When you think you've seen and done it all and things just can’t get any better, what are you supposed to do? You do 'it' (whatever 'it' might be) in the nude. More and more people, it seems, are stripping off and enjoying life au naturel. Turn on the TV and you'll find people trying to survive naked in the middle of jungles, looking for their perfect partner by dating in the nude or simply protesting some cause or other by taking it all off and letting it all hang out. A growing number of people (yes, even some you probably know) have at some point shed their clothes on vacation.

A nude man and woman ride in a canoe down a body of water. There are trees having over the water; nude vacations
Nude vacations or 'nakations' are gaining popularity around the word © Chris Moore / Lonely Planet

Being nude on vacation is one thing. Going on a nude vacation (wonderfully described as a 'Nakation') is another thing entirely. Ask any number of 'Nakationers' why they choose nude vacations and you will get a myriad of replies but a few themes remain constant.

That au naturel feeling

Being nude just feels really good. Stepping out of your clothes to feel a warm breeze caressing all of your body is such a liberating feeling. No damp swimsuit clinging to you or sand rubbing in places it shouldn't. It's a feeling of total, unencumbered freedom that, once experienced, you will never forget and only wonder why you hadn't tried this sooner.

Release the stress

Living life nude for a couple of weeks is a natural destresser. In many ways, it's a return to a more simple life but that doesn't necessarily mean frugal. If you want solitude to meditate serenely at sunrise and desire nothing more than to wander in acres of natural beauty and enjoy the tranquility of hot springs, there are clothing optional places, like Orient Land Trust in Colorado.

If you want freedom in the buff but still need your creature comforts, you can find European naturist resorts that offer hotel style accommodation, great restaurants, swimming pools and all the other amenities you would expect to find in a reputable 4-star chain hotel.

Other European resorts like Euronat and La Jenny on France's west coast are huge, easily accommodating up to 10,000 visitors at any one time in the summer, situated in beautiful pine forests fronting miles of endless beaches. Once you arrive, you don't need to get dressed until you leave a fortnight later. Here you can eat, shop, dance, swim, play golf, cycle and even get your hair done – all without wearing a stitch. Just beware of the freezer counter in the super marché!

A pair of nude people walk up a sandy hill next to a collection of trees on both sides; nude vacations
There's no shortage of activities on naturist resort © Chris Moore / Lonely Planet

Don't worry, you're among friends

Being naked around others is a social leveler. When everyone you meet is naked, you have no idea what they do or how rich they are and so you leave your unconscious stereotyping behind with your discarded clothes.

In Ontario, you can find road signs on the highway directing you to 'Family Nudist Resort'. Public beaches in Spain are almost exclusively clothing optional and it makes no difference to anyone if you are clothed, topless or nude.

In France and Spain, you can leave your hotel grounds and stroll around the local naturist neighborhood without wearing anything but a smile and for those who want a quieter vacation, naturist B&Bs are popping up all over. At the other end of the social scale, how about sailing and partying with 3,000 other naked people aboard a large luxury cruise liner on a nude cruise?

Acceptance of social nudity varies across the globe, of course, and in North America, it's growing and beginning to appear in the mainstream. Nude vacation options are increasing every year as people discover the freedom of living the natural way and the tourism industry wakes up to the allure of naked credit cards.

A nude woman relaxes in a small pool of water. She's looking out at green trees and tall bushes; nude vacations
A naturist vacation offers a change of pace © Chris Moore / Lonely Planet

So here's the thing; if you thought laying on a tropical beach in a skimpy swimsuit was relaxing … try it nude. If you thought strolling through a meadow with the breeze blowing through your hair was liberating … try it nude. Enjoy yoga? It's better nude. Tennis – that's better nude too. Hiking or lazing in natural hot springs, yes that's much better in the nude too. And golf – of course, it's better sans clothes.

It’s possible to do all these things – and so much more – naked. Lose your clothes, your inhibitions and your prejudices; free your mind and your body and feel the world's worries ebb away.  And the best thing – you pack light. Flip flops, towel, sunscreen – don't forget the sunscreen – lots of sunscreen.

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