So what does one do without any clothes on?
Well, members of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and The Naturist Society (TNS) will soon kick off their shoes to participate in a national celebration called Nude Recreation Week.
Nude Recreation Week is an annual event held during the second week of July when members gather at hot spots across the country to celebrate the week-long happening. The slogan for AANR is “Feel the Freedom!” and the motto for TNS is “Naturists…Bare All.” (The term nudist has evolved into the term naturist to more closely encompass the values of TNS members.)
But let’s get one thing out of the way: it’s specifically stated in each organization’s membership rules that the various get-togethers to be celebrated in the nude are for nonsexual purposes. Sex is not the point of these clubs. The point is to have fun with friends, other members, and yes, even with family! Nude Recreation Week is filled with fun ways to stay cool and beat the heat during one of the more sweltering months of the year. The people who travel around the nation to participate in various activities in their birthday suits refer to their nude getaways as “nakations.” Nudists come in every shape, size, and color under the sun. Entire families have been known to participate in the unveiling of their clothes and share in the activities and festivities of Nude Recreation Week.
According to the Wall Street Journal, traveling to nude sunbathing resorts is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of Americans will spend $440 million on their nakations this year. Nude activities can take place in the privacy of a backyard, at a nudist resort, or at a clothing-optional public beach. In fact, there are over 260 clubs, resorts, and campgrounds across North America that welcome nudists. That number includes some of the more well-known public sites, such as Black’s Beach in San Diego, Haulover Beach in Miami-Dade County, Fire Island in New York, and Hanlan’s Pointin in Toronto. Nude recreation is not a new concept. A 2006 Roper Poll found that 1 in 4 Americans (about 70 million people) have either skinny-dipped or sunbathed in the nude.
Nude Recreation Week was created by TNS in 1975, when it was called National Nude Beach Day. Since then, the event has evolved from a day-long celebration to a weekend romp, called National Nude Weekend, to today’s National Nude Recreation Week. The most common nudist activities are nude swimming and nude sunbathing. But members of nudist clubs are a different breed; there’s almost nothing they won’t try in the nude.
Organized activities take place throughout the year, not just during Nude Recreation Week. Naked cycling, golf, yoga, billiards, bowling, dancing, horseback riding, volleyball, tennis, badminton, body-painting, and even needlepoint are activities available via nudist clubs. Other in-the-buff communal activities include nude reading, sauna bathing, and hot springs wading. There’s also nude walking, backpacking, camping, running (aka “streaking”), and hiking (aka “free hiking” or “naked rambling”).
Sometimes, the emphasis is placed on more interesting, offbeat activities, such as naked snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, canoeing (aka “canuding”), and sitting around a bonfire (obviously, they don’t get too close). And for the more adventurous nudist, there’s always nude skydiving and naked bungee jumping. One nudist took a 439-foot bungee jump over the Nevis River in Queenstown, New Zealand, flapping in the breeze. Whatever the activity, some people enjoy it more with less, such as nude actors performing plays before a nude audience.
To Dress, or Not to Dress
In addition to Nude Recreation Week, nudist clubs organize major events all year long. For example, there’s World Naked Gardening Day, World Naked Bike Ride, plus annual New Year’s Eve parties (you guessed it, “Nude Year’s Eve”). Sometimes the clubs make it more fun and go after a world record in the nude, for example, trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest time hula hooping. A few years back, members of AARN set a record when 13,648 members simultaneously skinny-dipped across North America as the grand finale to Nude Recreation Week. Members of nudist clubs also enjoy chartered cruises and weekend excursions to nude resorts or campgrounds.
When utilizing clothing-optional public parks or other such-designated areas, members of both the AANP and TNS all strive to minimize any potential discomfort they may bring to any fully clothed people in their general vicinity. Both groups advocate educating the public on the benefits of nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings. Their overall philosophies point out that the human body is wholesome; they encourage self-respect, respect for others, and respect for the environment.
Don’t be shy. First-timers are always welcome and always made to feel at ease.
- Celebrate Nude Recreation Week and beat the heat. July 10, 2012. Inquisitr website. http://www.inquisitr.com/272825/celebrate-nude-recreation-week-and-beat-the-heat/.
- Mulhall T. Beat the summer heat: how to celebrate Nude Recreation Week, July 9-15. Huffington Post website. July 9, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-mulhall/nude-recreation-week_b_1641910.html.
- Nude Recreation Week. American Association for Nude Recreation website. February 15, 2012. http://www.aanr.com/blog/tag/nude-recreation-week/.
- Singh L. Nude Recreation Week: where to get naked. Travel Channel website. July 9, 2013. http://blog.travelchannel.com/the-traveling-type/2013/07/09/nude-recreation-week-where-to-get-naked/.
- Take the plunge–Nude Recreation Week 2009. American Association for Nude Recreation website. July 6, 2009. http://www.aanr.com/blog/take-the-plunge-nude-recreation-week-2009/.
- Your 2014 Naturist Society tour schedule. Naturist Society website. http://www.naturistsociety.com/tns/n_events/TNS_Events.html.