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Heading to California and want to get your kit off? The Golden State is home to several nude beaches where you can really let your hair down, forget about the constraints of your swimsuit, and feel at one with nature. Many nude beaches in California are further afield and often in ‘hard-to-get-to’ locations, meaning there’s plenty of privacy. From fully nude stretches of sand to clothing optional spots, here are the best nude beaches in California.
1. Blacks Beach, San Diego
Blacks Beach is easily the most famous nude beach in California. Located in San Diego, the beach is hidden from view and accessible from a trail that starts at Torrey Pines Gliderport. It’s a large beach known for its tolerance to nudity, and you’ll see everything from naked surfing through to naked volleyball taking place. As it’s one of the most popular nude beaches in California, it’s often packed on the weekends, so if you’re a shy nudist, this isn’t the place for you.
2. Pirate’s Cove, Avila Beach
For those of you who want to let it all hang out with a little more privacy, we recommend you head to Pirate’s Cove. It’s a clothing-optional beach that’s home to rocky caves, soft sand, and nudists looking to relax and take an au naturel dip in the sea. If you’re new to nudity, this is a good starter beach as it draws a mixed crowd of full nudists and those only looking to expose a little. The beach is located between Avila Beach and Shell Beach, and to get to Pirate’s Cove, drive to Cave Landing Road and continue down to the beach.
3. Red Rock Beach, San Francisco
San Francisco’s Red Rock Beach is one of the best nude beaches in California. It’s home to a fun-loving crowd of people who are often looking to play beach sports in the buff — and you’re likely to make a few friends while here thanks to the social atmosphere. It’s close to family beaches, so be extra sure you’ve arrived at the right beach before you peel off your clothes.
4. More Mesa Beach, Santa Barbara
More Mesa Beach, located north of downtown Santa Barbara, is a fun, clothing-optional beach. The small stretch is where you’ll see a mixture of people slapping on oil while trying to achieve zero tan-lines, as others just enjoy being able to swim in the sea in the buff.
5. Boneyard Beach, Encinitas
Boneyard Beach’s very obscure location means it’s one of the most private nude beaches in California. Boneyard Beach is located below a very steep cliff in Encinitas, and to get there, head to either Swami’s Beach or D Street Beach and walk around to Boneyard Beach. This can only be done at low tide — so be check tide timings before and be very careful. Once on the beach, it’s a lovely strip of sand where you can forget about your swimsuit and your worries.
6. Land’s End Beach, San Francisco
Another San Francisco favorite, Land’s End Beach is a destination that draws a cool crowd of nudists looking to relax. Head to the El Camino del Mar car park and follow the signs to the beach; take care, as it’s a rocky walk.
7. Crater Beach, Sand City
Crater Beach in Sand City is a clothing-optional beach home to beautifully soft sands and dunes. The Crater is a large depression in the dunes, offering something different from your average flat beach. It’s great fun jumping or sliding down the dunes.
8. Hole-in-the-Wall Beach, Santa Cruz
With a name like ‘Hole-in-the-Wall Beach,’ you can be sure it’s a nudist beach with plenty of privacy. The beach is located just south of Panther Beach, close to Santa Cruz. The only way to access to Hole in the Wall Beach is by walking south on Panther Beach and going through a large rocky “hole in the wall”. The tide is strong here, so take care when swimming in the sea.
9. San Onofre State Beach
You’ll find a clothing-optional section on San Onofre State Beach, which is accessible by taking trail 6 and walking south at the bottom of the trail. It’s a wonderful, sandy beach, and a great spot to unwind without the constraints of your swimsuit.
If you’re looking for some more naked fun in the sun, explore California’s best nudist resorts or the best topless beaches in the U.S.