Our Latest Adventures Trying to Find Skinny Dipping Places in Woodstock, NY
It’s officially nudie season! This means it’s time for getting naked outside and in nature. Jordan and I have our favorite places to be naked outdoors, but we also like to travel and discover new ones.
Our typical nudie road trip style is to scroll through listings on swimmingholes.org until we find a spot that’s “clothing-optional” or perhaps of “unknown” textile status. Then we go exploring.
It’s nudie or nothing! No safety net for us because we leave our swimsuits at home. (Okay so I actually forget the damn suit every time, which I mean to take just in case).
In 2013, we went looking for a skinny dipping spot along Saw Kill Creek in Woodstock, NY called “Big Deep” (It’s listed on swimmingholes.org). We’d found groups of people swimming with bathing suits. But we just walked further along the water until we could stake out our own secluded area to swim naked.
This past Memorial Day weekend, we returned to the same creek in Woodstock, this time in search of “Little Deep.” According to swimmingholes.org, there was a clothing-optional gay men “meeting place” here.
Now, perhaps we were supposed to read more into that, but we didn’t. So following the directions, we successfully found the small parking lot. From there we followed a path into the woods. It’s a short easy walk to get to the water and swimming areas.
There were a lot of kids and families, and everyone wore bathing suits. We kept following the path and came to a waterfall with a nice deep pool in front of it and bedrock to sit or lay on. A group of people and their dogs were enjoying this spot. (Again, in swimsuits.)
From here the path veered away from the creek, and we thought this might be the end of the swimming areas. We thought bathing suits had become customary here, and there was no longer any skinny dipping happening there.
BUT we continued walking along the path, still hoping to find some naked gay men swimming and enjoying the beautiful summer day. Jordan heard the creek again in the distance and ventured across a field to see what was there. And lo and behold, he found a naked man!
This guy was friendly and looked to be in his 60’s. He wore a kind of odd half-skirt tied around his waist, which was open at the front. We told him about our organization, asked him questions about this swimming area and about skinny dipping in Woodstock in general.
The first important thing we discovered in talking to him was that this spot was not strictly naturist. Sometimes there were men hooking up on the beach. How often or when? “Depends on the phase of the moon,” he said. In other words, you might be able to predict it with astrology. Otherwise, it’s random.
He said there were no other spots in the area that he knew of where people go nude anymore. Woodstock had changed, and skinny dipping was no longer traditional nor was it tolerated anymore. He offered his own theories as to why. One was again an astrological explanation: “the town of Woodstock has a Gemini sun and an Aquarius moon.” (Make of that what you will.)
But planetary alignments aside, he also blamed camera phones. Nudists mostly worry about privacy in regards to camera phones, but they can also prove a crime was committed. If someone is upset that you’re naked in the woods, they can call the cops and snap your picture for evidence, he said. It sounds ridiculous, but maybe it has happened.
He warned us about skinny dipping in Big Deep because he knew a guy who fell asleep naked in the sun and was seen by a clothed woman who called the cops. They showed up and gave him a summons.
So this rocky “beach” is apparently the last remaining tolerated spot to skinny dip in Woodstock. There were 2 other men present in addition to our new friend, and we chatted with one of them. He was also a local and frequented this spot.
The water was very cold, but the day was hot enough so we got naked and went in up to our waists. As you can see in the photo below, it looks just like Big Deep. (The two “deeps” connect further down.)
Walking further along the water, I could see a big group of people and kids playing at a different section of the creek. For a moment I worried they were on the move and heading our way. (Nothing is worse than having to keep looking over your shoulder while skinny dipping to watch out for the local authorities or someone who will call them.)
That group stayed put, but just as we were getting ready to leave, Jordan noticed a man and woman in swimsuits, strolling our way. As soon as they noticed our state of “dress”, they turned around. Now isn’t that an appropriate reaction? There is enough creek for all of us who do and don’t like swimsuits.
As we were leaving, we got our own visual confirmation of the sexual activity that goes on here. One of the men was, how shall I put this…. pleasuring / having fun with himself. Not naturist behavior and not what we came for! And so we won’t be returning to this section of Saw Kill Creek anytime soon.
A nude beach / natural swimming area doubling as a gay male hook-up spot is not a new phenomenon. We’ve heard of other public nude beaches where men hook up. But on popular beaches with many naturists, it usually happens off in the woods or further down the shore in an empty part.
It is not at all acceptable to have gay sex or any sort of sexual behavior out in the open at nude beaches. This creates problems for everyone and leads to nude beaches getting closed down. It’s certainly better if it’s happening in the bushes away from everyone else, but still not good in that case either.
Maybe if enough naturists started visiting Little Deep, they could take over and either put an end to the sex party or at least push it off to where no one can see easily see it happening! But they would need to consistently stand up and say something when they see something.
For now, based on this trip and what the locals have told us, we’ve concluded that there are no places left to skinny dip in Woodstock. : (
On this same road trip we also hiked to Vernooy Kill Falls in the Catskill Preserve. Some 7-10 years ago, Jordan witnessed a clothing-optional section here. It’s a beautiful place, but now it’s all textile. We attempted to find our own nice section to swim nude, but that didn’t work out.
It was another hot day, so I did hike and wander the area topfree. (With no problems whatsoever. Topfreedom is legal in New York State.)
On a lighter note, Jordan has a new idea for establishing unofficial skinny dipping places. We can post a sign to a tree along the lines of, “Beyond this point you may encounter nude sunbathers.” People are now forewarned instead of coming upon us as a surprise. And when we’re done, we take down the sign and leave. If any ranger or someone in authority questions our sign – we just play dumb and say that it was there when we got there, so we thought it was a sanctioned location. We might give that a try and if we do we will be sure to share this new approach to skinny dipping on the fly. ;)