The Pacific Northwest & Hawaii
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NUDE BEACHES & NATURAL HOT SPRINGS
Oregon has a number of sites of interest to nudists, but none of them are on the state's rugged, beautiful coast. The liberal mecca of Portland is uniquely bestowed with two nude beaches that are both legally designated and signed as clothing optional. Collins Beach at Sauvie Island  45.7845N, 122.7844W is a broad, sandy beach on the Columbia River about 23 miles northwest of downtown Portland. About 22 miles east of downtown Portland, part of the beach at Rooster Rock State Park  45.5516N, 122.2215W is designated for nudity and offers gorgeous views of the Columbia River Gorge. Collins draws a very diverse crowd, and it is one of a small number of American nude beaches where families with children are among the mix. While both Collins and Rooster Rock are beautiful, Rooster Rock has more dramatic scenery (but far less sand). Rooster Rock draws some straight couples but is attended predominantly by gay men.
Although Collins and Rooster Rock are quite well known, Oregon has a couple of other nudist sites that are off the radar of most people. Glassbar Island  44.0203N, 123.0180W , hidden at the confluence of two branches of the Willamette River in Eugene, is popular with locals in the know. In far southern Oregon about 20 miles east of Ashland, the Keno Road Rock Quarry  42.2677N, 122.4192W is a flooded quarry in a remote location. Attendance is spotty, but nude swimming and sunbathing are well established at one corner of this pond.
Oregon has a number of natural hot springs that are frequented by nude soakers, and four of the most popular ones are tucked away in national forest land of the Cascade Mountains, which is the majestic snow-capped range that runs north to south across the entire state, on the east side of Interstate 5. About 70 miles southeast of Portland, visitors soak in tubs fashioned from hulled-out logs at Bagby Hot Springs  44.9357N, 122.1734W , which is the closest of these springs to the state's largest city. Bagby is accessed by a long but very easy and level hike through a lush forest. Farther south in the Cascades, Cougar (Terwilliger) Hot Springs  44.0835N, 122.2400W and McCredie Hot Springs  43.7061N, 122.2889W are both about 55 miles east of Eugene, but via different state highways. Both are easy to access. Cougar is especially notable for its strong nudist culture, which is matched by just a handful of other springs in the entire country, and you may encounter nude hikers along the trail and nude swimmers and sunbathers at a lagoon just below the springs. Farther south still, Umpqua Hot Springs  43.2966N, 122.3640W is farthest removed from Oregon's larger cities, but it is a reasonable excursion for visitors to Crater Lake National Park. The setting of Umpqua is idyllic, and soakers bathe in pools that cascade down a hillside overlooking a river.
The starkly beautiful desert of Eastern Oregon is often overlooked by travelers. It has a number of remote hot springs, and the ones that are most suited for unsuited soaking are in the southeastern quadrant of the state. Juntura Hot Springs  43.7761N, 118.0477W is located between Burns and the Idaho border, and although the requisite hike is fairly short, it does involve fording a shallow river. Three other springs are much farther south in the state, closer to the Nevada border. In southern Lake County, Hart Mountain Hot Springs  42.5017N, 119.6896W is located in an antelope refuge, 14 miles from the nearest paved road. Willow Creek Hot Springs  42.2752N, 118.2653W in far southern Harney County is even more remote, 26 miles from the nearest paved road. While you will be driving slowly on gravel for a while to get to either location, no hiking is involved since you practically drive right up to the soaking pools. Such is not the case at Three Forks Hot Springs  42.5301N, 117.1846W in southern Malheur County near the Idaho border. After driving more than 30 miles on gravel, you will have to hike about 2 miles (unless you have a rugged vehicle that can go all the way). What awaits you is one of the most fantastically charming springs in the country,with a cluster of soaking pools and warm waterfalls perched above the river. Three Forks is actually classified as a warm springs since water temperature is more that of a warm bath than a hot tub, but what make the springs outstanding is the beauty of the soaking pools and the surroundings as well as the clarity of the water. Despite easily being among the most visually striking springs anywhere, Three Forks is not especially well known due to its extremely remote location in one of the most sparsely populated regions of the country. Trips to any of the springs in southeastern Oregon require some logistical planning since they are far removed from the closest towns where food, gas and lodging are sure to be available.
