From idyllic European parks to must-partake local traditions and some of the best hot springs in the United States, these seven experiences around the world require an open mind and no pants.
A Japanese Onsen
Try these traditional hot spring baths in the mountainous village of Hakone, Japan, about an hour or so from Tokyo. They’re packed with minerals and offer a dead-silent, near-spiritual soak. (Bad news if you have tattoos: they’re not allowed in most legit Japanese hot springs.)
A Real-Deal Finnish Sauna
Old-school Finns retreat to Lake Kuusijärvi for savusaunas (smoke saunas), which have no chimney. The room fills with smoke from a large wood-burning stove and is then ventilated. After, the air is clear and piping hot, it’s ready for schvitzing. Once you’ve had your fill, jump into whatever body of water is nearest and go at it again.
An Au Naturel Hot Springs
An eight-mile hike at Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado is rewarded with Conundrum Hot Springs. It has a 14,000-foot-high view that is lined by trees. Go at night in the summer if you want to make drunken new friends.Naked Picnic in the City, Anyone?Right in the middle of Munich lies Englischer Gardens, a patch of green bigger than NYC’s Central Park where clothing is very, very optional.
Where San Franciscans Let It All Hang Out
Hit Baker Beach, right next door to the Golden Gate Bridge, for dramatic cliffs and a mix of gay-straight-whatever locals letting it all hang out. The site was the original home of Burning Man in the 80s.
Try the Burning Man of South Africa
Speaking of Burning Man, AfrikaBurn, South Africa’s answer to the free-loving desert festival. Held in Tankwa Karoo, a sandy national park filled with a kaleidoscopic array of birds and plants, this desert bash attracts the same sort of arty crowd but comes at a fraction of the price of its American predecessor (tickets hover at around $80). This year’s party is set for April 25th-May 1st.Have a Stoic Schvitz in RigaThe Latvian capital is home to a number of stoic banyas where you can sweat, self-flagellate with birch branches, take a dip into ice-cold pools, and repeat until your soul feels brand new.
>>Next: Hawaii’s Secret Gay Oasis