Top 10 Best Nudist Beaches In The U.S Today
Top 10 Best Nudist Beaches In The U.S Today

Nude beaches aren’t as popular in America as they are in other parts of the world, however, the clothing-optional beaches in the United States are well worth the visit for all those wanting to bare it all. From oceanfront spots to lake shorelines, get rid of those tan lines at one of these top nude beaches in the United States.

It’s worth mentioning that the rules and laws around nudist beaches in the US can be a little confusing. Some are officially “clothing-optional” while others allow only topless sunbathing. And still, there are those that are effectively “unofficial” nudist beaches, where nudity is more tolerated than legally allowed. In short, if there’s no clear signage, you might be disrobing at your own risk. If in doubt, double-check the local laws.

What You Need To Know Before Going To A Nude Beach

Photo: Living + Nomads
Photo: Living + Nomads

What Is A Nude Beach?

Also known as clothing-optional or free beach, a “nude beach” is a beach where users are allowed to be nude.

There are several misconceptions about nude beaches, and that’s why many people are not entirely comfortable with this experience.

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t stare at each other, and rather enjoy themselves and their time around nature. So, if you’re afraid of being judged by others, don’t worry. In fact, everyone is almost afraid to get caught staring, so most visitors are either looking down or off into the ocean.

Inappropriate behaviors of all kinds, like harassment and sexual acts, are not allowed, and nude beaches are actually a family-friendly environment where everyone can enjoy themselves and have a good time.

Many people are actually surprised when they find out that several beachgoers are families with kids and elder couples, rather than exhibitionists or voyeurs.

The Do’s And Dont’s Of Nude Beaches

-Learn about the local rules;

-Don’t stare at other naturists;

-Don’t photograph other nude sunbathers;

-Don’t be inappropriate;

-Make sure you’re actually on a nudist beach.

The Wild History of Nude Beaches

Photo: Thrillist
Photo: Thrillist

There’s nothing quite as freeing as being naked, yet it’s still considered taboo. We were all born naked, but you can’t just strip down at any beach or kick it poolside in your birthday suit. Nudity may not be mainstream, but there are still places you can go to let it all hang out with like-minded folks. Nude beaches have been around for nearly 100 years thanks to the progressive thinking of one Kurt Barthel. You’re welcome, nudists and curious teens everywhere.

Before we can start talking about the creation of nude beaches, we have to take a trip down memory lane. In the mid-1800s, rich Europeans started vacationing on beaches all over the country. Hot spots were turned into regulated resorts, which was great, but regulation means rules and rules can be a bummer. By the end of the 19th Century, skinny dipping at designated beaches was frowned upon, meaning beachgoers had to invest in swimsuits or stay off the sand.

Barthel, however, decided to take a stand. In 1929, he started the American League for Physical Culture, known today as the American Association for Nude Recreation. That was one small step for nudists, one giant leap away from unnecessary clothes. In 1932, the father of the American nudist movement opened Sky Farm in New Jersey, the first nudist camp in the United States. It may have been the great depression, but the folks at Sky Farm were probably living it up.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, King Edward the VIII and mistress Wallis Simpson were looking to get away. The pair decided to take a cruise on the Adriatic Sea, and stopped at the island of Rab (now part of Croatia). They wanted to hit the beach, and they wanted to do it naked, so they hit up the local government for permission. Nerds. Anyway, the government gave them the green light, and the first official nude beach in the world was born.

Not people to be outdone, France caught wind of the idea and nude beaches started popping up all over the country. One beach in particular, Montalivet Beach, led the charge in nudist culture. This also led to the start of a trend called “Naturism,” which spread like wildfire throughout the world in the 20th Century. Naturism is basically the idea that clothes are unnecessary.

Naturism paired perfectly with the free-flowing hippie lifestyle of the 1960s and nudism took off around the world. A “free beach movement” emerges, begging the question of why beachgoers can’t go naked when swimming, surfing, tanning, or whatever it is they’re doing on the beach. It seems like a fair question to us, but in 1972 officials started fighting back, cracking down on nudity on California beaches. Venice beach was hit especially hard.

