Florida can no longer cover up the naked truth. Nude and clothing-optional resorts are taking off. 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.
Nudism Throughout History
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 create the perfect climate for optional clothing opportunities, even if Florida Law casts an uneven shadow on the conduct.
Nudism in Florida
In Brevard County's Public Nudity Ordinance, Playalinda Beach is specifically addressed. In the findings of the Board of County Commissioners, Playalinda Beach's nudity is specifically addressed and it is determined that nude sunbathing is not constitutionally protected. However, law enforcement has been known to look the other way unless there have been complaints or if the nudity includes sexual behavior.
Along the same coastline two hundred miles to the south, Miami-Dade County operates a legal clothing-optional beach, Haulover 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 are 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 obtains land-use permits allowing the lifestyle.
Nudity and Private Property Owners
Even so, even private property owners are at risk. In the spring of 2002, Eddie and Suzy Colosimo opened their six-acre property to visiting bikers during Daytona Beach's annual Bike Week. The Colosimo 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 ended up playing out in court.
In 2009, authorities in Hernando County shut down a Florida lottery winner that was in the process of opening a Nude Dude Ranch on his 10 acres in Brooksville. Hernando County passed a strict no-nudity law to keep clothing-optional resorts from making their way into the county.
Like other controversial issues, these 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 and be prepared to cover up if asked.
- Caliente Resort - Land O'Lakes (Pasco County)
- Cypress Cove Resort & Spa - Kissimmee (Osceola County)
- Lake Como Family Resort - Land O'Lakes (Pasco County)
- Paradise Lakes - Land O'Lakes (Pasco County)
- Roof Top Resort - Hollywood (Broward County)
- Sunnier Palms - Fort Pierce (St. Lucie County)
- Sunny Sands Resort - Pierson (Volusia County)
- Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort
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 about this issue, you should contact the law enforcement agency in the area that you will be staying.