Travel

Nude camping: What it's like at a clothing optional ground

Making new friends was easy. Picture: Danielle DitzianSource:Supplied
Making new friends was easy. Picture: Danielle DitzianSource:Supplied

THE lump in my stomach grew as my boyfriend and I cruised down the highway into a land with few houses, filled with trees upon trees. The road turned to gravel.

"Five minutes away," he said in an uneven tone. "If we hate it we'll leave."

"Oh god, what have we gotten ourselves into?" I replied.

We were heading to Two Creeks, a clothing optional campground in northern Minnesota.

We were neither nudists nor swingers, gays nor lesbians nor trans, the demographics the campground catered to.

Despite my love of being naked when I please, you could say I was uneasy to say the least.

We were greeted by the owner at the front gate, ready but terrified for our tour of the immense 40-hectare property. It was divided into sections. The main areas were "Alaska", the deserted area far from anyone on this slow weekend; the self-proclaimed "Homo Heights" section, with the name which says it all; and the "City", where the residents tended to live.

We decided we would hide away in our tiny tent in "Alaska" just in case everything freaked us out and we just wanted to camp out in the beautiful trees.

That decision didn't last long.

The tour progressed and every person we passed met us with big smiles and invites to their pools, hot tubs, dinners.

Whether naked or clothed, every person offered a bright smile, excited for newcomers, albeit the youngest ones there.

Having only snacks on us and an intrigue to see what the campground was like, we headed over to another area, so-called "Misfit Island", for dinner. Many people had beautiful campers that they built decks onto, along with swimming pools, hot tubs, and amazing hangout areas. There was even a hall for dances for the busier weekends, whether an organised event was planned or the residents decided to open it up themselves.

Misfit Island welcomed us in the moment we stepped up, fully clothed among ten or fifteen naked people. They smiled and accepted our gift of chips and vodka as they passed us countless shots of Fireball and led us to the buffet of food donated by different residents.

No money was to be spent at Two Creeks, but instead, there was a beautiful system of exchange. Need something done around your trailer? Grab someone a case of beer. Hungry with no grub? Toss on over a bag of chips. Nothing at all to exchange? Don't worry about it, you'll be taken care of anyway.

As a storm started setting in, we decided to splurge and move out of the tent and into an old school bus that looked like it would be less than cozy from the black tattered outside. We held our breath.

Instead of a ratty old bus, we stepped inside to find a perfectly renovated and beautiful place, complete with bathroom, bed, drinking water, everything. Plus, we were next to Misfit Island and our first new friend.

After briefly settling in I stripped off my top, feeling comfortable among our new friends. Oh sure, dirty jokes roamed free, as we laughed and drank the night away. Though my boyfriend had no desire to go naked, no one pressured him.

The only rule at Two Creeks is no means no, a rule that is strictly accepted and followed. Hey, the swingers may sometimes be on the prowl, but everyone wants to feel comfortable in their own skin. Accept others, and you will be accepted.

Despite being the youngest visitors that weekend, we had a blast. Though they didn't show it, I'm sure some residents were wary; who were these twenty-something-year-olds? Would we fit in? Or would we hide away, unsure of this lifestyle so many had been living for years?

By the end of the first night we were in love; the smiles, the jokes, and the true human connection were unparalleled. We had found the most free, most open place in the United States.

Naked, clothed, swinger or in a monogamous relationship, gay or straight, young or old, no boundaries existed here.

Sure, there was the sex aspect, but it didn't overpower the rest. Above anything, this was a place to be yourself, something modern society often tries to suffocate.

After our two days were up, a feeling in the pit of my stomach arose, completely unlike the feeling I had prior to our arrival: the thought of leaving this land broke my heart. My boyfriend looked at me. "Should we stay another night?"

I smiled from cheek to cheek as I gleefully accepted.

While weekends have far more people partying the nights away (or quietly hanging out around a fire), the weekdays tend to be more calm with fewer visitors, though a few stick around.

The crowd thinned out as the weekend ended, and we continued to get to know the people there, growing closer and closer to them as our time at Two Creeks drew to a close.

Still, something nagged at us. How could we find heaven, a place of utter acceptance and connection, only to leave?

And so we rented the stationary bus for the year, able to return at any moment, and official residents of Two Creeks.

Our new friends were ecstatic to have us, for this was a land where neither age nor sexual orientation nor lifestyle choice mattered; this was a place for all to call home.

Danielle is a self-described "crazy nomad" who's been on the road for more than four years straight, finding new homes as she hitchhikes along. She previously wrote about her stay at a nude hotel in Mexico. You can check out her blog, Like Riding a Bicycle, or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  camping clothing optional editors picks nude travel



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