China’s State-Controlled Media Recommends Top 10 Nude Beaches

Looking for nude beach recommendations this summer? You probably wouldn’t think to consult Xinhua, China’s state-controlled press agency, but here comes editor Yang Yi’s list of their “Top Ten Sexy Nudist Bathing Spots Around the World.” I stumbled across the link to the slideshow while checking out an article about their new English language travel website and had a few good laughs reading the photo captions.

According to Yi, Australia’s Lady Bay Beach “is one of the legitimate nudist beaches announced by the Prime Minister in 70s,” and the entire city of Rio de Janeiro is “the most ‘eye-candy’ beach” where visitors will “find many graceful statures and beautiful faces in beach activities.” In “Cape Down” (sic) South Africa, Yi recommends Sandy Bay Beach because it has “inconvenient traffic,” which makes it feel “away from the world.” Other entries included San Gregorio State Beach in California, and beaches in Negril, Jamaica, British Columbia and St. Martin. The entire state of Hawaii also made the list. Aloha!In recommending Paradise Beach in Mykonos, Yi opines, “Europeans are always full of reverence for human body … In other European countries, restrictions on public nudity are very relaxed. Say nothing of other countries like Netherlands, France, and Spain, even England, which is strict and conservative in some people’s eyes, possesses officially-recognized nudist beaches.”

It’s obviously a pretty half-assed list and some of the stock photos they used look like models from cheap ’70s porn sets. But it’s nice to see that state-controlled media in China is letting its hair down and chasing clicks just like every site in the West.

I hit a couple clothing optional beaches in Greece last summer and can highly recommend Plakias on the island of Crete and Psili Ammos beach in Patmos. Somehow I don’t think editor Yi has spent much time on nude beaches, so if you want more detailed recommendations consider checking out Captain Barefoot’s Naturist Guide to the Greek Islands.

Inside The Fawlty Towers Nudist Resort

In tough economic times, some hotels and resorts are ready to try just about anything to revive their sagging fortunes. On May 1, The Fawlty Towers Motel in Cocoa Beach rebranded itself as a “clothing-optional resort” in a bid to revive its sagging fortunes, and according to David Broad, 54, a Welsh national who manages the resort, business is picking up.

But not everyone in Cocoa Beach is thrilled with the new naturist business model. According to Florida Today, a bid by prudish local residents to shut the place down fizzled after local authorities determined that Fawlty Towers had the legal right to go nude.

David Broad spoke to Gadling and gave us the low down on nude resort rules and etiquette, the efforts to sanction Fawlty Towers and other clothing optional resorts, and why the resort allows nudism but not provocative clothing or swinging.How did the place transform from a regular motel into a clothing optional resort?

My best friend who owns the place bought it in 1988. It’s a small mom and pop motel with 32 rooms and over the last few years they’ve been building bigger hotels and they have higher advertising budgets, so business slowed down and we decided to try this.

And business has picked up?

We’ve definitely been busier on the weekends. Weekdays are picking up too now that more and more people are hearing about it. Room rates start at just $79 so it’s quite affordable as well.

On your website, the people pictured are wearing clothes. What’s up with that?

No, it’s just for the photographs; people don’t want to be photographed with their clothes off. It can compromise you, depending on what your job is.

Tell me about the nudist demographic?

We had a gentleman here the other day from Australia who read about the place. Quite a few people from Germany, Switzerland, Canada, everywhere really. It’s all ages. It’s 21 and over only though actually. The average age on the weekend is probably 50-60, but we have some younger people as young as 23 or 24.

That tracks with what I noticed on nude beaches in Greece this summer. Do you think older people are just more comfortable with their bodies and less self-conscious?

I think so. It doesn’t matter if you’re 200 pounds or 500 pounds, no one cares.

Americans are generally a bit more prudish about nudity than in other parts of the world, but tell me about some of the backlash you’ve encountered from the more conservative members of your community?

There’s been some negative comments in the papers here. The city was a little bit up in arms about us in the beginning but they’ve eased off because there’s been no trouble here. Even the police have noticed, there’s been no trouble here. Most of our customers are in their 50s or 60s and they’re in bed by 10 o’clock. The city admitted in the end that we were operating legally and there’s nothing they can do about us.

You have a list of rules on your website and I wanted to ask you about a few of these. The first rule says that the atmosphere must remain non-threatening and non-sexual at all times.

