The photo is from Eden Bay Resort...
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IT'S A NUDE, NUDE WORLD -
GETTING NAKED ON THE GO IS THE HOTTEST THING SINCE, WELL, GETTING NAKED.
ANGELINA CAPPIELLO - LexisNexis
August 9, 2005
After traveling the world for two years, Mike Aveyard, a retired chiropractor from Ohio, and his wife, Peggy, a retired hairdresser, were looking for a place to call home. They settled on Eden Bay, a nudist resort in the Dominican Republic. For the couple, life couldn’t be sweeter.
"Living the nudist lifestyle in a tropical paradise is the ultimate in being free from the trappings of a traditional lifestyle," says Mike, 60, who now works as an activities director for the resort. "Most people feel the enjoyment and relief of just removing their shoes after a hard day in the real world. Nudists take that to a higher level. Our motto is, ‘Less clothes, less stress.’"
Like the Aveyards, a growing number of vacationers are happily stripping down to nothing, finding along the way that they’re losing a lot more than their shirts - they’re shedding the pressures of daily life, from the paying of bills and work demands to the unhealthy emphasis on looking young.
According to the American Association of Nude Recreation, nudist clubs and resorts raked in $400 million in 2002 (the last year numbers are available) compared to $200 million a decade earlier. Moreover, nudist association memberships have risen by 76 percent over the past 10 years, for a total of 50,000 participants.
The AANR attributes this surge to an increase in the number of residential nudist homes (usually integrated into destination resorts and clubs) and an uptick in the number of nude cruises. Additionally, while nudist resorts traditionally have attracted an older demographic (those between 40 and 65 years of age), younger adults, says Carolyn Hawkins, an AANR spokesperson, are jumping on the trend. "They’re becoming savvier travelers," she explains, "and are looking for something different."
Helping to feed the trend is the chipping away of stereotypes. While nudist resorts were once believed to be mostly shady and/or bare-bones, the reality is they’re not all that much different from destinations that require clothing.
Nancy Tienmann, owner of Bare Necessities, a travel agency specializing in all-nude recreation, says, "Going to a nudist club is not going down a dirt road and behind a junkyard gate. Europeans have known this for a long time. We [Americans] are just getting around to that."
Another assumption being blasted is that nudist resorts are for those who have sterling physiques. If you’re interested in parading around in your birthday suit but feel your body is not up to snuff, take heart - you’ll find all sizes, shapes and conditions at nudist resorts and clubs.
"This is not a body beautiful competition by any means," says Judi Ditzler, spokesperson for the Naturist Society, an organization that promotes body acceptance through clothing-optional recreation. "It’s about acceptance."
In fact, many of these resorts and clubs are not about the body, claim nudists, but about the mind. Potential voyeurs or those looking explicitly for sex will be sorely disappointed; only some resorts are known for being wild, so if that’s your thing, do your research. In general, eye contact is encouraged, but staring is considered rude. Most nudist resorts are about relaxing and being at one with your surroundings, not one-night stands.
If you’re interested in trying an all-nude vacation, but are unsure of how you’ll feel eating your corn flakes in the dining room sans cover-up, you might consider a "clothing-optional" resort, which allows guests to wear a layer or two until they acclimate. For the most part, though, newbies shed their inhibitions after the second day. "You would feel more uncomfortable if you weren’t nude, because everyone else is," says Hawkins.
For those searching for a new kind of freedom, or just a reason to pack lightly, here’s how to go.
If you’re heading for the clothing-optional resorts of the Yucatan, or just want to kick-start that party weekend in Jamaica, you can now unfasten more than your seatbelt after reaching a comfortable cruising altitude. Naked Air Miami offers charter flights for up to 218 people wanting to fly the "friendlier" skies. Although the crew remains clothed throughout the flight (FAA regulations), passengers may remain nude until the plane begins its descent for landing (from $529 RT, service from Miami to Cancun and to Jamaica, naked-air.com).
