It is well-established that skinny dipping on the shoreline or tanning with bare bottoms is far more popular in Europe than it is in America. So the concept of going nude at the beach is not so foreign among most Europeans. Many even enjoy being one with their body as they start a fun day at the beach.
If you live in California, you might have your doubts about the possibility of coming across a nude beach. But you’d be surprised to find several great nude beaches in California tucked away with lots of privacy. It’s safe to say that a healthy naturist community is still thriving in the U.S.
These nude beaches are family-friendly and clothing optional. You generally don’t have to worry about running into any creeps naked as most people are just there for the same purposes as you: to enjoy the sandy beaches, go for a swim, and mind their business. So you can rest assured that no voyeurs are prowling about.
And like regular beaches, the aesthetics and atmosphere matter a lot. No one wants to visit a beach that is dirty or crowded. So read on as we guide you through some of the best nude beaches in California, the Golden State.
Best Nude Beaches in California:
Black’s Beach, San Diego
This is known for some of the best waves places in San Diego, Back’s Beach is located at the southern end of Torrey Pines State Beach. Black’s is a popular spot that surfers frequent when they want to test out the big winter swells. But it is better known to the rest of the world as the most popular nude beach in San Diego.
The trail up to the beach takes 10-15 minutes to cover. So most of the time, only the surfers and the nudists are found hiking up to enjoy the sandy shores of Black’s Beach. Once you arrive, you can head to the north end where the area is marked clothing optional.
If you’re a nudist or a naturist, you will also appreciate the seclusion and privacy that Black’s Beach provides. It is also a great area to spot dolphins or gaze at the vibrant paragliders in the skyline. Black’s is undoubtedly a San Diego nude beach that is one of the largest in America.
Not that there are no lifeguards or restrooms available at Black’s Beach San Diego, so you need to bring your own essentials like food, drinking water, etc. But besides that, you can have a great time nude sunbathing, surfing, snorkeling, and playing volleyball.
Pirate’s Cove, Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo
Pirate’s Cove, a cosy section of Avila Beach, is one of the best nude beaches in California if you’re looking for a private nudist experience. This south-facing cove offers protection from the weather and attracts many nudists who want a no-clothes beach experience. The place is clothing optional, not a strictly nude beach.
So it is actually a very convenient beach for you to dip your toes into the water if you’re a newbie at nude beaches. The beach also offers an amazing view of the rock caves, white sands, and clear water. You can also find a great spot for hiking on the Ontario Ridge Trail. But just remember to put on your clothes and safety equipment if you do decide to go hiking.
Also, note that you need to be clothed to go look at the caves as you might run into people who are not part of the nudist territory. It is important to be respectful of everyone’s choices to ensure a good time. There are no drinking water areas or restrooms nearby. So just remember to bring your own food, water and other essentials as you literally have to fend for yourself.
Red Rock Beach, California
Red Rock Beach lies just south of Stinson Beach and offers an amazing space to enjoy the scenery, sunlight, and ocean waves. You will find rocky shorelines, huge red cliffs, and massive boulders that call for an adventurous day at the beach. As a popular nude beach San Francisco, it is a great place for a thrill-seeking nudist to catch the party vibes. It is a true Californian paradise with rock climbing, volleyball, and other beach games.
Here, the ocean isn’t as gentle as it is on other beaches. So you need to ensure that your swimming skills are proficient before you decide to take a dip in the water. You should also check the tide charts before heading to Rock Red Beach. Also, note that there are many family beaches situated nearby that do not allow nudity.
So you need to avoid walking into those areas without any clothes on. There are no facilities or lifeguards at this nude beach San Francisco so you’ll need to bring your own snacks, drinking water, first aid, and other essentials. You can also access the hot springs that seep up the sand just south of where the trail hits the beach.
Baker Beach, San Francisco
Baker Beach is a popular San Francisco nude beach located not far from the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge. Besides being very liberal towards nudity, the beach also offers a mind-blowing view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. This beach welcomes all sorts of people, especially those who prefer to be in the nude.
The fog and cold winds can prevent you from enjoying your time at the beach on some days. But when the weather is particularly pleasant, you’ll find over 500 beachgoers eager to shed their clothes and relax after a stressful week at work. Baker Beach is a part of the Golden Gate Recreational Area where full nudity is freely tolerated.
But remember that this is limited to the north end of the beach. Avoid going to the south end stark naked if you don’t want to give the unsuspecting people there a surprise. Baker Beach is a great place in the Bay Area to lounge on the sand sunbathing, tanning or playing beach games. But swimming is still considered risky due to the cold water and regular rip currents in the surf.
“Also Check: 8 Best Nude Beaches in Florida, USA“
San Gregorio State Beach, California
San Gregorio State Beach is one of the most stunning nude beaches in California that you’ll come across. It is set in a valley that is just a short drive away from the Silicone Valley in the South Bay Area. As it is privately owned, this expansive nude beach offers a great experience for those looking for a quiet and secluded getaway. You can also enjoy a nice stroll on the beach along the high sandstone cliffs.
But you’ll need to make sure you’re in the right area before you start stripping down. If you’re planning to keep your buns out, be sure to stay away from the south end of the beach as it has a strict no-nudity rule. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore the rock caves and fossils at the north of the creek. You can also visit the estuary located at the back of the beach. Just remember that if you wander too far, you might find yourself on another beach that requires separate access.
