Drake's Beach


Rating: C

Want to sunbathe in the nude near a historic site? It's said this is the place where Sir Francis Drake, the first Brit to sail around the world, landed his Golden Hinde in 1579. But some say it another spot in Marin County. Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, which connects Point San Quentin on San Francisco Bay with Drakes Bay in Point Reyes, is the point of contention. Each end is near a site considered by some to be Drake's landing place. Then there are those who think Drake came ashore in Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, Coos Bay, or even Santa Barbara. Whichever is his true landing place, suitless sunbathing takes place on a spotty basis on the Point Reyes shore that bears his name, which is close to a memorial named after him. The area is just north of Drake's Beach.


Part of Point Reyes National Seashore.

How to find it:

From San Francisco, follow Highway 101 north to the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard exit. Stay on Sir Francis Drake through San Anselmo and Lagunitas. At the intersection with Highway 1, go north to the Point Reyes National Seashore headquarters in Olema. Pick up a map, then follow Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to Drake's Beach Road and stay on it until you reach the beach. If you wind up at Point Reyes Lighthouse, you've gone too far.

The beach:

Beautiful, untamed, and sandy.

The Crowd:

Visited mostly by nonnudists, Drake's also attracts a few discreet skinny-dippers.



Cold water; wind; directions could be improved.

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