If you’re brave enough to bare it all, go ahead and get that flawless tan – and don’t forget the sunblock.
1. Black’s Beach, La Jolla, San Diego
Often cited as one of the best in the world, Black’s is the largest nude beach in the United States. It’s a secluded haven situated under the spectacular cliffs of Torrey Pines. You’ve got to be in great shape to visit this beach though – not because people there are critical, but because getting there requires hiking along a steep path.
2. Baker Beach, San Francisco
Located just outside of San Francisco, it has one of the most remarkable views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. Nudity is most tolerated in the north end; the half-mile stretch of beach is rarely ever full of visitors but it’s often noted to have a festive atmosphere. The crowd is often diverse, largely made up of gay and straight single men. Meet San Francisco Swingers.
It’s best to drop by in the mornings when it’s sunny, when the San Francisco fog doesn’t obscure the view. It may also be useful to note that this area isn’t within state jurisdiction, so state bans on nudity don’t quite apply here.
3. San Gregorio Nude Beach, San Gregorio
It’s the oldest nude beach in the country, where people have been baring it all since 1967. The 120-acre area offers a breathtaking setting, with two miles of sandy shore, tide pools, a lava tube and a charming lagoon. It attracts a largely gay crowd, though it’s also frequented by straight couples and families.
In a stunning, isolated area 15 minutes North of Santa Cruz is a long-time favorite of naturists and nudists. Despite the bans on nakedness, a clothing-optional section remains at the north end of the site. It’s a small pocket beach surrounded by bluffs, which provides an atmosphere of safe seclusion preferred by women and couples.
The magnificent scenery has a natural, rugged environment – you’ll need to pass cliffs and steep rocks to get to the soft sand, so be ready to do some climbing.
5. Privates Beach, Santa Cruz
Privates is one of the most highly recommended nudist beaches because of its beauty and serenity. You need to buy a key from the nearby surf shop to enter the locked gate, but you’ll definitely appreciate the peaceful environment: It’s safe, extraordinarily clean, and never crowded.
Surfers love this place for its waves – they’re ideal for stand-up surfing or paddling. And since only one of the two coves is designated as the clothing-optional area, it’s safe even for families with children. It’s also an animal-friendly establishment.
6. Land’s End, San Francisco
One of the most notable things about Land’s End is that it offers a magnificent view of the sea. The shoreline is dotted with rocks with sandy nooks in between, where you can spread your towel, shed your clothes and soak up the sun. The shore is pleasantly warm in the spring and summer, but it can be cool and windy at times, so bring a light cover-up.
7. 2222 Beach, Santa Cruz
8. Red Rock, Stinson Beach, Mount Tamalpias
The most popular clothing-optional beach north of San Francisco is known to have one of the friendliest crowds in the Bay Area. It’s often full of visitors – mostly tourists, couples and families (unfortunately, also a number of gawkers). It’s a quarter-mile long spot surrounded by rocks so it isn’t ideal for swimming, but it’s great for sunbathing, hiking and rock-climbing.
9. Muir Nude Bach, Muir Beach
This clothing-optional north section of Muir Beach is separated from the main shoreline by a wall of rocks. It’s considered one of the most delightful nude beaches in the Bay Area; it’s a beautiful, crescent-shaped patch of soft sand nestled in dense, green woods. It offers a lot of privacy and it’s a safe place for women. Swimming isn’t recommended because of strong currents, but it’s a perfect place for soaking up the sun.
10. Laguna Creek, Santa Cruz
Though privately-owned, it’s accessible to the public. It’s ideal for de-stressing, naked sunbathing and beach combing. Nature-lovers will also enjoy bird-watching by the lagoon or the protected coves.
Though these beaches welcome bare-naked bathers, always remember that laws regarding nudity vary from place to place. Be sure to read the guidelines of particular establishments before you strip down. Take note of proper nude beach etiquette and be respectful of your fellow sunbathers, whether clothed or unclothed. It would also be best to be informed about California laws.