- This Week
Our 36th annual guide to Bay Area nude beaches
07.06.10 - 2:19 pm | Gary Hanauer |
MUIR BEACH PHOTO BY AMANDA BOGGS
SAN GREGORIO NUDE BEACH, SAN GREGORIO
America's oldest nude beach, near Half Moon Bay, offers two miles of soft sand and tide pools to explore, as well as a lagoon, lava tube, and, if you look closely enough on the cliffs, the remains of an old railroad line. Pets are allowed on weekdays. Up to 200 visitors may be present, but they're usually so spread out, you may not even notice them. Gay men tend to hang out on the north side and in "sex condos" made of driftwood by visitors — a major annoyance to those who are easily offended. On the south end of the beach, there are sometimes dozens of straight couples and families, naked and clothed. For weather information, call (415) 765-7697.
Directions: Head south on Highway 1 past Half Moon Bay. Between mileposts 18 and 19, look on the right side of the road for telephone call box number SM 001 0195, at the intersection of Highway 1 and Stage Road and near an iron gate with trees on either side. From there, expect a drive of 1.1 miles to the entrance. At the Junction 84 highway sign, the beach's driveway is just 0.1 mile away. Turn into a gravel driveway, passing through the iron gate mentioned above, which says 119429 on the gatepost. Drive past a grassy field to the parking lot, where you'll be asked to pay an entrance fee. Take the long path from the lot to the sand; everything north of the trail's end is clothing-optional.
BONNY DOON NUDE BEACH, BONNY DOON
Bonny Doon isn't doomed. To the contrary, because the state has no plans to develop it or send rangers out to make anti-nudity patrols, it looks like it will remain Santa Cruz County's prettiest nude beach, which should please the nudists who were on the edge of their towels wondering what would happen. Says Kirk Lingenfelter, sector superintendent for Bonny Doon and nearby state beaches: "Going to places like Bonny Doon helps you get recharged." Naturists usually use the cove on the north end of the beach, which attracts more women and couples than most clothing-optional enclaves.
Directions: Head south on Highway 1 to the Bonny Doon parking lot at milepost 27.6 on the west side of the road, 2.4 miles north of Red, White, and Blue Beach, and some 11 miles north of Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz, head north on Highway 1 until you see Bonny Doon Road, which veers sharply to the right just south of Davenport. The beach is right off the intersection. Park in the paved lot to the west of Highway 1; don't park on Bonny Doon Road or the shoulder of Highway 1. If the lot is full, drive north on Highway 1, park at the next beach lot and walk back to the first lot. To get to the beach, climb the berm next to the railroad tracks adjacent to the Bonny Doon lot, cross the tracks, descend, and take the trail to the sand. Walk north past most of the beach to the cove on the north end.
2222, SANTA CRUZ
Size matters at 2222, which is the smallest nude beach in the U.S. — and probably smaller than your backyard. Not many people can fit into it and not many have heard about it, so not many are there, which is just fine with its mostly young crowd of local college students. Located across from 2222 West Cliff Drive, it's a great place to sunbathe, read, relax, or even watch Neal the Juggler practice tossing balls, pins, and beanbags on the sand. But don't attempt the very steep climb up and down the cliff unless you're in good shape.