Bring Your Birthday Suit
09.21.13 4:44 PM ET
Nine Amazing Places To Skinny Dip Around The World
Self-described as "the world's leading authority on swimming naked and doing it well," The Skinny Dipping Report compiles an annual list—in the form of a calendar—of the best places to skinny dip around the globe. After receiving photography submissions, The Skinny Dipping Report edits its favorite selections down to 12. Each photo includes the photographer's name, story, and the best places to stay, eat, and drink in the location. Inspired by Paul Émile Chabas' painting, "Matinée de Septembre" (which caused a controversy in its day for featuring a nude woman bathing on a beach), TSDR aims to "make you want to be there (and who wouldn't?), to feel what the person in the photograph is feeling, to understand the particularity of the place and the moment through the lens of skinny dipping." Now wrapping up its 2014 issue (available in December), The Daily Beast commissioned The Skinny Dipping Report to curate nine fabulous places to skinny dip around the world. From Lahti, Finland to Livingston, Texas, a look at the best spots to swim nude.
Location: Stavros, Greece
Photographer: Aleksandra Martinovic
"It was one of the hottest days while on holiday in Greece. My friend, her boyfriend, and I woke up to find a wild, empty beach where we sunbathed, swam naked, and laughed all day. I always feel nostalgic about those times."
Go: Rent bikes in town and head north. The beach extends for 10km and is pocketed with serene, uninhabited sections.
Stay: The Electra Hotel is located only few blocks from the beach in Stavros, in the heart of the town. For more privacy, walk 45 minutes north to the next town Paralia Vrasna and stay at the Studios Alexandra.
Eat: It wouldn’t be Greece without a good Greek gyro. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, little tavernas are scattered throughout the town and serve traditional Greek food.
Drink: The Malibu beach bar is perfect for an afternoon cocktail. Or for a more traditional taste of Greece, pay homage to the 6,000-year-old wine history with a glass of Retsina.
Location: Alcoy, Spain
Photographer: Anabel Navarro Llorens
"I took this photo a year ago at my friend María’s pool party, which she always throws at the beginning of the summer. We were 8 girls. We filled a big watermelon with rum and juice, like we do every year, and just spent all day sunbathing and swimming naked in the pool. The most important part of the day for me was the freedom that I felt taking photos of nude people. I mean, everybody was naked and I was taking pictures all afternoon and nobody was worried about it. They were very natural, and I think that is reflected in the photos. It is part of the magic."
Go: By bus, about an hour and twenty minutes from Valencia.
Stay: By European standards, lodging in Alcoy is quite reasonable. A room at the Masia la Mota, a 300-year-old villa located within a national park can be had for €100/night. As for securing an invitation to María’s next pool party, you’re on your own.
Eat: The area is renowned for its cuisine, especially fish, shellfish, hearty rice dishes, and stews. Don’t miss Llauna de Calp (fish stew), Putxero amb Pilotes (meatball and vegetable stew), Lubina a la Sal (bass baked in salt), Fideuá (a noodle dish usually made with white-fleshed fish and crustaceans) and of course, Paella.
Drink: Rum soaked watermelon. Mix 1 cup rum with 2 cups fruit juice. Pour into half of a large watermelon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Location: Odessa, Ukraine
Photographer: Alexander Alekseenko
"It was my 22nd birthday when my friend and I went to Odessa to meet an old friend at a private beach. After a few drinks we decided to swim naked and I couldn’t resist capturing the moment."
Go: If you don’t have your own private beach to enjoy, try Chkalovski. Just slightly south of the city center, it offers large sheltering boulders to make your camp behind.
Stay: The Odessa Apartments in Afina Center are cheaper than a hotel and offer a more local experience. Everything is proximal though, so you can't go wrong choosing a different option.
Eat: Alex recommends being a bit adventurous with the menus, “pick out the strangest sounding meal – it always works.” It goes without saying that borscht and varenyky (Ukrainian stuffed dumplings) are a must try.
Drink: The Ukraine is home to a number of craft breweries and brewpubs with hearty lagers. However, for the true Odessa experience, find a truck selling kvass, a traditional Russian beer brewed from bread.
Location: Yosemite National Park, CA, USA
Photographer: Charlie Vanuytrecht
"My sister and I went down the trail and started hiking to the bottom of the waterfall. We were the only ones there and were able to walk under the falls. It was unbelievable, a once in a lifetime experience."
Go: Yosemite National Park can barely be seen in one visit, but its 800 miles of trails ensures that even a weekend in the wild is unforgettable. The Upper Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, is not to be missed. Take the Lower Yosemite Falls trail from the Valley and enjoy the 7.6 miles of wilderness.
Stay: Book your stay at the High Sierra Camps, a series of chalets and hiking trails in the high country of the park. A night’s stay will set you back $160, a price undervalued for the view and the experience. Make sure to book early as reservations are honored through a lottery system.
Eat: While hiking, keep an eye out for wild strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, and currants. Forage with care!
Drink: The sun is hot and your hikes will be long, so don’t forget to always bring water. However, a cold beer nestled in your backpack is the perfect treat when you finally make it to that vista or waterfall.
