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Let’s put it this way, the Golden State is not the friendliest place on Earth when it comes to public nudity. There is even a law that prohibits it altogether. Nevertheless, a long and diverse ocean coastline with an abundance of hidden spots has been serving naturists well for decades. The recipe for nude beach enjoyment in California is simple: know where the others go, follow the nudist rules, and have a great time with no clothes on.
The state is graced with a magical shore that offers lots of opportunities to become one with nature. Be aware that the majority of beaches on this list are quite wild and quite undeveloped, making it a truly unfiltered experience to leisure there. So tune yourself into a naked mood and embark on the journey to discover the best nude beaches in California.
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An all-American icon, Black’s Beach is a mecca for all naturism lovers. This sandy stretch surrounded by the high cliffs north of La Jolla is among the largest and most frequented spots for nude bathing in the country. It represents the mighty California ocean coast at its most grandiose offering high waves, comfortable sands, and amazing weather all year round. Whether it’s picnicking, sunbathing, surfing, doing water sports, Black’s Beach is there to provide a stunning nude location. Also, the beach is an illustration of California’s legal conundrums with the southern part belonging to San Diego town and the northern part managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. For nudists it means that only the northern part of Black’s Beach is available for nude bathing, the other portion is off-limits. So keep that in mind for an easygoing time there.
Reaching the romantically-named Pirate’s Cove beach near San Luis Obispo is an adventure in its own right. You have to follow a steep hiking trail to find the place but it definitely worth a walk. It’s that secluded, remote location that nudist dreams are made of, full of rocks and superb vistas all around. The beach has two unofficial sections with the naked one found between the sea cave and the natural arch. Be aware that the access is quite difficult so brace yourself for an attentive hike, it’s not a hassle-free Long Beach sunbathing experience. Getting naked in California requires going an extra mile after all.
Somewhat of an open secret of Santa Cruz, this beach has been a safe haven for nudists for many years. Hidden under the residential neighborhood, accessed by the windy path, it’s a fantastic (and quite private) place to spend some time next to the waves naked. Be aware, though, that non-nude beachgoers can come by but the nudity is mostly tolerated and you shouldn’t have any problems. The rule of thumb would be to scan the location before taking the clothes off. If there are other nudists then you’re safe. If you feel like you would be the only one baring it all, probably, it’s time to drive all the way down to Black’s Beach in San Diego to feel really welcomed.
A little southern of Davenport lies Bonny Doon Beach, one of the most scenic coastlines in California. The far end of it is clothing-optional and you can find a diverse nudist crowd there. The beach is wide and glorious, surrounded by nothing but nature and offering larger-than-life ocean vistas. You should be aware that it is not considered as a fully naturist beach so there may be other beachgoers too like families with children, dog walkers, and college students, all clothed. However, problems rarely happen as Bonny Doon is locally renowned as a naked beach and the people coming here are tolerant to nudity in public. Also, keep in mind that the secluded location requires some easy trekking so have comfortable shoes on and be prepared to walk down and up to reach it.
Baker Beach is iconic for several reasons. First of all, the view here is unbeatable. The gigantic Golden Gates Bridge is right in front of you in all of its engineering glory. Then, it has some cool history too. The northern part of the beach used to be a spot where the Burning Man festival started. Having used this sandy stretch as a venue from 1986 to 1990, the festival was forced to relocate to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert after a conflict with the local government. But Baker Beach wouldn’t make it to our list if it wasn’t a great stop for nudists. Indeed, this is one of the few places around the Bay area where clothing is optional and nude bathing is tolerated and not interfered with. As the beach is a very popular touristic place, the nudists gather in the northern side of the area where the curious clothed beachgoers don’t venture. Be aware that while Baker is good for lounging, swimming is not advised. So take extra caution when entering the waters, it may be cold and there may be strong currents.
If you don’t look for easy ways, Red Rock Beach is a must. Hidden from everything and everyone, it has long enjoyed the status of a concealed paradise for nude bathing aficionados. Here you don’t have to worry about breaking the rules on nudity, it is very hard to reach and far from the tourist sights. Nestled among the high rocks, it is an incredible piece of California ocean wilderness. Just come here when the tide is out and plan beforehand to have the best visiting experience. And yes, the clothes are completely optional, you can profit from the freedom and the ocean breeze.
There are two San Gregorio beaches, a state-owned and a private one. Both are strikingly beautiful but it’s the second that gives you a chance to drop your things and bare everything to the sound of the waves. The parking is for a fee and you need to go north to find the clothing-optional part. You will be rewarded by the expansive sandy beach with towering cliffs and expansive views. Being here feels great and it’s not so far from Silicon Valley so you can use it as a weekend nude getaway. Be aware that the nude part mostly caters to men. Still, the crowd is open and welcoming so if you’re a woman or in a group, you won’t encounter any problems.
Los Angeles nudists need to go somewhere to profit from natural freedom too. As the county doesn’t have any well-known nude beaches, the resorts will come in handy to have an easy time with no judgment and gawking. Desert Sun Resort is among the finest of its kind as well as the largest in Palm Springs. Adults-only, featuring sun almost all year round and boasting a sprawling territory with a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a spa, this complex is a prime nudist destination in California. There it is, a place where you can completely switch off the bustle of the city and drop your clothes to the warm sun rays of the desert. The countless canyon trails are there for you to explore in the vicinity of the resort. You’ll also have a chance to take an aerial tramway to the summit of spectacular Mount San Jacinto (this one with your clothes on) anticipating the nude pool dip afterward.
This magnificent secluded corner of Trinidad’s coastline will certainly take your breath away. Here the energy is felt first-hand with mighty rocks and powerful waves crashing onto them. Not a beach for swimming, Baker would be a great pick for private nude relaxation. Crowds are almost non-existent and those people who come are either fellow nudists or in-the-know Californians who tolerate the nudity. You can find plenty of places to rewind among the ocean panoramas. Park the car on Scenic drive and be prepared for a moderate hike down to the beach. Another great nude beach in the vicinity of Trinidad is College Cove, north of the city. It’s the southernmost part of the beach that attracts a mostly clothing-optional crowd so be sure to stick to that area for a calm enjoyment.