The day you've been waiting for is here: we've braved the park rangers and potholes to try out McFaddin Beach, the 'unofficial' nude beach of the Texas Gulf Coast, and we're here to report back on the intricacies of skinnydipping on the Bolivar Peninsula.
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Essential supplies for the nude beach: sunglasses
Getting there is the first step.  McFaddin Beach is at the intersection of Highways 87 and 124.  TX 87 used to go all the way to Sabine Pass, but has been closed since 1990, when Hurricane Jerry washed out the road for the last time.  Access has become more and more difficult since then, but as of this spring a sand and gravel road extends several miles east of High Island, and is passable without 4WD under some conditions.  Other beach-goers told us that with an off-road vehicle it's possible to drive all the way to Sabine Pass, but we wouldn't recommend it.  If you get stuck, there's not likely to be anyone to help you out.

Near High Island, you'll encounter fishermen, families, and locals out enjoying the beach.  If you don't plan to get naked, you can stop here.  There's plenty of sea glass, shells, and driftwood, the fishing is great, and even compact cars can navigate the first mile or so of road.  If you plan on skinny-dipping, however, you'll want to go at least three miles from the paved road - we've been told this is where Galveston County ends and the beach becomes officially topless, but we can't find any proof for this idea.  It's likely that this is just the point at which the beach becomes so sparsely visited that it's not worth the trouble to constantly patrol for nudists.  Again, the road is rough and the beach is narrow in many places.  We recommend biking in if you're not sure your car will make it.
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Compact cars beware - the road is rough and nearly impassible in some places.
Since McFaddin beach is not officially nude, and public nudity carries a fine of approximately $300 dollars in Texas, you'll want to get naked at your own discretion.  If nobody else is around, keep an eye out for approaching vehicles and be prepared to cover up.  You may also want to park near others who are nude; like a pack of meerkats on watch for predators, the nudists we met were taking turns watching for official vehicles and other dangers.  Everyone we met was friendly and helpful, and despite reports of 'creepiness' (likely from people who didn't expect to encounter nudists), we didn't feel at all threatened.
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Water shoes are a must for McFaddin Beach.
There's a fair amount of debris on the beach, ranging from shells and rocks to broken glass and other trash.  Much of it is sharp, so we recommend that you wear water shoes (even if nothing else).  There's no shade whatsoever, so you'll want to bring an umbrella, awning, or at least some sunscreen and a hat.  You'll also need to bring all the snacks and drinks you'll need for the day; there's nowhere within easy driving distance to get lunch or restock your cooler.  Come prepared to be self-sufficient for as long as you want to enjoy the beach.
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BYOB: bring your own beer. There's nowhere to buy snacks or other supplies at McFaddin Beach.
You can see that we enjoy beer (you've heard us talk about Shiner Ruby Redbird before!), but few words of caution:  first, beer will dehydrate you, especially out in the hot sun.  If you plan to drink at any beach, be sure to alternate alcoholic beverages with water, and be alert for signs of heat stress or dehydration.  If you have an emergency out here, you're more than an hour from the nearest hospital.  Second, the nudists who use McFaddin beach include families with kids, and broken beer bottles are a major hazard.  Be careful with your bottles, and if you break one pick up ALL the pieces right away.  Again, you're more than an hour from the nearest hospital and stepping on broken glass is sure to ruin someone's day.
Now for some nude beach etiquette:

1. Don't stare.  Nobody likes a creeper, and most people don't go to the nude beach to be seen.  If you're new to this and can't control your wandering eyes, put on some sunglasses and try to be cool.  Which brings us to...

2. Act normal.  If you wouldn't do it at a regular (non-nude) beach, don't do it here.  That means no peeing, masturbating, sex, etc. 

3. Don't be a nuisance.  Some well meaning first-timers commit a faux pas we call 'excessive friendliness' - if you approach someone and they don't explicitly invite you to join them, don't.  If they're smiling, nodding politely, and making non-committal replies to what you're saying, leave them alone. Some people do come to the beach to make friends, but many don't.  Respect their privacy and solitude, and find some other way to entertain yourself.

