Best Beaches. Facebook Twitter Email. CNN — Although still taboo in many places, casting aside your clothes at the shore has become a customary practice around the world in recent times. From rocky coastlines to talcum powder fine sands, and big city bays to secluded shores, there are now hundreds of beaches where it's perfectly legal or at least de facto legal to sunbathe, swim and otherwise frolic beside the sea in nothing more than your birthday suit. While clothing-optional beach destinations may seem like a modern invention, it's actually quite an old idea, a product of the otherwise prudish Victorian era. During the s, American poet Walt Whitman extolled the virtues of the "Adamic air bath" -- his nude walkabouts and swims along Timber Creek in New Jersey, writing of "The free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature.