Palm Beach County puts a wrinkle in plan for nude beach

The Palm Beach County Tourism Development Council may have been a little rash last week for the way it quickly dismissed the idea of a nude beach.

And there are few things worse than a little rash when it comes to nude beaches.

I would think that tourism officials would have been more hesitant to toss off an attraction that could tap into a whole new subset of tourists, ones that theoretically bring credit cards — although I’m not sure exactly where they put them.

The point is, these nudists are now traveling to distant beaches in Miami-Dade or Fort Pierce to get sand in all the wrong places, and they could be spending their dollars here.

And while we’re at it, our county commissioners could impose a nude sunbathing tax on them (a pole tax?), or make them get a nude sunbathing license, even though displaying the license might pose a problem.


The other reason not to dismiss the nudists so quickly is that we have no idea how many of them might potentially show up. I suspect that there may be more nudists than we imagined.

For example, the head nudist, who is appropriately named Karl Dickey, is somebody I’ve known for years without having any idea that he’s the main guy behind the Palm Beach County Freedom Beach Initiative.

I just thought Dickey was clothes-on Libertarian. He’s been a political fixture here for years, and a perennial candidate for a seat on the Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District. He has filed again for next year’s election.

I thought he was just into soil.

Who knows how many other Libertarians, either by party or spirit, are out there, eager for a chance to visit a nude beach?

So I thought the county’s Tourism Development Council would have been a little more intrigued with the economic possibilities of dedicating Gulfstream Park, a 7-acre tract between Briny Breezes and the town of Gulf Stream, as a clothing-optional beach. At least on a trial basis.

Throw a little marketing into it and see if it takes off, so to speak.

“Palm Beach County: Enjoy all of Florida’s sunshine on Florida’s Bold Coast.”

The photography for the ad may be tricky. You may want to use models rather than your rank-and-file Florida nudist, who may prove to be a little too leathery and well-seasoned for an enticing ad.

It’s worth a try.

But instead, the tourism board seemed to be swayed by members of the public who opposed the idea on the grounds that a designated nude beach wouldn’t be family friendly. That their children may be exposed to something they shouldn’t see.

I’ve got a two-word rebuttal for that: Peanut Island.

And there are those who just want Gulfstream Park to stay as quiet as possible.

“It would bring too much activity to the area,” Boca Raton resident and Gulfstream Park beachgoer Daniel Dangal said.

As a side note: It’s a shame that guys named Dangal and Dickey aren’t on the same side in this issue.

Dickey has said that if he gets turned down at Gulfstream Park, his group will continue to look for a spot on the shoreline, perhaps one of seven already identified and controlled by municipalities.

So if a bunch of nudists show up at your next city council meeting, don’t be alarmed.

They’re just looking for a place to hang out.

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