"In some of the more remote areas, there were people who would sunbathe without clothing," Ron Schafer, former head of the state parks for the Bay Area region and an ex-staffer at Manresa State Beach, told us the season before he died in 2010. "It was a plain old non-issue to rangers," he added. Today, the tradition continues, even though some rangers issue citations for nudity. Although families often visit Manresa to take advantage of its nice views and good, dependable flat sand, nude sunbathers occasionally gather in the sand dunes at the north end of the beach. Those who stay in the dune area seem to have few problems. Manresa is dog-friendly and also has a campground.
Part of Manresa Beach State Park. In areas of the beach frequently used by families and other visitors, rangers will probably ask naturists to put their suits on. Elsewhere, enforcement of the park's nudity policy seems to be left up to the individual ranger.
How to find it:
From Santa Cruz, follow Highway 1 south past Watsonville to the Larkin Valley Road exit and look for the town of La Selva Beach. Turn right on San Andreas Road and follow it to its terminus near the beach. Walk north to the dunes near the beach property, just south of La Selva Beach.
Sandy and beautiful. Many naturists prefer the dunes north of the main public beach.
Same as at La Selva. Manresa only draws occasional nudity.
Same as at La Selva, plus parking fee.