The nudists weren’t going to lie down and let the government push them around or force them into clothes. Throughout the ‘70s they fought city ordinances until nudity was OKed at certain beaches. New Jersey secured one of the first clothing-optional beaches on the East Coast, which was a pretty big deal. A nude resort and a nude beach? Way to go, New Jersey. Other such beaches popped up in San Francisco, Miami, and South Padre, Texas. Even Great Britain got one in Brighton. King Edward probably would have loved it.

The rest of Europe was pretty chill about nudity, so nude beaches cropped up all over there too. San Tropez, Mykonos, and Croatia were early adopters of fully clothing-optional beaches while other European beaches designated sections of public beaches for those who wished to soak up the sun sans tan lines.

Who would have thought an American who just wanted to kick it without clothes on, and a King who wanted to swim out of his skivvies would start a huge movement. There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of nude beaches around the world. Maybe add going to one to your bucket list.

7 Rules for First-Timers

Familiarize yourself with the local rules

Before you hit the sand, make sure you’re clear on which parts of the beach permit nudity, and respect those boundaries by remaining covered up in the clothing-required sections and common areas such as the parking lot. Confirm also whether full nudity is allowed or just toplessness (as in many parts of the French Riviera). Additionally, it may be useful to know whether going without clothing is officially legal or merely tolerated.

Don’t stare

The cardinal rule of nude beachgoing. You can look (how can you not look?), but don’t ogle or gawk. People are vulnerable when they’re in the buff, so you want to avoid even the suggestion that you’re regarding them with cruelty or creepiness. Don’t you want the same in return? If you struggle to keep your eyes to yourself, crack open a book.

Leave your camera at home

Another subsection of the larger don’t-be-creepy category. Even taking photos of the scenery can make people uncomfortable if they’re not sure where you’re pointing your smartphone, so it’s best not to take out any sort of photo-capturing device in the first place. If you must snap a selfie, be sure you don’t take a pic of anybody else without permission.

Carry a towel everywhere you go

Obviously, you’ll need a towel to lie on the sand. But at nudist resorts you’ll likely be required to bring along your own towel to sit on furniture at restaurants and bars or in any other common area—a convention we wholeheartedly endorse, by the way.

Apply sunscreen liberally on all exposed skin

This is standard sunbathing procedure, but it bears repeating when we’re talking about sensitive body parts that don’t see the light of day very often.

Keep your distance from others

When you’re choosing a spot to sit or lie down, allow plenty of space between you and the next towel over—if possible, more space than you’d leave if you were clothed. That way, you signal that you have no intention of encroaching on your neighbor’s privacy. It’s another comfort thing.

Don’t try any hanky-panky

Lewd behavior, whether with your partner, with someone you just met on the beach, or with yourself, is a no-no. Most nude recreationists strive to sever the connection between getting naked and getting busy. In fact, the “Naturist Beach Code” devised by the British Naturism organization flatly states, “Any sexual activity is just as unwelcome and just as criminal as in any other public place.”

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What are the best nude beaches in the United States?

1. Collins Beach, Oregon

Photo: Adventure in Portland
Photo: Adventure in Portland

Collins Beach is a sandy beach on the Columbia River side of Sauvie Island in Oregon, United States, located north of Portland.

Part of it is a clothing-optional area. The beach is one mile (1.6 km) long and begins about 0.25 miles (400 m) after Reeder Road becomes gravel. Hours are 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day.

The beach has been popular for nude use since at least the 1970s. It is surrounded by a 12,000-acre (49 km2) fish and game reserve, except for a 10-acre (4.0 ha) parcel of privately owned land west of Reeder Road at the north boundary of Collins Beach. Nude beach users continue onto the non-nude North Unit Beach which is poorly delineated and ineffectively screened from view, which has led to a legal complaint by the property owners.