When people are nude they aren’t allowed to do any petting around the pool. You know, touching each other, kissing, nothing like that.

And then it says that swingers and swinging is prohibited. Why is that?

In the privacy of their rooms, they can do what they want. But if they’re out there trying to recruit people we stop that straightaway. We don’t want it to be a swingers resort. We do background checks on everyone before they can come here. It’s to make sure the person has no criminal history so everyone is kept safe.

It also says on your website that provocative clothing is prohibited. Why is that?

We don’t want people parading around in stockings and stuff like that. It’s a proper naturist place. Proper naturists don’t walk around in see-through negligées and things like that.

So it’s OK to be naked but you can’t wear a see-through negligée or a thong?

It’s a hard one to explain. It’s like drawing attention to yourself, whereas if everyone is nude then no one is drawing attention to themselves.

I see that you have a gym as well. Do people work out nude?

No, the gym is half mile away and you have to wear clothes there. The clothing optional part is just the hotel, the tiki bar and the pool area. It’s all very private and secluded, no one can see in here at all.

Do you get some first timers who are unaware of nude resort etiquette?

Oh yes, but everyone is comfortable. Some start apprehensive, but everyone is friendly and welcoming. We limit cellphone use and cameras to make sure people aren’t taking photos at the pool.

When you get very attractive women there, are the men able to contain themselves?

Everyone behaves themselves. No one is judged.

Does the staff go nude as well?

No, no, we have to be dressed according to the state law, unfortunately. Otherwise, they classify us adult entertainment.

What do you want America to know about your resort and other clothing-optional places?

It’s very private. No one gets exposed to this if they don’t want to be. We don’t drag people in here. People come on their own free will and it’s not thrown in anyone’s face. We don’t have a sign outside reading “Nudist Hotel” or anything like that.

Is Wisconsin’s Nudist Beach In Jeopardy?

Apparently, gourmet cheese, good beer and the Green Bay Packers aren’t the only things attracting visitors to Wisconsin. In fact, the state boasts one of the country’s largest non-coastal nudist beaches, Mazo Beach, which brings in about 70,000 naturists per year. Unfortunately, the hot spot is currently facing opposition from protesters, politicians and conservative locals.

Recently, numerous arrests have been made in the surrounding forests, as officers have caught people having sex outdoors. Additionally, problems with sex and drugs on the beach are also causing outrage. Well-behaved frequenters of Mazo Beach now fear the end of their clothing-optional haven, despite years of cooperating with the state.

Although it is illegal in Wisconsin to “publicly and indecently” expose one’s genitals, many state and county officials have argued simply being nude at Mazo Beach is not enough to write a citation. That is, unless there is some kind of lewd contact. Despite pastor-led protests and Republican lawmakers attempting to ban the beach, it has remained.

To help get Mazo Beach out of its current position, the area has added extra security to patrol the beach. Losing the nudist-friendly site would be devastating to many who think of it as a second home.

For Claudette Richards, 58, a lifetime visitor to Mazo Beach, it is the place where she was able to come to accept her body, even after her mastectomy. She says, “It’s a place to be who I am.”

[Image via Big Stock]

A Prude Bares It All On A Nude Beach In Crete

Who wants to read a story about a nude beach from a Catholic prude who won’t even take their clothes off? A month ago, I wrote a piece about a nude beach in Patmos that generated some hate mail, both from strangers and friends. I’m not a naturist and the fact that I took a few cheap shots at the age and appearance of many of the nudists I’ve encountered in Greece and elsewhere rubbed some the wrong way.

But a few of my friends also gave me a hard time for being “uptight” and “close minded.” When in Rome, one reminded me, do as the Romans do. Another friend that works as an editor at a magazine I contribute to wrote that she was “disappointed” in Gadling’s editor for “not insisting that” I “go native in the name of journalism,” and concluded that the least I “could have done was take it off on a nude beach.”I took all of this in but resolved to do nothing about it. My distaste for public nudity dates back to at least high school, when we were forced to shower in a dirty, open shower room after gym class. I’m sure that some guys enjoy that kind of male bonding, but I’m not one of them, thank you very much.

Still, despite my misgivings and hang-ups about public nudity, I couldn’t help but reconsider my position on nude beaches after spending four nights in Plakias, a quiet little beach town on Crete’s south coast a couple weeks ago. Our apartment was directly across the street from a beach that had a very lively nude section at the end of it and I couldn’t help but notice how much fun the nudists seemed to be having.

