Nude recreation

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Walking nude

Nude recreation refers to recreational activities which some people engage in the nude. Such activities can take place in private spaces, such as in a person's own property or in a naturist context, but also in public areas. Activities in which people engage in the nude include hiking, running (in some contexts this is referred to as streaking), swimming, cycling and yoga. More passive activities include reading, sauna, hot springs, and sunbathing, such as at a nude beach.

When such activities take place in a public context, they are subject to laws and social attitudes to public nudity. (Exception: In Arkansas, nudism is illegal even while on private property. Furthermore, it is a crime to "promote" or "advocate" nudism.[1]) Most nude recreational activities take place in private places, such as naturist resorts, and when on public lands participants try to be discreet to minimize any potential discomfort it might bring to an accidental passerby. Some public places have been set aside for the use of those who wish to engage in recreational activities in the nude, such as nude beaches.

Various people engage in nude recreational activities, either individually or in groups. These activities encompass many kinds of sports and outdoor pastime, from naked sky-diving to hiking and dancing. Popular in this context are nude swimming (sometimes called skinny dipping) in a river, lake, sea, swimming hole or other body of water; naked snorkeling and surfing; nude canoeing or kayaking (sometimes called canuding); nude hiking (sometimes called free hiking or naked rambling) in the remote countryside, for example in the mountain forest of Tenerife; or cycle riding (free riding) in remote areas and in organised groups through cities. Team sports, especially volleyball, are also very popular, and there are even international naked rugby tournaments.


People participate in activities in the nude for various reasons. Many consider nude out-of-door activities to have health benefits. They point to health benefits of sunlight for some skin conditions and the body's production of vitamin D. Some advocates for naturism argue that those who take part in nude activities are often more relaxed about their nudity and body image.

Away from their private property, many people have the first experience of a clothes-free recreation activity at a nude beach, at a friend's place in the woods, or a party on the shore or skinny dipping.

Recreational nudity is generally associated with the naturist movement, though some people participate in activities without membership of naturist clubs or adherence to the naturist philosophy.

Nudist communities[edit]

Families swimming at a naturist resort in France

A nudist community (or in Europe, naturist community) is an intentional community comprising nudists/naturists who choose to live together on a permanent basis where it is understood that no clothes will be worn.

The term nudist colony was once a term for nudist communities, especially among non-nudists, but is eschewed by most nudists/naturists due to negative connotations that became associated with the term. There are two objections to the term: the term nudist is not used by European naturists—it connotes a lack of the family-oriented cooperative philosophy, though this connotation does not seem to apply in North America, and the word colony is politically connected with imperialism and authoritarianism, and in such terms as leper colony—by implication, a place for undesirables. It is different in Francophone communities. In France, many communes invested in landed sites by the sea for summer recreation both by adults and children. These were named "colonie des vacances". Most French school children would spend a week or more each summer at a colonie, which are in many ways analogous to the American summer camp. The international links within naturism explain how the term arose.

Modern naturist resorts, camps and parks often cater to vacationers and/or day visitors and thus may not have a community of naturists who live on site on a permanent basis (other than possibly the owners/operators). Such places that cater to families all demand an International Naturist Federation (INF) card as identification and have child protection policies. Common activities in nudist/naturist centres include swimming and tennis or miniten.

A related concept is a naturist village, such as the ones at Cap d'Agde, CHM Montalivet, Ile du Levant, Charco del Palo or Vera, Spain which have permanent residents.

Nude activities[edit]

Naturist activities encompass practically all kinds of sports and outdoor pastime, from naked sky-diving to hiking and dancing, also sunbathing

Swimming and sunbathing[edit]

Nude swimming and sunbathing are the most common nude recreational activities. These can take place in the privacy of a person's backyard or pool or that of a friend, at a naturist facility or at a clothes-optional beach. It is not uncommon for private clubs to have nude swimming on a male-only or a female-only basis. Other water related activities include naked snorkeling and surfing; nude kayaking, or nude canoeing (sometimes called canuding).


Nudist walking/hiking clubs in several countries organise nude hikes or walks (sometimes called free hiking or naked rambling) in the remote countryside. Some individuals also engage in nude hiking. Unlike the example set by Steve Gough, most keep to wilderness areas and do not seek or encourage publicity. In keeping with naturist tradition, participants do it for the enjoyment it brings to them, and try to minimize any potential discomfort it might bring to an accidental passerby.

