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 The Americas
Australia / NZ
Europe
European Saunas
Elsewhere
Canada
United States
Mexico, Central America, Caribbean
South America
  Supplemental Information 
Supplemental Information for North America

A Few Things to Know About Nude Beaches
A Little About Natural Hot Springs
Nude Beach Classifications
     Freely Nude
     Traditionally Nude
     Discretion Recommended
     Potentially Risky
Former Nude Beaches

A Few Things to Know About Nude Beaches
  • Many nude beaches are just the far ends of textile beaches, and a buffer zone is usually essential to a peaceful coexistence. Nudity should be limited to established nude areas. Wandering into or in view of a textile area while nude is a sure way to incite action to ban nude use altogether. Furthermore, nudity is almost never acceptable in parking lots, even when the lot is not shared with a textile beach.

  • With just a few exceptions, nude beaches tend to be undeveloped and are often remote. Hikes of half a mile or even more are pretty standard, so it is always a good idea to wear shoes appropriate for long walks and pack lightly. Don't expect full beach amenities. When amenities like restrooms, showers and food concessions are available, they are almost always at an adjacent textile area and not in the nude area. Always bring plenty of drinking water with you.

  • Many remote sites are not equipped with garbage receptacles. Plan to pack out any garbage you generate. Please, there is enough litter on this planet already. It doesn't take a lot of effort to pack up a soda can and plastic wrap... yet so many people can't be bothered.

  • At most nude beaches, there tends to be a bit of self-imposed segregation within the nude area. To the extent that families with children are present, they tend to occupy the first part of the beach (i.e., closest to the parking lot or other point of access). The far ends of nude beaches tend to be occupied by gay men. There are some nude beaches that are de facto all gay, and there are also a few places where straight nudists and gay nudists occupy opposite extremes of the beach (with textiles in the middle). There are even a few rare cases where gay nudists and straight nudists tend to choose altogether separate nude beaches that are in close proximity.

  • Of all the public nudist sites in North America, just a small number are regularly attended by families with children. Most naturist parents are probably just more comfortable with their children being naked in a controlled environment such as a naturist retreat as opposed to a beach that is open to anyone. Furthermore, anytime even a small level of risk is involved in being nude on a public beach, responsible adults are naturally averse to involving children. If you take your children to a nude beach, we highly recommend you stick to places where nudity is officially authorized or otherwise very freely tolerated and avoid those places where you may need to be discreet. There are many cases where authorities turn a blind eye to naked adults but may not be so understanding if minors are present.

  • Nude beaches are places for people who love the freedom of experiencing the sun and the sea in the buff—not for voyeurs, not for exhibitionists. Nothing is more annoying to nudists than gawkers. Nothing puts nude beaches in jeopardy more than overt sexual behavior. Please behave in a way that is neither intrusive or offensive to your fellow nude beach patrons. Remember that we live in a culture where plenty of people are all too eager to exploit and exaggerate nude beach indiscretions for their own political or religious purposes. Don't provide them with ammunition.

  • A Little About Natural Hot Springs
          Western North America has many geothermally active areas that result in hot springs— i.e., places where naturally heated groundwater bubbles up to the earth's surface. Spa resorts are built around some of these springs, but by and large the ones that are interesting to naturists are the more remote and primitive springs. Although there are some rare cases where soaking pools occur naturally, for the most part Mother Nature has had a little human help, and the thermal water is channeled into man-made soaking pools which are often primitive and lined with rocks. Soaking in the nude is an option that is deeply cherished by hot springs enthusiasts, many of whom would never dream of corrupting such an organic experience as thermal soaking with a swimsuit.

          While there is a culture of nude soaking associated with many primitive springs, ease of access is paramount. The closer the site is to a populated area and the easier it is to reach, the more likely it will be textile only. Springs where nudity is part of the culture are almost invariably quite remote. A good many of these remote springs require long hikes to boot.

