Utah, California, South Carolina Best Places for 2020 ‘Naked Gardening Day’ Saturday

World Naked Gardening Day

Saturday will be a gorgeous day for naked gardening in Utah, California and South Carolina. That’s important, because May 2, 2020, is when naturists celebrate World Naked Gardening Day, held the first Saturday in May.

Specifically, Ogden, Utah, will be the ideal place to celebrate the human body by weeding, digging and planting au naturel, according to an analysis of this Saturday’s weather by LawnStarter.com. The once-wild city, whose motto is “Still Untamed,”  switched places with last year’s winner, Bakersfield, Calif., as the best city to practice nude gardening on this year’s WNGD, the 16th annual event.

Cities in Utah, California and South Carolina topped this year’s list of the ideal places for nudists to garden with the greatest comfort. The three states took nine of 10 places in our ranking of the top 50 cities (see list below).

Pantsless in a Pandemic: Celebrating WNGD 2020

For Donna Price, and other World Naked Gardening Day veterans, this year will be a little different, thanks to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

“During this time of global crisis the pandemic has brought about, some people may still be under strict lockdown curfews, meaning they cannot even get outside into their own open spaces,” says Mrs. Price, an avid naturist with a substantial Twitter following, who celebrates the event at her home in Spilsby, England. “However, we are hopefully at the start of a turning point in this crisis, which will encourage folks who can to get outside and enjoy the freedom once more.”

Getting outside and doing some naked gardening under these circumstances may yield more satisfaction than ever.

Mrs. Price will be making the most of it. This year’s WNGD doesn’t have to just mean you get out your trowel and start weeding or fire up the mower and cut the grass, she says. “It can encompass a whole manner of jobs, including fence and gate painting. Painting naked is the best way to do it — skin is so much easier to clean!” she says. “Even if you only have a small yard or a balcony, then pull up a deck chair, grab a coffee, a book and get yourself an all-over tan. If the weather is good, then the possibilities are there to be explored.”

But whatever you do in the garden this Saturday, Mrs. Price encourages you to “make it naked and enjoy the liberation.”

Donna Price paints.
For Donna Price, World Naked Gardening Day activities should encompass all sorts of outdoor touchups, such as painting. Photo © J&D Price.

The Genesis of World Naked Gardening Day

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were naked in the garden, but the practice had fallen out of favor by 2005. That’s when Mark Storey, his wife Kathy Blanchard, and their friend Daniel Johnson gathered around Storey’s table in Seattle. Johnson had started some Seattle bike rides that were popular, including World Naked Bike Ride, but many people weren’t able to participate, whether because they couldn’t really ride bikes around town or they weren’t into the political message of those events.

“We really just wanted to introduce people to the fun side of being naked,” Storey says.

So what type of activity could be accessible to everyone and move forward their approach to body freedom?

The answer was gardening.

The trio examined some polls, Storey explains, looking at what activities people across the country said they’d be comfortable doing naked. No. 1 is always swimming — or skinnydipping — but tied for second and third were walking and gardening.

Gardening Checked the Boxes

Mark Storey of Seattle, the founder of World Naked Gardening Day.
Mark Storey of Seattle, the founder of World Naked Gardening Day. Photo courtesy Mark Storey.

A day of swimming naked didn’t seem accessible either, though, since people may not live near bodies of water or be fit enough to swim, but gardening is something anyone can do.

It checked all the boxes: inexpensive, accessible, fun and apolitical. So they got to work.

Storey says they decided to launch it as a kind of experiment, attempting a “social phenomenon” with very little investment and virtually zero marketing.

Even today, almost 20 years on, no entity owns the event; it’s not copyrighted or organized like other similar events.  “It really was a light-hearted, non-pushy kind of thing,” says Storey, an editor for Nude & Natural, the magazine of the Naturist Society.

They established a basic website, let a few people know about it, and stood back.

It started to snowball, and took off. Gardening blogs, newspapers, radio stations and more started picking it up, and now, Storey says, “it’s gotten absolutely huge.”

Today, it’s observed by people all around the world, in the U.S. and Canada, and even Australia and New Zealand, though they’ve moved the date by six months for the southern hemisphere weather.

City Ranking Methodology

For LawnStarter’s ranking started our ranking system with two questions:

  • What would be the ideal day for naked gardening?
  • And where will that weather be available this year?

The core factor for a perfect day for nude gardening, we decided, starts with temperatures as close as possible to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s smack in the middle of the “thermal comfort zone” that building engineers aim for when trying to create environments that the greatest number of people feel comfy.

In addition, the perfect day for naked gardening should include:

  • 100% sun. Yes, you’ll need sunscreen, but sun on skin is a good thing.
  • A  breeze of 5 mph that keeps the sweat off the birthday suit.
  • Relative humidity clocking in at 45 percent, a level most people find very comfortable outdoors.

For our weather data, we downloaded the predicted weather conditions for this Saturday from the weather website Darksky, for each of the top 200 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States. We then compared them to the ideal. The closer a city’s predicted climate was to the ideal, the higher it scored.

Ties between cities were broken by the city’s expected ultraviolet (UV) index. A lower UV level will prevent burns on those areas of the body that only occasionally get sun.

We then translated our data to a 100-point scale, and voila — we had a weather score for the best cities for World Naked Gardening Day. Here’s how they ranked.

City Rankings – Top 10

Here’s how cities fared in our analysis.

