It’s hot. The pool, pond, lake, or ocean looks sooo refreshing. You’re ready to strip and go skinny dipping. But before you shed your clothes, take a minute to consider the risks—you might be breaking the law.
Swimming naked is illegal in most public spaces in the United States. So, whether you’re at a town pool, a city beach, or a public stretch of ocean, keeping your suit on is the best choice. Swimming in the buff is considered indecent exposure or public indecency.
Would you actually get arrested? Possibly. Hopefully, though, you’ll be dealing with an amused (or at least reasonable) police officer who will most likely just give you a warning and tell you to get dressed.
And in a few places, you don’t even necessarily have to count on the benevolence of police. Public indecency laws are not ubiquitous, or applied in the same way. In Florida, for instance, you’re committing a crime by skinny dipping only if you have lewd and lascivious intent. (If you get picked up for swimming au naturel in the Sunshine State, try saying you’re doing it for health reasons.)
No matter what state you’re in, being discrete goes a long way. If no one sees you and complains, there’s no problem. So, if you are at beach at night and decide to cool off and no one is around to object, you’re not going to get hauled off to jail.
And if you happen to be in Fargo, North Dakota, feel free to skinny dip in the Red River at night, since swimming naked there is illegal only between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm.
So what about if it’s your own pool or at a friend’s private lakeside dock? It would still behoove you to be discreet. Generally, if you’re in public view, then you’re exposing yourself indecently.
However, if you have a backyard pool that’s got a tall fence around it, you’re diving in at a pond in the middle of your uncle’s farmland, or if you’re going for a dip in your backyard in the dead of night, you’re almost certainly safe baring it all.
The one kind of place you can be absolutely sure you’re fine, no matter who is looking? Nudist clubs and/or resorts.