North Marina

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Rating: C

Improved directions!

Nude sunbathers have been appearing on a little beach just 300 feet north of Marina State Beach for years. "People have been going here for two decades," says Tom, of Monterey. Adds frequent visitor and local business owner Debbie, "It's warm and secluded." The main sunning area for nudies is between two large sand dunes close to the shore.

Unknown, believed to be private property.

How to find it:

From San Jose, take Highway 101 south to Prunedale, then Highway 146 west to join Highway 1 south at Castroville. Approaching Marina, exit at Reservation Road, turning left (east). At the first signal, turn right on Reservation and follow it to the little parking lot at the end. Walk back along Reservation to Dunes Drive and follow Dunes about 300 feet north, passing Marina Dunes Resort, located at 3295 Dunes Drive, and a sand-processing plant, until you see a yellow vehicle gate on the west (ocean) side of Dunes Drive, across from two motels. Limited parking is also available in front of the gate. The gate blocks traffic, not people, from a beach path; follow it up and down five dunes until just before the beach. The nude area is between the last two dunes, just to the right of the trail.

The beach:

"It's warm and secluded," says Debbie, a longtime visitor. "People have been going here for 25 years." Veteran users say the best time to visit is June or autumn.

The crowd:

"The beach is never crowded because only local residents know about it," says Tom, of Monterey County.

Problems:

Unknown legal status; fog; cold water; proximity to path; limited street parking.

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