Nude beaches really took off in France in the '50s. These days a constellation of seductive sandy spots have gone gay—and these seven are some of the best. Because laws change rapidly around public nudity, please go online and check the rules before you shed your skivvies. (Cover photo by Flickr user ekigyuu)
Haulover Beach, Miami Miami's only officially sanctioned nude beach is also one of the country's most beautiful. Located off State Route A1A/Collins Avenue, just 10 miles from Miami, stake your space on the sand early in the day, but keep in mind that there's no shade on the frequently patrolled beach. This one gets busy. Hundreds of gorgeous bodies are stretched on the sand on weekends. Find fellow gays north of the North Beach Tunnel.
Baker Beach, San Francisco Officially part of the Presidio, Baker Beach is directly under the Golden Gate Bridge, and therefore provides some of the city's best views of the landmark. The north side of the beach, nearest the bridge, is the gayest and the most nude. Fun fact: Baker Beach was the location for the first Burning Man festivals, which are now held in Black Rock Desert, Nev.
(Photo from Wikipedia)
Hippie Hollow, Austin , Texas More than a hundred swimming holes, a gay-adored beach, and impressive climbing crags beckon from the star of Texas. Hot bodies decorate the shores at gay-popular Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis, a short drive off Interstate 35. The gay section is about 15 minutes walk to the left from the parking lot. For an extraordinary day at the beach, make for annual Splash Days, clothing-optional lakeside parties on the rocky limestone shores of the lake.
Hanlan's Point, Toronto . Make the most of a beautiful summer day with a trip to the Toronto Islands, home of the gay friendly Hanlan's Point clothing-optional beach, bike paths, and a small amusement park. It's a good place to hang out in a heat wave, with temperatures a few degrees cooler than downtown. The round-trip ferry ride provides the best view of the city's waterfront skyline. The beach has a lifeguard during the summer season. Head for the far end to find gay and lesbian Torontonians catching the rays.
Little Beach, Makena, Maui On Maui the top gay sunning spot is peaceful Little Beach (nudity is the norm, although technically illegal). You'll find it about one mile south of the Maui Prince Hotel in Makena on the island's southwest coast. Take all valuables out of your car and hike north up the rocky trail from 3,000-foot Big Beach to find its smaller sidekick; gay sunbathers congregate at Little Beach's north end.
Wreck Beach, Vancouver The fresh breeze from the ocean serves as Vancouver's own air-conditioning and prevents it from ever getting really hot or humid. Wreck is perched on the tip of Point Grey, looking out over the Burrard Inlet to the North Shore Mountains. Wreck is a taxi ride to the west of the city, at the foot of the cliffs that surround the University of British Columbia. The gay beach basks at the famous clothing-optional beach's south end. Naked vendors ply the beach offering water, beer, sandwiches, and a surprising array of narcotics. Ask any student how to get to the access paths that lead down to the water. If you have lots with you, leave your belongings in a locker in the Museum of Anthropology near the trailheads above.
Black's Beach, San Diego One of the largest nude beaches in the country, Black's Beach runs for more than a mile on the coast north of San Diego, under the Torrey Pines Bluffs. Officially part of Torrey Pines State Beach, Black's is jointly by the state and the city. The distinction is important, as the nudity is only allowed on the state side, which starts about 100 yards south of the Torrey Pines Glideport. Getting here can be tricky, the quickest route is also the most treacherous—a steep rugged trail down a 300-foot cliff.