Breitenbush Hot Springs
Detroit (Cascade Mountains, east of Salem)
Chozu Bath & Tea Gardens
Ashland (southwest, near CA border)
Common Ground Wellness Center
Everett House Healing Center
Ashland (southwest, near CA border)
Summer Lake Hot Springs
Paisley (remote south-central Oregon)
Bend (central Oregon, east of the Cascades)
Mountaindale Sun Resort
North Plains (northwest of Portland)
Squaw Mountain Ranch
Estacada (between Portland and Mt. Hood)
Springfield (northeast of Eugene)
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NUDE BEACHES & NATURAL HOT SPRINGS
Unlike Oregon to the south, Washington does not offer any nude beaches that are legally protected or that draw really large crowds.
The Seattle area has a few places where nude bathing is customary, all of which are fairly obscure sites despite being located in a progressive and cosmopolitan city. The best choice is Howell Park  47.6175N, 122.2802W , which is a hidden jewel of a site on Lake Washington, tucked away in a residential area about 4 miles east of downtown. Nude bathing is well established at this tiny beach, which is easy to access as long as you can find it. Farther north and also on Lake Washington, nude bathing occurs at a hidden corner of Magnuson Park  47.6845N, 122.2470W , not far from the park's main swimming beach. Despite the efforts of a group that has formed to advocate nude use of the area, attendance is sporadic. A little north of Seattle near Edmonds, swimsuits are rarely worn at Point Wells  47.7864N, 122.3912W . This hidden spot on Puget Sound offers relative safety for open nudity because no one not looking for the beach would ever know to go there. It is attended almost exclusively by gay men and draws small crowds.
Going south from Seattle, Red Salmon Beach  47.0984N, 122.6833W between Tacoma and Olympia is a remote beach in lower Puget Sound. Although not an established nude area (yet!), this beach is virtually unused and has been identified by a local resident as a potential nude recreation area. It is best accessed by boat, but you can get there on foot as well by a walk of about 3 miles.
Toward the north end of the Interstate 5 corridor, Dogfish Beach  48.6258N, 122.4637W near Bellingham is a hidden and lightly attended beach that was "colonized" by nudists in the late 90's after authorities chased nudists away from two other Bellingham area sites. So far nude use has been hassle free at Dogfish.
The formidable Cascade Range separates Washington's wetter Pacific realm from its drier and less populous inland realm. A bit east of the Cascades between Ellensburg and Moses Lake, the Wanapum Reservoir  46.9947N, 119.9870W is a dammed area of the Columbia River amid a starkly beautiful arid landscape. Near where Interstate 90 crosses the reservoir, there is lightly attended and not widely known beach that has a nudist following. In the far east of the state, Latah Creek Beach  47.6592N, 117.4590W in Spokane at one time was the best established nude beach in all of Washington. Unfortunately, its heyday has long since passed, with attendance plummeting after authorities quit turning a blind eye to nudity. A small number of nudists continue bare all at this riverbank beach despite the risk of being cited and fined.
The most popular clothing-optional hot springs in Washington is Olympic Hot Springs  47.9764N, 123.6868W , located in Olympic National Park about 100 miles west of Seattle (via a ferry across Puget Sound). A long (2.4 mile) but easy hike is required to reach the springs, which are overlooked by most park visitors since the park does not publicize them as an attraction. Nestled in a thick forest in the Cascades about 60 miles east of Seattle, Goldmyer Hot Springs  47.4849N, 121.3908W is a beautiful soaking site, but access is restricted in order to preserve the pristine location. Reservations must be made through the non-profit company that administers the land. A bit farther east in the Cascades, Scenic Hot Springs  47.7089N, 121.1380W was a very popular soaking site in the 80's and 90's, but overuse and abuse precipitated its demolition in 2001. Although it has risen from its ashes, drop-in visits are no longer available. Visits are now handled in a similar manner to Goldmyer, with a limited number of visitors allowed each day and advance reservations necessary. The caretakers of Scenic have ensured that the strong culture of nude soaking that characterized its late 20th-century heyday has been carried over into its 21st-century reincarnation.
