Bare Country: Canada’s Five Best Clothing Optional Beaches

| May 6, 2010 | 11 Comments

It’s been a weird spring for weather up here in Toronto. And the rest of the country is expected to bask in unseasonably warm and dry conditions for the next three months. That’s good news for Canadians ready to let loose after a grey winter.

While Canada may be known more for its grizzly bears and cold weather, the truth is that in the summertime we love to hit the beach! According to Wikipedia, more than 60 percent of the world’s lakes are in Canada. That’s right, in the true north, beautiful white sandy shores, sand dunes and clear, blue waters abound. But of the country’s hundreds of thousands of lakes, just two are officially recognized as being ‘clothing optional’, the world-famous Wreck Beach in Vancouver and the increasingly popular Hanlan’s Point Beach in Toronto.

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Municipal and provincial governments in Canada are starting to realize that clothing optional beaches are good, not only for tan lines, but for the bottom line. They attract tourists to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. And, for that reason, local governments are starting to sit up and take notice. In Europe and Australia, for example, clothing optional beaches have long been the norm. But in Canada acceptance has been slower; lately, however, its uptake is starting to accelerate. The Federation of Canadian Naturists maintains that a large minority of Canadians would “happily” go to nude beaches if they existed. And the vast majority of respondents reported that they “didn’t care” if others shed their clothes while at the beach.

According to a survey from Cheapflights.co.uk, almost 10% of North American holidaymakers would leave their clothes behind on holiday. Moreover, participation in nudism is growing by 20 pe cent annually in North America.

So if you find yourself in Canada this summer, and would like to ditch your swimsuit in lieu of something more natural, Kathryn and I have some suggestions for you—right across Canada. For those keen to experience nature in the buff, check out the following!

5. Crystal Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia

5crystalbeach Bare Country: Canadas Five Best Clothing Optional Beaches

Crystal Crescent Beach

According to those in the know, Crystal Crescent Beach was more of a haven for those wishing to shed their garb in the mid-to-late 80s. These days, however, a few hardy souls still treat a small section of the beach as clothing optional. Crystal Crescent Beach is a bit of a misnomer—it’s actually a series of beaches. The last and furthest of which is an unofficial nude beach. Be careful, if you stumble down the wrong path you may end up with a few unexpected ‘wildlife’ sightings! Be forewarned, however, the water here is pretty darn cold. Costanzas of the world need worry about shrinkage. Seinfeld! Anyone get that? Bueller?

4. Park National d’Oka, Québec

4twomountains1 Bare Country: Canadas Five Best Clothing Optional Beaches

Park National d'Oka, Québec

Another stretch of beach in Québec at Oka Park (west of Montréal) is also unofficial but is well known as a clothing-optional beach. I actually grew up a short ferry ride away in Vaudreuil. The low mountains here and various waterways invite day trips and the lush landscape attests to the abundant precipitation in the area—great for privacy! This beach on the shore of the Lac des Deux Montagnes, with its pleasant and peaceful atmosphere, is one of the best known in Québec. Feel like shedding your clothes? At the extreme east of the public beach, a short walk will bring you to Oka’s “other beach.”

3. Bennet Lake, Yukon

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Bennet Lake, Yukon

The Yukon has no official nude beaches, but locals maintain that the folks from Whitehorse sunbathe nude up here quite frequently. The lake sits partly in the Province of British Columbia and partly in the Yukon. During the Klondike Gold Rush, Bennett Lake was where the gold seekers who had crossed the Coast Mountains built rafts to float down the Yukon River to the gold fields at Dawson City. At the height of the gold rush, a large tent city sprang up on its shores, numbering in the thousands and offering all the services of a large city.

2. Hanlan’s Point Beach, Toronto

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Hanlan's Point Beach

Hanlan’s Point Beach is situated on Hanlan’s Point near Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, a 15-minute ferry ride from the downtown. As mentioned earlier, a one kilometre long part of the beach has been officially recognized by the Toronto City Council as being clothing optional. For those who prefer tan lines, there is an adjacent stretch of beach where swimsuits are required. Despite its proximity to the downtown core, the beach is known for its extremely good water quality—since it faces southwest and away from the mainland. And no, it follows that you won’t see anything from the CN Tower. Perv!

1. Wreck Beach, Vancouver

1wreck Bare Country: Canadas Five Best Clothing Optional Beaches

Wreck Beach, Vancouver

Wreck Beach is the only other sanctioned clothing optional beach in Canada. Maintained by  the Greater Vancouver Regional Authority, this is a beautiful beach. It’s main shortcoming—and one that affects all beaches in Canada—is the short season related to the fact that it’s located in the Great White North! Of course, the beach is opened to all and the clothing optional section is clearly marked with signs. It stretches six kilometres from Acadia Beach, in the north, to the Booming Grounds Creek on the north arm of the Fraser River. 

Conclusion

If you’re going to tackle these beaches as a naked ‘naturist’ or a semi-clothed ‘textile’ (a slightly derogatory term that nudists and naturists for those that prefer clothing) you would do well to remember the famous quotation, often atrributed to William Blake — “Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed”. Nothing wrong with showing a little skin!


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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

Comments (11)

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  1. Shannon OD says:


    Does it make me the ultimate American that I giggled a little at this post. I’ve never been to a nudist beach but the photos are beautiful and you have me intrigued – just might consider on my next trip north!

  2. Candice says:


    I totally did not know these beaches existed.

  3. Kathryn says:


    They all look so nice! Maybe one day I’ll visit one!!!!! :)


  4. find more nude beaches at GoNOMAD.com!

  5. Nancie says:


    I’ve been to Crystal Crescent Beach many times; always with my clothes on :) It was considered scandalous back in the 70s and 80s that there would be such a beach in Nova Scotia :)

  6. Vlad says:


    People of this continent are such prudes. I grew up in the seventies and eighties spending every summer in a 20,000 people nudist resort…

  7. j says:


    “It’s main shortcoming—and one that affects all beaches in Canada—is the short season related to the fact that it’s located in the Great White North!”

    Uh, people are at that beach all year round. Maybe less of them in the winter, but Vancouver almost never gets below freezing, so yeah you can still go to the beach in November, December, whenever. You won’t be going in a swimsuit, if you’re normal, but people do still swim at that point, if they are brave and some kind of genetic anomaly.

    Yearly snowfall is under 2 feet in Vancouver.
    Daily Mean Temperature never drops below 37F/3C

    Doesn’t get hot either (unlike the rest of the country), so you can go there in the middle of July/August and not get heat stroke.

  8. Craig says:


    Interesting… the beaches look fantastic, but I doubt you’d be able to look at the scenary on them.

  9. Heidi says:


    I’ve heard of Wreck Beach but not of any of the other beaches – and I’m Canadian!
    Enjoyed your article.

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