Collins Beach is one of two official clothing-optional beaches in Oregon after Glass Bar Island's in Eugene, Oregon closed. The other is Rooster Rock State Park. It is administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in cooperation with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

2. Haulover Beach Park, Florida

Photo: Miami Beach
Photo: Miami Beach

Haulover Beach forms the eastern edge of the 177-acre Haulover Park, which opened to the public in late 1948. The western side of the park, facing into Biscayne Bay, has a large marina towards the southern end and a boat storage facility at the northern end, with a couple of huge car parks in between.

The Bill Bird Marina is a good place to arrange a fishing trip and there’s a food truck event in the car park every Tuesday. You’ll find little food concessions serving snacks on the beach. There are no other large dining options in the park, so you’ll have to head to hotels immediately to the north or south (Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort and The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami respectively) if you want a big meal.

Cross under Collins Avenue through one of the pedestrian tunnels and you’ll find the Haulover Skateboard Park, which is a modern and well-maintained facility with plenty of variety crammed into a relatively small space. There’s an electric bike rental station nearby if you prefer an easier way of getting around the many paths and small roads along the park’s length.

With all of these facilities in a comparatively small space, there isn’t really much parkland left in the park. The woodland around the boat storage facility is too dense to explore, leaving just a couple of patches of grass dotted with trees on the western side of Collins Avenue, where you can fly the kites sold at the shop by the marina.

Of course, the fact that Haulover Park isn’t much of a park isn’t a major concern for most visitors, since Haulover Beach is such a fantastic beach. It’s an especially good one for families as, along its entire length, there are lifeguard stations every 400 ft and restrooms every 600 yards.

There’s a simple barrier as well as clear signs across the 220-ft width of the beach near the main lifeguard station, separating off the northern 700 yards of the beach. This northern bit was officially recognised as Florida’s first clothing-optional beach by the local government in July 1991. Attracting about 1.3 million visitors per year, it’s one of the largest and most popular official nudist beaches in the US.

On the other hand, if you’re travelling with a 4-legged companion, you’ll want to head towards the southern end of the beach, between lifeguard towers #2 and #3. This is the officially designated Haulover Beach Dog Park, where you can let your furry friend off their leash between 8 am and 3 pm. There are some limitations, however: you can only bring 2 dogs per person, none under 6 months old and all are trained enough to still be under control when off the leash. And, of course, you’ve got to clean up after your pets, including scooping their poop and filling in any holes they dig.

3. Little Beach, Hawaii

Photo: Big Island Gazette
Photo: Big Island Gazette

Little Beach is the only unofficial clothing optional beach on Maui, located right next to the more popular Big Beach. Both beaches are part of Makena State Park. If you have ever thought about trying nude sunbathing, this is the place to go. However, keep in mind that public nudity is illegal in Hawaii, but very little enforcement of this law is done at this beach, and many people who sunbathe on Little Beach do so without clothes. But if you want to keep your swimsuit on, it is ok too.

Little Beach is situated in a secluded cove and is bordered by two lava outcrops. It is also known as Pu'u Ola'i Beach, named after the cinder cone that backs the beach. It is a great swimming beach with a shallow sandy bottom. There's almost always a gentle shorebreak present that attracts bodyboarders and surfers. On calm days, the snorkeling conditions are excellent.

The views are also very nice here. The neighbor island of Kahoolawe is visible on the horizon, as is the smaller island of Molokini, a world-class snorkel and diving destination. There is a trail right behind Little Beach where you can have a nice beach stroll.

When you need a break from the sun, you can visit the state park marine sanctuary, which is renowned for its whales, tropical fish, dolphins, and sea turtles. Make time to visit Little Beach in time for sunset on Sunday, when fire dancers and a drum circle take centre stage.

4. Gunnison Beach - Middletown, NJ

Photo: Patch
Photo: Patch

Gunnison Beach is a beach within the Sandy Hook unit of the Fort Hancock and the Sandy Hook Proving Ground Historic District which is the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey. It is located in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, but is on federal land managed by the National Park Service. It is New Jersey's only legal clothing-optional beach. It takes its name from adjacent Battery Gunnison, which visitors must pass next to in order to get to and from the beach.

