Best cities for naked gardening

LawnStarter reports on the best cities in the U.S. to bare it all in the garden.

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Gardener seen from knees down with bare legs in yellow boots next to a flower bed and garden tools.

azem // Shutterstock

Where in the U.S. can you garden in your birthday suit without fear of being exposed to tickets or jail time?

Ahead of World Naked Gardening Day on May 4, LawnStarter ranked 2024's Best Cities for Naked Gardening.

We compared 500 of the biggest U.S. cities based on 4 categories – Nude Gardener Friendliness, Local Interest, Weather Forecast, and Safety. Specifically, we considered the number of local nudists, legality of public nudity, Google searches, and forecasts for May 4, among 11 total metrics.

The naked truth? Some cities are more accepting of nude gardening, and it's still too nippy in some cities to be outside wearing just a hat and gardening gloves. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

 

City Rankings

LawnStarter

See how each city fared in LawnStarter's ranking.

Gardens of Eden: Top 5 Close Up

No. 1: Miami, FL | Overall Score: 75.11

  • Nude Gardener-Friendliness: 2
  • Local Interest: 178
  • Weather Forecast: 134
  • Safety: 395

Local tips: Celebrate WNGD with like-minded gardeners at Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort in Loxahatchee. Or visit Haulover Beach and check out the park's flora. If you're comfortable baring it all, you might want to book a cruise next year on the Big Nude Boat

No. 2: Philadelphia, PA | Overall Score: 72.28

  • Nude Gardener-Friendliness: 3
  • Local Interest: 105
  • Weather Forecast: 260
  • Safety: 337

Local tips: Celebrate World Naked Gardening Day at home or maybe make it a weekend at a naturist BnB in Philadelphia. Sunny Rest Resort is another option, and May 3-5 is opening weekend. Oh, and two Philly TV anchors had too much fun talking about WNGD a few years ago.

No. 3: New York, NY | Overall Score: 67.61

  • Nude Gardener-Friendliness: 13
  • Local Interest: 1
  • Weather Forecast: 309
  • Safety: 98

Local tips: NYC apartments are perfect for doing some naked gardening on your balcony or roof, but you can garden in the nude inside, too. Naked and not afraid? If you are a natural at naturism, head Upstate for a Naked in a Cave event this fall. 

No. 4: Austin, TX | Overall Score: 66.99

  • Nude Gardener-Friendliness: 1
  • Local Interest: 376
  • Weather Forecast: 282
  • Safety: 259

Local tips: Austinites go to Hippie Hollow for nude sunbathing, but naked botanists could look for the park's rare plants on WNGD. If naked gardening isn't your thing (or you did that in your yard), Hill Country Nudists is hosting a May the Fourth Star Wars Party

No. 5: Asheville, NC | Overall Score: 64.01

  • Nude Gardener-Friendliness: 7
  • Local Interest: 229
  • Weather Forecast: 1
  • Safety: 358

Local tips: Naked gardening seems a natural (or au naturel) backyard activity in North Carolina's liberal bastion known for its annual topless rallies. But for how long? Asheville has no law banning public toplessness, but state lawmakers are attempting to change that

The Naked Truth: Key Insights

Grin and Bare It: Miami, Austin, New York, Philadelphia, and Asheville – LawnStarter's 5 top cities for nude gardening – all have lax laws (or no laws) when it comes to public nudity. Austin and Asheville are also liberal-leaning cities in conservative states. See Related: Where Naked Gardening Could Lead to Jail, Fines

Asheville, by the way, finishes No. 1 for the weather forecast for WNGD.

Too Cold for Comfort: It's still wintry in Anchorage  – at No. 500 – and Duluth, Minnesota – at No. 498. AccuWeather forecasts a high of 51 for Anchorage and 55 for Duluth on May 4. That's not frostbite weather but not ideal to be naked outside. 

And Billings, Montana, at No. 496 overall, finishes at No. 500 for weather conditions on Saturday. One possible solution: Maybe observe WNGD in June to increase participation in the northern part of the U.S.? (More on this later.)

