Naturist holidays are not a new phenomenon, but they are taking the travel world by storm as more and more nudists take their clothes-free lifestyle to the road, leaving luggage behind to catch rays on their ... behinds.
Though 'naturism' (the preferred term for the clothing-optional philosophy and way of life), has been documented since the time of Alexander the Great, it didn't take hold in the modern world outside saunas and bathhouses until the early 20th century. At that time what started as a health and fitness lifestyle in Germany spread to the UK, Canada and the US, where naturism clubs and nudist beaches and resorts began to take hold.
Beyond the baths
'Social nakedness' has long been prevalent in the saunas and bathhouses of Europe
, but it took German doctors and philosophers who began to openly advocate out-and-about nudism to promote the activity.
Though the Nazis weren't too keen on a society gone starkers, they were not able to keep the phenomenon under wraps, and the idea of nudist beaches and naked retreats spread throughout Europe. While the Germans are still the world's best birthday-suit advocates, the notion of social nakedness has an extremely high following throughout the Western world, and the market for clothing-free tourism is attracting millions of travellers annually.
Europe has had clothing-optional beaches for years, but it is only in the past two decades that specialised resorts have accommodated nude travellers. The Caribbean
, North America and even Australia
are now home to thousands of properties that cater solely to those in the buff.
Take, for example, the town of Cap d'Agde in France known as Naked Town, Cap d'Agde is the world's capital of naturism. Whether you care to lie on the beach, stroll the town's high street or even nip into the shops for some meat and potatoes, in Cap d'Agde you will do it starkers. The town's summer population of 40,000 pride themselves on how little luggage they need, and how they are dressed for any occasion without a thread.
No hanky panky
Nudists are not to be confused with sex tourists they are staunchly different. Though clubs such as the popular Hedonism III in Jamaica are well-known for attracting swingers, your typical naturist hot-spot is more likely to be a family-owned caravan park where nana and grandad air ... theirs.
This type of family-friendly holiday naturalist retreat can be found across Australia, and it is reported that more than 40 million people worldwide take nude holidays each year.
A simple Internet search can put you in touch with hundreds of specialised travel agents that exclusively book naturist holidays for punters without pants, and thousands of accommodation and resort options have their own sites listed.
Be warned that these portals of information often include image galleries don't be surprised if nana and grandad appear on the screen in front of you, happily enjoying a cuppa outside their campervan in all their pleated and wrinkled glory. And for the serious, ahem, enthusiast, there are dozens of accredited clubs and organisations across the country.
So if you never know what to pack when heading off on holiday, feel free to let it all hang out. Just ensure you've arrived at the correct location before donning the birthday suit and strutting your stuff.
Be sure to check out our photo gallery of the world's top nudist spots by clicking here:
For more information on nudist beaches in New South Wales, check out Free Beach.
Have you or would you ever take a nudist holiday?