What do fellow parents think about bringing a 11 and 9 year old to Orient Beach for the day.I know there are naked sunbathers so should I still take them there or go to another beach.All thoughts appreciated!
Only one end of Orient Beach is nude optional. The vast majority of the beach is not. HOWEVER, these are very European beaches (as are almost all beaches on St Martin) and you MAY see topless (not fully nude) sunbathers .
The beach right in Philipsburg (GREAT BAY) right behaind all the stores attracts mostly cruise passengers and you will be less likely to see topless sunbathers there.
Another great family beach (but still possible to see some topless ) is Dawn Beach.
I remember being concerned about taking my two sons (ages 8 and 13 at the time) to the beaches in the south of France. They knew that there would be topless sunbathing and quite honestly, I think my 13 year old was looking forward to it.
The first lady we saw on the beach (topless) that day was a lovely 80 year old grandmother. Needless to say, my son was shocked - he did not realize that there was no or beauty requirement for going topless!
Once he saw that it was an accepted practice, and not necessarily the exotic event he thought it might be, he didn't pay it any attention - nor did my 8 year old. They quickly became far more interested in playing in the water and such.
I continue to travel with my kids and have taken my youngest son (now 15 years old) with me several times to Orient Beach. I do not go topless, but he has seen others do so and he takes it all in stride. If anything, he seems more amused by the occasional g-string on men remarking that "sitting on your naked behind in the sand can't feel good".
Go and enjoy. Orient Beach is a beautiful beach - full of fun for kids. You will have a great time and they will be too busy to notice any nudity.
skmarm re the 80 year old woman. We had a similar experience with our kids. Our son was older (about 16) and he too was looking forward to the topless women. The first one we saw was a woman who must have weighed about 300 lbs with a thong bikini bottom on. Needless to say that was not what he expected!
To answer the original poster - I've discussed it with my children and explained what is accepted in other countries. They've traveled all over and since we haven't made a big deal out of it, neither have they. As skmarm said they get over the novelty of it very soon and are more interested in having fun.
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We traveled with another family and between us we had 3 teens- 1 girl -13, 1 boy 15 and 1 boy 17. We told them all about Orient Beach, and let them make the decision, they decided that the men would rather go SCUBA diving and we girls decided that it wasn't for us and took a catamaran/snorking excursion instead and then did some shopping.
The "clothing optional" section of Orient Beach is clearly marked and is down at the far end. Since this beach is on the french side of the island, you will see topless sunbathers.
Only you know your kids and their comfort level, tell them about the beach and the possibility of seeing topless women of ALL ages, and nudity of ALL ages.
Another beautiful clothing optional beach that is not nearly as crowded as Orient Beach is Cupicoy Beacn on the opposite side of the island. This beach is breath-takingly picturesque. Though many are nude, it is very safe and clean, and there were many families enjoying this beach.