Directions: Take the 29 Sunset bus or go north on 25th Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard. Turn right and take the second left onto Bowley Street. Follow Bowley to Gibson Road, turn right, and follow Gibson to the east parking lot. At the beach, head right to the nude area, which starts at the brown and yellow "Hazardous surf, undertow, swim at your own risk" sign. Some motorcycles in the lot have been vandalized, possibly by car owners angered by bikers parking in car spaces; to avoid trouble, motorcyclists should park in the motorcycle area near the cyclone fence.
LAND'S END BEACH
Considered one of the most beautiful places in the Bay Area to doff your togs, Land's End should really be called Swimsuit's End. The reason: although it draws more clothed users than nudists, more than a few swim tops and bottoms magically "disappear" on warm spring, summer, and fall days at the little cove off Geary Boulevard. Come early to grab your share of the sand on this semi-rocky shoreline, which is sometimes dotted with rock-lined windbreaks left by previous sunbathers. Bring a light jacket or sweatshirt in case the weather changes.
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 1/4 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
On the hottest days, Golden Gate Bridge Beach becomes so packed with people that one visitor describes it as a "gay mob scene." But the rocky shore, which connects three picturesque coves, also gets its share of straight men and women. Prime, non-cruising activities include sunbathing, enjoying breathtaking views of the Bridge, and even taking some dips in the water. "You can sometimes go out over 100 feet during low tide," a woman tells me.
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 spring and winter.
FORT FUNSTON BEACH