According to the AANR, there are now over 270 clothes-free and clothing-optional resorts, clubs and RV campgrounds worldwide, many of which welcome families. The difference between clubs and resorts, by the way, is minimal; clubs have guests who stay overnight, like at any resort or hotel, as well as members who can use the facilities on a daily basis. Also, the word "club" occasionally indicates a mom-and-pop type of operation. As always, just make sure to research any destination thoroughly before sealing the deal.
If you’re looking to spend time with your significant other, or would prefer to spend time with adults only, a resort would be more appropriate. They range from peaceful retreats to those where the day’s goal is getting picked up.
Whatever you choose, be prepared to take to heart the no-clothes policy. The rule of thumb, says AANR’s Hawkins, is always "nude when possible and clothed when practical. Obviously cover up when the sun’s really hot or when it’s cold. We’re nude, not ignorant."
One of the most popular resorts right now is the Desert Shadows Inn, in Palm Springs, Calif., an upscale hideaway visited by celebs like Vince Neil, Tim Meadows and Traci Bingham from "Baywatch." The resort boasts three pools, two outdoor whirlpools, a full-service spa, two restaurants and spectacular views of the San Jacinto Mountains. It welcomes families, and now features 17 custom homes adjacent to the property that command prices of nearly half a million dollars - hardly the nudist colony of yesteryear (from $150;  292-9298, desertshadows.com).
Situated on white sandy beaches, Club Orient, located in St. Martin, houses 136 rooms, each of which has a front porch (with picnic table), a back porch (with an outside shower), a sitting area and a fully equipped kitchen. On-site water sports include snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boating (from $120, under 18 stay free;  690-0199, cluborient.com).
Situated on more than 72 tropical acres, Paradise Lakes in Land O’Lakes, Fla., near Tampa, features a wide variety of accommodations from poolside hotel rooms to two- and three-bedroom vacation condos. (The resort also has more than 600 permanent residents.) It offers a full-service restaurant, poolside bar, nightclub, spa, exercise center, yoga center, gift shop and salon (from $70;  794-6683, paradiselakes.com).
How about an entire city instead of a resort? Le Cap d’Adge, a Mediterranean resort town in the south of France, has an all-nude quarter with three miles of white-sand beach. Known for its beautiful deep-blue water and Greek monuments, this sexually charged city also hosts nude "lifestyle" clubs ( 67 01 04 04, capdagde.com).
A variety of mostly smaller ships offer all-nude and clothing-optional cruises. The Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’ Yankee Clipper, which accommodates up to 32 couples, offers a one-week all-inclusive cruise in the Mediterranean ($1,000/pp through Castaways Travel;  470-2020, castawaystravel.com). Bare Necessities also specializes in privately chartered all-nude cruises - some on major cruise ships. There’s a week-long cruise aboard a 2,100-passenger Costa cruise ship in the Mediterranean, departing Port Everglades, Fla. Feb. 26 (from $2,149/pp; bare-necessities.com).
WONDERING what to pack? Here are the top 5 accessories for your nude vacation.
1 Sunblock: Since certain areas of your body haven’t seen the sun in, um, never, lather on plenty of SPF to prevent burning.
2 Bug Spray: Mosquito bites in your private areas are no fun at all.
3 Sunglasses: Yes they’re good for blocking the sun. They’re also good for first-timers who might stare, which is something that won’t make you many friends - regardless of whether you stare in admiration or disgust.
4 Beachbag or fanny pack: No clothing means no pockets for storing sun block, bug spray, sunglasses, money, etc. We’re not kangaroos.
5 Clothing: After days of the sun shining where it’s never shined before, your skin may need a little covering up. Also, a shirt can save your skin from hot food.
-Orient point: the Club Orient in St. Martin caters to families - yes, you heard that right! -Skin is in at Desert Shadows, a nudist resort in Palm Springs.