July 4th-10th 2011 is National Nude Recreation Week. On June 9th the American Association for Nude Recreation will try to set a new Guinness World Record for Skinny Dipping.
The only legal nude beach in the state of New Jersey is Gunnison Beach. It is a clothing optional beach which means you can go naked or wear a bathing suit if you want to. You don’t have to take your clothes off to go on the beach. Gunnison Beach is a beach at Sandy Hook, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The only other beach in New Jersey to attempt this is Asbury Park’s topless beach proposal but that never panned out.
I remember the first time I found out about Gunnison Beach. I went to Sandy Hook for the day with my friend and one of his friends who was on military leave, I forget what his name was. We looked at some of the ruins and found a beach that was further in than the ones we usually went to. As we were sitting on the beach, a naked guy walked right by us just as casual as anything. We were shocked so the guy on military leave walked up to the Lifeguard that was pretty close to us and asked him “What the hell is that?”. To which the Lifeguard responded : “The next beach over is a clothing optional beach but that upside-down boat in the sand is the border. They aren’t supposed to go past it.” He said that if the guy didn’t walk back quickly then he would tell him to go back. So the naked guy just as casually walked back to the beach adjacent to us.
Once we found out it was a nude beach we looked over and you could see some people relaxing, playing volleyball and other general activities in the most nonchalant manner, but the people were so far away, it was difficult to really see them that well. We didn’t go on the beach because we thought that we had to get naked if we wanted to go there. Anyway, from what we could see, it was just a bunch of normal people, doing routine things, not some kind of exotic vision that the term “nude beach” conjures up when you first hear it. I have been back by the beach a couple times since and have seen that more people are wearing clothes than not most of the time. It is just an option, not a requirement. The only other attempt at this kind of thing was Asbury Park’s failed plan of letting women go topless on their beaches.
The American Association for Nude Recreation has roots dating back to 1931, and the National Nude Recreation Week began in 1976 as National Nude weekend. Last year, the AANR Skinny Dipping Event set a Guinness World Record with 14,110 people worldwide including 321 people from Gunnison Beach in New Jersey.
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