When swim briefs are your go-to gay summer attire, why wear anything at all? Stay naked with these fun, in-the-flesh warm-weather activities and getaways.
1. Nude Beaches
My first introduction to naked summer a few years ago was on Gunnison Beach in New Jersey’s Sandy Hook, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area—located on the northernmost tip of the Jersey Shore—which, on clear days, provides plenty of seclusion, sunshine and a not-too-distant view of downtown Manhattan. While this private stretch of sand skews straight and toward those who engage in a swingers “lifestyle” (though sexual activity is prohibited here, and there are police present to keep things kosher), free birds of all ages flock to this birthday-suit bastion, with the gayest among them occupying the southern quarter of the isolated oceanfront. I’ve also dropped trou on South Florida’s Haulover Beach, where LGBTQ beachgoers are greater in number and, well, much more “Miami.” Other top nude beaches in the United States include Maui’s Little Beach; Rooster Rock Beach in Oregon; Hippi Hollow Beach in Austin, Texas; and San Francisco’s Baker Beach.
Naked group exercise is on the rise all over the country thanks to classes like in-the-buff hot yoga that gained popularity after big press in major cities like New York and L.A. Now you can find all kinds of ways to rock out with your cock out: There’s high-intensity interval training at Hanson Fitness in Manhattan, co-ed naked pilates where available, and a growing number of nude running and cycling events.
To toast my bare buns in an amenity-filled social setting, I prefer the Grand Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale—spring for the penthouse if you’ve got summer vacay cash to burn—but there are several other options for hide-and-peek staycays worth the splurge, including INNdulge Palm Springs, Island House in Key West, and New Orleans’ Green House Inn.
Recently my boyfriend and I experienced our first nude camping weekend at The Woods Campground in Lehighton, Pa., and while the great outdoors and exposing everything our daddies gave us wasn’t always conducive to one another (like letting it all hang out in front of a crackling fire), it was a liberating 48 hours of excitement, adventure and even romance. This sprawling mobile community, consisting of permanent seasonal residents along with visitors like us, features pool and dance parties; site-specific social events, including drink crawls; let-it-all-hang-out woodland hikes; body painting; and a little nighttime naughtiness in the shadows if you’re up for it. Demographic is roughly 95% gay men, but there were a smattering of lesbians and hetero couples. Jones Pond in New York, Whispering Oaks in Tennessee, and Pennsylvania’s Hillside Campgrounds also offer clothing-optional camping for the LGBTQ community.
There’s only one multi-day nude festival in the United States —the Northeast Naturist Festival at Empire Haven Nudist Park in Moravia, N.Y., in early August most years. But you also can take your bare-the-skin-you’re-in pursuits abroad by attending Nudefest in the United Kingdom. Or you may join our carefree neighbors to the north at Toronto’s Body Fest, featuring nude Olympics, stand-up comedy, fire-spinning (maybe cover your crotch for this one), and a dance party; in 2019 it was on Aug. 9.
Where there’s a will, there’s a wang—when it comes to naked gaycations, anyway. Nude cruising is no exception. Happy Gay Travel provides a comprehensive list of gay sailing holidays around the world, with suns-out-buns-out visits to exotic Ibiza and Formentera in Spain, island hopping in Croatia, and relaxing au naturel in Greece and Indonesia.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets. He spends his time writing from the Asbury Park beach with his dog, Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Instagram @mikeyrox