4. Don't take photos of other people.  Just like at any other beach, you may want to document your fun afternoon for Facebook, Instagram, or your travel blog.  We do plenty of that.  Just make sure other people aren't identifiable in the background of your photos, and NEVER take pictures of other people without their invitation.

That's all there is to it.  If this is your first time visiting a nude beach, relax and have a good time.  It's not scary - we promise!
 


Comments

Dave
06/13/2013 4:32pm

Just read your advice for beach goers on Bolivar. We go there every September, rent a beach house and shark fish for a week. Met a really nice bunch of people there last year. Spent a few days partying with them. We hope to meet up with them again this year.

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06/16/2013 9:38am

Thanks for reading and commenting, Dave! We always find that people at McFaddin beach are friendly and helpful, and often make new friends. Maybe we'll see you there sometime!

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Dave
06/17/2013 5:52pm

Megan, My wife and I will be there the third week in Sept. for about 8 days. We are both in our 50's, so just like to relax fish and put away some beer. If you'd like to meet us, just let us know and we can give you the exact dates. We always hang out about 4 miles from where the main road ends. Dave&Joyce

dave
09/16/2013 4:54pm

Going to be on Mcfadden the weekend of 9/21. Hope to see you if you're around.

Mike
06/17/2013 1:45pm

Sounds like you girls have it figured out. Shoot me an email when you plan on going and we can visit and have a cold beer. I'll be there this Wednesday.

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07/01/2013 7:59pm

Mike, we don't go often due to our other travels, but maybe we'll cross paths sometime!

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Rick
06/23/2013 5:31am

I went there several times before Ike, but haven't been back because of the lack of beach and the hassle getting there. There is a place that I have enjoyed many times that you might check out (up till now it's been my secret). Go to Rosenberg and take hwy 36 south until it ends at Freeport. Then turn right, go over the bridge to Quintana Beach. After the bridge is a 4 way stop, go straight and onto the beach. Turn left, there is a stretch of beach with a large burm (maybe 20 feet high) that separates the beach from the road on the other side. I usually position myself about half way down the burm where I can see if a car is coming from a long distance either way. I have gone on weekdays and had only 2 or 3 cars pass by all day. I just cover till they pass. Weekends are a little busier, it' kind of hit or miss.

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07/01/2013 7:58pm

Thanks for the tip; we'll have to try that spot!

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LS
06/23/2013 11:48pm

I know no one will believe me, but I got a Ford Focus all the way down the beach last year (2012). I was passing trucks that were getting stuck in loose sand. I met one guy in a Jeep that warned me about this one really bad area, and he stopped to watch me get by this one area to be there in case I got stuck. I have to admit there were some tense spinning moments, but I made it. The car is very light, but I would still recommend taking a shovel. I was told by countless people as I passed them that I would get stuck. The only places I avoided was the cut throughs onto the ranch road behind the berms that you are suppose to stay off of. Those were often too big and loose for the Focus.

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07/01/2013 7:57pm

LS, thanks for reading and commenting. You're braver than we are to attempt that in a compact car!

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Quintin
07/01/2013 6:26am

I go down there a lot one time my car got stuck I hope to see u there next time I go I like ur pics megan sexy baby. See ya soon.

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Quintin
07/04/2013 12:07am

I can't believe a women got shot down there Sunday. That's sad.

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07/04/2013 7:35am

Hi Quentin, thanks for commenting. We saw that on the news, too. It looks like a domestic dispute situation, so we hope people won't become afraid to enjoy the beach there!

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Chris
07/08/2013 9:18am

I think I may try this place out next weekend. Is it typical to meet other nudists?

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07/09/2013 8:24pm

Hi Chris. It's definitely common to encounter other nudists, but most keep to themselves or socialize with friends. It's best to smile and wave, and let them approach you if they want company. Not everyone feels 100% comfortable making new friends while naked!