Location: Rostov-na-Donu, Rostovskaya Oblast, Russia
Photographer: Alexey Kovalev
"That day, my friends were visiting. I had just started to organize my little photo workshop and I needed some help, so my friends came and brought beer. I live far away from everything, without sewer, Internet, or fashion magazines from overseas. We were cleaning, drinking, joking, smoking. Someone had the idea to go for a little swim in the River Don. I decided to take a camera. The place where we went is a secret place. Only those who were born in the area know about it. For that reason, you can often meet interesting people there and you always have something to chat about. One of the people there that day was named Dima. We talked a little and I decided to take a couple of shots of the memory. By that time, it was evening, dark enough so that the atmosphere passed on to the picture. I remember those days. They were full of magic."
Go: Regular flights available from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Vienna, Dusseldorf, and Frankfurt.
Stay: The Pushkinskaya Hotel, a 19th century mansion a few blocks from the banks of the Don. Room rates start at about $100/night.
Eat: Pelmeni, a traditional Russian dish similar to ravioli and syrnicki, or quark cheese pancakes garnished with sour cream, jam, honey, or apple sauce.
Drink: Kvass, a fermented beverage made with wheat, rye, or barley, and sometimes flavored with fruit, berries, raisins, or birch sap collected in early springtime.
Location: Lahti, Finland
Photographer: Joona Sipi
"My friends and I were celebrating the Finnish midsummer festival called Juhannus, where the sun doesn’t go below the horizon and we enjoy the light of the nightless night. We were spending time having a barbecue and drinking beer and wine, but the highlight of the day was the sauna followed by a dip in the lake."
Go: Lahti sits on Lake Vesijärvi, just an hour north of Helsinki. The best time to go is in June, when the days are the longest and the water is warm.
Stay: Set up base in Helsinki, but spend the weekend couch surfing with locals in Lahti. If you’re looking for privacy, the Mukkula Campground is an hour’s walk away and offers summer cabins and a sauna.
Eat: Skip the restaurant and prepare your meals with local epicure; perhaps your couch host can assist. The fish is tasty, but the real treat is exotic game like reindeer.
Drink: Sahti is a traditional beer and pontikka is a homemade vodka of the region. Joona says, “just make sure your distiller is an old master of his art. It’s important if you wish to keep your eyesight.”
Location: Grayson Lake State Park, KY
Photographer: Chris Moore
"I had made plans with my friends Krista and Melanie to do a photo shoot. As we were brainstorming, Melanie said she wanted to be in water, so we drove up to Grayson Lake State Park and ate at a crappy little diner that wasn’t that great but you could smoke inside, which is the whole reason we chose it. We realized we had forgotten towels so we stopped at a dollar store and grabbed a few. We drove to the lake and walked up a few different trails until we found this spot. The rest of the day was spent drinking beers and swimming."
Go: After swimming in the lake, it’s a quick drive to Ashland and then over the river to Ohio. The best nightlife is in Huntington, a small college town with a selection of clubs and bars.
Stay: Staying in the park will only set you back $20 per night. You can either pitch a tent or park an RV if you’re passing through.
Eat: Bring enough wood and BBQ sauce for your stay. The cut of meat is up to you, but be prepared to share with the rest of the campsite!
Drink: A cold Coors Light.
Location: Lake Livingston, Livingston, TX
Photographer: Tamara Lichtenstein
"I took these at a birthday party for my good friend, Cara. She has a house on Lake Livingston, TX, and all of us got together to celebrate. There was tons of food; Doritos, cheese, tacos, and everything that is terrible for you. Alcohol was really all we needed though. We were drinking PBR by the lake, and soon enough, one turned into several PBR’s and in the blink of an eye my friends were skinny dipping! I shot these with my Yashica T3, which I have on me at all times. A few minutes after the shoot, my camera broke! Thankfully, the film survived. I’ve known these girls through my teen years, and wouldn’t expect anything but spontaneity out of them."
Go: By Car, about an hour and a half north of Houston.
Stay: Camp at one of 5,000 campsites in Lake Livingston State Park or rent a cabin on the lake.
Eat: Lake Livingston catfish. Catch and fry your own or try Florida’s Kitchen in Livingston for this and other regional specialties like chicken-fried steak and Texas barbecue.
Drink: Cold PBR.
Location: Atlixco, Puebla, México
Photographer: Andrés Castañeda
"I took this in Atlixco, México. We could hear the rush of the river from the old hacienda we were using as a location. So we went there, shooting from time to time in the middle of the road, hiding from the people around us, until we found it. Poly, the model, said it was cold, but she truly loved the idea of being naked in nature. She said that was the best part of the shoot. Next time, we’ll remember to bring a towel."
Go: By car, an hour and forty five minutes southeast of Mexico City.
Stay: The best options can be found in Mexico City and neighboring Puebla.
Eat: Chiles en Nogada, poblano chiles filled with picadillo (a mixture usually containing shredded meat, fruits, and spices) topped with a walnut-based cream sauce and pomegranate seeds.
Drink: Agua Fresca, especially Flor de Jamaica, hibiscus flower.
Submit your own skinny-dipping photos to the 2014 calendar here.