Review of Sunsport Gardens & Mid-Winter Naturist Festival of 2013
After the nude cruise, Jordan and I continued our naked adventures to Sunsport Gardens for the last few days of the The Naturist Society’s Mid-Winter Naturist Festival of February 2013. When we first stepped off the boat that Sunday, it was shockingly cold!
The last day of the cruise had been rainy, and the same weather had hit in Florida, bringing in colder temperatures. But, the sun had come out, and we were very much looking forward to the festival and seeing Sunsport Gardens for the first time.
It turns out “Gardens” is an apt name. As soon as we ventured in, what immediately struck me is how gorgeous the grounds are in tropical flowers and vegetation. It brought back recent memories of the Costa Rican jungle.
I’d previously heard a few people refer to Sunsport as “rustic.” Once I saw it, I thought they must be people who don’t get around too much. They have most of the facilities you would expect to find at a successful nudist club, and everything looks modern and well-maintained.
There is a heated pool, sauna, in ground hot tub, volleyball and tennis courts, clubhouse and large rec hall. There is a playground and pool slide as well for all the kids who live at Sunsport or visit. There is a pond and lake (not for swimming) and a few scenic walking trails.
The clubhouse is well-furnished with a pool table, couches, two TV’s, video game consoles, and other games. It’s also where the meals are served for the festival, and people took their plates to eat at the picnic tables just outside. On normal non-festival days, there is a café open 6 days a week that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. (I can’t speak for the food because we didn’t have any, but the menu is online. Food is super affordable.) At the back of the clubhouse is a laundry room with several washers and dryers.
There are both outdoor and indoor showers, and I quite liked the indoor shower room, which is mostly enclosed but still lets in plenty of light through the glass doors. As opposed to the usual detergent-quality soap found in public shower dispensers, theirs had organic soaps and quality shampoo.
The camping sites are scattered throughout the grounds, wherever there is empty lawn space. We had an un-serviced campsite situated off one of the paths, only a two minute walk away from the main area. There are a lot of RV sites and trailers.
Like many clubs Sunsport has a policy of “nudity expected” (weather permitting), and it’s required in the pool, hot tub and sauna area. Their general philosophy is a nice throwback to traditional naturism with an emphasis on healthy living, eco-friendly practices, and most importantly (to us), acceptance.
They state on their homepage and in several other places: “Sunsport welcomes naturists of all ages regardless of race, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disabling condition.” Most clubs casually mention that people of all body types are accepted, but Sunsport makes it a point to say they welcome diversity and all types of people. We like this, given our own philosophy of acceptance.
Due to the dreary weather, the festival wasn’t as well-attended as it usually is. But this didn’t affect the workshop schedule, and we still got to enjoy a myriad of activities with friends old and new. Many of the workshops are similar to what’s offered at the Northeast Naturist Festival in the summer: discussions on topics related to naturism, healthy living workshops, dancing classes, drum circles, pudding toss and numerous “new age” activities. However, there are always new things offered and new people to meet at the festivals, especially in a different region.
In particular I enjoyed making my own earrings, learning a West African dance of celebration with Zen, learning how Kombucha beer is made, and listening to a live musical concert entitled “Peace, Love & P’opera” by Armand and Angelina (it was quite unique).
In short, I’d say Sunsport is among my favorite clubs in Florida, and I highly recommend visiting if you’ve never been. It’s also a YNA affiliate club, so if you’re a YNA member under 30, that means grounds fees are only $6/day! This might be the cheapest young-naturist rate in the nation. Even the cost for unaffiliated visitors is on the low end at $24/day.
Learn more about Sunsport on their website at www.sunsportgardens.com.
This review of Sunsport Gardens and the Mid-Winter Naturist Festival was published by – Young Naturists And Nudists America YNA