- 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
Directions: The beach is a few blocks west of Natural Bridges State Beach and about 2.5 miles north of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. From either north or south of Santa Cruz, take Highway 1 to Swift Street. Drive 0.8 miles to the sea, then turn right on West Cliff Drive. 2222 is five blocks away. Past Auburn Avenue, look for 2222 West Cliff on the inland side of the street. Park in the nine-car lot next to the cliff. If it's full, continue straight and park along Chico Avenue. Bay Area Naturists leader Rich Pasco suggests visitors use care and then follow the path on the side of the beach closest to downtown Santa Cruz and the Municipal Wharf.
PRIVATES BEACH, SANTA CRUZ
Privates Beach, at 4524 Opal Cliff Drive, north of the Capitola Pier, is so private that it has a locked gate, security guards, and, unless you're too cheap to pay and want to try another option, a $100 per year fee (cash only). The two coves are exceptionally clean and you're likely to see families, kids, and dogs on the shore.
Directions: 1) Some visitors walk north from Capitola Pier in low tide (not a good idea since at least four people have needed to be rescued after being trapped by rising water). 2) Others reach it in low tide via the stairs at the end of 41st Avenue, which lead to a surf spot called the Hook at the south end of a rocky shoreline known as Pleasure Point. 3) Surfers paddle on boards for a few minutes to Privates from Capitola or the Hook. 4) Most visitors buy a key to the beach gate at Freeline Design Surfboards (821 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-476-2950) 1.5 blocks west of the beach. Others go with someone with a key or wait outside the gate until someone with a key goes in. "Most people will gladly hold the gate open for someone behind them whose hands are full," says Bay Area Naturists leader Rich Pasco. The nude area is to the left of the bottom of the stairs.
MUIR NUDE BEACH, MUIR BEACH
The mellowness of marvelous Muir Beach was marred last year when some homeowners verbally clashed with nudists over use of the sand. After a few meetings, it was decided that while bare buns on the beach wouldn't be banned, a warning sign stressing "respect" for everyone and listing a phone number for complaints will be erected, most likely in July, near the border of the nude and clothed sections of the shore. The nude spot is pretty and curved and usually has excellent swimming conditions and access. Instead of a trail, you just walk along the water from the public beach and go around and over some easy-to-cross rocks.
Directions: From San Francisco, take Highway 1 north to Muir Beach, to milepost 5.7. Turn left on Pacific Way and park in the Muir lot (to avoid tickets, don't park on Pacific). Or park on the long street off Highway 1 across from Pacific and about 100 yards north. From the Muir lot, follow a path and boardwalk to the sand, and then walk north to a pile of rocks between the cliffs and the sea. You'll need good hiking or walking shoes to cross; in very low tide, try to cross closer to the water. The nude area starts north of it.
RED ROCK BEACH, STINSON BEACH
Bay Area fan favorite Red Rock is still rocking with an improved trail, more sand than last summer, Ultimate Frisbee games that last as long as three hours, a shower where you can cool down on a hot day, and up to 75 people a day. "More rock climbers than ever are coming to the beach," says the Rock's "ambassador," Fred Jaggi. "You can get more privacy there." Three nude women who were perched on a terrace overlooking the cove in June were recently anointed as the Cheerleaders by members of the fun, highly social crowd below.