Etiquette for Nudist Colonies

As Methods of Mayhem famously said, “Get naked.” Surely they meant, “Get naked while adhering to a strict set of rules.” And if that’s not what they meant, it’s certainly on the minds of every attendee at a nudist colony. From time to time, you must wonder, “how do nudist colonies work?” Well, thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can learn all about the importance of towels and the intense hatred for photography that exists in the world of nude beaches and resorts. Keep reading to learn some of the strangest nudist colony rules, ones you’ve always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask (or maybe just had no one to ask about).

Rules at nudist colonies are some of the most important mandates in civilized society. After all, if there are no nudism rules, how can there by any rules? And with no rules, society devolves into a state of chaos. If you’re thinking about visiting a nudist colony for the first time, or if you’re an interested voyeur, this list of strange nudist colony guidelines will get you in the right head space to play a naked game of gin rummy. And if you prescribe to the groovy nudist lifestyle and notice anything missing from this list, feel free to leave a comment. 

No Lingerie, Underwear, Or Suggestive Attire

An article on etiquette from The Well Written Woman warns against prospective visitors to nudist colonies wearing anything too revealing. According to the ethos of the naturalism movement, the point of hanging out naked lies in casting off the chains of societal “rules” to relax.

Remember, you’re headed to a nudist colony, not a strip club.

You Don’t Have To Be Naked

Here’s a weird rule from nudist colonies – you can where clothes (sometimes). Resorts at which you can freely roam about in the buff don’t usually require you to be this way 24/7. Per a Huffington Post article on the topic:

At Desert Sun, clothing isn’t required anywhere on the property, however nudity is a must at the pools, Jacuzzis and while on the pool decks. And no need to bring a swimsuit since those are banned too. Owner Elizabeth Young says, “Unlike some places, requiring nudity in and around the pool puts everyone on the same level and there is no judgment. Desert Sun Resort has found that this works well for first timers to feel comfortable. There is nothing worse than being at a clothing optional resort and you are the only one nude in the pool.”

Do Not Feed The Alligators

So, this was an unexpected rule. If you’re visiting a nudist colony that’s anywhere near a wild animal reserve (or any other places with apex predators or cheeky buggers like chimpanzees), it’s probably a good idea to avoid all creatures that would happily snap off your parts.

Cypress Cove, a nudist resort and spa in swampy Florida, strongly recommends against feeding the alligators. Mainly because they’re alligators, and, naked or not, they are dangerous.

Being Naked Doesn’t Mean Getting It On

This seems kinda obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind. In a nude environment, maybe you’ll meet someone you like. You’re both letting it all hang out, you’ve had a few cocktails, you’re feeling frisky. There isn’t a stitch of clothing in sight. Sounds like the ideal situation to get lucky, right?


According to this Huffington Post piece about the myth-vs-reality of nudist colony life, “It may seem hard to believe, what with all the naked people running around, but nudist resorts are not sexually charged environments. Any type of overt sexual behavior is actually a big no-no.”

You Have To Carry A Towel At All Times

Many nudist colonies implement this rule as a safeguard for various situations, from comfort to sanitary purposes. Per the Cypress Cove Nudist Etiquette & Rules, “Carry a towel with you at all times and ALWAYS SIT ON YOUR TOWEL for sanitary reasons.”

The concept, it turns out, is universal. The rules of pretty much every nudist colony/resort/beach stress the importance of bringing a towel along with you for sanitary reasons (and just in case you need something to cover up any….physical expressions of excitement).

You Can Bring Your Kids

Naturalism is totally about being free and comfortable – not finding a hook-up. There are numerous resorts and nudist colonies that bill themselves as family-friendly and posit that children should not be excluded from the experience. Blue Lake Resort, based in Erie, IL, explain that children are more than welcome:

“Your children are as safe here as they are in your home,” the group says on its site. “As for the child’s acceptance of being nude? Children adjust fairly quickly after getting undressed.”

Make Sure You’re Actually At A Nudist Colony

Nudists mistaking regular beaches for nude beaches happens more than you might think. So remember, before you ditch your clothes, make sure you check the signs, and maybe even ask a few people if you’re in the right spot. It never hurts to be cautious.

Stop Staring At People

One of the most important things to remember about going to nudist colony is, no one wants to be judged. The whole point of going without clothing in a safe environment is shedding the veneer of society and being comfortable in your natural skin.

So it’s a big no to have some weirdo gawking. This is a very important point because this environment is – and should be – a safe space.

If You Get Aroused, Cover Up

People are human – things happen. It’s the way of the world. If you get physically aroused, it’s normal. However, it is important to react appropriately and swiftly. If you are…engorged..reach for a towel to cover up immediately. Or, if you’re sitting or lying down, maybe just roll over.

If you don’t take steps to remedy the situation, you’ll probably get yourself kicked out of the colony/resort/beach. To quote The Well Written Woman, “Anyone deliberately laying down or walking around with an obvious erection is trying to draw attention to themselves.”

Don’t Use Arousal As An Excuse To Approach Other Nudists

Don’t push up on other people for certain…activities, whether you are aroused or not. If you are aroused, per the prior suggestion, put it away/cover up. Naturalists seek safe environments to escape the unnecessary pressure placed on people by mainstream media. Moreover, many nudist colonies seek to be as family-friendly as possible. Flaunting your arousal around contravenes that ideal.

Please Walk Along The Shoreline

According to the American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR), if you’re going to traipse along the beach you should avoid doing it near other people. “Not only is it more refreshing, but you avoid kicking sand up at the people you pass.” Which is the polite way of saying, “it’s impossible to get sand out of our unmentionable crevices so please stop kicking sand.”

AANR also mentions respecting the local wildlife, which ties into the rule about not messing with alligators.

You Aren’t Allowed To Take Photos

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to take pictures at a nudist colony. Why? Because everyone is naked. Also, because the whole point is to escape from self-conscious imagery of the human body, which is impossible if someone is waving a camera around.