Nude Beaches

Marin County

Kirby Cove


Rating: C

Years after the closure of five clothing-optional Sausalito coves, due to damaged trails and lack of funds to repair them, nude and suited sunbathers are trickling -- or, in some cases, pouring -- back onto the string of beaches. GGNRA rangers, like Terry Swift, still say they're "not recommended," because of the trail "scrambling" that's sometimes is required. But readers report several of the sites, all of which are off Conzelman Road, are in relatively good shape.

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Black Sand Beach


Rating: C

Guardian readers report that the days of having to scramble down the last 50 feet of the trail to Black Sand Beach, also known as Bonita Beach, are finally over -- which means a mix of men and women and singles and couples to return to one of Marin County's oldest clothing-optional beaches. "There's a 60-foot-long staircase that will get you down on the sand in maybe 10 minutes and back up in 15 minutes," says East Bay resident Trevor Murphy. Read more »

Central Bonita


Rating: D

Want a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge without the usual crowd scene? Can you stand a little wind now and then? Then you may want to join the few visitors who still make the trek to Central Bonita Beach, which requires a hike down a crumbling, closed trail. Bring good hiking shoes. At least half of the users are usually naked or topless at this little cove.

Part of the GGNRA.Read more »

West Bonita Beach


Rating: D

Although textile-less tanning is the main recreational sport at little West Bonita Beach, it's also a great spot to swim when there's no wind or undertow. However, the trail is still closed, slippery, and dangerous.

Part of the GGNRA.Read more »

South Rodeo Beach


Rating: C

Located just south of the public Rodeo Beach, this cove is often cold and windy. But visitors say they enjoy the fact that it faces the Pacific, even though a few bewildered clothed tourists sometimes wander onto the sand.

 

Part of the GGNRA.Read more »

Coyote Beach


Rating: C

Last year, we introduced readers to an emerging nude shoreline just south of the popular nude area at Muir Beach. Located west of the hillside called Coyote Ridge, it's known to just a few people. "I've gone three or four times with my girlfriend, who's been visiting it for years," says Alex Towery, of San Rafael. "It's a little sandy cove and beach." The hill is the first one south of the Muir Beach parking lot. Read more »

Muir Beach


Rating: A

Recommended!Read more »

Steep Ravine Beach


Rating: D

Hot springs in the sea? Believe it. Steep Ravine has two springs, one in the ocean and another on the cliffs.

But the trail down from the road is so slippery that we've never recommended it. In fact, we've rated the site a "D" for years, but it hasn't stopped people from trying to visit a clothing-optional hot springs that's nearly hidden in the sea.

Even finding the spring is quite difficult, as it's located in the middle of the shoreline's tidal zone. ("It's only usable at very low tide," says Dave, of San Francisco.)Read more »

Red Rock Beach


Rating: A

On a scale of 1 to 10, Fullerton and Velkoff both give Red Rock a 10 this year because, as Velkoff says, "it's still the best."

Recommended!Read more »

Little Stinson Beach

Tucked away in a little cave-like nook between Red Rock and Stinson Beach is Little Stinson Beach, which has become a hangout for a few nude gay males.

"There's not much of a place to lie down," says Red Rock Beach regular Fred Jaggi. "It has more rocks than sand."Read more »

Bolinas Beach


Rating: B

On a sunny day, when the wind is down, beautiful Bolinas Beach can be a great place to throw down your towel and work on an all-over tan. Sans-suit sunbathers sometimes find shelter from the wind in spots on the north end of the rocky shoreline. You'll probably also notice dogwalkers and kayakers. Use this area with caution: although there haven't been any reported problems lately, Bolinas has an antinudity law.

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RCA Beach


Rating: A

Recommended!Read more »

Starlight Meadow


Rating: B

Rimmed by an estimated 200 acres of woods, a large field near the town of Dogwood has become the first clothing-optional meadow in the U.S. From Hagmier Pond (see next entry), expect about a 20-minute walk to the 60-acre site, which is good for picnicking, sunbathing, reading, and relaxing.

GGNRA land managed by Point Reyes National Seashore.Read more »

Hagmier Pond


Rating: A

More of a hangout for sunbathing and socializing than swimming, the place that Marinites call "the Pond" is usually so silted-over and polluted by mid-June that signs warn visitors to stay out of the water due to its high bacteria count. Read more »

Sculptured Beach


Rating: B

Recommended!Read more »

Limantour Beach


Rating: B

Recommended!Read more »

Kelham Beach


Rating: C

 

New listing!Read more »

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. Read more »

Bass Lake


Rating: A

On a scale of 1 to 10, says Smith, "Bass is always a 10.0."

Recommended!Read more »

Mount Vision Pond


Rating: C

You have as little as three years left to enjoy this site. Mired in plants, the half-acre man-made lake known as Mount Vision Pond has been getting less users, nude or otherwise, in recent years, due to both its remoteness and problematic water quality. Repairs are needed to fix and clean the dam, but Point Reyes officials say they're unlikely to be made. Instead, says Point Reyes National Seashore district ranger Marc Yeston, "it's going back to nature." Authorities estimate the lake will remain viable until at least 2012.

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Midway Beach


Rating: C

When it's not windy (bring a windbreak just in case the weather changes) or cold, Midway is a good place for a quick, "total tan" tune-up, at least when nobody's around to complain, or at least not any tourists. The good news is tourists seldom visit this rather remote sunbathing spot, located between North Beach and South Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore.

 

Midway Beach is within Point Reyes National Seashore.Read more »

McClures Beach


Rating: C

Used by naturists for at least a decade, the northern tip of McClures Beach still draws small numbers of sans-suit sun-seekers. In 2000 and 2001, Point Reyes National Seashore district ranger Marc Yeston counted four groups of nudists on the sand. Be prepared for fog, wind, hazardous waves, and a fairly long hike from the end of Pierce Point Road.

 

Part of Point Reyes National Seashore.Read more »

Elsewhere in Marin


Rating: C

Want to stand nude next to a 40-foot waterfall that cascades onto a gorgeous beach? Some clothing-optional use on warm days can also be found at awe-inspiring Alamere Falls near Bass Lake, which is actually four separate falls. Other Marin locations that get limited clothing-optional use include Fern (not to be confused with Stern) Grove, close to Starlight Meadow, in the Dogtown area; and the Inkwell Spillways, near the Inkwell in Lagunitas, which made an indelible impression on a reader named Larry: "It felt comfortable to visit. Read more »