Jun 18, 2024 10 min read

Our Skinny Dipping Adventure - All Five Great Lakes in 24 Hours

On June 3, 2024, we laid claim to be the first people to skinny dip in all five Great Lakes in less than 24 hours.

Lake Michigan- The third stop on our road trip
Lake Michigan- The third stop on our road trip

On June 2nd, I traveled to North Michigan with six strangers.

On June 3rd, we laid claim to be the first people to skinny dip in all five Great Lakes in less than 24 hours.

This was a trip organized by Naked Adventure Club of Detroit. The purpose was to raise awareness of the lack of designated nude beaches in Michigan, a region of the United States with miles upon miles of gorgeous shorelines upon the Great Lakes. What follows is a record of our time spent at each of the lakes that day.

Post plunge- Lake Superior
Post plunge- Lake Superior


TIME: 7:12


AIR TEMP: 51°F/11°C

A chill foggy morning gave way to a sunny blue sky as we approached our first lake. A naturist from Northern Michigan had agreed to guide us to some good locations that day.

They led us to a spot to park just off the road and guided us around a treeline to the shore of Lake Superior. Swarms of bugs greeted us hungrily as we walked through the sand a few hundred feet down the luscious treeline. Our guide signaled that we had reached our spot and we removed our clothes.

There had been some nervous discussion about how submerged in the lake we needed to be and what exactly constituted “skinny dipping”. Some of us agreed on total submersion, head-to-toe. Some of us didn’t want to mess up our (great-looking and well-groomed) hair. We eventually agreed that shoulder deep fulfilled the task at hand.

We prepared a camera to record the event and braced ourselves to charge into what we knew would be a very cold plunge. Someone counted down, and we sprinted into the waters of Lake Superior.

The lake was shallow at this point and felt like it wouldn’t get any deeper as we continued to run further and further out, disturbing what had been calm lake waters with our splashing and laughter. A couple of us waded further out and found that the waters became deeper, but most of us hurried back to the warmth of the shore and our towels.

We huddled together for some celebratory pictures of our first conquest complete with our nautical symbol props a member graciously made- a few of the front, a few of the back, and then some goofiness, setting the picture sequence for the rest of the trip. Then we put our clothes back on to head back to the car.

Lake Huron shoreline
Lake Huron shoreline


TIME: 8:40


AIR TEMP: 57°F/14°C

The coast hugged close to the treeline as we approached our next spot. A few muddy streams cut through the sand on the long walk along Lake Huron. To get to our guide’s recommended spot here, we found ourselves having to cross a narrow plank of a bridge across a wide stream emptying into the river.

This time, clothes started coming off as soon as we crossed that bridge, as if it were a crossing into a different, idyllic, nude land. Many rocks and pieces of natural debris (including small animal bones) had to be navigated before we finally arrived.

As before at the last lake, the camera was set up and we got into position to run in. Everyone hesitated for a moment, so I seized the initiative, shouting “3! 2! 1!” and we were off, bounding into Lake Huron.

The ground gradually sloped down, becoming slightly deeper than at Superior. However, I still had to kneel to become fully submerged here. There were some nerves raised as we realized that this location was fully visible from the road where we had parked, which had a small amount of active traffic.

However, we were so far across the bay from that road that we figured people would need binoculars to make us out anyway (and that would make THEM the weird ones…)

This time, we remained naked as we began the walk back after taking more celebratory photos for once again having braved the cold of a Great Lake. When we once again approached the narrow bridge back into the world of the clothed, we dressed and crossed back over the trickling muddy streams to where our car awaited.

Wading in Lake Michigan
Wading in Lake Michigan


TIME: 10:36


AIR TEMP: 65°F/18°C

A group of serene yellow butterflies greeted us as we approached the beach. Beyond them lay a picturesque blue sky and the crystal clear waters of Lake Michigan. It’s unbelievable how beautiful the water was!

Leaving our butterfly gatekeepers behind, we began a long trek down this gorgeous stretch of coast along what would be the most stunning great lake that day. This site is part of a state park, so we had to be sure we were a good way out from the entrance and populated trails before removing our clothes.

A few of us did just that as we rounded the trees into a wide bay. Though the walk was long, the scenery more than made up for it. Calm waves rolled onto the shore and lapped against the smooth large rocks just at the water’s edge as we enjoyed a natural symphony of a gentle breeze accompanied by the cheerful chirping of birds somewhere amongst the trees.

This spot was a paradise! In the far distance where the waters of Lake Michigan met the sky, our sage naturist guide pointed out an island where two lighthouses could be visible when the light was just right. Otherwise, this heavenly stretch of beach felt like a true escape from civilization.

We performed our usual preparation for our plunge into the lake and Gabe this time chimed, “Un… Deux… Trois!”

A row of small pebbles lined the barrier between water and sand. A brief moment after bounding past them into the lake, larger mossy stones greeted our feet in the water, making a slippery surface (at least one of us tripped).

It was a much shorter run through the water this time, however, to reach a point where the water deepened enough to dive into a forward crawl and comfortably swim. The water felt amazing after the long walk down the beach in the sun!

There was a general consensus amongst the group that we wished we could stay here longer. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere was serene. Unfortunately, we had to start our walk back to the car.

Our schedule was beginning to slip and reality was worming its way in. We took some pictures and bid farewell to our guide, who was planning on spending some more time relaxing at this naturist heaven (lucky bastard).

Of all the sites we would visit that day, this was my personal favorite. I certainly intend to find my way back here some sunny day in the future to spend more time clad in nothing but the beauty of nature.

