For a long time, naturism has invariably been connected to camping. It made perfect sense within the philosophy. Naturists wanted to spend most of their time outside, absorbing the sunshine and being as close as possible to nature. Personally, we love camping. For exactly those reasons. But along the way, we’ve learned that definitely not every naturist is interested in spending the weekends or holidays on a campsite. Or, let’s rephrase that, on “the idea of a campsite”.
Campsites vs naturist campsites
If you have visited both textile and naturist campsites, you probably already know why we’re making this distinction. At least for certain parts of the world. During our travels through Canada, we sometimes camped at textile campsites inside national parks. These places were basic but absolutely splendid. Lots of nature all around us and so much space that we could often easily hang around our tent naked without anyone ever noticing it. In the south of France, on the other hand, we’ve seen the dark side of the textile campsite. Concrete spaces next to highways where tents and campers were just stacked right next to each other.
The first time when we camped naked was at a textile campsite with a naturist section. We had arrived late in the evening and the textile side was horrible. It was busy, there was loud music, people were yelling, kids were screaming. It was definitely not our idea of a weekend in the woods. When we passed by the naturist section, we heard nothing but silence. At first, we thought that this part was empty, but once we entered, we found quite a lot of other visitors. All relaxed, sipping a drink, reading, or playing games. From the experience that we have today, this is the atmosphere at most naturist campsites. Even if they are located in popular tourist areas.
Back to basics or camping deluxe?
We are the kind of traveler that often enjoys the journey more than the destination. That’s probably the reason why we have been “on the road” for the last 4 years. Also during our previous trips, we liked to travel from one place to another. Bringing our own accommodation often seemed the easiest and most economical solution to do so.
The freedom of our tent
To us, a tent has always been a symbol of freedom. Although there are strict rules for wild camping, it does feel like you can put up your temporary home wherever you want. Tent pitches are often the nicest spots at campgrounds because they don’t need to be large, easily accessible, or 100% flat. Tents are also the closest you can get to nature without the risk of being disturbed in the middle of the night by a rainstorm or a mosquito attack. And when we want to move on, we just pack our stuff and leave without a trace. Back in 2017, we hitchhiked all the way from Croatia to Greece with our tent, our home, in our backpack. That’s freedom.
Most of the annoying things about a tent, like having to get dressed in a very cramped space, disappear at a naturist campsite. We can do literally everything outside, and our tent is just the place where we sleep. Tents do have disadvantages though. More than once, we wished that we had checked the night temperatures before setting up camp. During the summer months in the French Alps, the day temperatures easily rise above 30°C (90°F), but at night, they drop to 5°C (40°F). We were not prepared for that. In Canada, we ended up in a rainstorm that lasted for 3 full days. 72 hours together in a damp, 1 square meter space is not ideal for your relationship. Also in Canada, once you think that you heard a bear, don’t expect to close another eye that night.
RV, camper, and caravan
We never really understood the difference between an RV and a camper, nor did we ever own any of those. In any case, just like a caravan, they are basically houses on wheels. The variety is endless. Some are just a shack on wheels, while others could easily be called a driving mansion. Check out this article about luxury RVs. Some even have a helipad. We repeat: a helipad! Not that we could ever afford one of those, nor would we want to, because it would hugely limit the number of naturist campsites that we can access.
This is an important point. The larger your RV, camper, or caravan, the fewer places that you can visit. Because naturist resorts don’t always have the necessary facilities for such beasts and neither are the access roads often wide enough. But bringing a home on wheels does have advantages. You get a lot more comfort than in a tent, you often have your private toilet and shower, and they provide a home and transportation in one. Even a shack on wheels is quite an investment, luckily there are great websites where you can rent an RV or camper like Rvshare and Outdoorsy.
Mobile homes and chalets
For a more luxurious camping experience without having to bring your own accommodation, many naturist campsites provide a number of rental accommodations. Often in the form of mobile homes and chalets. Although the terms are often interchanged, mobile homes mostly refer to the plastic structures that always make us feel as if we ended up staying in a Barbie Dream House. Luckily, we still have to encounter a mobile home that’s painted in pink.
Chalets, on the other hand, are often made of wood and give a more rustic and natural feel. Although this is completely personal. You’ll find mobile homes and chalets in all different sizes, and they are perfect to accommodate whole families.
Glamping and next-generation rentals
Only quite recently, we found a reason to leave our tent behind. We discovered glamping and absolutely love it. It combines the best of two worlds: Glamping tents are still tents, you still hear the sounds of nature and feel very much connected to the outside. But they come with a kind of luxury that your iglo-tent could never provide. Like a real bed and sometimes a shower, a kitchen, or heating. And most of all, they come with lots of space to move around.