1. Ogden, Utah

Ogden, Utah signExpected conditions
High temperature:
 73 degrees F
Humidity: 44%
Wind speed: 4.8 mph
Sun: 73%

Weather score: 93

2. Bakersfield, Calif.

Expected conditions
High temperature:
  83 degrees F
Humidity: 42%
Wind speed:  5.4 mph
Sun: 95%

Weather score: 91.65

3. Provo, Utah

Expected conditions
High temperature:
  74 degrees F
Humidity: 42%
Wind speed:  4.2 mph
Sun: 79%

Weather score: 91.64

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

Expected conditions
High temperature:
  74 degrees F
Humidity: 42%
Wind speed:  4.1 mph
Sun: 79%

Weather score: 91.6

5. Charlotte, N.C.

High temperature:  77 degrees F
Humidity: 62%
Wind speed:  5.2 mph
Sun: 94%

Weather score: 91.05

6. Riverside, Calif.

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 84 degrees F
Humidity: 42%
Wind speed: 5.4 mph
Sun: 94%

Weather score: 90.4

7. Columbia, S.C.

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 79 degrees F
Humidity: 61%
Wind speed: 4.9 mph
Sun: 95%

Weather score: 90

8. Spartanburg, S.C.

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 76 degrees F
Humidity: 67%
Wind speed: 5 mph
Sun: 88%

Weather score: 89

9. Lynchburg, Va.

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 74 degrees F
Humidity: 61%
Wind speed: 5.6 mph
Sun: 86%

Weather score: 88.9

10. Charleston, S.C.

Expected conditions
High temperature:
 79 degrees F
Humidity: 61%
Wind speed: 4.5 mph
Sun: 92%

Weather score: 88.21

Cities 11-50

Rounding out the top 50 metro areas were:

11. San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Weather score: 88.19

12. Greenville, S.C.
Weather score: 87.51

13. Orlando, Fla.
Weather score: 87.47

14. Visalia, Calif.
Weather score: 87.2

15. Hickory, N.C.
Weather score: 86.6

16. Charlottesville, Va.
Weather score: 86.5

17. Savannah, Ga.
Weather score: 86.4

18. Winston-Salem, N.C.
Weather score: 86.1

19. Asheville, N.C.
Weather score: 86

20. Augusta, Ga.
Weather score: 86.4

21. Spokane, Wash.
Weather score: 86.3

22. Boise City, Idaho
Weather score: 86.24

23. Durham, N.C.
Weather score: 86.23

24. Atlanta, Ga.
Weather score: 86.21

25. Jacksonville, Fla.
Weather score: 85.1

26. Tampa, Fla.
Weather score: 85

27. Los Angeles, Calif.
Weather score: 84.9

28. Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Weather score: 84.5

29. Greensboro, N.C.
Weather score: 84.4

30. Lakeland, Fla.
Weather score: 84.1

31. Ocala, Fla.
Weather score: 83.4

32. Palm Bay, Fla.
Weather score: 83.3

33. Gulfport, Miss.
Weather score: 83.1

34. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Weather score: 83

35. San Diego, Calif.
Weather score: 82.9

36. Fayetteville, N.C.
Weather score: 82.8

37. Pensacola, Fla.
Weather score: 82.75

38. Daytona Beach, Fla.
Weather score: 82.7

39. Mobile, Ala.
Weather score: 82.65

40. Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Weather score: 82.6

41. Richmond, Va.
Weather score: 82.41

42. Raleigh, N.C.
Weather score: 82.4

43. Kennewick, Wash.
Weather score: 82.3

44. Gainesville, Fla.
Weather score: 82.2

45. Oxnard, Calif.
Weather score: 82.1

46. Sarasota, Fla.
Weather score: 81.1

47. Yakima, Wash.
Weather score: 81

48. Knoxville, Tenn.
Weather score: 80.7

49. Tallahassee, Fla.
Weather score: 80.4

50. Birmingham, Ala.
Weather score: 80

Practice Safe Naked Gardening

No matter where you are, if you do decide to garden naked, be sure to follow simple safety guidelines, especially if you’re new to the practice.

  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Limit use of power tools.

Putting Yourself Out There

So what can a first-timer expect?

First, don’t worry about bees or thorns or other horticultural risks, as they don’t really seem to be a problem, he says. “Get someplace you feel safe, you feel comfortable and give it a try,” Storey says.

When people join him and his wife, who’s a professional gardener, at first they don’t know what to expect. That wears off pretty quickly. You just kind of forget you don’t have clothes on,” he says. “It’s amazing how fast you don’t notice you’re naked and how comfortable you are with it.”

Everyone has problems with their body, he says, but while you’re hoeing the vegetable rows or pruning the hops vine, “it just turns out that you become comfortable with yourself,” he says. “As long as the weather’s good.”

Any gardener knows the rejuvenation that can come from time in the garden, he says, but the benefits go far beyond that. As Michigan State University points out, gardening’s benefits include everything from relieving stress and providing some moderate exercise to bringing us closer to nature and increasing property values.

Storey and company say doing that in the nude only enhances those effects.

“I think there’s a natural connection with the earth,” he says.

There’s a symbiotic relationship that develops between the gardener and the earth he’s beautifying, the animals, plants and pollinators that are helped because of it.

“If they’ve got a sense of humor and the opportunity to give it a try, I hope they will,” Storey adds. “It’s not going to hurt anybody and they might walk away a different person.”

Derek Lacey

Derek Lacey

Formerly the agriculture writer for the Hendersonville Times-News, Derek Lacey’s articles have appeared in U.S. News & World Report, The Charlotte Observer, News & Observer, and The State. He has won 15 awards from the North Carolina Press Association and GateHouse Media, for pieces ranging from news features and investigative reporting to photography and multimedia projects.