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Haulover State Park, South Florida:

A Day at the Nude Beach

Every winter, many of us in New England think often about warm weather getaways And which word can conjure up the most vivid memories and warmth?

How about Florida, beach, and "clothing optional." OK, more than a few words but you get the point.

Haulover Beach is the holy grail to nudists around the world. It makes every list when writers and nudists compile information about the greatest clothing optional beaches you can find in the world. We recently enjoyed a visit to this beach of all beaches in Bal Harbour Florida.

We set off in our rented Hyundai to Route 1 then to 95, just a few exits down to Ives Dairy Road. Then a turn off to the Coastal Route, A1A, also known as Biscayne Boulevard.

Haulover is right down this road about five more miles. Then to a quick turnoff to a large parking area just under that tunnel that passes back under A1A.

Parking is $6.00 per car per day. Bus route 120 from Miami Dade Transit Service gets you there for $2.00!

Grab your towel and sunblock and head towards the tunnel. You will see the sign posted right before the tunnel that reads: Warning You May Encounter Nude Bathers. Yeah, that’s for sure.

Up ahead was the red-roofed round cement changing room/bathrooms that the city provides for everyone here. The naturist spirit of kindness flourishes; how often do you see nice clean bathrooms at any public beach?

A couple enjoys nude sunbathing at Haulover Beach State Park, Bal Harbour Florida. photos by Max Hartshorne.A couple enjoys nude sunbathing at Haulover Beach State Park, Bal Harbour Florida. photos by Max Hartshorne.
Couple sunbathing at Haulover Beach.Couple sunbathing at Haulover Beach.

Famous Traffic

It was easy to get there, and this is saying a lot in a place like Florida where there is so much congestion that any trip involving a few exits on Interstate 95 will assuredly have the potential to almost immediately become long black parking lots.

After we hit the Haulover sands, we scouted out a good place to sit. Giant umbrellas and chaise lounges are for rent, but we simply lay on our towels and basked in the sun next to an existing open walled beach shack.

There is a trailer here that sells wonderful foods like sandwiches, fresh coffee, smoothies and other snacks. And the bottle of water you might have forgotten.

You will encounter nude bathers.You will encounter nude bathers. So don't fear!
Concrete changing rooms at Haulover Beach, Bal Harbour FL. photo by Max Hartshorne.Concrete changing rooms at Haulover Beach, Bal Harbour FL. photo by Max Hartshorne.



Many of the people at Haulover are men. But a good share of couples too. It’s a big beach and allows people to spread out over the beach evenly. Not crowded at all.

Cambria Suites, Dania Beach. A great value for cruise ship passengers and others!Cambria Suites, Dania Beach. A great value for cruise ship passengers and others!

Some of the best beaches in New England all suffer from the same problem... they are not nudist friendly, and they are too damn narrow.

Erosion has a way of doing that and we've had some severe nor'easters in the past few years that have taken away tons of sand. Not as much of a problem in southern Florida, and Haulover is spacious, wide and great for walking around on.

Cambria Suites: Recommended Lodging Nearby

But the day was easy... we started out from our hotel, the Cambria Suites in Dania Beach.This relatively new property is staffed by friendly people, who really took care of us. Every room is a suite, ranging from 385 up to 610 square feet.

Great for business travelers (who hopefully can carve out a trip to the beach) for couples and even folks with kids who need some space from each other.

Sunglasses on the beach. Sunglasses on the beach.

Nicely appointed with at least two flat screen TV’s, a desk with enough outlets for all your electronics, Wolfgang Puck coffee for the in room coffee makers.

Oh that coffee. Yeah, not only do they offer great free coffee in your room, but the café has surprisingly good and reasonably priced food. Breakfast for $8 entitles you to order an omelet or eggs in any fashion, in addition to the buffet offerings.

No cheap little plastic grape jelly packs here; they had baskets of Dickinson’s Preserves, the kind that come in the cute little jars! And the oatmeal cookies? Grab some for the beach.

A late night cheeseburger and fries was a great nightcap during our visit too. It's nice that the staff is so friendly; it's noticeable and we appreciated that whatever we asked for, it was no problem for them. And they were facing some pretty grumpy cruise ship passengers, but through it all remained courteous and attentive to what the crowd needed during a busy breakfast rush.

Booming Cruise Ship Business

The biggest source of guests for this hotel and many others is the cruise ship industry that disgorges huge ships including the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, with 6500 passengers, and many of these cruisers need before or after cruise lodging.

Airboat ride with Gator Park Airboat Tours, Everglades Florida. photo by Max Hartshorne.Airboat ride with Gator Park Airboat Tours, Everglades Florida. photo by Max Hartshorne.

Cambria drives a free shuttle van every day back and forth when ships are coming to port. Nearly all of the biggest players in the cruise ship business offers Lauderdale as a departure point, including Costa, Holland America, Princess, Silversea and Celebrity.

Cambria Suites' Manager Mark Akst said that they’re doing very well with the cruise business and honing their services to fit that niche. For instance, the cafe closes at 10 am and opens back up at 5, but they will accommodate you with a beer or a coffee if you ask the front desk.

We purchased a pair of GoMiami cards that gave us included admission for a tour of the Florida Everglades and some discounts at local stores. Gator Park Airboat Tours included a 45-minute scenic bus down to the 'Glades and a chance to learn some local history.

The next time you need a place to stay near the Fort Lauderdale airport, or just to get to enjoy Haulover Beach, we recommend this Cambria Suites!

Max Hartshorne.
Max Hartshorne
is the editor of GoNOMAD. Read his blog, Readuponit, where he chronicles the places he sees and the people he meets.

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author: Max Hartshorne
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