The Key West City Commission held a workshop on March 30 to discuss opening a section of beach to nude sunbathers. Naturists, many affiliated with Florida Keys Free Beaches, are leading the motion to designate 500 feet of Smathers Beach as clothing-optional along with appropriate fences and signage.
According the Key West Citizen, over 20 people attended from each side of the issue. Advocates for the clothing-optional beach stressed that nudists are wholesome and law-abiding citizens who care about the beach. Those opposed countered with questioning the wisdom of creating a beach for a “special interest group.”
Economics also factored into the discussion. Thirty-three percent of Key West’s tourists are Europeans who would find a clothing-optional beach of interest.
Options discussed were finding a different location than the proposed Smathers Beach area and instituting a trial period of one year that could be terminated at any time to test how a nude beach would fare in the area. As for now, the issue remains unresoved until City Manager Jim Scholl collects information about the option of changing the proposed site of the clothing-optional area from Smathers to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.