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May 20, 2010

The History of Nudism and Nude Travel

Nudetravel Early New England settlers -- 16th century Puritans -- with their non-pleasure, morality-enforcing ways were so afraid of nudity, and the lust it could foster, that they refrained from bathing. Long forgotten were the robust ways of the ancient Greeks, who performed feats of strength and skill during the first Olympics, which of course was the earliest documented form of nude recreation.

However, as the colonial era gave way to a free and independent United States of America, "radical thinkers," including Benjamin Franklin and Henry David Thoreau, publicity lauded the benefits in daily naked walks, or as they were called, "air baths." Other nudists of note included President John Quncy Adams, who regularly bathed nude in the Potomac, as did the much beloved fictional characters of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn who skinny dipped with joy and abandon.

But these so-called radicals continued to remain a very small minority of the population until the dawn of the 20th century brought more formal nudism to America.

Kurt Barthel, acknowledged as the founder of American nudism, was acquainted with other German nudists late in the 1920s and had allowed his name to be used as a local New York contact. On Labor Day of 1929, Kurt led a small group of individuals to a picnic in the buff in the Hudson Mountains near Peekskill, New York, and organized nude recreation in America was born with his dues-paying club, called the “American League for Physical Culture” (ALPC). For the full story, click here.

For more information on nude travel and beaches, visit RTM's Adventure Travel channel.


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