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Key West, Florida

Sometime in 2000.

People ask whether there are any clothing-optional beaches in Key West and the answer to that, as has been said here, is that there is very little beach of any kind on the island. I'd say the strip of public beach is maybe 1.5 miles long. The last time I was there, I saw 2 or 3 topfree women, but I didn't see any yesterday, though I was there earlier in the day than last time. Interestingly, I saw two nude children (one maybe 3 and the other 9, the latter walking between an RV and the beach) this time. The water at these beaches is very shallow and they don't seem to see a whole lot of usage, though enough that they can't simply be "liberated".

There are basically two sites of naturist interest on the island: the Atlantic Shores Motel, and the rooftop "Garden of Eden". I spent a few hours during the morning at Atlantic Shores, near the foot of Duval. Their web page implies to me that the extent of the clothing-optional area has changed from the last time I was there, but that wasn't the case. Atlantic Shores used to describe itself as "the premier gay motel" in Key West, though it's trying (I'd say unsuccessfully) to market to a wider audience. It is most definitely *not* a naturist hotel, since only the pool deck and pier (not even the restaurant and bar that connect them) is clothing-optional. I would recommend this place *only* to people who are quite comfortable nude, especially in the case of women.

Yesterday the place was *jammed*, with chairs taking up nearly every available square foot of space in the sun: it was really hard to move around. It's not quite as bad on less busy days, but there is usually a crowd there and less "experienced" nudists will probably be bothered by the lack of space between people.

The crowd is mostly (I'd say 80 percent at least) male (the vast majority of whom are likely gay, for those who care). I'd guess about 40 percent of the men there are nude. About half the women were topfree, but I only noticed perhaps a half dozen nude women of the perhaps 300 people there. I tried to go into the pool but it was very cold to me (about 72 according to the thermometer in my watch. What also bothered me was the continuous loud music (enough that it was hard to concentrate on the book I was reading), interrupted by announcements of contests, future events, and people's lunch being ready for pickup. This is not a good place for quiet sunning!

My surprise was when I went to check out the "Garden of Eden". This is a rooftop sundeck on top of the Bull and Whistle bars (two separate bars) at 224 Duval, near the north end of the street. It's listed as clothing-optional, but I had no idea what to expect. Interestingly, nothing on the way up there says it's clothing-optional, so I was figuring it didn't get much nude use. I was wrong!

This is a nice setup. I'd guess there were maybe 50 lounge chairs, a small bar, a shower and nothing else. The bartender set the tone by being topfree. The demographics varied through the three hours I was there, but much of the time I'd say it was about 60 percent men, with perhaps 70 percent of the men nude.

All of the women were at least topfree and about 40 percent were nude. It looked like a lot of the people who were there knew each other, so I think this is a local hangout in addition to being a tourist place. Getting back to the site, this is not exactly a place I'd recommend for first-timers (despite those events), but people don't need to feel nearly as comfortable nude as they need to be for Atlantic Shores. I'd certainly recommend any naturist in or near Key West go check it out.

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