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European Saunas
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Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia


DELAWARE      MAP     [ ↑ ]

PLACES TO STAY—GAY

     The Shore Inn    38.7135N, 75.0973W     E
          Rehoboth Beach


KENTUCKY      MAP     [ ↑ ]

PLACES TO STAY—GAY

     River Ridge Campground    38.4836N, 84.1499W     E
          Mt. Olivet (northeast of Lexington, southeast of Cincinnati, OH)


MARYLAND      MAP     [ ↑ ]

NUDE BEACHES

      Maryland's only established nude beach, at Assateague Island National Seashore [4] 38.2640N, 75.1240W  near Ocean City, saw its heyday years ago. It now draws only a trickle of bold nudists since rangers may ticket nudists (with potentially steep fines).

NATURIST RETREATS

     Maheso    38.9437N, 76.6850W     E
          Davidsonville (southwest of Annapolis)

     Pine Tree Associates    39.0035N, 76.6064W     E
          Crownsville (north of Annapolis)


NEW JERSEY      MAP     [ ↑ ]

NUDE BEACHES

      New Jersey has but one nude beach, but it's a winner. Gunnison Beach [1] 40.4590N, 73.9894W  on the Sandy Hook peninsula—directly across the Hudson Bay from Manhattan and Brooklyn—is safe, legal, crowded and tremendously popular with all kinds of people.

NATURIST RETREATS

     Goodland Country Club    40.8520N, 74.8023W     E
          Hackettstown (northern NJ, western Morris County)

     Rock Lodge    41.0722N, 74.5343W     E
          Stockholm (northern NJ, eastern Sussex County)

     Sky Farm    40.6529N, 74.5875W     E
          Basking Ridge (northern NJ, Somerset County)


NEW YORK      MAP     [ ↑ ]

NUDE BEACHES

      Almost all of New York State's Atlantic coastline is along Long Island, the land mass that projects eastward for over 100 miles from Manhattan. Two New York City boroughs—Brooklyn and Queens—are located entirely on Long Island, but in common parlance a Longer Islander is a resident of Nassau County or Suffolk County, which are beyond the city's borders. Long Island Sound separates the north coast of the island from Connecticut, while the south coast faces the open Atlantic. The south coast has a number of long and narrow barrier islands and peninsulas with seemingly endless stretches of sandy beach, much of which is part of federal or state park land. All the established nude beaches that exist, or that have existed in the past, on Long Island are located along its south coast. The north coast has far fewer places that are secluded from residential development.

      Starting from the west end of Long Island, The Rockaways is a peninsula that is part of Queens. Toward the western end of The Rockaways, Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden [4] 40.5672N, 73.8643W / 40.5587N, 73.8911W   are contiguous beaches that collectively span about two miles. Although Jacob Riis Beach is a crowded urban beach, nude bathing took hold at its far east end decades ago, at least as far back as the early 70's, when that part of the beach became established as an LGBT hangout. The heyday of Jacob Riis as a nude beach lasted until the the early 80's when an anti-nudity law became enforceable, but a small and sporadic nudist presence has persisted at the beach over the decades despite the risks involved. On uncrowded days, nudists are often present along the wilder expanse of Fort Tilden Beach, immediately west of Jacob Riis.

      Farther east in Nassau County, Jones Beach is a huge and popular public beach, while Tobay Beach several miles to the east is a comparatively smaller beach with a restrictive entrance policy that favors local residents. The border area of these contiguous beaches is a long walk from the closest parking or bus stop. While nude bathing is not legal, it nonetheless occurs regularly at Jones-Tobay Beach [4] 40.6023N, 73.4599W  , which these days is frequented mostly by gay men.

      Farther east in Suffolk County, Fire Island is a long barrier island that is separated from the mainland of Long Island by a vast lagoon called Great South Bay. The geographic entity known as Fire Island extends about 31 miles, but the geography of barrier islands is fickle. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy breached Fire Island along its eastern third, creating three new openings between the bay and the ocean. Two of the breaches were filled in, but nature has been allowed to take its course at the longest breach, at an area called Old Inlet. Accounting for the breach, Fire Island is now split in two. The distance from the western tip to Old Inlet is about 23 miles, then the distance from Old Inlet to the eastern tip is about 8 miles, while Old Inlet itself spans about 1,000 feet.

      Fire Island is bridged to the mainland toward either end. If you drive to the west end of Fire Island, you will arrive at Robert Moses State Park. If you drive to the east end of Fire Island, you will arrive at Smith Point County Park, the entirety of which is east of the Old Inlet breach. Between those two large parks, the lion's share of Fire Island—a stretch of about 20 miles that spans Old Inlet—is federal land called Fire Island National Seashore (FINS), under the auspices of the National Park Service (NPS). The entire expanse of FINS is off limits to motorized traffic other than golf carts and authorized service vehicles. There are over a dozen vacation communities, popularly known as hamlets, within FINS. The hamlets are private enclaves that were grandfathered in when the national seashore was created in 1964, and they are reachable by ferries that shuttle passengers over Great South Bay from three mainland departure points. None of the hamlets have large-scale development for mass tourism, and just about all visitors who stay overnight rent private houses (which has become much easier since the advent of services like Airbnb). Fire Island is commonly associated with its long history as a gay mecca, but the predominantly LGBT part of Fire Island is contained within about two miles toward the middle of the island that includes the neighboring hamlets of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines, or just The Pines for short.