Eerie fog- Lake Erie
Eerie fog- Lake Erie


TIME: 18:14


AIR TEMP: 64°F/18°C

A thick gray fog swallowed the sky surrounding Port Burwell. A fee was required to enter the beach parking lot, and since no one was present at the entrance booth, it had to be left in an envelope and slid into a box. Fortunately, one of us actually had Canadian currency on them.

We drove to lot 5 and crossed the boardwalk to the beach. A section of this beach is private property and the owner allows the general public to use it as a nude beach. At this point, we were aware it would be about a 2 ½ hour drive to our next stop to catch a ferry at 21:00.

We had to move with urgency as we plunged our way bravely through the oppressive fog a little over half a mile down the beach. The lack of visibility lended an air of mystery and adventure to this locale. Piles of driftwood lined the dunes at the rear of the beach, with the occasional log directly intercepting our path. The clothed side of the beach was sparsely populated at this hour, and it seemed like many beachgoers were beginning to leave.

Finally, we saw a figure emerge in the distance. A nude man appeared from out of the haze and walked to sit on a bench by a fort constructed from driftwood at the rear of the beach, away from the water. A sign clung to a forked branch that erupted from the nearby overgrowth. It read “NUDIST AREA”. We had arrived!

This area was more populated. Tents lined the beach, disappearing into the fog in the distance. With haste, we set up our camera to record our skinny dip in our fourth great lake. A person nearby got our attention and warned us that there were reports of riptides at the beach today and to use caution. After considering the water and deciding it currently appeared safe enough, we rushed in!

The water at Lake Erie was a little warmer than the other lakes (though still cold!) and murky with bits of debris hugging the waterline. We didn’t get too far from the shore, though it seemed to deepen a bit further out.

When we returned to the shore, a man wearing only a shirt and sunglasses approached us. He had some trash in his hand he must have cleaned up as he was walking. The man was excited to see us splashing around and enjoying ourselves, and we told him about our mission that day.

He eagerly started talking to us about his local knowledge of this nude beach and one of us remarked, “It’s almost like you’re the mayor here!” He grinned, “Funny you should say that. That’s how people refer to me here.”

We learned that the driftwood fort actually belonged to Mayor Dave, and he would sometimes have a bonfire there. He began  to expound on his history and more local knowledge, but our time was unfortunately at a premium. We said farewell and retreated back to the parking lot, Mayor Dave and his fabulous fort disappearing in the misty fog behind us.

Hanlans Point, Lake Ontario, Toronto
You know where we're headed- Hanlans Point, Lake Ontario, Toronto


TIME: 22:07


AIR TEMP: 63°F/17°C

The sun had set and Toronto was buzzing with nightlife beneath the bright neon lights of the city skyscrapers. Since we had missed the 21:00 ferry (JUST BARELY), we would have to cool our heels in the chill night wind that embraced us as we awaited the 21:30 ferry.

The ferry to Hanlan’s Point on Lake Ontario goes back and forth from the port in Toronto, with departure times depending on the season. There are also water taxis that can take passengers to the island at will. At this late hour, our activities were on a time limit, as it was about a 20 minute walk between the port on Hanlan’s Point and the nude beach, and the final ferry of the night departed at 23:00.

Shortly after getting off the ferry, a sign on the paved path leading to the beach proclaimed that Hanlan’s Point was the site of Canada’s first ever Pride celebration, and claimed to be one of the oldest continuously queer spaces in the world. It felt fitting to end our adventure at such an important and historical site.

After all, the history of nudism and body freedom in North America are indelibly chained to the ongoing intersectional struggles of the LGBT+ community. Nudists and naturists owe it to their queer forebears to still have spaces today where they can safely and freely go without clothing.

On the beach, a few groups were present with small campfires. We found our spot and stripped down. Despite the darkness and cold, we were determined to finally complete our quest.

This time, because of the darkness, we had to use Tim’s phone to record our dip. We found a nearby beach goer who was attempting to start a fire and asked if he could help record us.

This person was fully clothed, spoke with slurred speech, and stumbled about as they moved on the sand. It seemed that, in their state of apparent intoxication, they might not be able to hold the camera straight as we ran into Lake Ontario, but the footage wound up looking just fine.

Toronto glittered on the horizon. We plunged into the cold dark waters. A line of smooth stones was under the water as we crossed further into the lake, but the ground was mostly sand. We also could have comfortably swam at this depth, if it were not so dark and cold at this hour.

This would have been a nice atmosphere to set up a camp with a small fire, though apparently Hanlan’s Point tends to become a lot more crowded than what we experienced. Were it a weekend, and earlier in the day, there might not have been so much space for us.

Our quest finally over, we reclothed and rushed back to the final ferry of the night. We were rewarded with a stunning and romantic view of the Toronto city skyline as we returned to the Toronto port.

Our adventure to the Great Lakes was not only exciting and fun, but affirming to my life as a naturist. Being naked in all of these natural spaces reminds me that I, as a human, am also a part of nature.

When I remove my clothing, I remove the artificial barriers that hide my truest, most authentic self. At the beginning of this journey, I wasn’t sure I would get much social interaction from this 24 hours spent with 6 strangers. After it was done, I feel like I formed a special bond with those people. I believe that is part of the power of social nudity.

Nudism is not just about being naked physically, but also exposing yourself emotionally and authentically. Bonding with other humans feels more intimate and singularly unique when clothing is out of the picture and we present our natural selves to one another.

On our drive home, there was much excited talk about the “next time” we do this. Until then, my heart will remain in constant anticipation of that day!

Written by Max Jones

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