Pomponio State Beach

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Rating: C

Most people who visit Pomponio State Beach don't disrobe. But over the years, some visitors have gone nude at its wind-sheltered cove, which is also known for its incredibly clean sand. But trying to reach the best spot for naked tanning can be a bit risky. The main path to the water is long and, in parts, has almost vanished, due to erosion. Plus the waves are so strong that swimming isn't advisable. Several swimmers have even been knocked down and carried out to sea. Bring a windbreaker in case the weather changes.

Legal status:

State beach property.

How to find it:

Pomponio is some two miles north of Pescadero State Beach on Highway 1, roughly 12 miles south of Half Moon Bay. To find the nude area at the south end of the 1.5-mile long beach, walk south in low tide along the water from the Pomponio entrance. Or from the old Pomponio parking turn-out (marked with pole-like barriers) on Highway 1, follow a trail that starts there until it enters a ravine with a creek. Visitors used to cross the canyon on a board, but it's gone. At last report, some regulars were hopping on a pallet to cross part of the chasm, and then crawling the rest of the way.

The beach:

There's a mile and a half of partially sheltered sand that varies from being flat to gently sloping. To avoid falling rocks, stay away from the edge of the high sandstone bluffs above the beach.

Photos available here

The crowd:

As many as 25 nudists a day were visiting the beach, but that number has dropped to single digits, even on the hottest days.

Problems:

Long walk, riptides, cliff erosion, cold air, wind, gawkers, and reports of car burglaries in the past. Swimming while au naturel is not permitted.

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