We’ll never forget the time at Creuse Nature when we stayed in a glamping tent that had a bathtub. Because this is a naturist resort, we could just open up the whole front of the tent, take a bath, and wave at the passersby. We can tell you, that is a bucket list experience. The popularity of glamping triggered a whole new range of rental options. At Lupin Lodge in California, we stayed in an authentic Mongolian yurt. At Limanature in Portugal, they have a dome. Le Pont d’Adèle in France has tree houses. And we’re sure that there are many more cool next-generation rental options.
Naturist (boutique) hotels
We hope that meanwhile, we’ve convinced you that naturist campsites can be much more than a field divided into squares where you put down your tent or camper. But they can never provide the luxury or atmosphere of a hotel. Hence, the growing popularity of naturist hotels. Especially boutique hotels are much in favor, as they also add a personal touch and are often built in a style that’s typical for the region.
Grottamiranda in the south of Italy, for example, has rooms with limestone accents and high ceilings that make you feel Italian from the moment you open your eyes. Or the white Vassaliki resort in Greece, that so perfectly fits in with the surroundings of Kefalonia island. These hotels often also provide a number of facilities and activities that make them perfect for travelers who want to spend their days naked inside the domain and for those who want to explore the region but just like to have their breakfast in the nude and a skinny dip at their return.
Naturist BnB and guesthouse
Also increasingly popular are the naturist bed and breakfasts. These are basically a smaller version of the naturist boutique hotels, with often only a handful of rooms. Given the privacy and the personal touch, bed and breakfasts are great for beginning naturists who are not sure yet whether they will feel comfortable among tens or hundreds of other naked people.
An interesting difference between a naturist bnb and a textile one is that the naturist bnb will often provide some specific facilities for their naturist guests, like a sauna, hot tub, or swimming pool. Although naturist bnbs are mostly smaller places, there are some exceptions. Domaine de la Quiquier in France, for example, has only 5 guestrooms but is located on a domain of 450 hectares of forest where you enjoy nature to the fullest without having to wear clothes.
Naturist bnbs are popular in Europe, but also in the USA where you can find the Clothing-Optional Home Network. A group of guesthouses where clothes are nothing but an option and with a high level of service, comfort, and security.
All-inclusive naturist resorts
You may start noticing that pretty much every type of accommodation that’s available in the textile world, can also be found in a naturist version. Although less numerous, of course, and often location dependent. All-inclusive naturist resorts are typically found in the Caribbean, and more specifically in Mexico and Jamaica. Hidden Beach resort is a great example and so are the Couples resorts.
Some naturists question how these huge concrete structures and the mass consumption that takes place could ever be related to the philosophy of naturism. All-inclusive resorts are indeed quite the opposite of campgrounds. Nevertheless, some people do enjoy top luxury and being pampered around the clock and prefer to do so without having to wear clothes. Given the popularity of these resorts, there definitely is a market and we just think that it’s great that the option is there for those who do prefer an all-inclusive naked vacation. It’s probably not a surprise that these resorts are also popular for naturist honeymoons.
Self-catered naturist apartments and villas
The opposite of all-inclusive resorts on the culinary level is self-catered places. These are very common in the so-called naturist villages like Vera Playa, Leucate, and Cap d’Agde. But there are also specific resorts that provide self-catered accommodations like Lavinia Naturist Resort in Spain and Samonatura in Portugal. Unlike a hotel, you rent a fully equipped home where you can cook your own food and have more private spaces such as a living room and terrace.
Important to mention is that most of the time, you don’t HAVE to cook your own food if you don’t want to. Most of these places have a restaurant or food delivery service ready in case you want to leave the pots and pans in the cupboard. But you always have the option to do your own cooking. In some parts of the world, such as Thailand, the local food is so delicious and cheap that it’s actually not worth it to cook for yourself. Yet, a self-catered resort like Oriental Beach Village does provide more private space than most hotels.
Private naturist accommodations
We’ve already published a blog post about private naturist rentals, so we’ll keep this part short. Thanks to the huge availability of rental homes on Airbnb, you can really create your own private naturist getaway pretty much everywhere in the world. Although naturism is often preferably experienced in a social environment, lots of people just like to get away from the world during their holidays. To just have their own space and a private swimming pool under a tropical sun. If that’s you, a private naturist accommodation is probably just what you’re looking for.
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