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A Clothing-Optional Guide to Key West: Nudist Hotspots in the Gay Island Oasis

Exploring Key West’s clothing-optional scene was not something I necessarily expected to do when I visited the gay island oasis in the summer. Key West has always been known as a liberating and open-minded tropical paradise, with a long history of famous residents and visitors.

Embarking on a journey to a nudist hotspot or clothing-optional space while traveling can be a liberating and exhilarating experience, providing a unique opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. Shedding societal norms and embracing the freedom to be au naturel in a new environment can lead to a profound sense of liberation and acceptance.

Traveling itself often serves as a catalyst for self-exploration, and adding a nudist hotspot to your itinerary amplifies this adventure, fostering a spirit of openness and curiosity.

One of the most invigorating aspects of visiting a clothing-optional space is the chance to step outside one’s comfort zone and challenge preconceived notions about nudity and self-expression. It offers an alternative lens through which to view oneself and others, promoting body positivity and a celebration of diverse forms of beauty.

In these nudist spaces, the emphasis shifts from the superficial to the genuine connections and shared experiences, creating a sense of camaraderie among individuals who are united by a shared desire for authenticity. Moreover, trying a new expression through nudism while traveling allows for a departure from the routine and an immersion into a different way of existing.

It encourages a break from societal expectations and offers a chance to redefine personal boundaries. The newfound freedom can inspire a deeper connection with one’s own body and a heightened appreciation for the diversity of human form. Getting naked when you’re in a new and unfamiliar space is a powerful reminder that beauty transcends societal standards, and embracing nudity in a supportive environment can be a catalyst for increased self-confidence and self-acceptance.

In essence, visiting a nudist hotspot while traveling isn’t just about shedding clothes; it’s about shedding inhibitions, embracing vulnerability, and opening oneself to new ideas and ways of existing. It’s an opportunity to break free from the constraints of everyday life and experience the exhilaration that comes with embracing a more authentic and liberated version of oneself in a novel and accepting environment.

Nude & Clothing-Optional Places in Key West

Here are five top places where you can embrace the freedom of a clothing-optional space in Key West. Many of these guest houses are specifically gay resorts, so be sure to check details if you’re looking for a space that isn’t exclusively gay.

1. New Orleans House

Clothing-optional for men only

Nestled on the very lively Bourbon Street Pub on Duval Street, the New Orleans House is an inviting haven for those seeking a clothing-optional escape in Key West. The resort’s primary allure lies in its relaxed atmosphere and the option for guests to bare it all in the tropical surroundings. The courtyard for the gay resort hotel is lush and green and accessible via a backdoor in the Bourbon Street Pub.

The clothing-optional pool area and sundeck provide a liberating environment for guests to unwind and socialize. What sets it apart is the unique connection to the Bourbon Street Pub, where patrons can seamlessly transition from the vibrant pub scene to the more laid-back, clothing-optional ambiance of the resort’s backyard.

There’s a bar in that backyard as well, so while the resort area is strictly limited to patrons of the gay hotel; bar patrons can (and do!) strip down to join the party at that outdoor bar.

2. Island House Key West Resort

Clothing-optional resort for men only in almost all areas

Situated a little off the main area of Key West, the gay resort is about 15-minute walk to the main drag. Island House is a renowned men-only resort that has long been synonymous with a liberating and welcoming atmosphere.

Boasting luxurious accommodations, a beautiful pool area, and various amenities, the resort offers a clothing-optional sundeck where guests can bask in the Florida sun without any inhibitions.

The Island House stands out not only for its commitment to providing a comfortable space for the LGBTQ+ community but also for the events and parties they host in the venue. You’ll find men of all ages staying at the resort and from all over the world, too. Last time I was there, I met a guy in his early 30s from the UK, and an older couple from the Midwest.

Day passes are available for those that aren’t staying at the gay resort, and with multiple sundecks and separate pool and hot tub decks, there’s plenty of ways to find fun here. For guests staying the night, especially, there’s a gay sauna and steam room indoors with a bit of labyrinth atmosphere–where you will indeed find guys hooking up in public or looking (on Grindr and in-person) for partners to bring back to their own rooms.

3. Alexander’s Guest House

Clothing-optional for men only on two separate sundecks

A charming and inclusive retreat in Old Town Key West, Alexander’s Guest House offers a unique blend of comfort and freedom with at least two clothing-optional sun decks. The beautifully landscaped tropical gardens provide an intimate setting for guests to relax and enjoy the warm Florida weather.

The guest house’s commitment to creating a liberating environment is reflected in its clothing-optional amenities, allowing visitors to unwind in a tranquil and accepting atmosphere. With beautiful attention to detail and a much more personalized service than the other gay resorts, Alexander’s Guest House provides a distinctive clothing-optional experience in the heart of Key West.

4. Equator Resort

Clothing-optional resort for men only
NOTE: Equator Resort announced in early 2023 that they’ll be closing permanently in January 2024

Tucked away in a prime location close to Duval Street, Equator Resort is another men-only retreat that offers a clothing-optional pool and sundeck. With a commitment to providing a relaxed and accepting environment, this resort stands out for its intimate setting and the freedom for guests to enjoy the Florida sunshine without clothing inhibitions.

The Equator Resort’s inclusive atmosphere and proximity to Key West’s vibrant attractions make it a popular choice for those seeking a clothing-optional experience in a more central location.

5. Garden of Eden

Clothing-optional dance club (outdoors) for men & women

Perched atop the Bull and Whistle Bar on Duval Street, the Garden of Eden offers a unique clothing-optional rooftop experience in Key West. This outdoor rooftop club provides a liberating and lively atmosphere where guests can enjoy panoramic views of the city while embracing the clothing-optional policy on the rooftop only.

The Garden of Eden is celebrated for its adventurous spirit, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to add a touch of excitement to their Key West experience. With themed events and a vibrant crowd (depending upon the night), this rooftop oasis stands out as a quintessential spot for those seeking a clothing-optional adventure in the heart of the island.

On my most recent visit to the Garden of Eden, there were only a handful of nude dancers, but the DJ was spinning some cool beats and there were plenty of other people on the dance floor in various stages of undress. While my friends and I didn’t personally strip down to being fully naked, we were dancing in our skimpy gay speedos and that was fun enough!

6. Bourbon Street Pub (backyard)

Clothing-optional bar & club (outdoors) for men only

Situated on the iconic Duval Street, this clothing optional bar serves as a welcoming hub for both locals and visitors, offering a lively atmosphere and a range of entertainment options. Beyond its role as a bustling pub, Bourbon Street Pub is known for its unique connection to the New Orleans House, which hosts a clothing-optional experience behind the pub.

This dynamic of gay resort + gay bar allows patrons to seamlessly transition from the spirited pub scene to a more laid-back, clothing-optional ambiance in the resort’s backyard. This interconnectedness exemplifies the inclusive spirit of Key West, where visitors can enjoy both the lively energy of the Bourbon Street Pub and the liberating atmosphere of the adjacent clothing-optional space, making it a distinctive and enjoyable stop for those seeking a diverse and open-minded experience during their travels.

It should be noted that the Bourbon Street Pub’s nudist area is men-only.

As with any travel plans, it’s best to check the latest information and reviews to ensure that these establishments align with your preferences and expectations during a visit to Key West. When I’m traveling, I like to check their Google Maps listing for any recent reviews—I find it a little easier to manage and fact-check than other travel directories like TripAdvisor.