Land's End Beach

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Rating: A

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.

Legal status:

Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), which has a benign attitude toward nudists -- as long as nobody complains and you don't touch anyone.Rangers sometimes visit the area on foot and horseback.They've made arrests for sexual activity on the beach and in the bushes off the trail.

How to find it:

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, 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 rocks. 

The beach:

A quarter mile long beach with some nice sunbathing nooks.At the bottom of the trail, turn left (west) and walk until you find a good place to put down your towel. "There are rocks for sunbathing but there are also patches of sand away from where you enter the beach," says beach regular Joseph Friday.For extra wind protection, many visitors use rocks on the beach to make their own mini-windbreaks.

The crowd:

Usually six to 10 visitors, but on the hottest days, there may be as many as 30 people. A mix of gay males and others use the site. 

Problems:

The walk down is fairly long; random "sex patrols" by rangers; reports of drug use; public sex on trails and nearby; fog and wind; rocky; swimming not allowed; trails other than main one are unsafe, may be closed, and/or have poison oak.

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