      The beach of each hamlet of Fire Island, collectively accounting for about 35% of the 20-mile length of FINS, falls under the jurisdiction of Suffolk County. The disconnected beach segments that are in FINS but outside the hamlets are under NPS jurisdiction. Nude bathing has long occurred at multiple locations along Fire Island, all within FINS due to the historical tolerance shown by the NPS and by some of the hamlets. Below is a summary of the main locations where nude bathing occurs, from west to east:

      •  Lighthouse Beach [4] 40.6290N, 73.2212W   , just east of Robert Moses State Park. This beach is accessible by car, and historically it has been the most popular nude beach in all of New York.

      •  The beaches of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines [2] 40.6585N, 73.0879W / 40.6640N, 73.0663W   and the short expanse between them. This stretch of beach is accessible only by ferry. Cherry Grove and The Pines are LGBT destinations whose community standards are considerably more permissive compared to the other hamlets of Fire Island, and a tolerance for nudity is elemental to the culture of these enclaves.

      •  The beach immediately west of the hamlet of Davis Park [4] 40.6800N, 73.0134W   and the wilderness beach east of Watch Hill [3] 40.6988N, 72.9632W   . These beaches are accessible only by ferry. The very low-key nude beach at Davis Park is the least known of the naturist venues of Fire Island. It is visited almost exclusively by those who regularly vacation in the community and is not widely known to others. East of Watch Hill, a few nudists are often widely dispersed along the mostly empty wilderness beach.

      •  The wilderness portion of Smith Point Beach [4] 40.7271N, 72.8807W   west of the county park boundary. This beach is accessible by car. Smith Point Beach is basically a mirror image of Lighthouse Beach toward the opposite end of the island, but historically it has drawn smaller and more-spread out crowds of nudists, lacking the concentrated social atmosphere of Lighthouse. While the rather amorphous nude area once extended for an indefinite distance into the wildest and most remote part of Fire Island, the breach at Old Inlet now provides a western end point.

      In 2013, the NPS ended its decades-long policy of tolerating nudity along certain FINS beaches, albeit with a few tacit exceptions. The NPS apparently had come to regard the nude beaches as a burden on their resources, and in 2012 the damage to the island from Hurricane Sandy provided the impetus for the policy change. The NPS has named several FINS areas that are targets for enforcement of the nudity ban, and the named areas include most but not all all of the FINS shoreline that falls under NPS jurisdiction. The primary enforcement targets are the two locations where nudists have occupied territory the NPS deemed not sufficiently removed from throngs of textiles—namely Lighthouse Beach and Smith Point Beach, the two car-accessible nude beaches toward each end of the island. Secondary enforcement targets include most of the rest of FINS. The threat of stiff fines has driven most nudists away from all targeted areas, and the loss of Lighthouse Beach as a safe venue for naturists has been particularly acute since this once-popular beach was for decades the premier nude beach of New York. However, nude beaches often die hard, and a trickle of nudists often continue to risk the consequences when a beach becomes avoided by more cautious nudists. Such is the case at Lighthouse Beach and Smith Point Beach, where the free practice of nudity on a large scale has devolved into the surreptitious practice of nudity on a small scale. As for the rest of FINS, the NPS anti-nudity policy is not applicable to the beaches of Cherry Grove and The Pines. While it is applicable to the beach between Cherry Grove and The Pines, the NPS has not singled out that small section of beach for enforcement due to a lack of perceived visitor-use conflict. The nude beach west of Davis Park is now a shadow of its former self due to the threat of anti-nudity enforcement, but nude bathers are still unlikely to be hassled along far-removed areas of the wilderness beach east of Watch Hill.

      As should be woefully clear from the preceding several paragraphs, safe and hassle-free nude beaches on Long Island are more a relic of the past than a reality of the present. However, NYC denizens are also reasonably close to Gunnison Beach, a legal nude beach that is the most popular bare bathing venue in the entire Northeast, located toward the northernmost part of the Atlantic shoreline of New Jersey. Gunnison is seasonally accessible by ferry from Manhattan.

      The seven counties that comprise New York City and Long Island account for about 6% of the total land area of New York State, but a whopping 58% of the state's roughly 20 million residents live in those counties. Everything farther north is generally regarded as Upstate. Going north of New York City to the Poughkeepsie area, near New Paltz there is an officially designated nude swimming area at Coxing Kill in Mohonk Preserve [1] 41.7551N, 74.1821W  . It is the only well-established nudist site in the Hudson Valley region.

