A well-known “secret” about certain parts of the Outer Banks is that you can find miles of beach that is so desolate, you may not see another soul all day and can enjoy nature to its fullest.
Now an organization that says it protects “the freedoms and rights of those who participate in wholesome, family-style nude recreation” in North America, has announced its members would love to see a nude beach on the Outer Banks.
The American Association for Nude Recreation released on Thursday results of an informal survey of its members listing of the top 16 pristine shores where naturists would most like to commune with nature, au natural.
“For centuries skinny-dipping has been widely accepted as a wholesome activity,” the group said in a press release. “In fact it’s an activity long espoused by the Young Men’s Christian Association, where before the YMCA admitted females in the early 1960s, swimming trunks were not even allowed in their pools.”
The group notes that public officials are slowly realizing the benefits to tourism from nude beaches, and are now starting to create official nude beaches such as Gunnison Beach in New Jersey, Haulover Beach in Florida, and Rooster Rock in Oregon.
Along with the Outer Banks, the beaches of Norfolk and Virginia Beach are on the list, along with Assateague Island State Park in Maryland, the Delaware shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Coney Island, N.Y., Ohio’s Lake Erie beaches, Lake Michigan and Minnesota’s Lake Superior beaches.
In Florida, Marathon, Key West and Panama City are places the survey says need a nude beach, as are Galveston, Rockport and Baytown, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, the Colorado River’s Lake Powell, Lake Mead and Lake Havasu, the American River in Sacramento, California, Orange County, Calif., Fort Bragg/Mendocino, Calif., and the North Shore of Oahu.
It should be noted, regulations regarding nudity in North Carolina are pretty straight forward, although there have been challenges in court that have made things less transparent depending on the situation.
State law defines nudity as “willful exposure of private parts in a public place and in the presence of others of opposite sex or aiding, abetting or procuring another to do so.” So that pretty much covers the beaches from Corolla to Nags Head.
As for the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, that law applies and is enforced on those federal lands under a reciprocity agreement between the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and North Carolina.
And there are signs in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, which has a reputation for being a popular skinny-dipping spot, that specifically warn against “goin’ nekkid.”
The nearest “clothing-optional” resort to the Outer Banks is located near Ivor, Virginia.