Apollo Beach is the northern section of Canaveral National Seashore on the east coast of Central Florida situated between Daytona Beach on the north and Cocoa on the south. Raw, prehistoric, prisitne beach. It is what beaches were before development, tackiness and greed descended and transformed them in to little more than steroid-enhanced parking lots beside matchstick condos with steadily eroding beachfront.
But I digress...
The part of Apollo Beach discussed here lies just south of parking area #5. On April 15, 2000, the park and several local and international nudist organizations declared this area as clothing optional. This arose as a mutual desire to deflect any conflict between clothed and nude beachgoers in the park.
A small sign posted near the sea oats proclaims
YOU MAY ENCOUNTER NUDE SUNBATHERS
The agreement states that the nudist groups will inform and encourage fellow nudists to keep complete disrobement in the proper area. The park reviews it yearly and retains the right to revoke this priviledge. So far, everyone has behaved quite well (except for me, I guess, due to the aforementioned stroll) and as of Tuesday, we still had a nice beach to visit and enjoy. The agreement will be revaluated for reauthorization in 2005.
Central Florida Naturists has a section on their website dedicated to beach conditions, legal news and upcoming events.
The next time you plan a Florida vacation, avoid the nightmares of Disney World/ Universal and take a day to visit Apollo Beach. The beach embraces a sweet desolation, and the most painful thing you will do that day is leave.
Make sure you get there before 9 a.m. at the latest on a sunny warm day. Even earlier if you can since the park opens at 6 a.m. Parking is notoriously sparse despite pleas from patrons.
In case the spirit moves you, you can park at #5 and enjoy natural Florida, well, naturally.
Just remember to go early.
Personal note regarding parking: I've had to park at the clothed #4 lot before. Luckily, the beach is so empty during the week that after a few minutes of walking I could strip out of sight of anyone and continue on my trek. It's a 45-minute hike to the nude section. Although I didn't get caught, this is discouraged and you will get fined. Just a hint and heads up.