Doe Bay Resort
Olga (Orcas Island, San Juan Islands)
The Gated Sanctuary
Snohomish (northeast of Seattle)
Soak on the Sound
Port Townsend (Olympic Peninsula)
Shelton (north of Olympia)
Forestia, Fraternity Snoqualmie
Issaquah (southeast of Seattle)
Loon Lake (north of Spokane)
Lake Associates Recreation Club
Mt. Vernon (between Seattle and Bellingham)
Lake Bronson Club
Sultan (northeast of Seattle)
PLACES TO STAY—GAY
Triangle Recreation Camp
Silverton (northeast of Seattle)
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Hawaii seems as though it should be replete with nude beaches, and the resplendent beauty of the islands practically begs visitors to take off their clothes and frolic naked on the beach. Alas, Hawaii has no beaches where nudity is legal. Nonetheless, there are some beaches where nudity is customary, albeit not officially allowed. There are at least a few traditionally nude beaches on each of the state's four major islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Island of Hawaii (more commonly known as "The Big Island"). Hawaii's other islands are so undeveloped that any number of deserted beaches can be enjoyed in the nude. Hawaii's best-established and most popular nude beach is Little Beach on Maui, followed by Kehena Beach on the Big Island. Despite problems at some of its nude beaches, Hawaii has a few other beaches that have escaped harassment by anti-nudity forces because they are especially remote and/or rather difficult to access.
The fact that police are sometimes dispatched to harass nude bathers on remote beaches is particularly disturbing in Hawaii. A far better use of tax dollars would be for police to patrol the parking lots of these beaches to catch real criminals: thugs who break into cars. Car break-ins are a major problem at Hawaii's beaches and other tourist sites, namely at sites where parking is unattended and not visible to large numbers of passersby. The number of reports of break-ins at beaches all over Hawaii is astonishing. As a general rule, you should never leave valuables in your car—not even in the trunk. Some regular beachgoers even suggest that you leave all your windows rolled down all the way, both to signify that there is nothing of value in the car and to prevent the windows from being smashed in. Before you rent a car, ask questions to the rental company to make sure you are sufficiently covered in the event of a break-in.
One obstacle to the establishment of officially clothing-optional beaches in Hawaii is that native Hawaiians tend to be very conservative on the issue of nudity. An argument used time and time again by spokesmen for native Hawaiian groups is that public displays of nudity are considered disrespectful and are an affront to traditional Hawaiian culture. This argument does not stand up to historical scrutiny. The fact is that, historically, Hawaiian culture has accepted communal nudity in public areas—for example, public nude bathing in rivers. The notion of body shame in Hawaiian culture is a relatively new idea that was introduced by Western Christian missionaries. Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866 and recalled his experiences in a memoir entitled Roughing It. He wrote, "In the rural districts of any of the islands, the traveler hourly comes upon parties of dusky maidens bathing in the streams or in the sea without any clothing on and exhibiting no very intemperate zeal in the matter of hiding their nakedness." Another observation: "In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf bathing." Clearly, an attitude about nudity that accurately reflects traditional Hawaiian culture would make Hawaii the nude beach paradise that it is so well suited to be.
The largest and easternmost of Hawaii's four major island's is formally named Hawaii but more commonly known as the Big Island to distinguish it from the name of the state. The most popular nude beach on the island (and the second most popular in the state) is Kehena Beach  19.3948N, 154.9289W , located on the east coast of the island near Pahoa and Volcanoes National Park. Famous for its rich black sand, this beach is always well attended. Not far away are the Pahoa Steam Vents  19.4405N, 154.9421W , unique natural steam caves where nudity is common. While Kehena is by far the best-established nude beach, the Big Island has a few other beaches with nudist possibilities. Waialea Bay (Beach 67)  19.9835N, 155.8292W is located on the northwest part of the island, and a small number of nudists visit this beautiful beach, apparently without hassles. Two more beaches see far more sporadic nude use: Makalawena Beach  19.7913N, 156.0285W on the west side of the island near Kailua-Kona and Green Sand Beach  18.9363N, 155.6461W at the southern tip of the island. Both these beaches require a good bit of time and effort to reach, and their seclusion sometimes affords opportunities for nudity, but at either of these locations you should use discretion and keep in mind that conditions are not always favorable for nudity. Of the two, Makalawena is more likely to have nude bathers, and it also requires the shorter hike of the two.
