North Garberville Beach

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Rating: C

Just five miles from Garberville, there's a beach on the south fork of the Eel River that's so secluded some visitors even camp nude there.  Its existence was kept secret by users for years, but it's not unknown anymore -- we unveiled directions to it last year.  The naked enclave, which is just off Highway 101, continues to get rave views.

"The beach is excellent for tents," says reader Dave.  "It's really private and fun."

Legal status:

Believed to be public property.  Says Dave:  "I have called the Humboldt County Sheriff's substation in Garberville.  They even called me back to clarify that you can camp ... as long as you don't plan on staying a week or more."

How to find it:

Go north on Highway 101 about five miles north of Garberville to the Phillipsville exit.  Take the exit (also called Exit 645), turn left, and go a half mile to a service road.  Turn left onto the service road.  Or from the north, take Highway 101 south to Exit 645.  Take the exit to Hooker Creek Road and continue straight for about 100 feet, where you will see the service road.  You can only go one way onto the service road.  Follow it less than a half mile south along the river.  Then park where you see cars pulled over along the street.  Look for a path there marked by a rainbow streamer and follow it as it curves to the right and takes you about 100 yards to the beach.  Local nudies and campers tend to stay on the far right end of the beach.

The beach:

Adorned with some nice shade trees, the beach can't be seen from the road, so it's not only nice and sandy but fairly private.  "It's shielded from view," says reader Dave.  "It's really great."  Some visitors bring tubes or other floaties with them.  "It has about 30 yards of both shallow and deep swimming areas," adds Dave.  

The crowd:  

Used by local visitors for years, the beach usually attracts only a few people.  But, says Dave, "the word is getting out," so there's been a gradual increase in visitation.  He's seen clothing-optional use by others at the site on both weekdays and weekends.

Problems:

Cold water; rocks in river (wear flip flops or old tennis shoes to protect your feet in the water.)

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