The Few Spots Where It’s Totally Legal to be Totally Naked in New Jersey
While not talked about a lot, being "in the buff" in the Garden State is still a sorta-kinda relatively popular activity.
I mean, it's not as popular as, like, going to an Eagles or Giants game or something, but to each his own.
And perhaps it's not talked about a lot because where one can be free, in that capacity, is pretty limited in this state.
Or, more likely, it's not talked about a lot because being naked in public while playing badminton or throwing a frisbee is seen as weird to lots of people.
The other day, I was reading a piece that a co-worker wrote a while ago that asked if the old nudist camp in Mays Landing from the 1930s should reopen. That got me to think about where you can legally be in the buff in New Jersey.
As it turns out, if you wish to bare it all here, your choices are very limited.
And that's not the only thing that was very limited. As it turns out, while researching this topic, I discovered that our corporate IT people frown upon folks visiting nudist websites while at work (who'da thunk?). So, since I couldn't actually visit the websites of many of the places below, I had to piece a lot of the information together. Therefore, do you own research before visiting any of these places.
To the best of my knowledge, here's where it's totally legal to be totally naked in New Jersey.
Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook/Gateway National Recreation Area
The only legal clothing-optional beach in the Garden State is Gunnison Beach at Sandy Hook/Gateway National Recreation Area. In fact, it's the largest such beach on the East Coast. It's not uncommon to see thousands of people sans clothing there on any given weekend in the summer.
According to Wikipedia, "It was the discovery of Gunnison Beach's natural seclusion by park visitors in the late 1970s and early 1980s that led to its inception as a nude beach."
Sky Farm, Basking Ridge
Sky Farm is a members-only nudist resort located on a 36-acres Basking Ridge, Somerset County. According to their website (which I can't actually look at), it is the oldest clothing-optional club in America.
Goodland Country Club, Hackettstown/Mt. Olive
Another place in New Jersey where you can be as free as you want to be is in the Hackettstown/Mt. Olive section of Warren County. That's where you'll find Goodland Country Club, "a nudist park with a very large swimming pool, sunbathing, [and] camping," and areas to park your RV, too.
Rock Lodge Club, Hardyston Township
The Rock Lodge Club is a naturist club in Hardyston Township, Sussex County. Sitting on some 145 acres, the area is rich in history; the nudist club began in 1946.
NOT a nude beach: Higbee Beach, Cape May
So far, all of the locations that have been mentioned have been legal clothing-optional places in New Jersey. And then there's Higbee Beach.
According to capemay.com, Higbee Beach, on the Delaware Bay side of Cape May County, has had a colorful history. In the 1960s, it, "became a naturist’s destination – with nudity on the beach unchallenged for many years."
However, challenges for those that enjoyed the beach started in 1986 when Lower Township passed an ordinance banning nudity, which a state court supported. The state passed a similar law in the 1990s.
Closed: Sunshine Park, Mays Landing
Nearly a century ago, Sunshine Park opened along Somers Point-Mays Landing Road in Mays Landing. According to Shore Local News,
[The park] became a weekend getaway for as many as 750 practicing nudist families. Men, women and children would stay in cabins, enjoying the natural sunbathing, swimming pool, playing tennis, using the sauna, whirlpool and playing miniature golf. Most people would gather in the evenings before the mosquitoes would start biting and play volleyball.
In the 1980s, more and more residents complained about the park and it officially closed in 1983.