California is famous for a number of things that include wading through the hustle and bustle of urban cities to enjoying the natural surroundings California is famous for. As great as the cities are, you will inevitably find yourself longing for a more tame and relaxing day, and what better way to relax than to bear it it all at one of the many nude beaches in California. I’ve compiled a guide to the best nude beaches in The Golden State, regardless of what area of California you may be visiting. Just be sure to brush up on California Public Nudity Law as well as common Nude Beach Etiquette if you are new to naturalist culture. You wouldn’t want to wander onto the wrong beach and be the only nude tourist!
If you find yourself in San Diego or the greater San Diego county area, Black’s Beach is a must for any visiting naturist. Located more specifically in the town of La Jolla, directly next to Torrey Pines State Park, this beach boasts a beautiful strip of shoreline that lies at the bottom of remarkable steep cliffs that reach heights of 300-feet. Having this wall behind you at all times allows for what feels like a very secluded and private nudist beach experience.
Beyond remarkable natural sights, the beach also boasts several other popular beach activities including snorkeling, beach volleyball, skimboarding and surfing. There is also hangliding nearby at the Torrey Pines Gliderport so feel free to channel your inner aviator if you feel so inclined, or better yet just watch other hang gliders coast over the ocean as you are nude sunbathing.
Amenities is where Black’s Beach is certainly lacking as there are no lifeguards, restrooms or water fountains on the beach. Take care of any primary needs before trekking down the hill to get to the sand, and bring plenty of water to be able to battle the sun over the course of several hours. Also, note the grueling climb back to the parking lot; going down is a much simpler feat than going back up especially after several hours in the sun.
While at Black’s Beach make sure you don’t wander out of the nude area. Neighboring Torrey Pines State Park as well as the city-owned portion located to the North of Black Beach are strictly clothed beaches.
Found between San Jose and Los Angeles is another California naturalist staple, Pirate’s Cove. Also commonly referred to as Cave Landing or Mallagh Landing, this Southern California beach is popular to both naturalists as well as visitors that prefer to be clothed as this is a clothing optional beach rather than a nude or topless beach.
In terms of activities on the beach, Pirate’s Cove is renowned as one of the most beautiful nude beaches in all of the United States. With crystal clear water as well as popular hiking trails located nearby, Pirate’s Cove is popular for naturalists that love to have a more immersive experience when leisurely enjoying nature.
As far as amenities, Pirate’s Cove is unfortunately very similar to Black Beach, meaning there are none whatsoever. Be sure to bring plenty of water and use the restroom before waltzing down to the water.
Lands End Beach
As the name implies, this beach that is located in Avila Beach near the bay area is famous along the west coast for having remarkable views of the sunset. The view can be properly enjoyed from either the top of highly mounted cliffs for a good vantage point, or at the bottom of these same cliffs in order to be level with the horizon and feel the water at your feet.
Be aware that this is not a beach to go to if you intend to swim or expect to partake in any water sports. This destination is not a sandy beach, but rather a rocky shoreline that breaks the surf and allows for a neat place to sunbathe or go for a walk for local and visiting naturalists.
It is also important to note that this beach can be a bit hazardous when there’s bad weather. Waves can grow rather large during storms, and walking along the shore can be treacherous if there’s fog impairing your visibility, typical in the summer months. As long as the sky is clear you are in for a fantastic day at the beach, especially during low tide.
San Onofre State Beach
Although the clothing optional beach in San Onofre is not technically part of the state park, it is only accessible through one of the park’s many trails. The state park has six trails in total, all of which lead to different beaches at their ends. The 6th trail is how to properly descend to the nudist beach and it is well worth the brief journey.
Unlike the previously mentioned beaches, this particular San Francisco clothing optional beach not only takes up a decent chunk of shoreline but also has a sizable shore width to help make your experience be more private and isolated as groups are more spread out. Nothing beats a nice relaxing beach day after a hike!
There are far too many nude and clothing optional beaches in California to include in a single list, but the ones mentioned here provide a good foundation for picking out where to go for a west coast naturist vacation. Just be sure to avoid areas such as Los Angeles County where nude beaches are illegal county-wide.
If you do not consider yourself a nudist be sure to check out some of my pieces on other popular California Beaches such as Sunset Beach, Capitola Beach, and El Matador State Beach. Also if you are seeking nude beaches but want to vacation to the east coast, check out our piece on The Best Nude Beaches in Florida