Getting Out Again

When I first started writing this blog back in 2018, I assumed that there would be a lot more time spent talking about clubs I belonged to, resorts I was visiting, events I was attending. I never intended to become a travel blog, but I entertained the idea that some portion of my blog would be lighthearted trip reviews and practical advice for your first visit to a nudist club. And then it was winter. And then I moved across the country for a new job. And then I was completely broke for a year and trying to get my feet back under me. And then COVID hit and I spent the next year and a half trapped inside. Surprise! My content has been a little heavier than I expected, and while I do not have any regrets, I do look forward to diversifying, because nownow that the world is opening back up and I have my feet back underneath me and all the pieces are settling into place… now I’m looking forward to getting back out again and having the experiences that are so integral to social nude recreation.

So what does that look like? I’ll be honest, after fifteen months stuck inside my home, and even longer since I’d even been in a financial position to be involved, I was not sure how it would even feel to jump back into the in-person nudist world—as opposed to the online one that I’ve relied on for much of this time. Sure, I kept up my AANR membership and I stayed involved in various committees and projects within the nudist community, but it is not the same as spending time in the sun with living, breathing, smalltalk-making nudists. I was anxious! Anxious about visiting a new club with new rules, about remembering to bring all the right things, about being in a new environment with people I didn’t know, about navigating the expectations of socializing in a sort-of post-COVID world.

Despite all the anxiety, last week I finally made my first post-COVID trip to a nudist resort, which was also my first trip to a club in Southern California. Good Lord, I had almost forgotten what that felt like. For the sake of sharing and priming others who are feeling tentatively ready to get back out there—or who may be thinking about getting out there for the first time—I wanted to share what that experience was like.


As soon as case counts started dropping and regulations started relaxing in California, I started itching to get out to visit one of my nearby resorts. Once I was vaccinated, I thought to myself, I would get right out there. I started prepping by ordering some sunscreen and a new hat and some sitting towels and drying-off towels and a new bag. At long last, it was finally time. So, mid-week last week I made sure to look up the two clubs in my vicinity to verify that they were open and accepting new visitors. I then called both to confirm. One club, Glen Eden Sun Club, was literally so booked with newcomers that they didn’t have any first-visit tour appointments available and had to turn me away. Which, yes, that’s a bummer, but I am excited for them that they are seeing so many new folks! The other club, Olive Dell Ranch, seemed less overwhelmed with first-timers and did not require a scheduled tour for new visitors, so the decision had been made for me: I would check out Olive Dell Ranch.

It’s worth noting here that if you are considering a visit to a nudist resort or club for the first time, don’t just show up. Make sure to look up the club’s website to confirm their requirements for new visitors (and don’t be put off if the website looks a little outdated… that’s normal). I would also recommend calling a few days in advance in case they require a reservation or notice of your intent to visit. You might find that they’re perfectly happy to accept new visitors at the gate and that there’s no issue, but every club and resort is a little different. Some will require a reservation or a scheduled tour. Some will also limit the amount of single men who can visit at any given time, so if you’re a single man visiting a club for the first time, be up-front and let them know so that you don’t make the trip all the way out there only to be turned away. You may also find that holding a membership to a national organization such as AANR (American Associate for Nude Recreation) or The Naturist Society will make your first trip a little smoother, and it does usually reduce your day fee.

Without a doubt, though, you will definitely need to bring your ID, some money, a towel, and a smile. Sandals, sunscreen, sunglasses, a water bottle, and an extra towel also highly recommended.

Since I had already called Olive Dell Ranch the day before to let them know I was coming, I hit the road pretty early on Saturday morning to head out for my long-awaited visit. The club grounds sit about an hour to an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles. Traffic was light and I was able to make the trip in an hour and twenty minutes, which felt pretty quick given where I live in LA. What surprised me about Olive Dell compared to the clubs I had visited in Oregon was that the entrance was actually really close to the main road… so no need to navigate narrow mountain roads for 30 minutes hoping you didn’t miss the turn. It’s a straight shot and the GPS navigation had no trouble guiding me right to the gate. When I arrived, I was admittedly confused about how to get in. This has been a different experience at every club I’ve visited, so don’t feel too bad if you get confused, too. At one club, for example, I had to call before I started up the mountain so that I could get the daily gate code because there was no cellphone reception on the mountain and the gate was a mile or so from the actual club. At Olive Dell, I simply needed to park along the side of the driveway just outside of the front building and walk inside to register and pay. In this case, no, you don’t get naked just yet—that comes after you register, pay, and get parked inside the gates.

