Nude Beach Etiquette: The Unwritten Rules for Stripping Down


It’s not all fun and nudity; there’s an etiquette to naked beachgoing (Photo: Thinkstock)

While vacationing, some people take off from work. Others take off everything — in public! Around the world (Corniglia, Italy; Crete, Greece; Rovinj, Croatia) and across America too (San Francisco; Middletown, New Jersey; Miami), travelers are tossing aside bathing suits and swim trunks for a summer glow sans tan lines.

But just because it’s a no-clothes zone doesn’t mean manners are tossed aside as well.

“Polite rules of society do not change once you take your clothes off,” says Tom Mulhall, owner of The Terra Cotta Inn Clothing Optional Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, California

“Each nudist resort has its own individual rules and regulations,” says Mulhall. “At nude beaches there are certain unwritten rules and guidelines people are expected to follow.”

Mulhall offers some advice for first-time (and seasoned) nudists/naturalists, so that with no shirts and no shoes there’ll also be no problems.


Be sure you follow the rules of naked pool-lounging (Photo: Thinkstock)

1.) Lounging by the pool: Always put a towel over any chair on which you lounge, sit, or lie. Other than that, sit or lie the exact same way you would if you were wearing a bathing suit — whatever makes you comfortable!

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2) Chair Positioning: Pools are limited in size, so follow how the resorts have the chairs positioned. Depending how many people are on the grass or pool area, you might position chairs 10-20 feet apart. And just because people are naked doesn’t mean they don’t want their personal space (in fact, they might want it more). So if a couple is sitting by themselves, ask first before sitting close to them.

3) Picking up items on the beach: No need to adapt your movements to suit your nakedness. You’re already naked so there are no surprises. If you see something interesting on the sand, just bend down to pick it up the same way you would if you were wearing a bathing suit.

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4) Looking at others’ bodies: This is a nudist resort so you don’t have to demurely cover your eyes every time a fellow naked beachgoer walks by. But you also don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. Just like at bathing suit beaches, where you might glance but never stare at others, the same is true at nudist beaches and resorts.


Taking photos might be a no-no at your nudist resort; check before you snap (Photo: Thinkstock)

5) Photography at nudist resorts: Resorts have their own policies, from banning all photos to having official camera people.

6) Photography at nude beaches: You are out in the public; never, ever expect privacy. You never know who may be lurking out of sight with a telephoto lens.

7) Dining: Some resorts may have to follow local, city, or county rules about clothes and dining. Call first and ask management.

8) Parking lots & indoor spaces: Some places cater to membership and require 100% nudity at their pool. But as soon as people aren’t by the pool, they may or may not be dressed or wearing pool cover-ups. Again, it’s a good idea to check beforehand.

So go ahead and enjoy your (very) stripped-down vacation. Just remember to follow the rules, respect others, and act naturally when you’re au naturel.

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