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Richard
07/28/2013 7:36pm

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thad
08/12/2013 2:56pm

Was there this past weekend (8 10-13) with my astro. Was rough go but passable. It was my 1st time nude at a beach, really enjoyed it. I hope to go back next summer.

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Lou
10/03/2013 12:45am

I would like to like to go on 9-12-13 for a few hours but i fearful because of the road and that i may be the only person on the beach. i been to a nude beach in FL two times and loved it each time. If any one would like go with me please email me at lwh33@yahoo.com
i don't think i will go by my self.

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William
10/17/2013 2:33am

Is tent camping allowed in the nude section of the beach? Coming from out of town and wanted to spend a couple days enjoying the clothing optional beach. Would rather stay on the beach in a tent then having to find a hotel and driving back and forth

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michael
12/26/2013 1:35pm

Hi im a college student at lamar in beaumont, tx. I wanted to do something new and different for spring break, so im debating on going to the mcfaddins nude beach. And i wanted to know how many people usually go and if you yall would like to join in on the fun. My friend wants to host a party and want yall to be there if you could get back to me that would be great!!

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Bk
12/26/2013 7:09pm

Hi I've never been to a nude beach before and I just wanted to know if a lot of people judge About how small you are if you catch my drift

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Josh
12/28/2013 9:00am

No. You will not be judged about your appearance among nudists. You will see all shapes and sizes of people. After awhile, no one much notices nude bodies anymore... Except the clothed gawkers that may pass.

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Bk
12/29/2013 11:22am

Thanks josh you've been real helpful now summer time needs to get here so I can go to McFaddin

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Terri
02/11/2014 2:05pm

When to beach alot 2013. We found if you drive on wildlife road 300.00 ticket and no clothes on beach 500.00 ticket each. Everyone has ti be covered in front bottom. Yes its hard to get down beach w / out 4 wheel drive. BUT after learning the rules the costly way, we are so ready for summer 2014. Reason is once you get where you want to park, it is so nice and peaceful. Noone to bother you. Tan, drink you cold beer and enjoy your friends. Old and new ones you will meet.

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Mike
02/15/2014 4:45pm

I went many times before Ike and really enjoyed it. I'm hoping the access is still good enough for a truck. I'd love to head back this spring as soon as weather permits. I'm curious where wildlife road is so I don't use it and get a ticket?

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03/10/2014 12:31am

COOL! Did not know about this secret location. I am going to South Padre to checkout their nude beach soon.
If you are feeling adventurous in North Texas check out Young Nudists of Texas United ynotu.org we have events coming up soon.

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madwolf
03/27/2014 1:30am

the last time I was there was in 2009 and all I saw was about 10 gay men. I have no trouble with that but then every time I turned around a game warden was driving by

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Kevin
03/31/2014 2:15pm

We go every year as much as we can. Looking forward to the 2014 season. Has anyone tried driving down the beach so far this year?
It is without a doubt the most relaxing. Looking forward to seeing everyone there.

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Kenny
04/10/2014 8:08am

I have a RV in Gilchrist and love Bolivar. Remember please NO GLASS ON BEACH. I saw those glass Shiner bottles! Please cans only and NO GLASS!
Thanks

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J.W.
04/13/2014 9:50pm

My husband and I drove a 2005 Lincoln Navigator literally everywhere down there especially along the waters edge (ground more compact solid) with no difficulties except avoiding broken chunks of the "old road". Was first time, we're in our 50's, husband nude and me NOT! LOL! It was SO fun! lol! I intended to go topless but a man and woman perhaps in their 60's kept driving by - 6,7 or more times! Private chuckle! Wink! I thought she was looking at me like - I was shameful, so I didn't unpeel. Later, I was told that she prob. was hoping/waiting for me TO DO SO! So here's a shout out if you (that couple) ever read this post - next time please STOP and say HOWDY, we would love to come back again and will, so, I could check this site again before we go and maybe get some of you folks to meet there! There were men and women and prob. some gay guys (some were so cute it's hard to tell and doesn't matter anyway) everyone was respectful, we were the oldest peeps there, still felt welcome, some gawkers. chuckle! Collected some of the neatest shells, had fun, felt safe and on the way out, husband saw the biggest wing-wang he'd ever seen! Gosh dern it! I missed it! WE WILL BE BACK!