We didn’t sit amongst them, but they were close enough that I could see what was going on, and my sons and I played the role of nude beach voyeurs a few times, taking slow strolls and swims near their turf. The average age on this beach was about 55 or 60. But I feel compelled to admit that there were some younger, more attractive nude couples on this beach as well, so my earlier insinuation that nude beaches are the stomping ground of creepy, obese seniors is obviously well off the mark.

Over the course of a few days, I saw a few attractive women in their 20s and 30s casually strolling about and frolicking on the beach in the buff, yet attracting no real attention, and it reminded me of a revelatory moment on my first visit to Germany at the age of 23.

On my first night in the country, I went down to use the sauna and spa in my hotel in the historic eastern city of Erfurt and saw what I thought was a mirage: two absolutely lovely young women taking a shower outside the sauna with no curtain or door to impede anyone’s view.

I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of them. I knew it wasn’t socially acceptable to get a very good look but I couldn’t immediately leave before making sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Call me a pervert, if you like, but I’m an American, and in my country, beautiful women do not take showers in public.

Inside the sauna, there were even more attractive women completely naked and I decided on the spot that Germany was a wonderful country indeed. But I couldn’t help but conclude that such a scene would have been impossible in the U.S.A. If word got out that gorgeous women were showering and lounging about nude somewhere in the 50 states, there would be pandemonium and the clubs would have to hire security to protect the naked women.

But Germany, Greece and other countries are different – attractive women can flaunt it on the beach in the buff and no one seems to notice. Or perhaps everyone notices but does an awfully good job of pretending that they aren’t noticing. In any event, I took note of the fact that the Plakias beach had a few good looking young people having fun going nude but still saw no reason to take part.

That is, until our last morning in Plakias. My wife came into the living room, where I was writing, and said, “Can you watch the kids for a while? I think I want to do something crazy.”

“Something crazy?” I asked. “Like what?”

“I’m going skinny-dipping on the nude beach,” she said. “We’re leaving town and this is the perfect time.”

I should mention here that my wife is not the kind of freethinking radical who would have danced naked at Woodstock. No. She was raised in a small town in the Midwest, and is a God-fearing, modest, thoroughly American lass. But on this day, she wanted to take a nude swim just for the hell of it. An hour later, she returned, looking quite content.

“Were you really gallivanting around naked on the nude beach?” I asked.

“I wasn’t gallivanting,” she protested. “I just took a quick swim and then came right back out and got dressed, but it was fun, you should try it.”

Not to be outdone, I thought, what the hell, and headed across the street for a skinny-dip of my own. I made my way down the textile section of the beach towards the nude section, which is right beneath a huge rocky cliff popular with rock climbers, and saw an attractive, nude young woman with disproportionately large breasts playing paddle tennis with a nude male companion.

Their body parts were flying all over the beach as they lunged and dove for shots in a spirited contest that, bizarrely, seemed to be attracting no attention whatsoever on the crowded beach. Again, I was sure that a scene like this one would inspire mayhem in the U.S.

Scenes like this one are both a best and worst case scenario for men. I won’t get into all the practical considerations of being a novice on a nude beach- men will know what I’m referring to here- but suffice it to say that guys don’t want their hearts beating too fast while in the buff.

There was a lounge chair available right next to the nude paddle tennis couple but I felt a little shady taking that one, so I walked further on towards an open sun bed a safe distance away but very close to the shoreline, bathing suit still on.

Happily, most of the other nude sunbathers were either asleep, getting (nude) massages from two Asian women who worked the beach, or were absorbed in books. If no one is looking at a woman with quintuple D cups playing paddle tennis, surely no one will notice me taking a quick nude swim, I thought.

I was safely in the cool, clean Libyan Sea, naked, within about 30 seconds of nervously shedding my suit about as hastily as one might flee a burning building. I didn’t run into the water, but you can call it a quick trot. As soon as I was submerged, I felt cool, free and relaxed. Why had I never done this before?

After a few minutes in the water, another attractive nude woman, who was snorkeling, came floating right by me. Maybe she was in pursuit of some colorful fish, I don’t know, but I was struck by how cavalierly she was floating around, bare butt in the air, totally unconcerned about swimming right near other bathers like me.