Lack of Interest: Dozens of cities tied for being the least interested in naked gardening, nude gardening, or related Google searches. Among these: Rochester, Minnesota; Syracuse, New York; Flagstaff, Arizona; Rapid City, South Dakota; Tallahassee, Florida; Toledo, Ohio; Springfield, Missouri; and Waco, Texas.

Lack of interest only partly explains why many of these cities – and they're all over the map – finished in the bottom half of the ranking. Rochester, Minnesota, for example, No. 483 overall, has little interest in gardening in the buff and ranks No. 484 for Naked Gardener Friendliness. 

Safety Matters: You don't want to be gardening naked outdoors if there are a lot of sex offenders in your neighborhood. You might have to use your hoe as a weapon. Richmond, Virginia, finished worst in this metric, at 495, and Flint, Michigan, was runner-up at No. 494.

Naked gardening is all about being natural outdoors and comfortable in your own skin. You don't want to worry about neighbors who might have a criminal past. The safest cities to garden naked? Bloomington, Minnesota, which finished No. 1 in this metric, Plymouth, Minnesota, at No. 2, and San Ramon, California, at No. 3

Behind the Ranking

First, LawnStarter determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to the Best Cities for Naked Gardening. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into four categories: Nude Gardener-Friendliness, Local Interest, Weather Forecast, and Safety. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city's Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked "Best" (No. 1) and the lowest "Worst" (No. 500). 

Final Thoughts: Green Thumbs and Sunburned Bodies

What is World Naked Gardening Day? Some say naked gardening goes back to Adam and Eve, of course, but the observance of World Naked Gardening Day in the U.S. dates back to 2005 when Seattle residents Mark Storey and his partner helped make WNGD an annual event.

Why garden naked? Naturist Education's WNGD page notes: "Gardening naked is not only a simple joy, it reminds us – even if only for those few sun-kissed minutes – that we can be honest with who we are as humans and as part of this planet."

Cathy Walker, president of the American Community Gardening Association, agrees. "Working in a community garden naked is like embracing nature's dress code: au naturel with a side of soil. Just make sure to watch out for those cheeky sunburns in places you didn't even know had names!"

Here are some things to know:

The date of WNGD, the first Saturday of May, is not embraced by all. Why? "Most of us north of the Mason-Dixon Line aren't very supportive of the current date," naturist activist Bill Schroer, who owns a naturist B&B in Michigan, said on Why? The Podcast recently. (Tip: Start at the 10-minute mark.)

"The first Saturday in May is not often a good day to be outside nude (in Michigan) because it's rarely 70 to 75 degrees, which is when at least a lot of us like it to be warm enough to be naked," he adds.

Schroer would move the "holiday" to a later date. "We could simply get a lot more participation if we moved it back to the first Saturday in June or some other day," he says.

In fact, around the world, World Naked Gardening Day is observed on different dates, based on the local or regional climate. 

You can find a list of some planned WNGD observances Saturday on the Naturist Education website.

But how to observe WNGD safely? Here are a few tips:

  • Wear sunscreen. Everywhere. Pale parts of your body will easily burn. This applies for naked gardeners of all skin tones and races, notes New York University's Tessa West in her expert comments.
  • Don't use any chemicals (like weed killer) that might come in contact with your body. "If you need gloves to handle your gardening chemicals, it might not be a good time to go nude," West notes.
  • Don't sit naked on the ground. You're tired of gardening, but don't rest on the dirt or grass. Ants and fire ants are easily confused, and fire ants have a vicious bite.
  • Watch out for itchy, prickly plants. Be careful about what plants you are around or planting – poison ivy, cactus, pampas grass, etc. Plant-caused rashes, pricks, and cuts can be hard to reach and treat on some parts of the body.
  • Don't hurt yourself. Do dig some holes for seeds or plants. Do not use a hedge clipper, string trimmer or rototiller naked.

 

This story was produced by LawnStarter and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.






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