Our 38th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun
Despite the temporary erection of anti-nudity warning signs at longtime nudie fan favorite Bonny Doon Beach, north of Santa Cruz, officials have told us they have no immediate plans to issue citations at the north end of the site, which has traditionally been occupied by naturists. In fact, the signs were taken down after just two months.
In fact, in June, Pam, of San Mateo, even found a nudist at the main public, south side of the beach, which is used by suited visitors. A 15-foot long rock on the sand, along with a sloping cliff with rocks that jut out, separate the two sides of the cove that form Bonny Doon.
"In the short term, things at Bonny Doon are destined to continue the way they are," says Kirk Lingenfelter, sector superintendent for Bonny Doon and nearby state beaches. Lingenfelter says he likes Bonny Doon just the way it is. "It's one of our pocket beaches," he explains. "They can really give you the feeling of rugged, untouched majesty. I like standing on those beaches. You can sometimes forget that there's a highway in the distance. It's a very important feeling to maintain. "The clothing-optional section usually attracts more women and couples than most nude beaches. "Minuses" include occasional vehicle burglaries and gawkers on the bluffs or in the bushes.
Directions: From San Francisco, go 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 off sharply to the right just south of Davenport. The beach is just 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. Or take Santa Cruz Metro Transit District bus route 40 to the lot; it leaves the Metro Center three times a day on Saturdays and takes about 20 minutes. 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 a recently improved, sign-marked trail to the sand. Walk north past most of the beach to the nude cove on the north end. Alternately, Dusty suggests parking as far north as possible, taking the northern entrance, and, with good shoes, following a "rocky and steep" walk down to the sand.
2222 BEACH, SANTA CRUZ
In late May, when my girlfriend and I visited a little cliffside park above it and peered down on the aptly named 2222 — it's the number of the house across the street — we discovered that the pocket-size cove looked as beautiful as ever. In fact, America's smallest nude beach is so small it could probably fit in your yard. And that's what makes it a magical place. You won't find crowds at 2222, which takes scrambling to reach and isn't recommended for children or anyone who isn't a good hiker. However, those who are agile enough to make it down a steep cliff and over some concrete blocks on the way down will probably be rewarded with an oasis of calm and a good spot to catch some sunrays.