          Rules of etiquette at hot springs are a little different than at nude beaches. At beaches, nudists and textiles congregate in separate but similar areas. At hot springs, nudists and textiles usually share a much more limited area, and the prevalence of nudity at any given time often depends on who got there first. It is important to bear in mind the sensibilities of your fellow soakers since not all springs enthusiasts are nudists. This is especially true if you visit a site where there is just one soaking pool or where all the pools are within view of one another. Here is our suggested hot springs etiquette:

  • If no one else is present when you arrive, or if at least one other soaker is naked, feel free to strip bare.

  • If you are at a location where you are sure that nude soaking is well established, we don't deem it necessary to cover up when newcomers arrive. If the newcomers are offended by nudity, they are free to move on or wait until all nudists have left. There is no good reason why textile sensibilities should trump those of nudists.

  • If only textile soakers are present when you arrive, we recommend that you honor the "we were here first" rule. Ask if anyone minds before you strip down.

  • At sites with multiple pools, we recommend that you use discretion about entering small pools occupied only by textiles even if other nudists are present nearby. Many textiles that visit hot springs are well aware that they will encounter nudity, but textiles who don't mind at all that there are naked soakers 20 feet away in the next pool are not necessarily going to be comfortable with a naked soaker three feet away in the same pool.

  •       As with nude beaches, we have assigned a numerical classification to each hot springs site. Most we classify as "2," but at a few the nudity culture is intrinsic to the point where discretion is not necessary, so those are classified as "1." We classify just a few springs sites as "3" in cases where authorities occasionally interfere, but these tend to be among the more accessible of the springs we list. The more remote a site, the more apt authorities are to leave it alone.

          In this guide we have barely scratched the surface of nude soaking possibilities. We detail just a few dozen hot springs, and we have chosen each site rather subjectively based on the strength of its nudity culture, the beauty of its location, personal experience and our assessment of its overall appeal. There are many other springs throughout The West.


    Nude Beach Classifications
    At this point in time, this guide covers three regions of the world: (1) North America, (2) much of Western Europe and (3) Australia/New Zealand. On the whole, nudity at public beaches is far better accepted and less controversial in Europe, Australia and New Zealand than in North America. Compared to the European listings, a much higher percentage of North American nude beach listings are sites where being naked involves some level of risk. To address this reality and help steer readers toward sites within their comfort zones, we have devised a classification scheme that applies to North American sites only. We have given each nude beach or hot spring a numerical classification: 1, 2, 3 or 4. This is NOT a rating of the beach, but rather an assessment of the degree to which nudity can safely and openly be practiced. These classifications are, of course, imperfect and subjective, and you may disagree with how we've classified a particular beach—in which case we would like to hear your opinion.

    The bulk of North American listings for nude beaches and hot springs are places in the United States. Of the total U.S. listings, 63% are "1's" or "2's," which are safer and better established nudist locations. The rest are places where some degree of discretion may be in order, and about 14% are locations we have given a "4" classification, which is the worst case scenario. We have not deemed a "4" necessary for any location in Canada or south of the U.S. border, perhaps because some of the more tenuous locations outside the U.S. are simply unknown to us. About 85% of Canada's locations are "1's" or "2's," as are 11 of the 15 listings for Mexico, Central America and The Caribbean.

    Freely Nude

    These are places where you can shed your clothes and be naked without a care in the world. Provided you stay within the boundaries of the traditional nude area, discretion about nudity is not required. Any site that has official signage permitting clothing-optional use is automatically a "1," of course. However, there are some places where there is no signage permitting nudity, but a custom of free and open tolerance for nudity has developed over the years.

    In cases where there is no signage or official provision that specifically permits nudity, there is usually the lack of any kind of anti-nudity statute that can be applied by the entities that have authority over the site (the county government, for example). Moreover, in many cases an "unofficial" nude beach remains a safe haven for nudists due to the efforts of a local advocacy group that maintains friendly relations with authorities.
    Traditionally Nude

    These places have histories of nude use, and there may be no distinguishable qualitative difference whatsoever between a site classified as a "2" and a site classified as a "1." However, if a site is characterized by one or more of the following circumstances, we have held back on declaring it freely nude:

  • A situation where nudity is tolerated in spite of a law or other regulation that unambiguously bans nudity.

