Dear Sandy,

I was in beautiful South Padre Island the first week of June, 1997 and have vowed to return again real soon. Here is my question: One afternoon I ventured on past the end of the paved road about a quarter of a mile and came across some Nudists.... couples and singles at different campsites.

Can you tell me if this is considered a clothing-optional section of the beach? Although I saw no signs, if this is acceptable, how do the Ranger Patrols handle this type of lifestyle?


M. Garcia

Dear Sandy;

I'm considering a trip down south. I have been to Galveston and Mustang Island. I enjoy nude sunbathing, (I'm not a freak or problem maker). Where can I go at South Padre and get the sun I like without harassment from the law?

Sincerely, Jim (via the internet) 

This subject has been addressed in this column before. However, having received two letters plus a request for an updated review of area Clothing Optional (CO) beaches from an on-line naturist FAQ, (all within a week's period!) clearly I have yet to milk this topic for all it is worth....

If you are searching for a nude beach where you can see and be seen, you might want to search elsewhere. If, however, you are seeking a quiet, beautiful, hassle-free spot to commune with nature sans clothing, you might find the beaches north of South Padre Island town proper to be just your cup of tea.

For many years various signs posted by anonymous naturists indicated where the "official" nude beach was located - approx. five miles north of the end of the road, by one report. On our most recent visit to that area (7/11/97) all signs had vanished. My companion commented that nude sunbathing on South Padre is "more a state of mind than a specific location."

True enough. To find the CO beach on SPI, drive up the beach past all the day trippers until you find a nice dune on a non-populated stretch of beach. Take your clothes off. Don't forget the sunscreen. Should you wish to sunbathe in relative privacy, it is just a short walk behind the dunes to one of many wind-sculpted grottoes offering shelter from the lascivious and merely curious...

Will you be hassled by the law? Almost certainly not if you are tucked behind a dune. Probably not if you camp in plain view of traffic... unless of course you are a freak, a problem maker or conducting an illegal narcotics transaction. Texas state obscenity laws are aimed at those who have the intent to arouse and or gratify sexual attention. That leaves some room for interpretation, so exercise good judgment. If someone complains, put your clothes on and find another location.

The best way to prevent being hassled is to stay away from anyone who might be offended by your nudity, and on South Padre Island - even at the height of the tourist season (June-Aug) - that is incredibly easy to accomplish.

(We have heard unsubstantiated reports that there is a fairly large contingent of Winter Texans who like to celebrate our mild winters by removing their clothing and frolicking naked in the dunes. We are not sure about the "frolicking" stuff...)

Interested web-surfers can read my CO review in its entirety here


Dear sandy feet,

I'm nine years old and my name is Trisha. I really like that sand castle with the computer you made. I'm going to be in a sand castle building contest at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis in late July. I have your tips on how to build sand castles and I will let you know how well I do.

-via the internet   

Hi Trisha!

Guess what -- I'm going to compete in that contest too! (Not against you, though!) As far as I know, I will be the first representative from the lone Star State to participate in this event. Best Buy is flying me up and putting together a team to work with me -- so I will get to see your sculpture and you will get to see mine!

Be sure to come over and say hi - I will be wearing a Best Buy T-shirt and a safari hat with my name painted on it. See you soon!

A reminder to local sand sculptors: Only 84 practice days left until Sandcastle Days '97! For up to the minute contest info, go to here

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: ( Visit my web-site ( for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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