Little Stinson Beach

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Rating: D

On Memorial Day, we saw streams of visitors clamboring over the rocks at the far south end of Stinson Beach into a rock-filled cove that serves as the gateway to Little Stinson, around the next point to the south -- and, for research purposes, followed them as far as we could, while stopping to take photos and marvel over pieces of jadeite and agate we found along the water's edge.

It was a windy afternoon, with only partial sunshine, but because it was a holiday the crowd on the main public beach was still impressively large. People were flying kites and making sand castles. My girlfriend spotted a bluebird in a nearby parking lot.

Tiny Little Stinson is sandwiched between Red Rock and Stinson Beach. It's so small that the cove, which has become a hangout for a few nude gay men, is sometimes is covered by water.

"It has more rocks than sand," says Red Rock Beach regular Fred Jaggi, of Stinson Beach. "There's not much of a place to lie down."

Worse yet, just getting there, over the large rocks described above is dangerous. Adults could easily trip and fall -- and children are at even higher risk.

If rangers see you heading in the direction of Little Stinson, they'll ask you to leave. Nudity is banned here and at neighboring Stinson Beach. Anyone trying to ford the often wind-whipped waves to reach the cove from Stinson risks drowning and injury.  In low tide, a few Little Stinson visitors sometimes walk to Red Rock, which also isn't advised.

Legal status:

Part of the GGNRA's Stinson Beach Park, where nudity is not allowed.

How to find it:

Users park in the main Stinson Beach lot and walk along the sand from the main beach in low tide or north from Red Rock Beach. Neither route is recommended.

The beach:

Mostly rocks, with dabs of sand, backed by a cave between two coves directly north of Red Rock.

The crowd:

Little Stinson only gets a few visitors. It's almost totally a gay hangout.

Problems:

Dangerous access; rocks; high waves; law enforcement; great white sharks tend to appear in the waters off Stinson every few years.

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