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Gunnison Beach at Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
My wife and I had enjoyed nudism at Higbee beach in south NJ for a few years before Cape May NJ officially outlawed nudity there. It's a rather sad story actually. Higbee is a very small strip of sand right next to a wildlife reserve. This beach has been clothing optional for many years before the internet popularized it. The problem is that its small size could not support the increasingly larger and larger numbers of people that began frequenting it, and the area suffered environmentally. There was no trash collection so the beach became more and more dirty, a cigarette but here, a coke bottle there etc. Then there were the crowds spilling over into the small and weak dunes.
Even before nudism was banned at Higbee, my wife and I had given up going there, hoping to at least not add to the problems. But with Higbee out we didn't know of any local clothing optional beaches. For us nudism became something we did only on vacation. We've been to clothing optional beaches in Europe and the Caribbean.
This obviously limited the number of times we could enjoy being nude at the beach. Then one day I found reference to Sandy Hook in North New Jersey. Sandy Hook is a national park located on a sandbar sticking up towards NYC (you can actually see the skyline from most beaches). Of Sandy Hook's multiple beaches one, called Gunnison or Area G is clothing optional.
Unlike Higbee, Gunnison is huge. On my most recent trip there were well over one thousand people, almost all of them nude. Gunnison provides parking and although I hear the lot fills very quickly in the morning I have always managed to find a spot. (My advice: arrive before 9:30 am in the summer.) Approaching Gunnison you first see a concession stand and bathroom / changing rooms and outside showers. This is a clothing required area, hence the need for indoor changing rooms. The concession stand boasts a large selection of options, however each time I've been there hotdogs and sodas were all that were available.
From the concession stand and parking lot there is still a long hike to the water across a long hot sand beach. So realize what ever you are carrying you'll have to carry rather far. Also Sandy Hook does not have a trash /waste collection service but instead request visitors adhere to a carry on - carry off policy. (That is taking your trash away with you.)
Clearly posted signs that warn the one may encounter nude sunbathers, and officially mark the clothing optional section. Although by time you see the signs, you can also clearly see the hundreds of naked people ahead.
The sand is a little coarse and there are a lot of seashell fragments making beach sports rare despite the ample open sand. But there is a volleyball net up for those who can brave the shells. The water is clean and low on salt and seaweed because of its relative closeness to the NYC bays.
One difference between Gunnison and all other nude beaches I've ever been to is the presence of lifeguards, (although they are clothed).
Generally everyone seems great. Neither my wife nor I have had any problems with gawkers or pervs. Although being as close to NYC as it is, Gunnison does draw interesting people with all kinds of tattoos and piercings on all kinds of body parts. One thing to note, it appears the far end of the beach tends to be a gay section.
Finally…..Sandy Hook is a National Park and wildlife refuge and during the summer charges admission around $10 per car on the weekends.
All considered even with my limited exposure to clothing optional beaches in America, Gunnison has got to be one of the best.
Hope to see you there.
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