Gunnison Beach takes its name purely out of convenience: Battery Gunnison, a Coastal Artillery fortification built by the U.S.Army in 1904 to protect New York Harbor at Fort Hancock, New Jersey. The Battery, which has been undergoing an extensive restoration to its c. 1943 configuration since 2003, sits directly next to the Gunnison Beach walkway that leads out to the ocean. Beach goers and visitors must pass directly next to the Battery's Number 2 Gun Emplacement to walk out to the ocean. Known as Battery Gunnison / New Peck following a weapons conversion in 1943, it is part of Fort Hancock, the largest US Army Coast Artillery fort on the eastern seaboard. The Sandy Hook Proving Ground, the first of its kind in the nation, operated at Fort Hancock / Sandy Hook from 1874 to 1919. The U.S. Army manned Fort Hancock as a Coast Artillery post from 1890 to 1948. It was then armed with conventional anti-aircraft guns from 1950 to 1954,when it became the site of a Nike missile defense installation. The Fort closed in 1974, and was ceded to the National Park Service as a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. Contrary to popular belief and urban legend, there was no nude bathing en masse on the part of the United States Army garrison that led to the formation of the nude beach. It was the discovery of Gunnison Beach's natural seclusion by park visitors in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to its inception as a nude beach.

In 1999, New Jersey passed a law that allows municipalities and counties to prohibit all types of nudism on state or local beaches in their jurisdiction. Gunnison Beach, however, is on land owned and managed by the federal government and therefore is not subject to state or local regulations. As a result, Gunnison became the only legal nude beach in the state. Gunnison is the largest clothing-optional recreation area on the East Coast. The clothing optional beach, which offers dramatic views of Brooklyn and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, attracts nearly 5,000 naturists per weekend in the summer months. From May through September, daily ferry service is available from Manhattan to the Sandy Hook Ferry Landing, with a free shuttle service that stops at all the beaches of Sandy Hook. Gunnison Beach is among the most popular choices, especially on weekends. Part of the beach is shared on a seasonal basis with a reserved breeding ground for the endangered piping plover, a native shore bird.

In the summer of 2020, with no fanfare or request for Public Comment, the National Park Service cut the clothing-optional area of Gunnison Beach in half. The "South Gunnison" section of the beach was made into a clothing-mandatory area.

5. Secret Beach, Hawaii

Photo: The Culture Trip
Photo: The Culture Trip

Secret Beach, officially known as Kauapea Beach, is a beach in Kalihiway and Kīlauea on the north shore of the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The beach is known for its size, seclusion, and beauty.

Secret Beach is located approximately one-half mile northwest of the town of Kilauea and is situated between the Kilauea Lighthouse and Kalihiwai Valley. As its name suggests, the beach is not easily accessible and no public roads lead to it. To find it, take the Kuhio Highway past Kilauea and turn right on Kalihiwai Road. Follow the road for about 50 yards and then turn right into an unmarked, unpaved road. Proceed to the end and park. Nearby is the footpath leading to the west end of the beach.

The trail winds steeply downhill through brush and may be barely discernible in places. The hike takes about 10 minutes in good weather. On rainy days and particularly in the winter, the trail is dangerously slick. Be prepared to be covered in reddish hued clay that is notoriously difficult to remove from clothing. Locals recommend braving the hike either barefoot or using Neoprene booties that kayaking enthusiasts tend to use. Since the return requires hiking back up the same path, most visitors will want to come on a dry day to avoid these conditions.

Water conditions at the beach vary by season. Although the beach is accessible year round, swimming is only advisable in the summer and even then swimming can be risky when the surf is high or rough because of strong, unpredictable currents. In winter the surf is turbulent and dangerous; accordingly, swimming is not recommended for anyone who is inexperienced under these conditions.

Other beach activities include picnicking, seashell hunting, surfing, sunbathing, snorkeling, and fishing. Also tidal lagoons form on the west end of the beach, offering a kind of kiddie pool. There are no facilities at the beach, so visitors must bring their own food and beverages.

Secret Beach has for many years attracted nude sunbathers, particularly toward the east and west ends of the beach. Although public nudity is not legal in Hawaii and despite the beach’s reputation, the beach is rarely patrolled and no one seems much concerned with the practice. In the rare instances that patrols are conducted, violators will invariably just be asked to dress.

