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New York

Lighthouse Beach

The Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island, also know as "The lighthouse beach". Just past Parking Lot 5. It's to the left of the bathhouse. it's only about a 15 minute walk and your there. The guide post along the way is the Fire Island Lighthouse, which is visible from the parking lot, and from the beach. The lighthouse is part of the National Seashore park, and the nude beach starts where the State park ends, and the National Seashore begins.

The atmosphere is pretty relaxed, and friendly. The beach is wide enough for people to stroll at the edge of the surf, and for others to play paddle ball. The water and the beach were clean, considering the heavy use, but there were quite a lot of jellyfish in the water (not unusual in late summer). The undertow was strong, and the waves a bit daunting, keeping many people out of the water, even on extremely hot days.

The beach is designated as clothing optional. The crowd was very mixed, which was a nice surprise, with more couples than at other large beaches we've visited. And, there were even a few families! There is a police presence at the beach. They frequently make the rounds, driving on a strip of the beach close to the dunes in their three-wheelers and jeeps. But the police are not concerned with naked bodies. They are there to keep the beach clean, and people off of the dunes.

Once you are on Long Island, getting there is a breeze
Take your route of choice to the Robert Moses Parkway (south of course) and follow it straight to the beach
Signage for the parking areas is good, and parking is cheap
Head to Parking Lot 5. Walk to the East side of the bathhouse (the lighthouse side)
Keep walking till you see the prominent sign pronouncing the beach clothing optional.

Cherry Grove

Most of Fire Island is part of the National Seashore Park. As a result, the beach is pristine and beautiful, with an awesome coastline, and a pretty nice surf.

Cherry Grove, located on Fire Island, has been a primarily gay and lesbian, clothing-optional beach community for more than 20 years. There are no cars on the island, and all of the village "sidewalks" are wooden boardwalks, covering and protecting the fragile dunes below. It is a summer village, with a resort feel. Everyone seemed to ready to party or relax. And the village has a nightlife: there are quite a few restaurants, bars, and clubs, and there's late-night beach chatchke shopping.

It is a friendly place. But if you're not open-minded, don't go. It is a (very) mixed crowd, both on the beach, and in the restaurants and bars.

Wild deer abound all over Fire Island. They come right out onto the beach around sunset. Although wild, the deer are accustomed to humans, and even expect to be fed. They will eat right out of your hand. However, please, for the sake of the deer (and yourself) don't feed them. They're a nuisance, as someone on the beach said, and they have the lyme disease tick.

Getting to Cherry Grove (and the nearby Pines) is relatively easy, but to get there you must take a ferry
The ferries run out of Sayville, on LI's South Shore, once an hour, every hour
starting at 8 in the morning on the weekends, and 5 am on weekdays
Ferries run until 10pm on the weekends, and 9 pm weekdays
The Ferry costs $10 round trip, not including parking, which is $7 at the port.
Children under 12 are $5, and dogs are $3
If you can't get into the ferries' parking lot, $10 might get you a space at a nearby make-shift parking area
The ride is about 30 minutes, and is well worth the fare

There's nothing like a ferry ride across the Great South Bay to mellow you down, and get you in the mood for the beach. (You should check the ferry's web page for up-to-date schedule and fare information, as well as directions.)

Point au Roche State Park

The beach at Point au Roche is about 200 yards long and ranges from muddy to nice and sandy. It stays about two feet deep until you're almost completely out of the bay, so this is a good spot for children. The bay is provided privacy by nearby shale cliffs, swamps behind, and some blown-down trees. The beach is devided into two sections by a considerably large blown-down tree which can provide some extra privacy. Along the top of the shale bluffs there are beautiful resting spots covered in wild thyme, which make for good morning tanning spots.

This beach gets frequent nudist use from Quebec-ers and nearby boaters at Mooney Bay Marina. It is not a legally designated spot, but I've never had any hassles from anyone in the twelve years I've been going nude there.

Drive north from Plattsburg about 10 miles
Follow the signs for either Point au Roche State Park or Mooney Bay Marina
Enter the park at the second entrance and park at the free parking at the Nature Interpretation Center
Walk along the continuing road to deep bay, and hang a left onto the old road
Go straight about a half mile until the road makes a sharp left turn
At this bend take the trail, which goes about 150 yards to a secluded bay/beach.