BEACHES
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CALIFORNIA: Blackís Beach
Torrey Pines State Park

FLORIDA: Haulover Beach
Miami-Dade County

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What They Say

Frequently Asked Questions

     Skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing are a part of the American tradition. Ben Franklin enjoyed regular ďair baths,Ē Mark Twain never provided Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn with swimsuits, and American icon Norman Rockwell painted skinny-dipping boys at the swimming hole for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Today, from New England to California, from the Pacific Northwest to Florida - and points in between, nude beaches and other clothing-optional venues are increasing in popularity and acceptance.

NEW YORK: Lighthouse Beach, Fire Island National Seashore

According to a recent Roper Poll of voting age Americans, more than 55 million Americans have participated in skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing in mixed company. Seventy-four percent believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so, without interference from officials, at a beach that is accepted for that purpose. In the same poll, a clear majority believe the government should set aside special areas of public land for those who enjoy nude sunbathing. Nude Beaches - an idea whose time is now.

OREGON: Rooster Rock
State Park

Austin, Texas. Election Day - November 7, 2006.          MORE IMAGES

       Nude Beaches YES!   Across the country, nude beaches are demonstrating the popularity and acceptance that has been reflected by the recent Roper Poll. Some beach locations are officially sanctioned or designated for clothing-optional use. Other beaches have been an accepted part of the community for generations, but lack official designation. More and more governmental agencies are managing for clothing-optional recreation on public land, from the county and state level to federal agencies like the National Park Service.

       Types of Nude Beaches   Just like the people who enjoy them, nude beaches come in a wide assortment.
DESIGNATED / OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED CLOTHING-OPTIONAL BEACHES: In many locations, local authorities have recognized the value of nude beaches and have set aside areas for this specific sort of recreational use. Frequently, designation is accompanied by signage, though signs can sometimes be merely informational.

    A few examples of designated beaches:
    COUNTY: Haulover Beach (MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA), Hippie Hollow Park (TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS)
    STATE:
    Rooster Rock State Park (OREGON), Collins Beach  (OREGON FISH & WILDLIFE)
    FEDERAL:
    Apollo Beach  (CANAVERAL NATíL SEASHORE, FLORIDA - NATíL PARK SERVICE), Gunnison Beach (GATEWAY NATíL RECREATION AREA, NEW JERSEY - NATíL PARK SERVICE), Lighthouse Beach (FIRE ISLAND NATíL SEASHORE, NEW YORK - NATíL PARK SERVICE)

TRADITIONAL BEACHES MANAGED FOR NUDE USE: Some clothing-optional areas are not officially designated, but tradition and history has resulted in management for nude use.

    A few examples of traditional-but-unofficial managed beaches:
    PRIVATE with PUBLIC ACCESS: The Ledges  (VERMONT),
    STATE: Mazo Beach  (WISCONSIN DEPT OF NAT. RESOURCES, WISCONSIN), Blackís Beach  (TORREY PINES STATE PARK - CALIFORNIA PARKS DEPT), San Onofre State Park  (CALIFORNIA PARKS DEPT), Grey Whale Cove (CALIFORNIA PARKS DEPT)
    FEDERAL:
    Playalinda  (CANAVERAL NATíL SEASHORE, FLORIDA - NATíL PARK SERVICE)

       The Importance of Signage   Signs at a nude beach are valuable management tools. They may be simply informational or they may serve to designate an area for clothing-optional use. Properly placed and well worded signs are used by conscientious beach managers as a recognized means for avoiding conflict among groups of users.

         No single standard sign exists for nude beaches, but the ďBeyond This PointĒ message on the sign shown at left is typical and has been used for decades at clothing-optional areas throughout the U.S. The shape, materials and colors for this example were specified by the National Park Service.

       Nude Beaches and the Law   Laws addressing nudity vary from state to state, and sometimes from county to county. Courts in some jurisdictions (e.g. California, Florida, Wisconsin) have declared that absent lewd behavior, mere nudity does not constitute indecent exposure or public indecency. In other states (like Texas), properly posted signs at a nude beach help mitigate a presumption of recklessness that might otherwise lead to a citation. State park systems sometimes operate under regulations and directives that modify or differ from the stateís general statutory law.

       Federal law does not generally criminalize nudity, but local units of federal agencies frequently have agreements of concurrent jurisdiction with the states in which they are located. As a practical matter, that means that state laws can apply to a nude beach located on federal land. Federal managers typically have wide lattitude in determining an appropriate level of enforcement.

           [DISCLAIMER: This descriptions on this Web site should not be taken as legal advice. If you have questions about the law where you live or intend to visit, you should consult a qualified local attorney.]

       Nudity and Children   Nude beaches are typically family-friendly places. Psychological and sociological studies have shown that children raised in clothes-free environments are not harmed by exposure to nudity. In fact, those children benefit from the experience through improved self-image and confidence. Parents who bring the entire family to the nude beach have chosen to imbue their children with the values of honesty, openness and personal freedom that thrive there.

       User Groups at Nude Beaches   Local user groups are an important part of a healthy nude beach. Beyond being good stewards of the environment, local groups contribute through special projects like beach cleanups, and they become a real asset to those who manage the beach. User groups stick up for proper nude beach etiquette, assist newcomers and remain alert for factors that might affect the continued success of the beach.

User groups take all forms. Here are just a couple of examples:

       South Florida Free Beaches created a nude beach from a high crime area, and SFFB has looked after Haulover Beach ever since. The presence of naturist families has enhanced and stabilized the social structure of the beach. A number of years ago, SFFB established its Beach Ambassadors, a high profile network of beach assistance, information and monitoring that has become a prototype for other programs across the country.

       In Oregon, the Oregon Clothing-Optional Beach Alliance (ORCOBA) is dedicated to the preservation of Collins Beach at Sauvie Island and Rooster Rock State Park, and to the promotion of  family-oriented social nude recreation at both beaches. ORCOBA instituted its Yellow Flag program, which allows trusted members to fly a special yellow pennant at their locations on the beach. People who need help on the beach know to seek a yellow flag.

       Economic Benefits of Nude Beaches   Not every community seeks tourist dollars, but those that do have discovered nude beaches to be a gold mine. Experts have estimated the impact of Haulover Beach in Forida, for example, to be a $400 million annual boon to the local economy. Hippie Hollow, a county park in Travis County, Texas, is the only officially clothing-optional site in the countyís park system. And itís the only park in the system thatís actually making money for the county.

       Visitors to nude beaches eat in local restaurants, stay in local hotels and buy local goods. The total impact can be significant.

 

 

 

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WHERE ARE THESE BEACHES?
The Worldís Best Nude Beaches
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CALIFORNIA: San Onofre
State Park

TEXAS: Hippie Hollow
Travis County Park

WISCONSIN: Mazo Beach
Wisconsin River

NEW JERSEY: Gunnison Beach
Gateway Natíl Recreation Area

FLORIDA: Apollo Beach
Canaveral Natíl Seashore

FLORIDA: Haulover Beach
Miami-Dade County
South Florida Free Beaches
Beach Ambassadors