      Much farther north, north of Adirondack Park near the borders of Vermont and Québec, is a rather obscure beach at Point Au Roche State Park [3] 44.7847N, 73.3693W  on Lake Champlain where sporadic nude bathing occurs.

      North of Syracuse and southwest of Watertown, the remote southern end of Southwick Beach [3] 43.7487N, 76.2115W  on Lake Ontario gets a good bit of discreet nude use.

      Western New York has three notable skinnydipping sites. Popular Potter's Falls [2] 42.4190N, 76.4632W  along Six Mile Creek Gorge in Ithaca, not far from Cornell University, is located in a bit of an urban wilderness. Near Gowanda and south of Buffalo, there is a beautiful spot within Zoar Valley Gorge [2] 42.4421N, 78.8884W  where nudity is well established. Farther west, close to Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border, part of Chautauqua Gorge [2] 42.2583N, 79.5742W  has a steady following of skinnydippers. All three of these sites require a little hiking to reach.

NATURIST RETREATS & OTHER PLACES TO STAY

     Brushwood Folklore Center    42.1165N, 79.6377W     E
          Sherman (far western NY, near Erie, PA)

     Empire Haven Resort    42.6821N, 76.3520W     E
          Moravia (between Ithaca and Syracuse)

     Full-Tan Sun Club    42.8268N, 74.4833W     E
          Sprakers (between Albany and Utica)

     Juniper Woods    42.3061N, 73.8667W     E
          Catskill (south of Albany)

PLACES TO STAY—GAY

     Belvedere Guest House    40.6616N, 73.0852W     E
          Cherry Grove, Fire Island

     Chelsea Mews Guest House    40.7411N, 74.0038W     E
          Manhattan, New York City

     Colonial House Inn    40.7449N, 74.0000W     E, F
          Manhattan, New York City

     Jones Pond Campground    42.4286N, 77.9734W     E
          Angelica (Western NY)


PENNSYLVANIA      MAP     [ ↑ ]

NATURIST RETREATS

     Beechwood Lodge    40.7951N, 75.7295W     E
          Ashfield (Pocono Mountains)

     Pen-Mar Club    39.7330N, 78.2401W     E
          Warfordsburg (south central, at MD border)

     Penn Sylvan    40.2140N, 75.9755W     E
          Mohnton (Pennsylvania Dutch Country)

     Sunny Rest Lodge    40.8225N, 75.6485W     E
          Palmerton (Pocono Mountains)

     White Thorn Lodge    40.7554N, 80.5151W     E
          Darlington (far western PA, at OH border)

PLACES TO STAY—GAY

     Camp Davis    41.0543N, 79.9422W     E
          Boyers (north of Pittsburgh)

     Hillside Campgrounds    41.8199N, 75.6535W     E
          Gibson (Pocono Mountains)

     Oneida Campground & Lodge    41.8853N, 75.6691W     E
          New Milford (Pocono Mountains)

     The Woods Campground    40.8971N, 75.6050W     E
          Lehighton (Pocono Mountains)


VIRGINIA      MAP     [ ↑ ]

NUDE BEACHES

      Virginia lacks any well-established and open nude beaches, but there are a few spots where discreet nudity occurs. On the Atlantic coast, the secluded and little-visited northern end of Grandview Beach [4] 37.0956N, 76.2756W  in Hampton sees sporadic and discreet nude use, but authorities are not tolerant. In Richmond, a hidden area of Texas Beach in Northbank Park [3] 37.5308N, 77.4776W  is popular with gay nude bathers, and although authorities do not turn a blind eye to nudity, the difficulty of accessing this site provides a measure of protection. North of Richmond, Fall Hole in the North Anna River [3] 37.8905N, 77.4924W  near Doswell draws sporadic skinnydippers.

SOAKING ESTABLISHMENTS

     Jefferson Pools    38.0538N, 79.7806W 
          Warm Springs (north of Roanoke, near WV border)

NATURIST RETREATS

     White Tail Resort    36.8891N, 76.8392W     E
          Ivor (between Richmond and Norfolk)

PLACES TO STAY—GAY

     Zebulon's Grotto    37.7282N, 77.0826W     E
          King William (near Richmond)


WEST VIRGINIA      MAP     [ ↑ ]

NATURIST RETREATS

     Avalon Resort    39.4565N, 78.4642W     E
          Paw Paw (Eastern Panhandle)

PLACES TO STAY—GAY

     Man Place Bed & Breakfast    39.2385N, 78.9172W     E
          Purgitsville (Eastern Panhandle)

     Rock Creek Camp    38.6121N, 81.4058W     E
          Walton (near Charleston)

     Roseland Resort    39.7341N, 80.6911W     E
          Proctor (Northern Panhandle)

     Sycamore House    39.3754N, 77.7708W     E
          Harpers Ferry (Eastern Panhandle)


































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