The Bare Truth About Florida’s Beaches and Resorts
By Dawn Henthorn, About.com
Florida can no longer cover up the naked truth. Nude and clothing-optional resorts are taking off.
Alright, so I’m having a little fun with puns, but the truth of the matter is, that according to James Thorner of the St. Petersburg Times, one Florida county is gaining “status as the North American Capital of Nudism.” That county – Pasco – just north of Tampa does have more than its share of residents and visitors willing expose themselves.
Going au’ naturel is nothing new… it was a common practice back in the time of the early Olympic games in Greece. Gymnos – Greek for naked – was how these athletes trained and competed. But, with the demise of the ancient civilizations and the beginning of a religion that stressed the sinfulness of sensuality, nudism was on the decline and body shame began its rise.
Organized nudity became the fashion in the early Twentieth Century in Germany as a way of shedding the too-tight collars for less restrictive clothing. After World War II, the idea caught on as international tourism took hold. Today it is a world-wide practice, although not always widely accepted.
Certainly Florida’s mild temperatures creates the perfect climate for optional clothing opportunities, even if Florida Law casts an uneven shadow on the conduct.
According to FloridaNaturist.org, “inappropriate” dress is a crime in Brevard County due to a swimwear ordinance. As a matter of fact, at the out-of-the-way, but traditionally nude Federal Beach, a Brazilian tourist was arrested for wearing a French-cut bikini. Yet, along the same coastline two hundred miles to the south, Miami-Dade County operates a legal clothing-optional beach, where any given weekend, a thousand or more totally nude men, women and children frolic in the surf and sun.
Perhaps it is the irregular distribution and enforcement of nudity laws that is driving naturists to private nude and clothing-optional resorts and clubs creating a surge in their popularity. Resorts and clubs sit on private property which usually obtain land-use permits allowing the lifestyle.
Even so, The Naturist Journal reports that even private property owners are at risk. Last spring, Eddie and Suzy Colosimo opened their six-acre property to visiting bikers during Daytona Beach’s annual Bike Week. The Colosimo’s allowed their guests to roam nude on the property. That created a stir within the county, who slapped them with a cease-and-desist order. It’s a land-use issue that may play out in court.
Like other controversial issues, this one may never go away. Nude and clothing-optional proponents may forever be locked into a battle with those that make and enforce the laws that govern the use of public facilities and seek to limit freedom of private land use.
So, bare if you dare while you’re in Florida, but be sure to check local laws wherever you go.
Florida Nude Beaches:
Air Force Beach
MacArthur Beach State Park, Palm Beach County
Sunny Isles, Miami-Dade County
Jupiter Island, Martin County
Blind Creek Beach
Hutchinson Island, Martin County
St. Lucie Inlet
St. Lucie State Reserve, Martin County
American Assoc for Nude Recreation
Florida Keys Naturists
International Naturist Federation
Palm Beach Naturists
The Naturist Journal
The Naturist Society
*NOTE: Information presented on this page does not mean that Florida law allows nudity in public places. Nudity in a public place may constitute a violation of one or more Florida Statutes. If you have concerns over this issue, you should contact the law enforcement agency in the area that you will be staying.
If you are considering a gay nudist vacation to South Florida, book your stay at The Cabanas Guesthouse and spa in Fort Lauderdale.