Nudity and Skinny Dipping in Woodstock, NY

| June 4, 2013 | 12 Comments

Skinny Dipping in Old Hippie Land aka Woodstock, New York

Skinny Dipping At Naked Hippie Land Woodstock NY

Skinny Dipping in Woodstock – This past weekend Jordan and I took a day trip to upstate New York. We went to Woodstock, home of the naked hippies. Well, they’re not very naked anymore, but more on that later.

When people think of Woodstock, they usually think of the massive, legendary music festival that took place nearby in 1969. Decades before this festival, the town of Woodstock had established itself as a hub for artists, musicians and hippies, with its art colonies and summer music festivals.

Incidentally, I’ve heard that the term “art colony” is how they came up with “nudist colony” in the 1900’s, but have yet to verify this…Does anyone know? (Unfortunately “nudist colony” is a phrase that still persists today in spite of nudists’ efforts to stomp it out. Today we say nudist community, club or resort. FYI, using the phrases or terms “nudist colony” or “naturalist” is like writing “noob” across your forehead.)

Today the town of Woodstock is still referred to as “Colony of the Arts” and has an active community of artists. The central area has quite a few art galleries and a lot of New Age shops. We saw a sign promoting a community drum circle. We also checked out their outdoor market where people sell clothing, crystals and gemstones, jewelry and homemade goods.

tinker street store woodstock upstate new york skinny dipping

Hippie Store on Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY

It was fun exploring the town, but the day was blistering hot, so we really wanted to find a spot to swim. I guess we were pretty confident we’d get to skinny dip because we didn’t even bother bringing our bathing suits. This was Woodstock after all and we assumed that there would still by a few naked hippies around who would prefer to swim nude.

The website swimmingholes.org listed several areas where people could swim nude. So we decided to try Big Deep. The website says, “Walk downstream for more remote places (downstream here bathing suits are NOT customary and many users would like to keep it that way!).”

Well, we decided we’d find out if that was true. The directions were accurate, and we found the water just a short distance from the parking lot. There were a lot of people at the end of the trail, all in swimsuits. So we walked along the water and easily found a quiet area to strip down.

skinny dipping woodstock upstate new york big deep swimming hole felicity jones

Skinny Dipping in Big Deep Woodstock

The water was very cold, but I managed to get in up to my waist. The bottom was mostly mud or clay, and I didn’t see any fish. We enjoyed the peaceful surroundings for a little while. It’s hard to say whether there is an actual tradition of nude swimming here, as we didn’t encounter anyone else doing it (no naked hippies – sorry to say).

On the way out we did run into a young couple looking to do the same thing (or at least the girl was). It’s nice when some nudies establish a naked area like Split Rock in New Paltz, but in the countryside, all you really need to find is a swimming spot with no one around, to go skinny dipping.

skinny dipping at the big deep swimming hole

Skinny Dipping at the Big Deep Swimming Hole In Woodstock

Skinny Dipping at the Big Deep Swimming Hole In Woodstock NY:

In regards to Woodstock, some of you might also think of Morley Schloss, majority shareholder of Sunsport Gardens nudist park and longtime leader in the naturist movement. Morley has often told the story of his first social nudity experience at the Woodstock Festival. Here’s how he tells it to Stephane in his interview on the Naturist Living Show:

“My first experience was in August of 1969, and I, like thousands and thousands of other people, was at Woodstock. And it was muddy and rainy and I was there with a 2 year old and a 1 month old. Anyway, I needed to get clean and there was this pond behind the stage and there were people skinny dipping and I didn’t have a bathing suit so I tried it. I was a little scared, but I tried it and it was such an incredible feeling, feeling the air and water and sun all over me, that I was hooked immediately.”

Three days of nudity, drugs, free love, rock ‘n’ roll…when bodies weren’t so shameful and skinny-dipping was no big deal (in some places at least).

Just for fun, here’s a silent home video clip from the Woodstock Festival, showing people skinny dipping at 2:31.

