Fuller's Beach

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Rating: B

"It's kind of a secret place, even to people here in Big Sur," says George, a state parks aide at nearby Molera, of the surfing paradise known as Fuller's Beach.Regular visitors suggest using extreme care when going down the path to the sand, which also attracts nude sunbathers.Warns Alex, an area resident: "If an inexperienced surfer ... breaks his leg on the rocks and has to get air lifted or (take an) ambulance ride out, this will be the end of our beautiful beach access."Speaking of access, it's via a long, poison-oak lined trail.Suggests George:"Just remember to take a shower with liquid soap when you get home, and you shouldn't have a problem with the plants."

Legal status:

Beach owned by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.The trail is said to be property of Charlie Crockett.

How to find it:

Finding Fullers is a little dicey. Along Highway 1, south of Big Sur and Pfeiffer Beach, look for the Nepenthe Restaurant, 29 miles south of Carmel, 2 miles south of Pfeiffer Beach and 63 miles north of San Simeon. A few miles south of the restaurant, before Highway 1 curves to the east (Grimes Canyon), check for cars pulled over on the west (ocean) side of the highway in a little pullout next to a telephone pole. A larger pullout used mostly by Caltrans workers is on the east side of the road. Follow the path from the west pullout to the beach. "It's very steep," says George. "When you go to the beach, you will be going straight down. But coming back, you will be going straight up."

The beach:

If you are a fan of rugged isolation, you'll love windswept Fullers. The beach is a haven for the few local surfers who know about it. You're more likely to find boards than sunbathers on the beach.

The crowd:

On good wave-riding days, most of the crowd will be in the water, while you will be sitting there, sprawled out in the nude on your beach towel, watching the free surf show, thinking to yourself, "Yes, life is good!" Usually, only a few nude sunbathers use the site.

Problems:

Not very sandy; poison oak on trail; pullout hard to find; steep path; not too many nudists present.

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