More Mesa Beach, California
More Mesa is a breathing nude beach located near the UCSB campus in Santa Barbara. As a result, it also attracts tons of college students, making the beach a very hip and fun-loving place to be at. More Mesa Beach is a very secluded area. So it is one of the most convenient nude beaches in California for nudists to come around and sunbathe comfortably.
You can access the beach by walking down Mockingbird Lane. Continue on the east side of the park and take the steep path down. It is a local rule that the area right side of the bottom stair is a clothing-optional beach. But if you head towards the left side, remember that nudity is prohibited over there. If you want a more spacious parking space then you can enter from Patterson Avenue
Steep Ravine Beach, California
You’ll find Steep Ravine Beach at the bottom of a steep canyon south of Stinson Beach. It is located 20 miles northwest of San Francisco alongside Mt. Tamalpais State Park. The San Francisco nude beach is small, secluded, and rocky with drift logs and a creek that flows down the ravine.
This makes it the best getaway for nudists that want to work on their tans without any disturbance. You can visit the beach during the daytime any day of the week to enjoy a nude extravaganza. However, you should remember to look up the rules of the beach and undress only in the clothing optional area.
You must avoid inconveniencing other beachgoers who are not aware of the nude area of the beach. Besides the beach, you can also check out the cabins on Rocky Point-Steep Ravine Environmental Campground located next to the beach if you’re also interested in camping. You can also explore the hot springs north of Ravine Steep Beach.
Marshall’s Beach, San Francisco
Marshall’s Beach is perhaps San Francisco’s best-kept secret. It is a long, narrow beach that stretches from the famous Golden Gate Bridge all the way south to North Baker Bridge. The steep cliffs give way to a secluded beach which makes it one of the best San Francisco nude beaches out there.
In addition, Marshall’s Beach is also well-known as a mainly gay nude beach and offers the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge. So if either of these two interests you, you should definitely head over and grab yourself a spot on the sandy shores. The high tides at Marshall’s Beach can be a deal breaker.
So consult the tide charts before you start planning a very naked day at the beach. You should also refrain from swimming as the cold water temperature and rip current are dangerous. Even if you’re not really interested in the nude scene at the beach, you should still stop by to catch the best view of the bridge. You can also explore the military structures nearby Marshall’s Beach.
Boneyard Beach, Encinitas
Boneyard Beach is a San Diego nude beach that is located in Encinitas in North County San Diego. Locals all around know this beach for its golden sand, top-notch surfing and it’s seclusion. This hidden gem is also popular among people who enjoy skinny-dipping in the ocean and sunbathing nude.
As it is a clothing-optional beach, you’ll find that the crowds generally do not grow out of hand. You can find fellow nude beach goers relaxing and de-stressing in the summer while surfers attempt to ride through the waves. Unlike other beaches in the area, Boneyard Beach is harder to find.
So you have to access this beach by entering through the neighboring beaches. Boneyard Beach is located between D Street Beach and Swami’s Beach. When you get there, you can lie back and enjoy or even take beautiful pictures the backdrop of dramatic cliffs, California palm trees, and the beautiful horizon meeting the blue waters.
Fort Funston Beach, San Francisco
You can drive to the Pacific Coast of San Francisco to visit the popular Fort Funston Beach for some nude sunbathing. It is also part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fort Funston is well-known for its windy conditions. You can take advantage of this to use the hang-glider platform at the edge of the bluff.
Besides a nude day at the beach, you can also explore the hiking trails, the sand dollars, and the fossils on the rocks. You can also bike or take your dog for a walk. Even horses are allowed the trails too.
Dos and Don’ts At a Nude Beach
- Do stay informed
Public nudity is still a punishable offense in the United States. So make sure that you reserve your topless tanning to the nude beaches and remain clothed when you pass by the regular beaches.
- Do bring lots of sunscreens
There’s nothing worse than uneven sunburns because of your pretty bikini or beach shorts. Or perhaps getting sunburned all over with nothing to protect your body. So make sure you bring along sunscreen with high SPF.
- Don’t photograph strangers
Everyone’s there to have a good time. Don’t ruin it by photographing strangers while they’re nude.
- Don’t stare
It’s understandable to feel weird seeing people nude when you’re used to everyone being fully clothed. But don’t make anyone uncomfortable by staring. Just sit back and enjoy a great day at the beach.
Although nudity is still prohibited in the Golden State and the rest of the country by certain regulations, every beach operates on its own set of rules. You’ll find that there are nude beaches in California where it is socially acceptable to frolic around the shores butt naked. So long as you don’t disturb anyone, litter, or damage beach property of course.
Going to a nude beach is a powerful way to tune into your body, harmonize with nature and enjoy being free from constricting clothes. It is also a great way to get rid of body shame, boost your confidence and cultivate body positivity.
Just remember to brush up on California’s public nudity laws before you visit the beaches. It also wouldn’t hurt to learn some common nude beach etiquette too. After you learn to express your nudity at the beach without inconveniencing the people around you, you can head over to the nude beaches in California for a fun-filled day of swimming and sunbathing. You might even get to tan to your heart’s content and avoid the dreaded bikini tan lines.
Although nude beaches are not unheard of, it can still be difficult to find one by yourself even with a map of the state. So check out the nude beaches above so you know where to go the next time your nudist urges kick in. After all, it would be a great deal of trouble if you accidentally walked into a regular beach stark naked and flashed onlookers!