Stephen Gough, dubbed the Naked Rambler, in 2003/2004 made a long-distance walk from one end of the United Kingdom to the other, wearing only boots. He was arrested several times, and his walk was interrupted by two periods of jail time, together five months. Including these, the journey took seven months. He undertook his walk as a protest, in order to celebrate the naked human form, and to try to convince the public to stop being paranoid about the naked body. He observed that anti-nudity laws are more strictly enforced in Scotland than in England. He completed a second walk over the same route in early 2006, punctuated by many arrests.

Team sports[edit]

Badminton on a nude beach

Many nudist resorts own or lease facilities that allow members to play sports such as volleyball, tennis, badminton, bowling in the nude. Typically these sports are played at a recreational level of intensity, and are not necessarily particularly competitive.


In the Nordic countries, with their sauna culture, nude swimming in rivers or lakes is a very popular tradition. There are tens of thousands of saunas by lakes and sea in Finland only. In the old world, in the summer, there would be wooden bathhouses, often of considerable size accommodating [1]numerous swimmers, built partly over the water; hoardings prevented the bathers from being seen from outside. Originally the bathhouses were for men only; today there are usually separate sections for men and women.

Bungee jumping[edit]

The performer Billy Connolly is reported to have done the 134 metres (440 ft) Nevis Bungee Jump naked, during his 2010 World Tour. Nevis, near Queenstown, New Zealand and other jumps in the area appear to waive the charge for nude participants.[2]

Museum Tours[edit]

Nude visitors to the Portland Art Museum, 2013

In February 2013, the Leopold Museum of Vienna opened its doors to nude museum goers for an exhibit entitled 'Nude Men from 1800 to Today.' More than sixty visitors attended in the nude.[3]

In June 2013, the Portland Art Museum in Oregon admitted nude participants prior to the nighttime World Naked Bike Ride for a special exhibit called 'Cyclepedia' on the art of bicycle design. Hundreds of patrons saw the exhibit in the nude.[4]

Drama performances[edit]

In Utrecht in May 2011, the play Viva la naturisteraçion!, which is about naturism, was performed with actors being nude most of the time, and which was performed before a nude audience.[5][6]

In Todmorden and London, a group of 3 academics give reading group performances of women writers in the nude. [7]

Nude events[edit]


A variety of events are organised by various organisations around the world:

World Day of Naturism[edit]

The International Naturist Federation has designated the first Sunday of June as World Day of Naturism.[citation needed]

World Naked Gardening Day[edit]

People across the globe are encouraged on World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD), held in May each year, to tend their gardens in the nude. WNGD was organized by the Body Freedom Collaborative.

World Naked Bike Ride[edit]

World Naked Bike Rides are yearly clothing-optional bike rides in which each city's participants plan, meet and ride en masse on human-powered transport to "deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world" by attracting attention to a healthy alternative for vehicles that depend on fossil fuels; the naked body is used as a symbol for the vulnerability of humans to pollution, and of cyclists to the traffic in cities. These rides occur in about 75 cities across 6 continents, though in countries with a Romance language WNBRs are usually referred to by a name derived from their Spanish origin, 'Ciclonudista'.

World Naked Bike Rides have taken place all over the world since 2004 involving thousands of people. These take place in mostly western cities, where cyclists ride either partially or totally nude in a light-hearted attempt to draw attention to the danger of depending on fossil fuels.[8]

Solstice Cyclists[edit]

The Solstice Cyclists (also known as The Painted [Naked] Cyclists of the Solstice Parade, or The Painted Cyclists) is an artistic, non-political, clothing-optional bike ride celebrating the Summer Solstice. It is the unofficial start of the Summer Solstice Parade & Pageant since 1992, an event produced by the Fremont Arts Council in the Fremont district of Seattle. The parade sets great value in creative decoration, many cyclists feature body painting and art bikes.

Nude Years Eve Party[edit]

Young Naturists And Nudists America host a yearly nude New Year's Eve party. In 2010 it was held in New York only but in 2011 they expanded to California as well. Many nudist clubs and resorts also organise nude New Year's Eve and other parties and dances.

Naked Pumpkin Run[edit]

The Naked Pumpkin Run is an annual event that has taken place since 1974 during Halloween. Naked people, usually college students, parade through several towns in the United States. The tradition started in Boulder, Colorado.[9]


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