Everything you need to know to drop trou waterside
Directions: Follow Geary Boulevard to the end, then park in the dirt lot up the road from the Cliff House. Take the trail at the far end of the lot. About 100 yards (past a bench and some trash cans) the path narrows and bends, then rises and falls, eventually becoming the width of a road. Don't take the road to the right, which leads to a golf course. Just past another bench, as the trail turns right, go left toward a group of dead trees where you will see a stairway and a "Dogs must be leashed" sign. Descend and head left to another stairway, which leads to a 100-foot walk to the cove. Or instead, take the service road below the El Camino del Mar parking lot for a quarter-mile until you reach a bench, then follow the trail there. It's eroded in a few places. At the end, you'll have to scramble over some rocks. Turn left (west) and walk until you find a good place to put down your towel.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE BEACH
Golden Gate Bridge Beach's rocky shoreline features incredible views of the world-famous bridge, along with water that can be great for wading. "In low tide," one woman says, "you can sometimes go 150 feet." But if you want to be alone, don't even think about visiting this site, where hundreds of gay men — along with some women and straight visitors — pack three side-by-side coves on the hottest days. No wonder it's also known as Nasty Boy Beach!
Directions: From the toll booth area of Highway 101/1, take Lincoln Boulevard west about a half mile to Langdon Court. Turn right (west) on Langdon and look for space in the parking lots, across Lincoln from Fort Winfield Scott. Park and then take the beach trail, starting just west of the end of Langdon, down its more than 200 steps to Golden Gate Bridge Beach, also known as Marshall's Beach. Despite recent improvements, the trail to the beach can still be slippery, especially in the winter and spring.
FORT FUNSTON BEACH
Even though Fort Funston has gone to the dogs — who appear here with their human entourages by the hundreds — a few naturists sneak in from time to time. But don't even think about going naked here on weekends. Even on weekdays, be sure to use discretion before disrobing. Suit up quickly if you see rangers or families in the area. Authorities usually only issue several citations a year at Fort Funston, south of Ocean Beach, so if you don't make a fuss and remain in the dunes, you may not be busted. If anyone complains, put on your beach gear right away. Two more fun activities at Fort Fun: watching the passing parade of people and their dogs, and watching the hanggliders that take off from the cliffs.
Directions: From San Francisco, go west to Ocean Beach, then south on the Great Highway. After Sloat Boulevard, the road heads uphill. From there, curve right onto Skyline Boulevard, go past one stoplight, and look for signs for Funston on the right. Turn into the public lot and find a space near the west side. At the southwest end, take the sandy steps to the beach, turn right, and walk to the dunes. Find a spot as far as possible from the parking lot. Don't go nude here on the weekends. And if you dislike dogs, try another beach.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
LAS TRAMPAS REGIONAL WILDERNESS