Related: Top 15 Most Beautiful Beaches in the US

6. Kehena Beach, Hawaii

Photo: Big Islands Now
Photo: Big Islands Now

Kehena Beach is a short, narrow strip of black volcanic sand on the southeastern shore of Hawaii Big Island, a short drive from the town of Kalapana. What it lacks in size, it easily makes up for in beauty, being sandwiched between nodding palm trees and the inky blue of the Pacific Ocean.

Kehena Beach is sometimes also known as Dolphin Beach, thanks to its regular cetacean visitors. By that rationale, it could also be called Nudist Beach as its remote location makes it a great clothing-optional destination. Despite its remoteness, there's still a small car park and even a selection of villas and cottages nearby.

The beach is well-shaded by coconut palms and ironwood trees, which make up the backshore. Swimming is possible here when the ocean is calm only because the beach is exposed to the open ocean and during times of high surf, strong rip currents and undertows can occur. That's why there have been quite a few near-drownings at Kehena in the past.

Also, since this beach has many pebbles on the ocean bottom, they can easily get stirred up in the shorebreak during times of heavy surf, which can cause painful skin abrasions to people entering the water.

So when the surf is up, it is best to stay out of the water and maybe have a picnic on the beach, which is accessible from the Kehena lookout.

7. Secret Cove, Nevada

Photo: Narcity
Photo: Narcity

If lying on a beach sounds pretty darn good right now, you might want to add this destination to your bucket list. Secret Cove on Lake Tahoe, Nevada, looks like a hidden beachside paradise complete with sparkling sand and turquoise waters.

Secret Cove lives up to its name — this tiny stretch of beach is 300 yards of dreamy oceanfront property where you can spend the day sunbathing or playing in the water.

The bright blue waves will transport you from the Silver State to a Caribbean paradise.

This stunning destination can be reached by driving 1.5 miles to the south of Sand Harbor.

Once you park, a small access road leads you to the vault toilets and then to the trail that leads to the cove.

The website notes it is half a mile walk from the vault to the beach.

Between the aqua waves and the warm sand, you will be glad you saved your money and hit this spot instead of hopping on a flight to the Bahamas.

You can pack a lunch or wade through the crystal clear waters while working on that tan. Clothing is optional on this beach, so be advised! It is a pretty crowded location, and past visitors' reviews state that most visitors are wearing a swimsuit.

Just make sure to leave no trace once you pack up for the day.

If you want to explore more of the lake, there are paddleboard and kayak rentals throughout the area so you can take in all of the awesomeness.

8. Hippie Hollow Beach - Austin, TX

Photo: Narcity
Photo: Narcity

Hippie Hollow Park (originally known as McGregor County Park) is a park located on the shore of Lake Travis in northwest Austin. It is the only legally recognized clothing-optional public park in the State of Texas. Though the land is owned by the Lower Colorado River Authority, it is leased to Travis County, whose Parks Department has administered the park since 1985. Sometimes erroneously labeled as a beach, the park actually sits on a somewhat steep slope above Lake Travis with limestone steps that can be quite rugged in some spots. Depending on the water level of the lake, access to the water may require some rock climbing.

Hippie Hollow Park has been used as a nude swimming spot for years, because the area was along a particularly remote section of the shoreline of Lake Travis. The area became more popular in the 1960s due to the cultural changes of that era and, after Woodstock, the nickname 'Hippie Hollow' was born. Hippie Hollow was controversial in the 1970s, due to increased skinny-dipping which generated complaints from adjacent landowners. Raymond Frank, the sheriff of Travis County from 1973 to 1980, determined that the county's law enforcement budget was better spent on more serious offenses, and skinny-dipping activities were generally ignored as long as no other laws were being broken.