The western coast of Maui is home to Little Beach  20.6349N, 156.4517W , the most popular nude beach in all of Hawaii. This jewel of a beach has a loyal following and draws a variety of people. Little Beach is one of those iconic places that has a special place in the hearts of nudists who live in Hawaii as well as those who can only visit occasionally. On the other side of the island, Red Sand Beach  20.7530N, 155.9815W is in a stunning setting but is lightly attended compared to Little Beach since it is a bit difficult to access. Still, it is a very worthwhile excursion for the adventurous.
Molokai, located between Maui and Oahu, does not have any established nude beaches, and indeed conservative locals are likely to frown upon nudists at the beach. However, this island is so lightly populated and touristed that its beaches present ample opportunities for discreet nudity. Just don't expect crowds of nudists. A particularly good choice for being naked with ample space and privacy is Papohaku Beach  21.1683N, 157.2598W on the west end of the island.
Oahu, which is home to Honolulu and about 75% of Hawaii's 1.2 million residents, actually has fewer options for safe, no-hassle beach nudity than do the other three main islands. While there are no beaches where you'll find crowds of nudists like at Kehena Beach and Little Beach, there are a scattering of sites known to be frequented by nudists. The best established nude beach is Polo Beach  21.5797N, 158.1652W in Waialua on Oahu's northern coast, but even here you'll rarely encounter more than a dozen bare bodies. On the east coast, Goat Island  21.6630N, 157.9233W is just offshore from Laie. Wading across a shallow channel about 750-feet long is required to reach the island, so crowds are always small and discreet nudity can be practiced in relative safety. Close to Honolulu, nudity occurs at a rocky area of Diamond Head Beach  21.2553N, 157.8095W , but there is a far greater risk of being reprimanded or ticketed for nudity here than at Polo Beach or Goat Island.
Kauai is the smallest and westernmost of the four main islands, and it has two well-established nude beaches, both of exceptional beauty: Larsen's Beach  22.2102N, 159.3440W and Secret Beach  22.2251N, 159.4076W . Both these beaches are located in the northeast part of the island, between Anahola and Princeville, and the driving distance from one to the other is less than 7 miles. At both beaches, the actions of unfriendly neighbors have created some minor nuisances for nudists, but authorities have more or less left nudists alone at both locations, due in part to the hike required to reach either of these hidden beaches. (Donkey Beach is a well-known beach in the same general area of Kauia that used to be a popular nude beach, but the encroachment of development destroyed an essential privacy buffer, so be advised that nude use of Donkey Beach ceased circa the turn of the millennium.) There is one final location on Kauai, and that is Kalalau Beach  22.1723N, 159.6597W in the spectacular Na Pali region along the northwest coast. If you can get there, you can be nude there, but only a select few can get there. The beach is accessed via a grueling 11-mile hike, and you'll have to rough it for at least a few days to backpack to this remote location. It's a feat for the fit only, to say the least.
PLACES TO STAY—GENERAL
The Banana Patch
Kealakekua (Big Island)
Puna District (Big Island)
PLACES TO STAY—GAY
Absolute Paradise Gay Hawaii Bed & Breakfast
Pahoa (Big Island)
Gay Hawaii B & B
Pahoa (Big Island)
Isle of You Farm & Retreat
Pahoa (Big Island)
Kalani Oceanside Resort
Pahoa (Big Island)
Mahina Kai Ocean Villa
Volcano Men's Retreat
Mountain View (Big Island)