Four Mile Beach

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Rating: B

The south end of Wilder Ranch State Park, known locally as Four Mile Beach, has been visited by nude sunbathers for years. But they usually now only show up on weekdays when families are not present. Mike Oropeza, a former regular at Red, White and Blue Beach until it closed in 2006, says he has also gone nude at "the Table rock area near this blowhole (at Four Mile), where the waves crash" and the north side of the beach, when the surfers who frequent it are gone.

 

Part of Wilder Ranch State Park.

 

How to find it:

FFour Mile Beach is off Highway 1, four miles north of the junction with Mission Street in Santa Cruz. San Franciscans may prefer to think of it as 44-Mile Beach because its distance from the junction of Highways 1 and 92 in Half Moon Bay is exactly 44 miles. Park where you see a group of cars pulled over on the unpaved turnout next to where Highway 1 crosses Baldwin Creek. Take the dirt road that begins there. Stay on the road as you cross the railroad tracks and wind left of the marsh. In less than 10 minutes you'll be at the beach. Or from Santa Cruz, go north on Highway 1 about two miles past Western Drive and turn left into the entrance for Wilder, whose address is 1401 Old Coast Road, Santa Cruz. The park is open 8 a.m. to sunset; day use parking costs $6.

 

The beach:

The shore here has roughly a mile of nice, white sand.

 

The crowd:

Mostly a family-oriented beach with clothed sunbathers whose awesome breakers also attract surfers. Even on the hottest afternoons, only 10-to-20 visitors use the nude portion of the beach.

 

Problems:

Threat of law enforcement; large mounds of seaweed sometimes litter the edge of the sand; entrance fee.

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