Nude Beaches

Sonoma County

Lower Wohler Beach

Rating: C

Parking spaces are about as hard to find as swim suits at the little naturist enclave near Wohler Bridge, along the Russian River in Sonoma County. Still, it hasn't kept a few die-hard naturists from sunbathing, picnicking, and even skinny-dipping there in defiance of Sonoma's tough anti-nudity law. But visits by deputies to the little nude meadow in the woods next to the river only take place when complaints are received, according to Diana Nolan, of the Sonoma Sheriff's Department's Guerneville substation. Read more »

Upper Wohler Bridge

Rating: C

Just upstream Lower Wohler Bridge, which has a decades-long tradition of nude use, another riverbank beach is starting to be used by clothing-optional sunbathing. "It looks like it's going to be a good replacement for the beach at Lower Wohler that is eroding," says a visitor. "And, better still, it's good for swimming."

Adds Redbeard, a poster on a naturist Internet message board who visited in April 2008: "It's worth checking out. It gets good sun throughout the day, yet is very secluded."Read more »

Sunset Beach

Rating: C

Sonoma's first nude beach is still its most popular swimming hole, with some of the deepest water on the Russian River. However, naked use seldom takes place. A few naturists can sometimes be found near the bushes at the top of the big hill of sand that rims the beach. "Guys will stand up in the bushes and be seen by canoeists," says Gregg. The site is known locally as Hacienda Beach. In the early morning, check for butterflies that often flutter along the water's edge. Sometimes, dozens of them cluster together next to the river.Read more »

Odd Fellow's Beach

Rating: C

Despite the county's anti-nudity laws and the efforts of a family that says it's owned the land since 1853, yet another small, out of the way nude beach has been emerging in Sonoma County. According to posts on the bulletin board, small numbers of single people, couples, and families have been sunbathing naked at a beach near Odd Fellows Bridge, between Guerneville and Sunset Beach, on the Russian River. The site is just east of Korbel Winery. Read more »

Blanket Beach

San Francisco has America's longest running musical revue, Beach Blanket Babylon, but the Russian River has the real Blanket Beach. "It's only big enough for a single blanket," says a regular visitor. Even so, there are usually a few visitors at this sandy riverbank. During the summer, it gets frequent nude use by sunbathers and swimmers. Best time to check it out: weekdays. On weekends, it's mostly a clothed beach used by spillovers from Sunset Beach -- usually a family or two who wander down the trail from Sunset and discover it.Read more »

The Rocks

Rating: C

Used for a variety of activities, including diving, sunbathing, swimming, reading, and just kicking back, The Rocks is a little sun-washed site just downstream from Sunset Beach. If you jump off the rocks here, please use caution.

Public access land of private property. See Lower Wohler Bridge for enforcement policy.

How to find it:

Follow the trail from Sunset (see above) downstream about a quarter mile.Read more »

Elsewhere on Russian River

Rating: C

Several sandy areas along the Russian River attract skinny-dippers who like to start their own clothing-optional sunbathing sites. The best way to find such a spot: simply walk along the river's edge or a nearby path or paddle upstream or downstream. Places that are fully or partially shielded from public view work best. If local residents or passing river users complain, then you may be cited, so please use these hangouts with discretion.Read more »

Cazadero Beach

Rating: D

The Russian River town of Cazadero has more than a half dozen skinny-dipping holes used by the owners, their families, and some of their friends and neighbors. As the word about these areas has filtered out, the owners of the private land around the holes have been trying to run any visitors they don't know off the properties, so that they will remain trash- and noise-free.Read more »