Sun and sand is great and all, but some (us included) would argue that a beachy setting gets better when the clothes come off. Think of a nude beach as your new and improved wingman — its mere presence allows you to skip the whole how-do-I-get-him-or-her-out-of-their-clothes predicament. So come and get the skinny on our favorite nude beaches.
The Nude Beach: Haulover Beach; Miami, FL
The Best Hotel for the Beach: ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: Though Miami is topless-friendly just about everywhere, Haulover Beach is the only true nude beach in this spring break hotspot. The waters are crystal clear, the soft sand is debris-free, plus there are tons of on-beach amenities. Haulover has lifeguards (in swimsuits, unfortunately), food and drink vendors, and plenty of organized activities like birthday-suit volleyball, although we recommend not going for the save.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: Less than a 5-minute drive from Haulover Beach, ONE Bal Harbour has a prime location for seeing some skin. Plus, this luxury resort has massive suites, a 10,000-square-foot spa, and over $4 million dollars worth of modern art.
The Nude Beach: Saline Beach; St. Barts
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Hotel Carl Gustaf
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: One of the poshest islands in all the Caribbean, St. Barts attracts tons of celebs (Beyonce, Jay-Z, Orlando Bloom, Demi Moore, to name a ew) and Saline Beach is no different. This uber-secluded, romantic beach has even been the backdrop for several Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoots. But we advise packing your bags and heading there soon — Andre Balazs’s controversial plans to build a luxury resort along the beach seem to be moving forward.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: The Carl Gustaf embodies the tony French Riviera style of St. Barts with mind-blowing ocean views, first-class service, and a level of exclusivity that comes from having just 14 rooms. This place doesn’t come cheap — but each suite and villa comes with its own private pool or plunge pool and private terrace (many overlooking the ocean).
The Nude Beach: Runaway Bay; Jamaica
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: The nude beach at the Gran Bahia is a good choice for low-key folks legitimately interested in naked sunbathing. The clothing-optional spot sits on the far western edge of the property, and is blocked off by a tall fence so you don’t have to worry about the kids accidentally checking out some T&A. Plus, when you’re in your bathing suit, the clothing-mandatory beach (adjacent to its nude counterpart) is equally as beautiful, and is great for snorkeling.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: Do you have to ask? Because the nude beach is on the hotel’s property, of course!
The Nude Beach: Wreck Beach; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: While it’s a little too chilly to hit this spot now (shrinkage is not cute), but as Vancouver‘s first — and largest — nude beach, Wreck Beach is visited by thousands of people every year. Right by the University of British Columbia, the spot definitely has a party vibe, but it also serves as a wildlife refuge for bald eagles and kingfishers.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: One of the most luxurious hotels in Vancouver (heck, in all of Canada), the Shangri-La has a Jean-Georges restaurant, a hip spa, and downright sexy marble-and-granite bathrooms complete with flat-screen TVs. Being less than 20 minutes from Wreck Beach is a nice perk, too.
The Nude Beach: Black’s Beach; San Diego, CA
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: This spot is not for the shy. North America’s largest nude beach, Black’s Beach draws a big crowd with it’s large surfer-friendly waves, picturesque setting along California‘s cliffs, and clothing-optional policies. It’s also an easy drive from La Jolla and Torrey Pines.
The Nude Beach: Playitas Beach; Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: Playitas is a gorgeous, untouched beach in super-lush Costa Rica. When we visited, we even spotted monkeys prancing across the sand. Surfers and swimmers alike can enjoy this beach as waves are mid-size — big enough to hang ten but not strong enough to scare off an experienced swimmer.
The Nude Beach: Baker Beach; San Francisco, CA
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Laurel Inn
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: It may not host Burning Man anymore, but this beach still has a reputation for being a fun spot — just without clothing now. Only the northern end of this half-mile stretch of sand, which boasts beautiful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, is clothing-optional so be sure to read the signs before ditching your string bikini.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: Laurel Inn has loads of freebies that make us smile: free Wi-Fi, a free glass of wine at a nearby cocktail lounge, free coffee and tea in the lobby, and free lemonade and freshly baked cookies every afternoon. Don’t you feel free now?
The Nude Beach: Little Beach; Maui, HI
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Makena Beach and Golf Resort
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: It’s always fun to break the rules, Little Beach does just that. Nude sunbathing is technically illegal in Hawaii, but this rule hasn’t been enforced at Little Beach in years, making it a popular spot to disrobe. Visitors swim, sunbathe, surf, and even keep their eyes open for the occasional whale spotting.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: Start your day at the beautiful and scenic 18-hole golf course at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort. The hotel is set on a fabulous snorkeling beach so afterwards you can look at fishies with the kids — or head to Little Beach to bask in all your (nude) glory.
The Nude Beach: San Gregorio; San Mateo, Silicon Valley, CA
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Coxhead House
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: This popular spot avoids overcrowding by often charging a small admission fee (no one wants to be stacked like sardines at a nude beach anyways…right?) San Gregorio is also one of the most gay-friendly beaches in California, and though the waves can be rough, plenty of on-sand activities, like surf-fishing, take place daily.
The Nude Beach: Orient Beach; St. Martin/St. Maarten
The Best Hotel for the Beach: Hotel La Plantation
WHY WE LOVE THE BEACH: On the French side of the island, Orient Beach is a popular hangout on the exclusive island of St. Martin. As a marine reserve, the beach boasts fabulous snorkeling and Orient Bay’s sands are lined with restaurants and bars so you won’t have to go far (or put much on) for a bite to eat.
WHY WE WANT TO STAY HERE: Located within an upscale community featuring several resorts, restaurants, and one of the island’s best beaches (well, as far as clothing-required ones go), Hotel La Plantation’s colorful Creole-style villas offer seclusion with well-spaced and stylish tropical rooms, a small but lovely restaurant, a modern pool with chic lounge seating, and beautifully lush grounds.