  • Any instance where visitors may be advised or required to cover up, even if only very briefly.

  • A custom where the visitors already present at a given time determine whether or not nudity is a comfortable or appropriate option. This applies mainly to hot springs and a few other sites where space is limited and nudists and textiles have to share close quarters.

  • A pattern of light or moderate usage.

  • The lack of an advocacy group that could counter any potential threats.

  • A history of some degree of intolerance or hostility from locals and/or authorities that does not seem to have been permanently resolved.
  • Discretion Recommended

    At these places, it is best to keep a covering handy and assess the environment carefully before getting naked. A "3" is not necessarily an indication that you'll get into trouble for being naked, but, in general, you should probably approach these sites with lowered expectations. There are a few reasons we may have opted to classify a site as a "3," including:

  • Very light usage.

  • Some probability of encountering people who do not expect or may be offended by nudity.

  • A general dearth of information.

  • A history of bad relations with locals and/or authorities.

  • Location in a particularly conservative area.
  • Potentially Risky

    These places are often similar to those classified as "3", but we feel compelled to give a sterner warning about the potential consequences of nudity. Whenever we classify a site as a "4," it is typically for one (and sometimes both) of the following reasons:

  • An ongoing pattern of bad relations with locals and/or authorities.

  • A high number of reports of public lewdness (which, in turn, tends to put the site under greater scrutiny of authorities).

  • Consequently, at these sites there is a high probability that, if you are caught naked, you will be issued a citation or ticket. (Except when lewd behavior is involved, arrests for nudity in remote areas are rare.) Consider yourself warned. Don't go to these places if you are not willing to accept the risk.

    Former Nude Beaches
    Below is a list of public sites where nudity was once practiced but where nudity is now banned or unsafe or where access has been closed. The Google Earth files contain a little more information about the circumstances of the demise of these beaches. At all these sites, nude use has come to an end within the past two decades. Nude beaches often die hard, and discreet nudity often occurs at a beach even after its nudist heyday is over. However, as best we can tell, nudity has been virtually eradicated at all of these sites. If you believe any of these sites are still viable based on recent experience, please let us know.

    Canada
    British Columbia
    Cedar Creek Beach   49.7986, -119.5299
         Kelowna

    Costa Rica
    Playita   9.3972, -84.1645
         Quepos

    Mexico
    Punta Esmerelda   20.6476, -87.0477
         Playa del Carmen
    Paco's Paradise Beach   20.5070, -105.3934
         Puerto Vallarta

    United States
    Alabama
    Bon Secour Beach   30.2283, -87.8298
         Gulf Shores
    California
    El Matador Beach   34.0382, -118.8760
         Malibu
    Red, White and Blue Beach   36.9763, -122.1420
         Santa Cruz
    Smuggler's Cove   33.7383, -118.3730
         Rancho Palos Verdes (Los Angeles County)
    Summerland Beach   34.4165, -119.5880
         Summerland (Santa Barbara County)
    Florida
    Cape Freedom, North Beach   27.6488, -82.7427
         near St. Petersburg
    Deer Lake State Park   30.3009, -86.0803
         between Destin and Panama City
    John U. Lloyd Beach State Park   26.0712, -80.1110
         Ft. Lauderdale
    Navarre Beach   30.3846, -86.8341
         east of Pensacola
    North Lido Beach   27.3222, -82.5877
         Sarasota
    Hawaii
    Donkey Beach   22.1144, -159.2970
         Anahola (Kauai)
    Maine
    Appleton Ridge Pond   44.2964, -69.2630
         Appleton (west of Augusta)
    Missouri
    Mexico Gravel Lake   39.0115, -92.2622
         Columbia
    New York
    Peters Kill in Minnewaska State Park   41.7245, -74.2583
         near New Paltz

    U.S. Virgin Islands

    Salomon Beach   18.3387, -64.7943
         St. John