Registration was fairly easy, though there was some back-and-forth about whether I’d be able to get in. Maybe because I was a single man. A big point was made about my AANR Premier Membership, so I’m halfway wondering if they were pulling my leg and am halfway convinced that I might not have been admitted without my AANR membership. In any case, definitely consider attaining membership from AANR or The Naturist Society since it will help you appear a bit more trustworthy to the folks at the front gate.

From there, I asked for instructions on where to go, followed the road down to the main area with the pool and restaurant, parked, got out of the car and stripped down, grabbed my pre-prepared tote of towels and sunscreen, and breathed a big deep breath. This was perhaps the first time I’d visited a nudist space where I didn’t feel that little tinge of anxiety about stripping down right at first. Maybe that was because I was so excited to finally be there, or maybe I’ve just outgrown it. But, God, it was an incredible feeling to finally be there, to finally be nude outdoors again, to be around others who were all there to feel that freedom, too. I knew that I had been missing it, but I don’t think I fully appreciated just how much I had been missing it.

I showered, found a place by the pool, sunscreened up, and got comfortable. I felt a little stupid that I’d forgotten to bring a book or even headphones, but that was fine. Usually I would have spent my time reading and listening to my own music, but I was perfectly happy to just enjoy catching bits of the little conversations taking place in the pool, the sound of the birds, and the trees swaying in the breeze. I passed the rest of my day dipping in and out of the pool, taking a brief walk through the park grounds and a hike up through the trails in the surrounding hills, ordering a couple of beers at Thirst Aid (the bar near the pool), and playing ping-pong with a member of the club… just genuinely relaxing and connecting in a way that sitting at home just doesn’t quite achieve. As much as I’ve been naked at home during COVID, it does not compare to getting out of the city and being in a space just for nudists, just for social nudity and connection with nature.

The vibe at Olive Dell Ranch is perhaps a little rough around the edges, but in the way that feels like it’s lovingly held together with several coats of paint and the heart and soul of its members and visitors. Rustic? Sure. A little kitschy? Maybe. Warm and inviting and full of joy? Absolutely, one hundred percent. There’s something especially charming about the sometimes makeshift nature of nudist spaces in general, and I feel like this applies to Olive Dell… it’s a labor of love and you can tell it means a great deal to its regulars. It’s home, in that unique way that only a nudist club can be. The crowd was a healthy mix of ages and backgrounds and genders. I wasn’t the only young person or the only gay person. There were just as many women as men and while the crowd was definitely mostly white, there was perhaps a bit more diversity than you would expect. The music playing by the pool was also… honestly impressive, ranging from Blitzkrieg Bop to Jesus Loves Me, but mostly lingering on disco and soft rock, which felt somehow exactly appropriate for the setting and the generations-spanning mix of folks.

I made small talk with a few people and felt warmly welcomed… but I also was admittedly grappling with the awkwardness of being in a social setting for the first time in over a year—and also just not being terribly social to begin with—so there were some hurdles to overcome. I literally feel like I need to practice normal social interactions. Next time should be quite a bit easier, I’m sure. I am really looking forward to heading back out there, and also scheduling a time to visit Glen Eden for the first time.

If you’re anything like me, this is a weird time. The world is on its way back to something like it once was, but it’s not quite there yet. Everything is somehow both a total mess and also seemingly perfectly normal. You might be feeling anxious about getting out again, unsure if you remember how to be the person you were before COVID… but you might feel even more anxious about being stuck at home any longer, missing out on any opportunity to feel like a part of the world again. Maybe you feel like you’re ready to check out that nudist club or event for the first time after discovering nudism from the comfort of your home over the last year, but you’re not sure what exactly to expect. If this is your first time trying social nudity, I highly recommend checking out some resources like this book by Matthew McDermott, How to Take Your Clothes Off, which covers a lot of the little details and questions that new nudists often ask (or are too afraid to ask). I’ve read it and it’s worth reading even if you’re a seasoned nudist.

All that being said, now is the time. Now is the time to consider whether you’re ready to take the plunge for the first time or whether you’re ready to get back out there and experience social nudity once again. It might not be today or tomorrow, but soon. And I hope you have an awesome time. I hope you meet some friendly faces and that you feel that warm sun on your skin.

