Its slogan? “Life is Short: Play Naked.”
That’s Gunnison Beach for you, located in Monmouth County, New Jersey. And all it takes is a quick browse through their website to see that there’s quite a mix of folks who show up to strip down. We at Philly Mag suggested a visit last season, plus the beach has become something of regular folklore for other writers in the city. But what exactly makes it so appealing?
“Yesterday…was my very first time to a nude beach, nude anything really. I had a blast,” wrote one Gunnison “virgin,” who happens to be gay. “The water was beautiful and the sunrise was breath taking. Other people started showing up one by one til it started looking like a mob of people going to a discounted store sale. The people at Gunnison are amazing. Very friendly and everyone was sexy in their own way…A lot of cute guys there; too bad they all or at least most was there with their partner/boyfriend.”
It should be noted that there aren’t just gay folks who frolic along the shore of Gunnison. In fact, if you take a look at their gallery (note: very NSFW), you’ll find the vast majority of sun bathers are pretty average people. In short, this isn’t the gym, nor does it pretend to be. There are self-described “professional straight males” to people who are “mid-20’s, gay, athletic and chill” to married couples.
There are some pretty clear rules: You can’t have sex on the beach. In fact, one forum user shared that s/he “witnessed [a] couple (man and a woman) arrested (even handcuffed)” and wanted to know if this was “a regular occurence or [an] exception to the rule.” The best response? A user summed it up nicely:
“If anything is going to ruin our beach, this will. That the NPS has deemed it necessary to post signs warning people about this is quite disturbing. As for marijuana, visitors to Gunnison need to realize that regardless of policy in the state of NJ, Sandy Hook is federal land and subject to federal law. Even if NJ were to decriminalize it, it is still illegal under federal law, which the rangers are obliged to enforce. The only difference between Gunnison and any other public beach is that it is clothing optional. Other than taking off you clothes, don’t do anything here that you wouldn’t do at any other beach.”
I also found that this user’s nude beach etiquette guide is pretty comprehensive and full of common sense. In part, it reads:
“Do not, by any means, stare at anyone. If a person catches your fancy, a smile, a nod, or a friendly ‘Hello’ can be your icebreaker.
Do not take any pictures of anyone. I would say don’t even ask.
In case an erection happens (it’s normal, nothing new here) do not flaunt it. Lay down on your belly and wait for it to pass.
Careful with alcohol. I know that it’s extremely exciting that alcohol is allowed on this beach, but keep in mind your personal metabolism and be careful.”
Overall, Gunnison has a an extremely loyal following, and first timers, as a whole, seem to “feel at home” when they rid themselves of their clothing. “I was a little nervous when I got there, but it took me no more than a couple of seconds to tell myself that I’m there for the same reason that everyone is, which is to enjoy the feeling of being nude,” wrote one visitor. “So off the clothes went!”