Carmel Meadows

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Rating: C

Movie buffs love visiting Carmel Meadows. The reason? It's just a half-mile away from a famous Monterey cypress tree featured in Play Misty For Me, a Clint Eastwood cult classic. Most visitors go nude at this lovely beach, but local residents seem to prefer a bigger attraction that's also nearby: the clothed, public beach at Carmel River State Park.

Carmel River State Park property.

How to find it:

Go south on Highway 1. After Monterey and most of Carmel, look for the junction of Rio Road and Highway 1 (the Crossroads Shopping Center and the Barnyard are at the intersection). Stay on Highway 1. About one mile south of Rio, turn right on Ribera Road and go about a half-mile, watching for a round turnout on the right. Park in front of the gate. Follow the trail to the beach, then go left 150 feet until you see a row of homes. Parking is limited on Ribera. For easier parking, from the stoplight at Rio, drive two miles south until you see the first beach next to the road. Park in the lot there, walk to the ocean, and go north One of the first things you'll pass is the tree from Misty. A half-mile later, you'll come to a row of houses without any cliffs. Keep walking north until you see the next set of homes atop some bluffs.

The beach:

A ribbon of soft sand that measures just 30-40 feet wide in front of bluffs with homes. But people in the houses on the hill cannot see the beach.

The crowd:

Carmel Meadows averages just five or six nude sunbathers per warm summer day. "One fall, we counted at least a half dozen nude sunbathers," says a regular bare bottom visitor. "The year before that there were that many, too. Few people know about it, but those who do love it."

Problems:

Fog, wind, and cold water. Parking may be difficult or far away. Some houses face the beach, but the cliffs, which are about 15 feet high, help protect sunbathers from view.

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