Free spirits frolic in Georgia mountains 

Flesh revealed at resorts

So, there I was, weaving through more naked bodies than I'd seen since the showers after high school gym class. Except there weren't girls in those showers (OK, maybe one time there was, but that's another story).

The scene is Paradise Valley, 110 acres off a winding mountain road near Dawsonville. On a chilly Saturday morning in April, more than 100 nudists were gathered for the Fig Leaf 5K. It was certainly a visual spectacle, ranging from the sublime to the ... um ... pendulous.

Until about three years ago, the resort was known as Hidden Valley. It was located here in 1978 by the Dixie Sun Club, after being run out of a nearby town, Maysville. "All we wanted was our own place," says Jackie. When I ask for her last name, she hesitates and turns to her husband, Donnie. "Do we want to use our last name?" She shrugs. "Sure, it's Johnson. We're retired, so who cares?" The Johnsons -- two of the few Paradise members who volunteered full names -- have been nudists since 1974, and they scouted out the land that became Paradise Valley.

"It took Donnie about six months to talk me into nudism," Jackie says. "I thought he just wanted to look at naked women. But the [nudists] are so nice. It's not at all what people think."

One member, Bill, says he attended a Baptist church near the camp, until the preacher started praying for "all of those sinners running around naked at that devil's campground." Which is why he doesn't volunteer his full name whenever he goes to Paradise Valley.

The director of the Fig Leaf race, Janet, is a computer programmer ("There are a lot of geeks here," she says) in Austell. "This is Georgia," she says, "so, no, please don't use my name. We moved here from California, where no one minded. We come here because ...," waving at the hundred or so nude runners surround by rich woodlands, "... where else can you do this?"

What is Paradise Valley? It's merely a resort, and a rather nice one, tucked into the Georgia foothills. You tend to see more flesh than at most resorts. But as Bill, a two-year member says, "After the first hour, you don't notice."

Three years ago, Joe Lettelleir, a St. Petersburg, Fla., developer, purchased the resort and began making major improvements. When completed, the existing campground and handful of motel rooms will be augmented by the $32 million construction of 152 condominium units and 45 townhomes. Lettelleir already has built a new clubhouse and indoor pool, and has revamped existing facilities.

In 1999, Lettelleir -- who isn't a nudist -- purchased America's most successful clothing-optional resort, Paradise Lakes, north of Tampa. He recently acquired three more nudist resorts in California and Arizona.

The Georgia mountains sport two other nude getaways, both near Cleveland. One, the Grove, promotes the swinging lifestyle. Serendipity, like Paradise Valley, downplays the libertinism.

Where to get nude

Paradise Valley's website (where you can get a free day pass):

Serendipity Resort (which even features nude weddings):

And, the more risqué Grove:


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Latest in Cover Story

Readers also liked…

  • The Year in Photos 2014 2

    From a tour of the abandoned Clermont Hotel to Outkast’s reunion tour, here are 22 of our favorite photos of 2014
  • Unanswered 31

    Metro Atlanta police officers have fatally shot at least 75 people since 2010. In some cases the use of deadly force has been questionable. Local leaders could make reforms to prevent future shootings now. Will they?

More by John F. Sugg

  • The messengers have been killed 11

    The country could use more reporters like Gary Webb and Kathy Scruggs
  • Civics lesson 26

    GOP politicians get failing grades for creating a charter school referendum that will undermine education
  • Feeding frenzy 13

    The Falcons and political insiders are hungry for a new stadium — and you're the bait
  • More »
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown

Search Events

  1. Goat Farm Economics 5

    Can art and good old-fashioned capitalism breathe new life into one of Atlanta’s most historic and overlooked neighborhoods?
  2. Solving downtown's homeless problem begins with taking the red pill 95

    Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter is the root of downtown's image problem
  3. Unanswered: CL's metro Atlanta officer-involved shooting database

Recent Comments

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation