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A Guide to Topless and Nude Sunbathing in the USA

With warmer weather just around the corner, swimwear brand Pour Moi has completed a study that will be super useful to those of you who love to go topless when sunbathing on holiday, or even go fully in the buff! The brand looked at each state’s rules and regulations when it comes to naked sunbathing, and created a handy map to give you an immediate idea of where to go on holiday if you love to sunbathe starkers.

Despite travel restrictions last year, there were over 10.7 million Google searches made globally in the last 12 months for ‘nude beaches’, ‘nude resorts’ and ‘sunbathe nude’. The majority of those searches were made by the USA, Japan and Brazil. However, when population size is accounted for, the people that want to sunbathe naked the most are from Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

Public nudity laws can become confused with the rules surrounding nude sunbathing, with many countries saying public nudity is illegal, but they are actually OK with topless sunbathing. For most nations, the ‘intention to offend’ is the main thing that differentiates trying to catch some vitamin D without tan lines, versus someone streaking or flashing.

Sunbathing USA

Alabama – Green: Public nudity is illegal, but topless freedom is in place when practiced without the intention of offending others, and there are multiple nudist campgrounds and retreats.

Alaska –Green: Public nudity is illegal, but topless freedom is in place when practiced without the intention of offending others. Nude hiking in this secluded state has risen in popularity in recent years.

Arizona – Green: It’s technically illegal to sunbathing nude in public in Arizona, but there are a number of naturist resorts and hot springs which allow nakedness.

Arkansas – Green: It’s illegal to be naked in public in Arkansas, but you’re free to go topless and nudity is ok in same-sex situations only.

California – Green: California state law allows nudity when the intention is not to offend, while each municipality has their own rules, there are multiple beaches where topless sunbathing is popular.

Colorado – Green: Whilst public nudity is a no in Colorado, toplessness is legal after a district judge ruled that any ordinances banning females from going topless would violate rights due to gender-based discrimination.

Connecticut – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others. The state has a few different naturist resorts and campgrounds for private members.

Delaware – Amber: Public nudity laws make going topless illegal, but the rules are ambiguous as they don’t specify whether topless sunbathing would be considered “offensive”.

Florida – Amber: Courts in Florida have disputed whether female toplessness should be included in public indecency laws and as such the rules vary between municipalities. There are however a number of places where topless sunbathing is tolerated and a few official spots throughout the state too.

Georgia – Green: Public nudity is illegal but topless freedom is in place when practiced without the intention of offending others, and there’s a number of resorts and clubs for naturists.

Hawaii – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others, and there are a number of beaches where topless sunbathing is popular.

Idaho – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but there’s nothing in Idaho’s legislation that makes going topless illegal for women. State law doesn’t prohibit toplessness but certain municipalities do have local laws against it.

Illinois – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but the state laws do not specify if topless sunbathing would be considered lewd or offensive, and multiple nudist clubs and resorts exist.

Indiana – Red: While there are a number of private naturist resorts and clubs, public nudity and toplessness is illegal in Indiana, even if the intent is not to offend.

Iowa – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others, and a couple of clothing-optional resorts exist in Iowa.

Kansas – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but toplessness is completely legal through the state of Kansas.

Kentucky – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others and there are a few naturist societies.

Louisiana – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others, and there are a few clothing option B&B’s and nudist parks.

Maine – Green: Public indecency laws are in place to prevent sunbathing nude, but state law allows all women can go topless.

Maryland – Amber: The laws are unclear regarding toplessness, however a popular beach in Baltimore has banned females from going topless and a federal judge upheld the ban in 2020.

Massachusetts – Amber: The laws are ambiguous as to whether they prevent full nudity or going topless, but multiple requests for segregated, official topless beaches have been denied by the council.

Michigan – Green: Topless sunbathing was illegal until as recently as 2020 but women can now go topless as they please.

Minnesota – Green: Topless sunbathing was illegal until as recently as 2020 but women can now go topless as they please.

Mississippi – Amber: The laws are ambiguous in Mississippi as they don’t specify which parts of the body are indecent nor whether it relates to the intent to offend or if sunbathing discretely would be considered offensive.

Missouri – Green: Missouri courts have upheld bans that prevent women from going topless, but there are multiple campgrounds, clubs and naturist societies where people go topless.

Montana – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others.

Nebraska – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others. Some cities have their own rules prohibiting toplessness but it’s not illegal according to state laws

Nevada – Amber: Public indecency laws in Nevada prohibit any kind of nudity, but there are several clothing optional sites throughout the state.

New Hampshire – Green: Though New Hampshire proposed a bill that would make toplessness illegal, it was defeated on the basis that it would discriminate against women.

New Jersey – Amber: In New Jersey every municipality can make their own rules, but the general law is ambiguous, stating that any act that could be considered offensive is illegal, without specifying what kind of nudity it alludes to.

New Mexico – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but as of September 2019 toplessness was made legal throughout the state.

New York – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but toplessness is legal throughout the state as of a ruling in 1992.

North Carolina – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others and a few nudist resorts exist.

North Dakota – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others.

Ohio – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others as courts ruled that women going topless isn’t equivalent to full nudity.

Oklahoma – Amber: The laws in Oklahoma are ambiguous. Although it was ruled that women must be treated equally to men, the attorney general has claimed that this doesn’t apply to topless laws until their supreme court has come to the same conclusion.

Oregon – Green: Some parts of Oregon have laws against public nudity but in general it’s legal as long as it’s not to offend or for commercial purposes, meaning that going topless is legal throughout the state.

Pennsylvania – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others, and there are multiple naturist campgrounds, clubs and lodges.

Rhode Island – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others.

South Carolina – Red: The laws in South Carolina make it illegal to expose any part of your body in public.

South Dakota – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, sunbathing nude in prohibited, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others.

Tennessee – Red: Public nudity and toplessness is illegal in Tennessee, even when the intent is not to offend.

Texas – Amber: Topless women have been charged with public nuisance offences in Texas, however the state’s Equal Rights Amendment has been used by many to dispute the charges. There are also multiple naturist resorts and societies.

Utah – Red: Public nudity is illegal and taken very seriously in Utah and toplessness is illegal.

Vermont – Green: Sunbathing nude is allowed throughout the state of Vermont, with different cities enacting their own rules whereby it is prohibited only in certain locations.

Virginia – Amber: The laws are ambiguous in Virginia as they don’t specify whether or not it has to be intended to offend, but multiple people have been arrested in previous years for indecent exposure when topless in public.

Washington – Amber: Public nudity is not illegal but naturists and people going topless can be charged with indecent exposure if they’re considered to be offending other members of the public.

West Virginia – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others.

Wisconsin – Green: Public indecency laws are in place, but topless freedom is allowed when practiced without the intention of offending others.

Wyoming – Green: As of September 2019, toplessness is legal throughout the state of Wyoming.

To find out the rules in other countries around the world, including the UK, Australia, Canada, China and more check out our Global Guide to Sunbathing Nude or Topless.

The study revealed the top 10 countries who are (per person) most interested in spending time in sunbathing nude are:

  • Wyoming
  • Vermont
  • Alaska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Delaware
  • Rhode Island
  • Montana
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire

Iuliia Tore