Bolinas Beach

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Rating:  B

While Bolinas Beach has had a past history of clothing-optional use, most of it has died out.  But a few bare body enthusiasts still sunbathe in the more isolated nooks and crannies of sand on the north end of the rocky shoreline. Please use this area with caution: though there haven't been any reports of problems recently, Bolinas has an antinudity law and it's mostly a nonnude setting of families, dogwalkers and just offshore, plenty of kayakers. And the area can be windy.

Legal status:

Part of the land is private property facing homes. Bolinas's antinudity ordinance includes fines of up to $50 and/or a month in jail for first-time violations.

How to find it:

Starting in Stinson Beach, take Highway 1 (also known there as Shoreline Highway) north toward Calle Del Mar 4.5 miles. Bear left on Olema Bolinas Road. Follow it two miles through Bolinas, and park in town or on Ocean Parkway Avenue, which parallels the beach. Walk until you find a spot with enough sand and privacy.

The beach:

Somewhat sheltered from the wind by cliffs, Bolinas is wider than some of the nude beaches on our list but narrows as you walk farther away from the parking area. The best sand is near the cliffs. Otherwise, expect a fairly rocky shoreline.

The crowd:

On hot summer days families, out-of-towners, and suited sunbathers mingle with local naturists and kayakers. This is also a dog beach.

Problems:

Local residents sometimes distrust outsiders; not enough sand; undertow; frequent wind; cold water; and poor swimming conditions.

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