In October 1983 the park site was leased to Travis County, and in October 1985 Hippie Hollow Park opened to visitors after some modest improvements and an extensive site clean-up by the county, replacing the former name of McGregor Park. The park continues as a clothing optional park, with appropriate signage at the park entrance advising visitors that nude swimming and sunbathing may be encountered. At one time the park was frequented by families, but many objected. On July 11, 1995, the county commissioners passed an ordinance restricting park usage to those over 18 years of age, as a result of Travis County Attorney Ken Oden's interpretation of nudity laws.

This ordinance was challenged in court by the Central Texas Nudists headed by Bob and Christine Morton, who, along with other naturist families, had been bringing their children to the site for years without incident. Part of Morton's argument was that the Texas Hill Country had been settled by many German and Czech immigrants in the middle-19th century, and nude sunbathing had been a part of their culture. An appeals court ruled in favor of the county in 1999, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case (Central Texas Nudists vs. Travis County) in October 2001. Hippie Hollow remains clothing optional, but with park usage restricted to those over 18.

In 2004, a rented double-decker party barge carrying 60 people capsized and sank in front of Hippie Hollow when the passengers on board gathered on one side of the barge. The incident, which caused two minor injuries, occurred during Splash Day, a semiannual event hosted by Austin's gay and lesbian bar association.

9. Moshup Beach, Massachusetts

Photo: Peter Simon Photography
Photo: Peter Simon Photography

Walk a stunning piece of Martha’s Vineyard’s northwest coast beneath the Gay Head Cliffs on the shores of Moshup Beach, also known as Aquinnah Public Beach. Surrounded by the sound of crashing waves, you’ll find a perfect summer beach day or ample year-round exploration on this secluded coast, jointly protected by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission and the town of Aquinnah.

Part of the Aquinnah Headlands Preserve, the fine white sands and smooth rocks of Moshup Beach provide a beautiful place to walk along the crashing waves of outer Vineyard Sound and beneath the Gay Head Cliffs. You can explore for over a mile along this shoreline: though Moshup Beach itself is only about a half-mile, bordered by private land to the southeast, the town of Aquinnah permits access to the beach below the cliffs to the north and west. Please keep out of any areas marked with “no access” signs, and do not climb on the cliffs or remove any clay; these cliffs, owned by the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe, are under special environmental protection to prevent erosion.

No matter what you enjoy on Moshup Beach, you’ll find it’s a great place to enjoy some coastal serenity; given its distance from the bustling town centers on the western half of the Vineyard, Moshup Beach is usually quieter and less crowded than other island beaches. And, just so no one is surprised, visitors should know that Moshup Beach is considered by some to be the Vineyard’s unofficial “clothing optional” beach.

You can access Moshup Beach via a short trail from the dropoff area along Moshup Trail. You can also get to the beach by walking the South Head Loop of the Aquinnah Headlands Preserve.

10. Playalinda Beach, Florida

Photo: Visit Space Coast
Photo: Visit Space Coast

Playalinda Beach (Playa Linda - Spanish for "beautiful beach") is a beach located on Florida's east coast in Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville, Florida.

Playalinda is considered a surfing location by many of the locals.

Playalinda is accessible from Titusville, Florida. The beach is currently open to the public daily between 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Access to the beach may be closed periodically in preparation for rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station or the Kennedy Space Center, which are just south of Playalinda Beach.

Canaveral National Seashore has concurrent jurisdiction with both the state of Florida and its counties of Volusia and Brevard. Federal, State and County law enforcement officers may enforce any and all respective laws/ordinances that do not conflict with Federal laws and regulations.

Brevard County has an ordinance that prohibits nudity in public places. Playalinda Beach is within the jurisdiction of Brevard County thus the nudity ordinance is enforceable by county and state law officers as well as federal park rangers. The laws are rarely or erratically enforced, however, affording the beach a de facto clothing-optional status. This is only at the last parking location parking lot #13.

Per vehicle : $20.00 per day

Motorcycles: $15.00 per day

Walk-in fee : $10.00 per day (bicycles, pedestrians, occupants of large non-commercial vehicles).

CANA/MINWR annual pass: $40 (Valid at Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

America the Beautiful annual pass: $80 is available to anyone; gives access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.

Senior pass: $80.00 Lifetime

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