Looking for a quiet beach to cool off yesterday, I, my husband, and our two little girls headed to Howell Park, a secluded spot in Madrona tucked between the mansions along Lake Washington. We didn't give much thought to the fact that Howell and nearby Denny Blaine parks have always had an alternative air about them. It wasn't unusual to detect a whiff of pot, or see skinny dippers after hours. What we hadn't realized is that Howell Park has become a full-on nudist beach. We're not talking European-style topless bathing. We're talking full frontal nudity, and rear too, male and female--at least for a good half of the people that were there this weekend. For the kids, it was, as Obama likes to say, a "teachable moment."
Technically, nude bathing is illegal in Seattle, but police aren't too excised about it, as was evident by a police boat that cruised by without stopping. "If someone wants to make a complaint, it's something we would look at," says Seattle police spokesperson Sean Whitcomb, who has heard of another nude beach somewhere in Magnolia.