Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nudity on Gunnison Beach

On Sunday, A., his friend and I headed to Gunnison Beach, the largest nude beach on the East Coast and the only legal one in New Jersey. Named after Gunnison Battery, a government fort built to protect the New York Harbor in the 1800s that later became a test site for the US Army and then missile defense installations, the beach served as a skinny-dipping spot for stationed soldiers. Three years after the base was decommissioned in 1972, Gunnison opened as a public clothing-optional beach and because it lies on federal land, NJ's state laws forbidding nude beaches do not apply here. (The same goes for alcohol so drinking on the beach is allowed, too!) Nearly 5,000 people make their way to the half-mile beach on sunny summer weekends to sunbathe without the risk of tan lines.

We boarded the American Princess ferry (the SeaStreak also makes the trip) at South Street Seaport's Pier 11 (near Wall Street) early in the morning and headed out to the Sandy Hook peninsula. Along the breezy 45-minute trip, we enjoyed views of lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn and Verrazano Bridges, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis and Governor's Islands, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Once we reached the Jersey Shore, two school buses awaited us for our transfer to the nearby beaches. I felt like such a deviant when the bus made its first stop at Gunnison and the driver kept emphasizing "CLOTHING-OPTIONAL BEACH" as we filed out. I couldn't get out fast enough.
After feeling like Jesus trekking through the desert (it's a half-mile blazing hot walk from the parking lot to the beach), it took another while to find ourselves a good spot to claim. Eye candy was sparse, people. There were naked and clothed sunbathers in all colors, shapes and sizes (lots and lots of sizes), but the majority were older than us. Still, it was interesting to see people baring all and just strutting around, completely comfortable with nudity. Imagine seeing one naked guy walk over to his nude neighbors to help them hammer in their umbrella. Or another group chat about a recent trip to Ireland. One voluptuous lady was going around recruiting people for volleyball. Naked volleyball. (I passed on seeing all that in action.) It was definitely a chill environment that if anything made me feel much better about the body I have.
All in all we had a great time frying in the sun and cooling off in the Atlantic even though the latter consisted of me clinging onto A.'s neck, screaming in pure terror and then laughing with each incoming wave. As for whether any of us joined the nudists, well, I'll just leave that one to your imagination.

Images: gunnisonbeach.org


  1. Are you on a speed boat? Skiing? Did you get to go skiing?? Oh, I'm so jealous of the sun and the water. This summer is just passing me by and I hate it! You totally did NOT nude bathe. :) A, on the other hand, was probably on the winning volleyball team. Ha!

  2. I am so going there! NAKED! The human body is one of the most beautiful creations. Thanks for the idea ;) Ya and we all know you most definitely did NOT go nude... nice try though ;)

  3. I want to go there only because I can drink. I'm sure you did not even let a cheek out so... I won't even go there. I'm so curious now.

  4. LOL@Tooje's comment ... yeah, I can buy into You - Not, A. - Yes, and on the winning Volleyball team too...

    I'm glad you got into the water... :) Nice to see you trusted A. not to leave ya to drown.

  5. so where are the pics of all the old wrinkly flesh? And did you drink? Were there old people puking their guts out from rum punch at 11am? I expect lots more details!

  6. Whaaaaat?! Where are all the photos of dickies and boobies?

    -Your "Inception" Pal, Z

  7. Lol, I love how everyone assumes you didn't go nude or at the very least topless.... hmmm....

  8. That last picture of you is gorgeous!

  9. tooje, no, I'm not water skiing nor have I ever been. That was on the ferry ride over to NJ. It was sooo hot, but at least it was very breezy. The ride back to Manhattan was wonderful. Better views and A. and I just sat outside, talked and watched the scenery go by. Very sweet moment :)

    And you're on maternity leave! Enjoy it because before you know it, it'll be winter and you'll be back at work!

    anonymous, yes, it definitely opens your eyes to how diverse people are. It should be embraced! Let me know how it goes if you decide to go over.

    hell notes, I know the boys really enjoyed those beers after sitting out in the sun for a couple hours.

    intense guy, yup! I told him that was a big deal for me to trust someone in the water. He never tried to scare me or anything and tried his best to calm me down when the water was getting too high for my comfort level. I still freaked out a bit though. It'll take some time.

    plantress and z, sorry guys! No cameras/picture-taking were allowed on the beach and I was NOT about to risk it for some pics of old, wrinkly nudists. You want more details, huh? Ok:

    - There was lots of saggy "flotation devices" (on the ladies) and little "buttons" (on the gentlemen). The latter could have been due to the cold water, but come on now, it can only shrink so much right?

    - On top of that, sometimes you'd catch a glimpse of some guy spread out just a bit too wide on his chair/towel. That's when you quickly turn away, hope they're wearing enough sunblock and proceed to remove the image from your memory.

    - When we were safely on the beach, small shark came up to the shore and there was a lot of screaming going on. Of course, "safely on the beach" doesn't really work for my curious self so I ran down to see for myself. The boys followed after.

    dama and andrew, hush ya faces!

    sugarlens, thanks! It's been a great summer so far. Here's to more fun!

  10. Why is it that the only people that walk around nude are the ones nobody wants to see?? ;-) The boat looks like fun!

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  12. I have been to gunnison several times, To walk around naked in the sun with others feels great. And as long as you don`t exspect to see a beach full of hard bodies, You can relax and enjoy.


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