Our 38th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun
Mellow times are continuing at one of the Bay Area's easiest to reach and most enjoyable nude beaches, the clothing-optional north side of Muir Beach. Also known as Little Beach, it's separated by the main public beach by a line of large rocks that visitors usually walk over. Says Lucas Valley's Michael Velkoff, who switched from Red Rock to become a regular at Muir: "This season, there's plenty of sand. It's also a great place for women because people leave you alone here. Nobody's hitting on you. And high tide only comes a third of the way up the beach." Recent additions include a new bridge over a marshy, lagoon-like area near the parking lot, plus about a half dozen Porta-Potties.
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. 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
One of the most popular Bay Area nude beaches, Red Rock has struggled with sand erosion that's left a smaller site the last few seasons, along with a more crowded feel to it and, perhaps in reaction, fewer overall visitations. Except for being a little overgrown with vegetation in early July and some poison oak on the half nearest the highway, the beach trail, however, is reported in good shape this year. "Just wear shoes with socks, go single file in spots, and you should be okay," advises Stinson Beach attorney-teacher Fred Jaggi. Rock climbing and various kinds of Frisbee continue to be frequent pastimes at Red Rock — Ultimate Frisbee games there can last as long as three hours. Naked Scrabble and Nude Hearts are among the other games played by sunbathers. "It's very peaceful at the beach," says Jaggi. "Nobody ever brings down a large boombox."
Directions: Go north on Highway 1 from Mill Valley, following the signs to Stinson Beach. At the long line of mailboxes next to the Muir Beach cutoff point, start checking your odometer. Look for a dirt lot full of cars to the left (west) of the highway 5.6 miles north of Muir and a smaller one on east side of the road. The lots are at milepost 11.3, one mile south of Stinson Beach. Limited parking is also available 150 yards to the south on the west side of Highway 1. Or from Mill Valley, take the West Marin/Bolinas Stage toward Stinson Beach and Bolinas. Get off at the intersection of Panoramic Highway and Highway 1. Then walk south .6 mile to the Red Rock lots. Follow the long, steep path to the beach that starts near the Dumpster next to the main parking lot.
BOLINAS, BASS LAKE