11 Tips For Your First Nude Beach Trip, From People Who’ve Been There

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
There aren't a lot of places where you can be totally naked in public (at least, legally). That might be part of what makes nude beaches sound so thrilling, because the very idea of being naked in front of strangers is taboo. We're told so often that it's "wrong" to see people naked. Bodies are private, especially genitals (which we literally call "private parts"). And they're private because we consider bodies inherently sexual. But it doesn't have to be that way, as anyone who's gone to a nude beach knows. We won't promise that bodies are never sexualized at nude beaches. But most of the time, people are just there to sunbathe, relax, and feel the kind of freedom that only getting naked in public can create.
Still, your first time at a nude beach can be daunting. Maybe you want to be the type of person who doesn't worry about stripping down in front of others, but you can't get over the idea that your "bits" are for your partner's eyes only or you're worried that your own body won't measure up. It's totally understandable, and something that lots of people go through their first time.
So, we reached out to people who've been to nude beaches before and combed through stories from adventurous Redditors, for the first-time tips you'll need not only to survive a nude beach, but to actually enjoy yourself. The consensus? Nude beaches are just like normal beaches, except more naked. (And please don't forget your sunscreen).
1 of 11

You don't HAVE to be naked.

"If you're nervous at first, remember that it's a clothing OPTIONAL beach. This means you don't HAVE to be naked, just you CAN be. You can be fully clothed or half clothes or totally nude the whole time. I'd say go in with a comfortable amount of clothing, an slowly take it off once you get the feel of the place." — anonymous via Reddit
2 of 11

After swimming in clear ocean water nude, I don't think I will ever go back.

"[My boyfriend and I] definitely LOVED the freedom of nudity. I was scared that I wouldn't like it, but after the first day, we began to dread dinner when we had to put clothes on. I think we wore about 3 pairs of underwear the entire week and a half we stayed there. After swimming in clear ocean water nude, I don't think I will ever go back. We plan to seek out nude resorts in the future."
3 of 11

You will end up with sand in unimaginable places.

"I was nervous and incredibly conscious about my body, but as soon as everyone dressed down, it was so fun! But be prepared: You will end up with sand in unimaginable places." — Kevin, 29
4 of 11

Get there early.

"It’s hard not to stare, but once you see the confidence some people have, the less you notice the fact that they’re naked. My tip: Get there early in the morning. It gives you time to get comfortable being naked with less people around." — Jena, 25
5 of 11

The burn can be brutal.

"I've been to nude beaches (though they were just beaches, people were clothed and unclothed as they desired) in France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Italy, the Caribbean, and in America on both coasts. It is entirely unremarkable. People are bathing and sunning themselves, doing everything people do at a beach. Just FYI: Sunburn is the worst and if you're very fair, the burn can be brutal." — CarlvonLinne via Reddit
6 of 11

After a while it just seemed normal.

"I've been to [a nude beach] near Barcelona while on a trip with friends. It's much less exotic than I expected as an American. People were minding their own business, having fun on the beach or getting some sun. I was self-conscious at first, but after a while it just seemed normal. I will say that places on your body that have never seen the sun need more sunscreen than you think (ouch!)." anonymous via Reddit
7 of 11

I told him he was being inappropriate and he needed to leave.

"I tend to take a beach chair, towel, pillow, drinks, snacks, and my kindle. I go set up down by the water and enjoy my book while soaking up the sun. People tend to be very chatty there, so when I'm in the mood to be social, I'll go walk around and be chatty. This summer I've gone to the beach probably 12 times and only once have I had a guy come up and be inappropriate and creepy. And he was one of the only clothed guys on the beach. I told him he was being inappropriate and he needed to leave. It did kind of ruin my day that time." — MadtownMaven via Reddit
8 of 11

Nudity doesn't have to be sexual.

"When I was in middle school my family went to the Mediterranean to see my step-dad's home country. There were a lot of nude beaches. It was mostly the same people you see on every beach: old people and families. We didn't get undressed, but I think it was good for me to see that nudity doesn't have to be sexual." — karenkarenkaren via Reddit
9 of 11

Being assertive and confident about whether or not you're there to socialize with strangers is key.

"I go every once in a while. It's SO nice. The only drawback is that you have to be open to people approaching you, especially as a woman. Being assertive and confident about whether or not you're there to socialize with strangers is key." — shufu via Reddit.
10 of 11

You don't get stares at a nude beach. Just lovely folk.

"Nude beaches are the best! I mean, I'll go topless at a regular beach (I'm a woman) but you don't get stares at a nude beach. Just lovely folk. And of course, most nude beaches are clothing optional, so if you're nervous, there's no pressure. Wear sunblock! You don't want your bits sunburnt." — iamnotintoyou via Reddit.
11 of 11

Bring a towel to lay on.

"If [your nude beach] is anything like the one in Florida, there's a designated gay section with volleyball, there's a chance that kids will be there, and there's a ton of older people. When I first turned the corner at Haulover Beach, there was a naked guy who legitimately looked like Santa.

"Bring a towel to lay on because otherwise there's no barrier between your butt and hot sand." — WheresDorinda via Reddit

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