After about a half hour, I swam back to the shore, and purposely exited right in front of my chair. Somehow, on the way out of the water, I felt more self-conscious, probably because I was dripping wet and knew I looked ridiculous. It was probably only 15 steps but I had nightmare visions of bumping into people I knew – a priest, a former teacher, a colleague from work, who knows – even though I lived thousands of miles away.

That didn’t happen, but in my rush to get my suit back on, I struggled to get the second leg in the proper hole and nearly keeled over. I must have looked ridiculous. I enjoyed the nude swim but I still draw the line at lounging about naked on the beach, at least until they invent a 100 SPF sun block specifically designed for genitalia.

But I have to admit, I dug the nude beach in Plakias. Maybe next time I won’t be in such a hurry. Who knows, maybe at some point, I’ll become so European that the sight of beautiful naked women won’t even arouse my attention. But I doubt it.

(Images via Wolfgang Straudt, and Dave Seminara)

Living Naked And Free On The Beach In Greece

I spent seventeen years in Catholic schools and that’s probably why you’ll never see me lolling about naked on a beach. I have no moral opposition to naturists, but like many others, I’ve observed firsthand that nudists tend to be a bit older, with many old enough to qualify for senior citizens discounts, and some aren’t exactly easy on the eyes. There’s something about the aging process that makes some people want to revert to their natural state as they grow older.

Men hear the words “nude beach” or “clothing optional beach” and their heart rates accelerate a few notches. But are you going to bump into Gisele Bundchen or Brooklyn Decker sunning themselves in the buff on a beach? Probably not.

In the Greek Isles, you can’t help but bump into people who are naked or nearly naked, even without seeking out nude or clothing optional beaches. A couple weeks ago, I saw a few portly, hardy souls, certainly from Northern Europe, looking burned like lobsters and naked as jaybirds on Tigaki Beach in Kos.

Then you also see men who have suits on, but they’re so skimpy they’re almost more of an assault on the eyes than if they were actually naked. I saw a man at the Livadi Geranou beach in Patmos last week that was actually wearing a thong bathing suit reminiscent of the one Borat used in his movie, save the shoulder straps. He appeared to be about 85 years old.The next day, a portly, middle-aged man tried to board a public bus we were on in Patmos with a tiny speedo half pulled down, exposing both pubes and half his ass. A group of Greek schoolchildren on the bus began to point at him and laugh hysterically, and he turned around and got off. (Perhaps the driver told him to get dressed, I’m not sure.)

Then on Saturday, my wife and two young boys and I found ourselves in the company of a whole host of naked people at the Psili Ammos Beach in Patmos, much to our surprise. The beach can only be reached via a boat ride or rigorous 30-minute hike, so it’s apparently an ideal place for naturists to hide out on a very religious island that frowns upon public nudity.

We noticed that a few of the nudists were actually camping on the beach, which isn’t technically legal, and I was curious about the practicalities. But how does one go about interviewing naked people on a beach? Surely approaching them naked, on their terms, would have been best, but I wasn’t going to do that.

I asked my wife, Jen, to accompany me, thinking that I might seem less like a horny stalker if I had a woman with me.

“I don’t know,” she said, clearly dreading the chore. “I feel like you need to give naked people on a beach a really wide berth.”

But she eventually agreed to accompany me on my quest to speak to naked campers. We approached a variety of naked people, feeling very awkward since we had suits on, and none admitted to being campers, though this might be because they thought I was some sort of undercover police officer.

The naturists were all friendly, and obviously not Americans. One older gentleman who we approached, sort of half rolled over when we addressed him and I accidentally caught sight of his junk – clearly a low point in our trip. It’s odd but when you’re speaking to naked people on a beach, you focus so hard on making eye contact that it’s almost ridiculous.

After a few hours on the clothing-optional beach, I told my wife I’d had enough and wanted to leave. And then just as the words left my mouth, a large group of attractive young people came hiking down the hill and plopped down right next to us on the beach. Well, not so fast, I thought. But alas, they turned out to be a wholesome group of Norwegians on a Bible study tour, and they definitely weren’t there to get naked.

For those who are interested in getting naked and camping for free on Greek beaches, check out the Captain Barefoot site, which appears to be a comprehensive guide to Greece for naturists. In some way, I kind of envy people who feel free enough to live naked and free on a remote beach in Greece, but I’m still keeping my suit on.

Read Part 2 of this story, A Prude Bares it All On a Nude Beach in Crete here.

(Photos by Dave Seminara, the second one needed blurring)