Prior to the mid 1800s, everyone skinny dipped. Swimwear hadn't been invented.
The world changed quickly and by 1860, Queen Victoria of England had outlawed nude swimming. The English speaking world's opinion toward nudity changed under her reign. It started to become more "Clothes Minded."
The U.S. has a long history of presidential skinny dippers: John Quincy Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson all abandoned their skivvies. President Johnson even went skinny dipping while in office with evangelist Billy Graham, a fraught endeavor if ever there was one. Other famous promoters of skinny dipping: Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Herman Melville and Norman Rockwell.
Nude swimming is as American and fun as hot dogs, baseball, and apple pie.
As of Sunday, August 19th, America has a new famous skinny dipper, Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder. A news story broke that he went skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee in Israel while on a GOP political junket. More than 20 other GOP lawmakers and staffers also went into the water in different stages of dress and undress.
The FBI was brought in to investigate.
In a 2006 Roper poll, 25% of adult Americans admitted to having skinny dipped in mixed company. Worldwide, topless and nude sunbathing are increasingly common vacation choices. All beaches in Spain are now legally topless and many are nude.
One of Congressman Yoder's mistakes was picking a spot to go skinny dipping where it is illegal to do so. What he should have done was go to Tel-Baruch beach north of Tel Aviv, which has a long history of topless and nude sunbathing. Then, instead of being in hot water, he'd have been in refreshing nudist waters.
The American Association for Nude Recreation, America's nudist advocates, recommends people skinny dip in appropriate settings like their own back yards, nudist resorts and clubs, legal nude beaches and so on.
Obviously, Congressman Yoder is a typical American who enjoys skinny dipping like over 50 million other Americans. In the spirit of keeping him out of trouble in the future, here is a list of 10 beaches where he can legally skinny dip without leaving North America.
And for everyone else, if you haven't tried nude swimming yet, I heartily recommend it. It is one of the most fun, relaxing, refreshing ways to vacation.