It was like the wild west, but with naked people!
This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Nude beaches aren't only a European thing, and nothing proves the point more than a visit to Wreck Beach — the largest clothing-optional sandy shore in North America.
The legendary beach in Vancouver, B.C. isn't just known for the naked people strutting their stuff on it, but also for its lawlessness as a whole.
I had my first summer visit to the famous beach and was faced with more than one surprise, and a whole lot of private parts.
Wreck Beach is actually a stunning area right on the UBC campus, with a long staircase that leads down to the massive beach. Because of the stairs, it's a very isolated oasis, which might explain the lack of rules being enforced and officials present.
Before you make the journey down the many steps — 490 to be exact — you might want to keep these things in mind, which I learned the hard way.
A shocking amount of people are actually nude
I heard about this beach and thought to myself, "there's probably a few people who actually do it, but it's not like it's common, like in Europe."
Boy, was I wrong.
Rolling up at Wreck Beach during the first heat wave of the season was like entering into a co-ed changing room after a very intense, and sweaty, workout class — with no doors to hide behind.
So many more people than I expected were actually full-on nude, to the point where unless my nose was in my book, I was getting an eyeful of someone's butt, or much more.
What surprised me most was that I felt pretty comfortable. I stayed in my swimsuit, but it's not like anyone was there to be weird or creepy. The fact that so many people participated in the nudity made it just seem normal, and like no biggie.
But they're mostly old men
Big disclaimer: You will see old men's, um, members... and lots of them.
I'm not sure why — and again, I didn't see anyone being creepy — but it was mostly old men in their birthday suits on the day that I went. There were a few younger men too and some women around, but noticeably the largest demographic of people on full display were elderly men.
Don't really know what to make of that, but it is what it is!
People walk around selling drugs
It's randomly like a free-for-all when you step onto the beach. There was not an officer in sight, and people were actually walking around yelling, "Magic mushrooms for sale!"
Multiple people came up to my group offering everything from alcoholic slushies and pre-rolled joints, to shrooms and even Viagra. Also, it's important to note that this is all being sold by naked people... so yeah, there's that.
This isn't a secret either. Since I moved to Vancouver I've been told multiple times about the strange "a lot of laws don't seem to apply here" vibe at Wreck Beach.
Even before I moved I read Seth Rogen's book, Yearbook, and he wrote about Wreck Beach as the place he'd go to score some weed as a kid.
It all makes sense now.
It's super busy
People are pretty unphased by the nakedness of this beach, and it was packed full on the hot Saturday that I went.
Although there's lots of space, when more people came in the afternoon we had to get a little too up close and personal with fellow beach-goers, considering the attire.
It's one of the nicest beaches in the area — if you don't mind views of more than just the ocean
If you can get past the potential awkwardness of it all, then this is actually the best beach in Vancouver.
It has tons of space, is away from any loud and busy roads, and faces the wide-open ocean. On a clear day, you can even see the mountains and islands off in the distance.
The stairs go on forever, but they pass through a beautiful jungle area, and the reward at the end is so worth it.
Be prepared for the stairs
When I say the stairs go on, I mean it.
If you walk down and decide that you don't love being surrounded by phalli, it's a long way out. In order to leave, you have to trek up the never-ending staircase, and it's super steep too.
Lots of people keep their swimsuits on
If you go here, or to any nude beach for that matter, don't feel pressured to join in on the dress code. There were a lot of people like me who remained covered up and no one was phased by that either.
It's simply a nice beach to go, whatever way you're dressed — or undressed — so just sit back and relax.
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