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J.W.
04/14/2014 8:08am

I left off something very important in my description of my first experience at McFadden Nude Beach Texas on 4/12/14 and also wanted to thank ladies Megan and Caitlyn for their post enabling me to do so! What did I forget to say?......... :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

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jd
04/25/2014 4:41pm

I would like to visit the beach someday as a participant! If there is any one out there who wants to join for some non-weird nude bravery let me know, because I'm sure as heck not going down there by myself. Oh yeah and don't be a dude.

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marc
04/25/2014 5:57pm

How are the roads now 4/25/14.i would like to go a nude beach for the first time this Saturday. I have a 2 wheel drive taho.

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Jayne
05/01/2014 12:39am

Boyfriend and I tried a beach visit on 4/16/14. High tide, VERY windy, blowing surf up onto the road in places. We went about a mile down, but did not get further. Cars were blocking what little 'road' was available. 2 Police cars came by as we waited for a little while, hoping the tide would go out faster. In past years we have made it down 4 miles or so in a pick-up. It is very relaxing when the crowds are thin. Have met some nice people. It's nice to have sun all over!

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PBR69
05/13/2014 11:03am

We drove from Sea Rim to High Island this past Sunday. One truck followed us for a couple miles, then turned around. We saw nobody else until we got close to High Island. Very little beach, overcast, and LOTS of seaweed, logs, you name it. Please don't try it without a VERY capable 4wd and a good plan to get yourself unstuck. We picked the safest line the whole way. Sometimes it was by the fence, and others it was at water's edge. Talked to a gent on the dirt road (south end) who advised Feds would ticket for being on said road, and like to snoop for guns (hint: don't bring one). Will probably stick to the Sea Rim end for privacy.

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Drake
05/14/2014 4:52pm

Wife and I are going down to McFadden on 5/16, how far to the nude area from McFadden?

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05/15/2014 4:53pm

At the end of Hwy 87 at High Island the rd. turns into Hwy 124, there is a wide/sandy opening to beach access to the right and a gated entrance (without any sign) to McFadden Wildlife Refuge either there or a little further up the sandy park rd. from there to the right, then you drive approx. 4 miles. from that point and you will be there! Have fun, be safe and drive carefully!

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05/15/2014 5:07pm

OOPSIE! It should say the entrance to McFadden Wildlife Refuge is either there or about a quarter of a mile up from there on the sandy rd. TO THE LEFT! Ha! Ha! An entrance to which the gate either isn't there or every time we have been there it has always been open. **From what I read above, call or Google ahead and try not to go at high tide! Could be costly!

Drake
05/15/2014 5:16pm

I don't think we will try to go that far lol will be in 2wd. What's the chances of getting busted if we don't go that far?

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Drake
05/15/2014 5:29pm

J.W. We will be going in from the Sea Rim end.

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05/16/2014 6:52am

As you prob. can tell my husband and I are thrilled about this place! My SUV (Navi.) is only two-wheel drive also. Here is what I know: we tried to drive down to High Island from Sea Rim at mid.-tide it became too rough and iffy but had traveled a long way and saw no one except a couple w/kids in tow. I felt like we had almost made it to the nude beach but my hubby claims that it is at least 30 miles from Sea Rim to High Island and we weren't even close. However coming in from the other end that I described above, as long as there are no non-nudies, you can drive only about a mile and 1/2, the further up you drive the more discrete, the last beach home is at the open access area described above. Note: I like safety in numbers so we kept ourselves within eye distance of other nudies (trying not to impose on their space - all were friendly) but a good rule of wisdom - just make sure you can see the beach in both directions for a distance and you should have plenty of time, if you need it to lightly cover yourselves for drivers-by with kids etc.. This was my opinion, so to be fair since you are male, I thought I would ask for my husbands advise for you, here it is, I'm trading places with him and he will be typing the rest to you: on the remote stretch between Sea Rim and High Island the sand becomes very soft in places and the beach is very narrow and rugged, I would recommend going through Winnie to High Island unless you have 4X4.

