to overcome. Truro in Cape Cod, Massachusetts became a flashpoint in 1974 as the town looked to rein in what had become a large nudist population at the beach. While attending the beach nude gained in popularity, The Cape Cod National Seashore created regulations to ban the activity, helping to prompt the “Free the Beaches” movement in 1976 that helped unit nude beach goers across the United States and bring national attention to their cause.

A National Nude Weekend would launch that year, and several publications for nude beach-goers and supporters emerged. Today, the American Association for Nude Recreation charters well more than of 200 resorts and campgrounds across the U.S.

Also more recently, England has added to its list of official nude beaches in the past several decades, while Poland’s Chalupy beach become famous in part due to a 1985 hit song, “Chalupy – welcome to,” which immortalized the clothes-optional beach on the Baltic Sea.

Famous Nude Hotspots

Hundreds of nude beaches are available today, but several have stood out over the years as some of the most accessible, beautiful, and sunny.

Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Little Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui isn’t an official nude beach but is famous as such, separate from Big Beach’s north end by a cliff. On Sundays, the crowd forms a drum circle for a fire dance.

Where to stay: The Lumeria Maui has beautiful park grounds a short drive away.

Red Beach, Crete, Greece

Named after its volcanic sand, Red Beach is beloved for being less crowded than other nearby beaches given its remote location on the southern shores of the island of Crete. Most visit by boat or long hike, but once at the clothes-optional location, visitors can enjoy pristine beach and caves under the cliffs.

Where to stay: Sleep in 5-star luxury at the Vergis Epavlis in nearby Heraklion.

Samurai Beach, Port Stephens, Australia

Like others on the list, Samurai Beach is a bit remote to get to, outside Port Stephens north of Sydney. Bare bones when it comes to facilities, footwear is a must to cross the dunes to the beach, where periodic nude carnivals and other activities make the spot a mecca once travelers get there.

Where to stayAnchorage Port Stephens for its gorgeous private balconies.

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada’s first clothing-optional beach is massive, spanning 5 miles of coastline just 15 minutes’ drive from Vancouver. Monthly live music events and beach volleyball keep visitors busy, while others get even more comfortable with their bodies through massages and body painting.

Where to stay: The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is famous for its sleek and modern style.

Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown, Massachusetts

While nudity is technically banned across Cape Cod and the LGBQT hotspot of Provincetown, visitors to Herring Cove know that what was the state’s only active nude beach still functions as such, unofficially, on the left side of the beach. Herring Cove isn’t just beautiful; it’s an ideal place for an open mind.

Where to stayCarpe Diem Guesthouse for its clothing-optional spa.

Black’s Beach, San Diego, California

Perhaps Southern California’s most famous clothing optional beach, Black’s is a two-mile strip popular with surfers and nudists alike. An easy drive from downtown San Diego just north of La Jolla Shores, Black’s rests at the base of 300-foot cliffs that offer some quiet from gawking eyes as nude volleyball players show off their moves. Black’s doesn’t have any frills or shops, but makes up for it with its crowd.

Where to stayEmpress Hotel of La Jolla, just five blocks from La Jolla Cove.


My Life-Changing Trip to Kazantip

party_at_nightWhen I told my friends in Ukraine that I wanted to come see them next summer, they suggested going to Kazantip along with them. That wasn’t the first time when I heard about this strange festival, the so-called “Republic of Kazantip”. Since I’m a big fan of techno music and love pretty girls in bikinis, I agreed without hesitation. I arrived in Ukraine at the beginning of August and soon my friends and I headed to Popovka, a sleepy resort town on the Black Sea coast where Kazantip is held. Once arrived, we first got settled in a small hostel, bought our tickets for the festival that are called “viZas” and went to look around the town. Although I came there for the first time, my Ukrainian friends had showered me with stories about wild parties on the beach, non-stop music played by the world’s best DJs and of course hundreds of beautiful girls in bikinis (and without).

on_the_beachThe next day, when we were hanging out on the Kazantip beach lined with dozens of bars and dance floors, I noticed that some girls had their viZas of different colors. Unlike most visitors like me who had the red cards, there were girls with green and white passes. My friends told me that the green viZas are given to the girls who are specially hired to promote various parties and events during the festival. It’s no problem if you approach, talk and drink with them. However I was warned to stay away from the girls with white passes, not even try talking to them. Those were the most beautiful girls, true super models. They came along with VIP guests, the richest Russian oligarchs, who have their own private, strictly guarded areas at Kazantip with own bars, swimming pools and other facilities. In short, if I dared to bother one of those goddesses, I could have been immediately kicked out of the festival.

Kazantip really turned out to be a paradise for open minded people like me. I enjoyed in full all the opportunities the festival had to offer: amazing music, swimming, dancing and sun bathing on the beach, drinking beer and Russian vodka with my friends and, of course, lovely evenings spent in the company of cute girls. That was the time to relax and not think, even for a second, about work and problems left at home. Just like for most other people at Kazantip, our day began late in the afternoon. Then we went to the beach and stayed there till sunset. And as the time got closer to midnight, the most interesting part began. There were different parties every night. We wandered from bar to bar, and from one dance floor to another one. When we felt totally exhausted, we just sat down on the sand and looked up at the night sky lit up with eye-popping fireworks, lasers and searchlights. Regardless of how tired you are, you never feel bored at Kazantip!

I’ve been to many festivals, but I have never experienced anything similar to Kazantip. I never thought I would see so many naked bodies, alcohol, wealth, sociability, neon, thunderous sounds of music and happy faces all at one place. While at Kazantip I totally forgot about the normal life. This is one of the main reasons why you will want to return here again and again after having visited it once. To tell the truth, it is much different from a typical festival and it is not for everybody. The Republic of Kazantip “gives shelter” only to the most open minded people without any complexes and taboo. I am proud to say I am one of those freaks!

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Anthony Freeman is a travel enthusiast who loves to explore new places and always looks forward to his next adventure.

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