Nude Beaches

Mendocino Country

Sobernales Creek

Rating: C

Between Point Lobos and Garrapata Beach, look for cars pulled over next to a little trail on the inland side of Highway 1 that will lead you to a creekside skinny-dipping hole used by local residents.

Part of Garrapata State Park.Read more »

Upper Russian River

Rating: C

Are you in Sonoma County, where anti-nudity laws are sometimes enforced? Then here's some good news: there's a clothing-optional riverbank just three miles over the county line in Mendocino which deputies never visit. Plus, it's protected from the wind by a canyon. Upper Russian River Beach is also shielded from view by passing drivers. And even on the hottest days, you'll probably be the only one present. Even though it is close to Cloverdale, few visitors, including those with swimsuits, usually show up.Read more »

Gualala River

Rating: C

Located just north of Sea Ranch, a site used by nudists and non-nudists alike provides a great stopping point if you're looking for a quick day trip -- or a nearby campground -- next to Highway 1. But Gualala can also be windy or foggy, so be sure to bring a jacket and windbreak with you, just in case conditions change.

Unknown.Read more »

Lilies Beach

Rating: A

One of Northern California's best nude swimming holes, Lilies is great to visit in summer or early fall, when temperatures there often rise into the 80's, even though it may be only in the 50's just down the street in nearby Mendocino village. Due to a drop in winter rain, the water level at Lilies is very low this year, according to Steph Anderson, facilities manager of the Mendocino Woodlands Camp Association. Read more »

Boyles Swimming Hole

Rating: C

Also called Dead Man's Hole, Boyles is located just east of Lilies Beach and Mendocino Woodlands State Park, further up Big River from Lilies. From time to time, a few skinny-dippers hike or bike to Boyles, which even has a great rope swing. But it is mostly used by suited swimmers. To reach the swim spot, take the trail that begins at Lilies. The crowd here is a little noisier and more social than the more laid-back types found at Lilies.Read more »

Elsewhere on Big River

Want to try four more clothing-optional riverbank nooks on Big River? From Lilies Beach, walk downstream. Last season, the spots that were downstream were "maybe waist deep," reported regular visitor Brian. "At a few spots you can even jump into the water." Suggests Bill Johnson, of San Francisco, "Bring some old shoes you can wear for wading." We call these beaches Two Bends, Three Bends, Five Bends, and Six Bends.

Part of the Big River unit of Mendocino Headlands State Park.Read more »

Eel River

Rating: C

Are you eager for excitement? Do you yearn for a little off-road adventure? Picture a trip in which, at every turn of the river, there's another nude swimming hole to try. There are at least seven sans-suit swim spots just waiting to be explored along the enchanting Eel River. Among the ones used mainly by local residents is this one, near the town of Pillsbury, on the south fork of the river.

Part of Mendocino National Forest.Read more »

Willits Nude Hole

Rating: C

Willits has both nude and nonnude swimming holes on the Eel River. The town's skinny-dipping site is around 30 minutes from downtown. "It's a great place to visit from the spring into the early autumn," says Mary. "It tends to be warm, but not overly hot. Just about everyone goes nude. In fact, if you leave your clothes on, it's considered strange." After traveling on good pavement, users follow a rutted road to the river and pick from a number of holes on either side of the river. Read more »

Dos Rios

Rating: C

Have you ever gone canuding? Here's how to do it: just paddle your canoe to a nude swimming hole, pull your craft up on the bank, take off your clothes, and jump in. This beach, north of Willits, and the next four sites are sandy banks along the Eel River that can be reached via canoeing. You can also use a rowboat or hike there. Access is believed to be from the area near Dos Rios in the south and tiny Cummings in the northwest. The nearest large towns are Laytonville and Leggett.

Not known.Read more »

Poon Kinny Ridge

Rating: C

Smaller than the beach at Dos Rios, Poon Kinny is just as fun.


How to find it:

Follow directions for Dos Rios. The beach is on the Eel River along the Poon Kinny Ridge, between Dos Rios and the southern border of Round Valley Reservation.

The beach:

Similar to Dos Rios.

The crowd:

A few skinny-dippers, anglers, and boaters.Read more »

North Poon Kinny Ridge

Rating: C

North Poon Kinny features a swimming hole with cool, enticing water and a small beach with a mixture of sand and rocks.


How to find it:

Follow directions to Dos Rios. The Eel River hole is about one to two hours north of Poon Kinny Ridge by canoe.

The beach:

The skinny on Kinny is that there's not much sand here. The water is fairly shallow this year.Read more »

Round Valley

Rating: C

Canoeing is the best way to reach beautiful Round Valley Beach, on the Eel River.

Believed to be part of Round Valley Reservation.

How to find it:

Follow directions for Dos Rios, Poon Kinny Ridge, and North Poon Kinny. The Round Valley swimming hole is some 5-to-10 miles north of North Poon Kinny. If you're coming by canoe, give yourself another hour past North Poon Kinny.

The beach:

Same as North Poon Kinny.Read more »

Spy Rock

Rating: C

You'll need to be a good spy to find Spy Rock Beach, so look below for some clues to discovering this breathtaking bend in the Eel River that canuders like to visit. If you strip down on the way here, don't forget to keep on a pair of reading glasses. Use them to follow a map to this hidden treasure.

Part of Round Valley Reservation.Read more »

Rattlesnake Creek

Rating: C

One of California's "secret" nude swimming holes, located in a jewel-like setting of waterfalls, tanning rocks, and great water, requires up to an hour's walk to reach. But once you arrive, you may be rewarded with your own, private nude beach. Those who make the journey to Rattlesnake Creek often go nude once they arrive. Tips: Pack water, wear hiking boots, and get ready for fun at this 20-foot tall, clothing-optional waterfall in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness past Covelo. Read more »

Stony Creek

Rating: C

Next to a creek in the Mendocino National Forest, roughly two hours from Clearlake, hikers will come across a startling sight -- three pools that are great for skinny-dipping. Two of the swimming holes even have their own waterfalls. If you look carefully, a third hole can be found below them, off a sunny path.

U.S. Forest Service land within the Snowy Mountain Wilderness.Read more »