You deserve it.

Millennial Killed the Nudist Club

Millennial here. Hi, hello. Nice to meet you.

As a millennial–a millennial who has visited a fair share of nudist recreation spots–let me start off by acknowledging how comically out-of-place a millennial is at a nudist club. Not out of place in an unwelcome way. In fact, you may not find a more welcome guest at a nudist club than a millennial–really, nudists are so kind and I’ve never felt unwelcome. When I say “out-of-place,” I mean it in the sense that there just are not many other millennials there. The same goes for online nudist social networks: Yes, there are some millennials there, but the group skews significantly older which, of course, is fine. It has never bothered me, as a millennial, that the majority of the other patrons are older, but it does concern me as a nudist who wants nudism to thrive.

As a millennial, I need to be completely honest: There is one nude recreation spot where millennials can be found en masse: the beach. Go to any nude beach and you will find us. We’re there. Is it free? Even better. And I don’t mean to say that I have never seen a millennial at a nudist club. I have seen myself, for one, and my partner. I have seen young families with kids. I have seen the young adult relatives of the club’s residents. I have seen young couples or singles, wandering here and there. We are there, but we are not there in droves. In general, we are not members of the club, we do not come to meetings, we do not live there part-time (or full-time for that matter), and we do not even visit all that often. So where are all the young nudists? The beach. Or, more likely, at home.

As a millennial, I am acutely aware of all the industries that millennials like myself have been accused of killing. (We have been very busy.) Add to this list the nudist club, if you must, but not before I finish. There are plenty of reasons why millennials are not as abundant at nudist clubs, most of which are the same reasons we don’t participate in the diamond industry or the cruise industry: Collectively, we just do not have the financial resources of previous generations. Just like for every other industry on that list, the success and longevity of the nudist club relies on capturing the attention–and the dollars–of future generations. And, just like for every other industry on that list, the nudist club is struggling to do so, and I would argue passionately that it is not because millennials are afraid of getting naked.

As a millennial, I have the authority to assure you that if millennials are not attending events at nudist clubs, it is not due to lack of interest in getting naked. In addition to being a millennial, which keeps me pretty busy, I also am a regular listener of the Naturist Living Show, and one conversation in particular stands out from Episode XXIX: Teenagers and Young Adults in Naturism. As part of this conversation, and regularly throughout the podcast, Stéphane Deschênes, the host of the podcast and owner of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in Ontario, Canada, asserts that he does see a fair amount of young people coming to the park, that young people are interested in nudism. He also points out, however, that there are additional barriers that keep young people from visiting a nudist club, such as finances and transportation. It might even be the aging facilities at some clubs that keep young people at bay, he suggests. Even non-landed clubs present unintentional barriers for millennials, such as membership dues and time commitments. I know: These clubs just can’t win, can they?

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Club visit. Summer 2018

As a millennial, and as a nudist, I want the institution of the nudist club to endure and, just like for every other industry, the nudist club will do so by adapting. One trip to the nude beach on a hot summer day will convince you that millennials are just as interested in nudism as previous generations. It says something about millennials and our preferences that we show up in mobs at the nude beach but not at our regional nudist clubs. The beach only charges a nominal day fee, if anything at all. It does not ask us for donations of our time, of which we have precious little. It does not ask us to pay membership fees or show up to meetings or contribute to potlucks. None of these are bad things, especially for people who have the time and resources to contribute, but for millennials with limited funds and free time, the allure of the nude beach is that it asks nothing of us, it works with our schedule, and it accommodates whatever social setting we bring with us

As a millennial, I love nudist clubs. I love the grounds, the facilities, the residents, the guests, and everything else that makes up the community. I would love it, though, if the club were as accessible as the beach. Surprising no one, millennials prefer to live in cities (or at least suburbs), yet most nudist clubs are not just rural, but remote, causing additional transportation woes and requiring extra travel time. Regardless, I have no plans to give up on the nudist club or to stop visiting and I very much hope that clubs find innovative ways to welcome the next generation into the fold and utilize our skills to help them thrive. We millennial nudists are out here, waiting for opportunities to get naked… and we can fix your iPhone.

As a millennial, I promise to not kill the nudist club. But, hey, if you’re part of a nudist club and you want to attract more millennials, why not connect to a few to pick our brains? Just… don’t call us… maybe try texting.