The Soul Birds, a rock 'n' roll band from Orlando, said that performing naked, in front of an unclothed crowd, was easier than traditional venues.

"You don't have stage fright," said Kenny Faj, the band's frontman. "That whole 'picture the audience naked' thing really comes to fruition."

When not dancing, the naturists had full hands. Naturist protocol requires that everyone carry a towel so that no genitals touch public seating surfaces. Also, they carried armfuls of mosquito and ant repellent. Strangers joined the fight against bugs, sharing calamine lotion and American Spirits, like comrades in a trench.

Anna Phillips and Robbe White head the Florida Young Naturists, for 18- to 30-year-olds.
Michael McElroy
Anna Phillips and Robbe White head the Florida Young Naturists, for 18- to 30-year-olds.

Arlette Opazo, who interns with a shaman and had been to several FYN events, smoked a cigarette beside the pond. "Out there in the world, it's always, like, what do I have to do next?" she said. "Time stops existing here."

"Naturism has also helped me to accept my body," she said. "As a bigger woman, I have felt like there's something wrong with me. But here, everyone is accepting — you learn that body types vary and that they're all normal."

Just then, a skinny, paint-covered guy with a mop top and suede loin cloth wandered over.

"Hey, so, uh, we can smoke out here, right?" he asked.

"You can smoke cigarettes in the designated areas," Opazo says, flicking away a cylinder of ash.

"No," the guy says. "Smoke."

"Oh. Oh, no! Not at all," she clarifies. "If you're going to do that, you have to do that in private, in your tent."

Another attendee, let's call him "James," agreed to show me around the grounds. So off we went — James with a towel in hand, me with a plaid scarf around my hips.

"Do you mind holding my keys?" he asked. "No pockets."

"What's that tattoo?" he then asked, pointing at my chest.

James, a 23-year-old student majoring in history at Palm Beach State College, came to the weekend's festivities by himself and planned to sleep in his car. It was his first event, which he'd heard about on Facebook. He hadn't told his parents, whom he lives with, because they're very strict Christians.

"Hey, are you hungry?" he asked. "We can grab some food."

"Oh man," he said, in a slight Southern twang as we arrived at the café. "I forgot my wallet in my car. No pockets."


"I'll walk back to my car to get it. It's not that far. Unless..."


"Well, I mean, I hate to do this, but would you mind..."

"You know what, don't even worry about it, James. I'll get dinner."

"I'll pay you back right when I get to the car."

We get two plates of vegetarian spaghetti with meatballs and two iced teas, which all came out to a little more than 20 bucks. James was not supposed to eat spaghetti, on account of the gluten, but it was a special weekend. The food was a great price, considering the size of the portions.

Later, James asked, "Could you make sure to approve my friend request? But not to say anything about this on my Facebook wall? Please! I just don't want anyone to see or my parents to find out or anything."


"Great! Well, it's nice to meet you. I'll pay you back."

The next day, I noticed James on a chair by the pool, sunbathing. He looked up and wordlessly nodded. Later that day, he again barely acknowledged me. It was as if he'd completely forgotten about the spaghetti and meatballs.

It's easy to work up an appetite after a day playing in the sun, whacking volleyballs at Sunsport, or splashing in the ocean at Haulover Beach.

On the Sunday night of the Bash, a group of naturists hit swank Clematis Street, in downtown West Palm Beach, to forage. It was a "Naked Sushi Party." Men and women walked down the sidewalk in beach garb, towels in hand. One by one, they knocked on the front door; the restaurant's windows were blocked out with paper for the night. The door slowly opened, and they slipped in, unnoticed.

A little before 7, about eight people were here, all dressed. The room had the awkward vibe of a middle school dance: They spread their towels and sarongs out on the sofas and barstools before sitting, even if they were still clothed. The bar staff remained clothed in traditional black, the sushi chef in whites. (Bar staffers later reported that naked people are just as polite and as good at tipping as clothed people.)

"Do you think we're supposed to wait?" a young brunet whispered to her husband. "Nobody else is naked."

"I don't know; I guess it's fine," he said.

"Maybe when more people get here? It's cold," she said, rubbing her arms. A few minutes later, another attendee — an alpha male — appeared naked in the corner. The husband and wife glanced at each other, stood, and slipped off their shorts and dress.

The couple, attractive brunets in their 20s, reported that they had just come from Haulover Beach — described adoringly in nudist literature as "America's best nude beach." They'd been there a few times, they said, but this was their first FYN event. The husband, a computer technician, and the wife, unemployed but looking for a gig in human resources, asked not to be named, on account of her job search.

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Mindy Songfer
Mindy Songfer

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My reaction is a big YUK! However, if they stay on their own turf, and well out of sight of the rest of us, then let them do as the please.

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Diana Hanks

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Michael McCormick
Michael McCormick

Help save nudists. Fight for freedom. Try to think about how things were prior to the Victorian age. Try to think about how God wanted us to be according to the book of Genesis. One should  know that there is a time and place for everything but, one should also remember that when there is shame, the heart is not right in acceptance. Let's work together for this cause.


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Patricia Beach
Patricia Beach

This is the best article I've read about a first time nude experience at both a naturist resort and a nude beach. I read an article about where to go for your first outdoor nude experience. author's experience bears out what I read in the article. Make your first time at a first class nudist resort. I happen to love going to a nude beach, but I always go with my husband. We witnessed some harassment of a single woman at Haulover. She was there by herself. Three clothed guys put their towels down near her and kept trying to engage her in conversation. She got up and left. We not only need more legal nude beaches, they need to have the same level of protection and services that textile beaches do. I noted in her article that a policeman did show up at Haulover.


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Michael McCormick
Michael McCormick

I am beginning to resemble that remark because of my age. However, I am behind you a 100%. If I could go back about 20 years, I would. Thanks for being honest. That only tells me I am not in shape and yet, there are things I can probably do to get back in shape.


Pffffft. Take a poll. I vurped because the visual stimulus resulted in that reaction. If my reaction is the thing that is wrong with this country, then maybe one of has our priorities skewed.