Above: View of NASA's Space Shuttle launch pad in Florida from Playalinda Beach.
Playalinda is managed by the federal government, so it is not advertised as a clothing optional beach, though people participate here. Supposedly no federal laws prohibit nudity here. The local governments that have limited jurisdiction over this geographic area, are not staffed for, nor are they interested in, spending a great bit of time and resources to enforce and prosecute under "their" public decency laws on federal property. So as long as people don't abuse the privilege and follow my basic guidelines for non-offensive conduct, the right and accepted use of Playalinda as an awesome beach sans bikini will probably continue uninterrupted.
Above: Picture of a nice quiet marina front park in Titusville. We used this as a launching point into Playalinda because there are normal modern bathrooms and nice parking for finishing out the day. The parking for Playalinda is still over ten miles away so you can't walk to the beach from here.
Remember Playalinda is part of a National Wildlife Refuge. You will pay $5 per car to enter from the city of Titusville (we get in free using our special pass) on beach road and drive some 20 miles through wild untamed forest, scrub bogs, swamp, alligator infested lakes, streams, muddy banks, bogs, hiking areas, and past NASA's vehicle assembly building and shuttle launch facilities. There are NO water facilities, stores, restaurants, hotels and very few outhouse toilet facilities. It's a long way in. So prepare and follow my instructions for a good first time experience.
Clothing optional is tolerated at the FAR NORTH area of the Cape Canaveral side of Playalinda ONLY! You can also hike in from the FAR SOUTH side of the New Smyrna Beach side of Playalinda but this article does not cover this tactic. Drive in early between 7-9 am during the busy season and holidays with normal sized vehicles only. No buses, rv's, trailers, or any other vehicle that cannot fit in a normal parking spot are allowed. The parking lot only holds about 30 cars and there are NO accommodations for parking on the shoulder or elsewhere. If you arrive too late with plans to use this special section, and the parking lot is full, you will have to turn around and drive back to the one of the other further South parking lots. The later you get there the harder it will be to get a spot and the further you will have to park away. Each parking lot is another 1/2 to 1 mile away from the clothing optional sunbathing area. You will have to walk IN and back OUT at the end of the day carrying ALL your gear.
Once parked at the North end there is one toilet for men and one toilet for women with NO water facilities. You can change clothes here and go potty. Folks do NOT bring children to this portion of the beach. If you want to take children to Playalinda park at one of the southern parking spots, which can accommodate smaller rv's and buses, and you will enjoy a great, pristine, Florida beach experience without seeing people without clothing.
Go over the boardwalk you will immediately see anywhere from 20 to 200 totally exposed sunbathers. About 70% men, complete with typical beach gear like umbrellas, tents, lawn chairs, blankets, some fishing, and some playing volleyball and Frisbee. If you intend on sitting with these other people then bring all the stuff you can carry. My wife and I do not. We walk past them and continue North (left) in search of privacy.
If you intend on walking North through the clothing optional section and into the totally private areas like we do, do yourself a favor and leave the nonessentials at home. Do NOT pack heavy stuff like coolers, surfboards, toys, umbrellas, and such because they will NOT return as much value as not having to carry them in the first place. We walk North from 1.5 - 2 miles until we haven't seen anyone for 20 minutes. Then we can disrobe and enjoy the day without interruption.
The hike will be easier if you wear tennis shoes and socks and a cool loose fitting shirt and shorts over your swimsuit. EACH person should have 2 bottles of water, a beach towel, lots of sunblock in the 30-60 SPF range, a little fruit, sunglasses, and hat. IF you feel squeamish about being out in the middle of nowhere with NO cell phone connectivity then carry a little protection. I carry an aluminum baseball bat.
It's rare, but occasionally, you will see or hear an engine running. If you stay on the lookout you will see a ranger heading your way on a four wheel off-road motorbike. Technically they can't do anything but we throw on our shorts and shirt anyway because we are not interested in sharing our physique with outsiders. Once in while we will see someone who is as interested in privacy as we are, or who is hiking all the way through the park to the New Smyrna beach side (15+miles). The beach is so beautiful and clear we can see them 20 minutes before they get to us and so we can cover up without a problem, until they pass.
The only negative experiences we have had are once in a while a man will walk all the way to where we are and attempt to find out if we are interested in a conversation with him. At this point we are covered up and I simply ignore him altogether or say "we are out here to be alone, good-bye". They have always immediately left. Twice in 10 years there was a little tar in the sand that had to be removed using baby oil.
Do NOT underestimate the difference between tanning a part of your body like your leg, that may get sun all the time, and tanning some other part of your body, that never sees the sun. NOTHING will ruin the rest of your week like a serious blistering sunburn in an area of your body you normally sit on. Overdo it and you won't be able to sleep, walk, or bath comfortably for days.
Depending on the season you will find: sea turtles in the water and nesting onshore, dolphins, large fish hitting schools of bait fish offshore, seagulls, rare white pelicans, crabs, jellyfish, stingrays, horseshoe crabs, vultures, American bald eagles, hawks, wild pigs, manatees, and shorebirds.
Playalinda is a pristine, gorgeous wildlife sanctuary and it's right here in sunny Florida, complete with beaches and forest, and nearly zero development. If you want to enjoy a fantastic, romantic private getaway, cheaply and easily, right here in the U.S. Don't miss Florida's Playalinda clothing optional beach.
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