I Went to a Nude Beach With a Friend, and We Loved It

Photo Credit: James Barrett
James Barrett
James Barrett

Beach days are hard to beat. You are lying in the warm sunshine, have sand between your toes, and can hear the sound of waves crashing. What could be better, right? Maybe . . . going naked? Yep, I went to a nude beach in San Diego while visiting my friend Nicole, and it was definitely an adventure. While I typically hit the beach in swimming trunks, I do always try to do something new when traveling that I can't do at home. So, when I told Nicole about Black's Beach, which is one of the largest nude beaches in the United States, she was down to check it out with me.

Swimsuits or not, Black's Beach is a hidden gem that I definitely recommend seeing. Once we parked the car, we found ourselves standing atop a cliff, looking down hundreds of feet to the ocean where the waves were crashing and the sand had a tint of black, hence the name. We were so high up that the people on the beach looked like tiny little dots. We made our way down the cliff, and since neither of us had ever been to a nude beach before, we were excited to see what it was all about.

Swimming in the ocean completely naked is a liberating experience. I felt so free.

It was definitely surreal. We were surrounded by incredible waves perfect for surfing, mountains in the background, cliffs framing the sandy shore, and . . . naked people. Lots and lots of naked people. There were people of all ages comfortably enjoying the sunshine and avoiding tan lines. If I'm being totally honest, it was very awkward for the first 20 minutes or so. But Black's Beach is secluded and large enough that we still had our own space to relax.

"One, two, three," Nicole and I said together, counting down to taking off our clothes, but on "three" we both chickened out. It's not like we were skinny dipping with friends in the middle of the night and had the dark skies to hide ourselves. We were in a public place, in broad daylight, where we were free to roam the beach with everything on display for all to see. Finally I said, "OK, here we go," dropped my shorts, and ran straight into the ocean. Nicole quickly followed, and within minutes, it just wasn't weird anymore.

Swimming in the ocean completely naked is a liberating experience. I felt so free, and there was an adrenaline rush that overtook us — not in a sexual way, but in an adventurous way. Soon I realized that everyone on the beach was probably feeling the same way. For the most part, nobody was staring or making each other feel uncomfortable. Everyone was simply enjoying the feeling of being naked. And unlike your typical beach experience, at a nude beach you likely won't find people having full-on photo shoots in front of the crashing waves for Instagram. It was a lot more peaceful, and, in a weird way, old school.

Towards the end of the day, though, I realized I made a rookie mistake — I didn't apply sunscreen to those very white sections of my body, which were now bright red. Nicole and I laughed about it for the rest of the day — it was just something I had never had to think about before. When we started to pack up, it actually felt weird putting our clothes back on. On the drive home, we both agreed that the experience gave us both confidence not only to be more comfortable in our skin but to continue to do things outside of our comfort zones. While I don't think I would go to any hugely crowded nude beaches, I would definitely go back to one where the vibe is chill and everyone's doing their own thing.