Where the Jet Set Skinny Dips
Though headline-makers like Justin Bieber, Orlando Bloom, and Rihanna keep skinny dipping in the news, it’s historical significance relates to health and performance.
Bare bodies in natural environments started to gain momentum in the 18th century when the English town of Bath publicized its hot mineral springs for therapeutic and healing properties, according to the BBC. In the U.S., suit-free swimming was encouraged as late as the 1900s. In fact, from 1926 to 1962, each edition of The American Public Health Association standard health guidelines recommended it. Many prominent figures even publicly declared their love of skinny dipping, including American president Theodore Roosevelt.
But today, in a society where swimwear is the standard, taking a skinny dip can be exhilarating. Here, five locales at which to give it a go—plus, luxe hotel and resort options in each. *Note that skinny dipping is technically not legal in public spaces in Mexico or Key West.
Sylt and Rugen Islands, Germany
<p>Germany is known for embracing <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/travel/naked-germany/"><em><strong>Freikoerperkultur</strong></em></a> (FKK), or “free body culture,” and official nude beaches have been around since the 1920s. The first one was established on Sylt Island. Guests seeking high-end comfort shack up at <a href="https://www.relaischateaux.com/us/germany/stadthamburg-schleswig-holstein-westerland-sylt"><strong>Hotel Stadt Hamburg</strong></a>, a former 19th-century country house and a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux luxury resort group. Germany’s largest Baltic island, Rugen, also has five nude beaches. <strong><a href="https://www.designhotels.com/hotels/germany/binz-ruegen-island/ceres">Ceres</a>,</strong> a member of Design Hotels, is perfectly situated just steps from a sprawling, white-sand beach in Binz, a popular resort town. </p>
Key West, Florida
<p>Here, locals and visitors alike celebrate all things beer, flip-flops, schooners, and even drag shows. It’s as chilled-out as a Jimmy Buffet song, and visitors can hop on <strong><a href="http://keysadventures.com/boat-rentals-charters/)">nude boat charters</a> </strong>and hang out at clothing-optional resorts like <a href="http://www.pilothousekeywest.com/pages/rooms.html."><strong>The Pilot House</strong></a>. Stay, though, at <a href="http://waldorfastoria3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/casa-marina-a-waldorf-astoria-resort-EYWCMWA/index.html"><strong>Casa Marina</strong></a>, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, which hugs one of the nicest beaches in Key West, and it’s a short distance (via foot, bike, or car) to all the attractions. </p>
Riviera Maya, Mexico
<p>When in Mexico, head to sublime beach towns further from the crowds, like Tulum, Isla Mujeres, and Holbox, all of which embrace a laid-back, bohemian lifestyle. Plenty of luxury resorts in Riviera Maya (the perfect launching point to beach day trips) offer rooms with private pools. Check out <a href="http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/rivieramaya"><strong>Viceroy Riviera Maya</strong></a>, <a href="http://www.banyantree.com/en/em-mexico-mayakoba" style="font-weight: bold;">Banyan Tree Mayakoba</a>, and<strong> <a href="http://www.nizuc.com/">Nizuc Resort</a></strong>. The best place to go au naturel, however, are the <em>cenotes</em>, the famed underground sinkholes deep in the jungles. With azure waters, hanging vines, and some underwater caves, they’re the most scenic place for a skinny-dip thrill. Mayans traditionally went nude here to show their respect for nature. </p>