Sex Positive and Body Image Blogs by Felicity Jones for – Young Naturists And Nudists America YNA

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Category: Social Nudity Blogs, Felicity's Nudist Blog, Events and Parties, Naked Outdoors Nature

About the Author ()

Author of Felicity's Blog. Co-founder of Young Naturists America. 3rd-generation nudie. Avid reader. Feminist. 70% vegan, 30% vegetarian. When I'm not busy eating, I'm writing about naturism, censorship, topfree equality, body image and other fun topics. I like feedback, so plz leave a comment when you've got something to say!
  • HughSansom

    Thanks for the post! I grew up around Woodstock. Skinny dipping has been fine along different parts of that stream for a long time. I think the rules of thumb are: If it’s an established spot for going nude, you can go nude regardless of what others are doing. And if it’s not established, then it goes whichever way the first arrivals go. So if there’s nobody there when you get there, you do what you want. Cops are more obnoxious than they used to be. But budget cuts are so severe that there are very few rangers or cops around.
    Two things have changed in last 20 years or so. First, ‘younger’ people on balance are neurotic about image and are more conservative in some respects (a lot less so in others). Second, and more important in an area that still has a “hippie” image, landowners are a helluva lot more conservative and far more likely to get upset about people on their land. There are many places where I used to hike that are now plastered with “No Trespassing” signs. I respect these, but many landowners post these signs on public land that they want to keep to themselves. Upstream along the Millstream in Woodstock, there are some great spots on the public land known as “The Comeau Property” or “Comeau Wood”. I’ve seen several very wealthy owners try to chase people off even though the land is public. Know your rights!

    • HughSansom Thank you for commenting, it really helps to get info from a local!  It’s kinda hard to tell exactly what the “established” spots are I think, unless you live there. But I think that’s a fair set of rules!  
      Yes, I can see that about some younger people. It’s sad that landowners have taken on that kind of selfish mindset. How anti-hippie of them.

  • eveysolara

    I will need to take a trek up there this summer

  • BrianHickman

    I was always under the impression that “nudist colony” was used by people as a derogatory term. I’ve heard it said in more recent years, and mostly among other nudists, with out getting that feeling. When I tell people that I’m a nudist and explain about it, I always use “resort” because “colony” just feels… shameful?

    • BrianHickman It’s interesting that you would hear other nudists use it in a casual way, in the same way they’d use resort.. If there was ever a time when it didn’t have a negative connotation, then it definitely became a derogatory term at some point, and in my opinion still is. It makes sense you would get that feeling from the word. But hey maybe one day we’ll take it back and turn it positive again lol.

  • I just don’t get why people object to “nudist colony” for just the reason noted above: there are artist’s colonies, cabin colonies, and other colonies, signifying peaceful retreats for people to visit while getting away from the stress of society … places to relax, have a chance to think and create. Nudists and naturists only associate “colony” with “leper colony” but that’s not the normal definition of colony.

    • FreemanNoone It’s the media that has often used “nudist colony” in a negative way and thus it took on a negative connotation. It’s also an outdated term the same way “artist colony” is..looking up info about Woodstock is the first time I’d seen that term used online. 
      I’ve never seen a club or resort today refer to themselves as a nudist colony. It’s the media that continues to use it out of ignorance or in spite of what nudists tell them!

  • mfisv1

    Great read! Great Skinny Dip pic! We have a place on 14 mile creek just like that!

  • MrSandy

    In the 20th Century (ancient history!) and probably in the 19th, the word “colony” was routinely applied to groups of people who shared particular interests or activities and had places to which they could escape, away from the busy world, and practice or engage in that shared interest or activity. Thus there were writers colonies, artists colonies and, yes, nudist colonies.

    • MrSandy That makes sense. Though I’m beginning to think nudists never used this term themselves and that it was made up by outsiders and the media and just became a popular term for them to use. Looking at old nudist books and magazines written by nudists, I haven’t once seen them refer to nudist clubs as colonies. But it could be I haven’t looked at enough literature.

      • FelicityJones MrSandy I’ve never seen “colony” used in a derogatory way by the media or anyone else. They simply mention a nudist colony and naturists everywhere raise a hue and cry. I live not far from the famous MacDowell Colony where artists and writers go to work in an atmosphere of serenity and support. No negative connotation to “colony” there, either. I maintain the media just starting using colony in the same way they do for artists’ colonies, and that the negative connotation rests solely with naturists who are just too quick to take offense.