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PBR69
05/16/2014 11:02am

JW: Its about 20 miles from Sea Rim to High Island. We drove it 5/11, and would not have made it without 4WD. Period. Also, our Verizon service was horrible. Google the tide times: they vary greatly. For example, for 5/18 the Sabine low is 1:25 PM, while the Galveston East Bay high is12:36 PM. They're pretty much opposite. Please be careful with your Navigator. Those things are HEAVY and would be a bear to unstick. BTW, if y'all see a Dodge flying the Jolly Roger at the Sea Rim end on 5/18, it WILL help you. Or, just stop by and say hey. Y'all have fun, and look forward to seeing more posts.

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Drake
05/21/2014 12:19pm

Do the F&G or cops bother people on atv's on the beach between Sea Rim and High Island?

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PBR69
05/22/2014 9:41am

Drake: The big brown signs at Sea Rim and High Island clearly prohibit ATVs. A state guy at Sea Rim State Park said you can ride on the state beach while following state laws, but stay off the fed beach: its a whole other jurisdiction. The Sea Rim website has a phone #. Just give them a call for info.

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05/28/2014 3:19pm

Went there late in the afternoon on 5-25-14 this is my second time going there, firsst time was last year 2013 didn't get to injoy myself cuss my truck broke down and had to be towed home. I thank I would injoy being there if I had some compan r meet some friends (hopefully girls, r couples ) instead of dudes all the time but never the less just some friends cuss I hate being by myself. I allways liked being nude even at home when the kids are not there wife dosnt but that don't stop me.lol even when I go to the country and walk in the woods I allways wonted to go nude but you know what would happen someone would see me and thank I'm crazy

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05/28/2014 3:28pm

Forgot to ask when is the best time to go when there is more then a few people there both times iv been there it wasn't a hole lot of people I would like to be around a lot of people to drink a few and have fun meeting and talking to others

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john
06/04/2014 10:23am

Has anyone been down to Mcfaddin Beach in the last couple of weeks; Has the seaweed made driving down the beach difficult or do you have to take the high road.

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PBR69
06/05/2014 7:31am

We go in from the the Sea Rim end, and drive until the people thin out. The sea weed has been pretty bad in some areas. We got stuck in it a couple of times and had to dig out. We've learned to bring a pitch fork! Guess it depends on how far you go, as well as what the tides and winds are doing, as to where you need to drive. Good luck.

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Sabrina
07/06/2014 11:43pm

Hubby and I went today 7/6/14 and were able to drive about 3.2 miles up from McFaddin Beach entrance off 124, straight south of Winnie. Nissan Altima took the rough road like a champ and no Feds when we had to switch over to park road about 2.7 miles in. We found a secluded spot and only had to cover up a few times for guys riding by on dirt bikes or 4 wheelers. We made sure to get out of Galveston County before getting naked on the beach. Not many people and the seaweed wasn't bad. Mostly pushed up along the dunes. We parked and walked about 25 yards to the beach. Surf was calm and weather was perfect. We only had to cover up a few times for passerbys on 4 wheelers and a truck on the beach. We'll definitely go back. Never saw a fed or park ranger.

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john
07/10/2014 2:53pm

Sabrina;
Thanks for the update; so for the most part you can drive along the waters edge up the beach without running into large piles of seaweed.

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Joe
07/18/2014 7:53pm

Hello people. Anyone going tomorrow 7/19/14? This will be our first time. Couple. 30s.

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Daryl
07/24/2014 9:09am

How was the drive I have a 4wd truck. I will be down there this weekend fishing

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Daryl
07/24/2014 8:21am

I would like to go fishing down there 7/26/14 do you have to go nude.

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