2024’s Best Cities for Naked Gardening

World Naked Gardening Day in California

*Due to inaccuracies in the Virginia State Police’s sex offender registry, the data used in our study related to sex offenders in Virginia may be incorrect. We will update our findings as soon as accurate information is available.

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

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Gardens of Eden: Top 5 Close Up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top 5 cities for nude gardening.

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

Photo Credit: Tory Brown / Pexels / Pexels License
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.

Photo Credit: Kelly / Pexels / Pexels License
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. 

Photo Credit: Pierre Blaché / Pexels / Pexels License
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 (been there) 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

Photo Credit: Carlos Alfonso / Unsplash / Unsplash License
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.  

Photo Credit: Biltmore Gardens / Will Thomas / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Naked Truth: Key Insights

Grin and Bare It: Miami, Austin, New York, Philadelphia, and Asheville – our 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 winter 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 our 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

Ask The Experts

Public nudity can be a touchy subject. We reached out to a panel of fully clothed experts to offer their tips for safely gardening in the buff. 

  1. In many European countries, nudity is socially acceptable. Why is nudity treated as taboo in America by comparison?
  2. Does public nudity support the body positivity movement? Why or why not?
  3. Public nudity is allowed in very few U.S. cities. What do these cities have in common, if anything?
  4. What are three benefits and three dangers of gardening in the nude?
  5. What are your three best tips for first-time nude gardeners?
Tessa West
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Leslie Gielow Jacobs
Director, Capital Center for Law & Policy, Professor of Law
Tessa West
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
New York University

In many European countries, nudity is socially acceptable. Why is nudity treated as taboo in America by comparison?

America has a complicated history with puritanism. Social conservatism — and with that a belief that people should dress conservatively and not show their private bits to the world — still runs strong through our American veins.

The places where public nudity is illegal tend to be more conservative places. In Alabama (a conservative state), for example, the punishment for public nudity can include a year in jail, $6,000 in fines, and being forced to register as a sex offender.

Does public nudity support the body positivity movement? Why or why not?

This probably depends entirely on where you live. In places where public nudity is socially unacceptable (even if legal), there is probably such a strong norm against it that the simple act of doing it would lead to social ostracism, which isn’t exactly good for the body positive movement. But in places where being barely clothed or not-at-all clothed is socially acceptable (think South Beach in Miami), it certainly could.

Beliefs about what is beautiful take time to change, so my guess is one act of public nudity won’t move the needle, but lots of it — coupled with positive messages about the benefits of public nudity — definitely could. Modeling behavior is important. If people see different types of bodies out there and people feeling truly comfortable in their own skin, that could make them realize, “Hey, I look beautiful in the nude, too.”

Public nudity is allowed in very few U.S. cities. What do these cities have in common, if anything?

Social conservatism. Politically liberal places are much more likely to allow nudity than conservative ones.

What are three benefits and three dangers of gardening in the nude?

For benefits, I would say an increase in vitamin D, learning to feel comfortable in your skin, and exploring new physical sensations.

Dangers include sunburn, accidental injury if you’re not careful (hint: don’t sit down in the dirt!), and bug bites where you don’t want them.

What are your three best tips for first-time nude gardeners?

  1. Wear sunscreen — everywhere! Remember, some of these body parts have never seen the sun, so they are very vulnerable. This is true for all skin tones and races.
  2. Make sure you aren’t using 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.
  3. Bring a towel or blanket. Crouching down over your plot of land to dig out beans is fine, but most of us naturally sit down when our legs get tired — it’s an automatic behavior we don’t think about. Think proactively, and put something down on the ground that will be kind to your behind.
Leslie Gielow Jacobs
Director, Capital Center for Law & Policy, Professor of Law
University of the Pacific

In many European countries, nudity is socially acceptable. Why is nudity treated as taboo in America by comparison?

Different attitudes in different countries about public nudity stem from their different histories and cultural values. Attitudes in the United States likely stem in part from various religious doctrines that equate nudity with sexual desire and sexual desire with shame.

The U.S. Constitution permits states and cities to restrict public nudity so long as it is only conduct, not a form of speech. Interestingly, the U.S. Constitution more severely limits the ability of governments to restrict nudity that is part of speech, including pornography and live nude dancing, than do the free-speech guarantees of most other countries. So, European countries may allow more public nudity but also restrict more pornography than in the United States.

Also, U.S. women have successfully challenged public nudity restrictions that apply unequally, prohibiting them from displaying their breasts and nipples, for example, when men may do so.

Behind the Ranking

First, we 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). 

  • The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 500 due to ties.
  • 300 new cities were added to this year’s sample.

Sources: AccuWeather, City-Data.com, CriminalDefenseLawyer, FindLaw, Google Trends, LawnStarter Urban Gardening study story, True Nudists, and World Population Review

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 the Why? 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 webpage linked above.

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 above.
  • 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.

Whether you garden naked or not, do not operate a lawn mower – push mower or riding mower – naked. Better to hire a local LawnStarter lawn care pro to keep your grass green and healthy while you juggle all the other things you do every week.

Media Resources

  • Little Interest in Sunny Cities: Our research shows little interest in naked gardening in cities like Tampa, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia.

    That surprises me, but maybe not as people in these cities are more comfortable in their own skin than say Mobile, Alabama, or even Dallas, Texas, where I live now. Maybe there’s just little interest in naked gardening in these cities. 

A couple of things worth noting:

  • World Naked Gardening Day Can Be Observed Anywhere: So you live in an apartment on an upper floor? You can plant tomatoes on your balcony. Slip out the balcony door in the buff, put the tomato plants in containers, water the plants, and pop back inside.
  • Fences DO Make Great Neighbors: If you have a garden in your yard and want to plant and then harvest crops naked, you likely want to erect a privacy fence just to be safe and for peace of mind.

    Making the backyard fence taller was the first home improvement I made when I bought a house in Gainesville, Florida. No, I’ve never gardened naked, but better to not have neighbors peeping on anything in the yard.
  • You Don’t Have to Have a Green Thumb to Garden – Naked or Otherwise. World Naked Gardening Day is about connecting to nature.

    “Naturism is about getting back to our roots,” Schroer says. “And there’s really not much better way to do that than kneeling in a garden, digging in the dirt, planting plants, and celebrating the life that comes about at the beginning of the season.”
  • WNGD? Some People are Naked Nearly 365 Days a Year: For nudists like my friend Thom Mendonca in Noblesville, Indiana, gardening naked on the first Saturday in May is no big deal. “I’m naked gardening whenever I can,” he texted. “LOL. I didn’t realize there was a holiday.”

    Naturists garden naked, swim naked, eat outdoors naked, and go to their mailbox naked (if there are no neighbors nearby). If anything, WNGD may be a way for curious people to get their toes wet in naturism.

    “World Naked Gardening Day is a great way to demonstrate how innocent and natural gardening in the nude is,” says Schroer, who is a board member on two naturist boards.

    In some cases, World Naked Gardening Day “becomes a potential gateway for those who may have thought about clothes-free activities. It becomes an easy entry point,” he says.

Main Photo Credit: Tainted Fruit / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Jeff Herman

Jeff Herman

Jeff Herman, editor-in-chief of LawnStarter, mowed lawns as a teen, and his uncle owned the biggest sod business in St. Louis. Previously, Herman worked at The New York Times, CreditCards.com, and most recently at AllAboutVision.com. Now Herman is All About Lawn Care.