If you want to try a nude beach in California, you’re in luck. There are tons of options up and down the coast, from secluded coves to wide-open swaths of sand. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax, get some sun or just hang out with fellow nudists, we’ve got the best nude beaches in California right here.
We’ve been to several of these nude beaches ourselves, with the other ones high on our list.
Here are the best nude beaches in California. Let us know if we missed any in the comments!
Want to go to a nude resort in California? You’re in luck! Click here to read more about the best nude resorts in California!
San Diego’s Black’s Beach
- Location: San Diego Count
- Access: A steep hiking trail down to the beach
Black’s Beach is a clothing-optional beach located just south of Torrey Pines State Park. It’s known as one of the best nude beaches in California, and it’s also one of San Diego’s most popular tourist destinations. If you want to try out one of the best nude beaches in California, you’ll have to get there early so you can snag a parking spot up on the bluffs.
Be aware that going to this beach does require a hike from the parking lot down to the beach, but it sure is worth it. You’ll enjoy the thundering surf, open, flat beach, and miles of walking. When I visited Black’s Beach several years ago I was wowed by the beauty, and it wasn’t very crowded.
While Black’s Beach is one of the best nude beaches in California, it’s also world-renowned among surfers. So if you love to surf and be naked at the same time, this could be your dream come true.
Black’s Beach is part of the La Jolla community and can be accessed at three different points: north end (above Black’s Beach Avenue), middle of beach (between Del Mar Scenic Drive & Prospect Street), and south end (Torrey Pines State Beach).
San Gregorio Beach
- Location: San Mateo County, California
- Access: Paid Parking Lot
San Gregorio Beach is a clothing-optional beach located in San Mateo County, California. This beach is on private property, just north of state-owned San Gregoria State Beach. It’s been reported that one part of the beach is gay and one is straight and that if you wander too far south, you might run into families and park rangers.
According to Nudist Compass, this is one of the oldest nude beaches, having been in operation since the late 1960s.
Be prepared to pay a fee here, though. A parking attendant sitting at the edge of the parking lot collects $5 per person to access to this beach, one of the best nude beaches in California.
If the wind is making you chilly when you’re sans clothing, there are plenty of wood structures set up so you can sunbathe in peace.
This nude beach in California is 2-miles long with powdery sand, and offers tide pools a lagoon, and a lava tube to check out. There are plenty of places for walking or swimming if the weather is right.
Looking for something a little warmer? The Glen Eden Sun Club is a nudist resort in California with hot tubs!
Red Rock Nude Beach
- Location: Marin County
- Access: Steep hiking trail
We’ve been to Red Rock Beach many times in Marin County, California. It’s located just south of the popular Stinson Beach on the west side of Mt. Tamalpais.
This crescent-shaped small nudist beach offers some protection from the wind, and you’ll often find people sunbathing on towels or playing ball games on the hard-packed sand.
Parking at Red Rock Beach can be challenging on a warm, busy, day. You’ll need to first drive through the Marin county mountains to park up on Highway 1 and hike a windy dirt trail down to the beach. This trail can be steep, so be careful of what you’re carrying and the shoes you’re wearing.
There are no bathroom facilities at this beach, so either go before you head to the beach or take a dip to take a leak.
Be aware that this small beach tends to attract groups of mostly naked men playing frisbee and football—so bring some sunscreen if that’s your thing!
- Location: San Francisco
- Access: Free parking lot and easy walk
If you wander down to the north end of Baker Beach in San Francisco, you’ll find the nude sunbathing crowd. This small section of beach offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin county hills and shipping channel.
We’ve been to this beach several times, and have noticed lots of gay men here, but you’ll sometimes see couples and women. People like lounging around on towels and in chairs, playing music and enjoying drinks out of a cooler.
The waves at Baker Beach can be quite small if you enjoy swimming on a hot day, but I rarely venture into the cold Pacific waters that far north.
The nude part of Baker Beach is at the northern end and is clearly marked by signs indicating “clothing optional.” Nudity at other parts of this beautiful stretch of sand is not allowed.
Pirate’s Cove Nudist Beach
- Location: San Luis Obispo County, California
- Access: Easy walk
Pirate’s Cove nude beach is located near Avila’s Beach, just north of the ever-popular Pismo Beach. This secret little beach is accessed at the end of a hiking trail down some wooden stairs.
The south-facing nudist beach, which is somewhat protected from the elements, got its name from when liquor was smuggled into the area.
This gorgeous beach popular amongst nudists is known for its rugged, rocky coastline and natural beauty. Plus, there are sea caves to explore in the area, another tourist draw.
The beach is also a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling, as the clear, calm waters provide excellent visibility and there is a diverse array of marine life to be found in the cove.
Because of its secluded location and natural beauty, Pirate’s Cove Beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
More Mesa Beach
- Location: Santa Barbara, California
- Easy walk
More Mesa Beach is a secluded getaway near Santa Barbara popular amongst the clothing-optional crowd. Once you get to More Mesa Beach, you’ll turn right to access the nude section, and left for the clothed portion of this secret beach.
Be aware that laws in Santa Barbara prohibit public nudity, but cops tend to look the other way. That being said, if you do see law enforcement in the area you might want to cover up until they leave.
Also keep in mind that this nude beach in California is located beneath steep bluffs, and there’s very little sand at high tide. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing place to sunbathe, swim and stroll along the beautiful Pacific Ocean. One of the best nude beaches in California!
San Onofre State Beach
- Location: San Onofre, near San Diego
- Access: An Easy Walk
Those of us who have driven around in Southern California have seen the ominous double nuclear power reactors of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. You wouldn’t even guess that a beautiful California nude beach is nestled in that same area.
San Onofre State Beach is a 3.5 mile stretch of sandy beach that’s perfect for a long romantic walk or sunbathing. The southern end of the beach, accessed from Trail 6, is designated as a clothing-optional area.
Despite its unusual location near the nuclear power plant and Camp Pendleton, San Onofre has become the second most popular of the nudist beaches in Southern California, after Black’s Beach in San Diego, and is the closest nude beach to Los Angeles.
Keep in mind that the status of this beach as a “nude beach” is hotly contested between officials and nudists. If you see law enforcement in the area, it’s best to cover up unless you want to risk a fine.
Secret Cove Nude Beach
- Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada
- Access: A fairly steep hike, parking can be challenging
Secret Cove Nude Beach is technically in Nevada, but it’s just a few miles away from the California border so we thought we should include it on this list. We’ve personally been to Secret Cove, and it’s a stunning little cove with clear, very cold water. I wasn’t able to get in except for a quick dip of my feet.
Large rocks just out of the water here, and some people like to sunbathe on rocks like seals, taking a dip when they get too hot.
We experienced both clothed and unclothed people here, some sitting on blankets, others on chairs. The heavy smell of marijuana permeated the air, and some people drank beer and played music out of a stereo. Be aware that while drones are illegal here, someone was flying a drone and other people had their phones out.
This is a stunning oasis though, and if you have a boat, you can anchor right there.
Gray Whale Cove Beach
- Location: Half Moon Bay
- Access: Many steps
Gray Whale Cove Beach, which some people call Devil’s Slide Beach, was named for the gray whales you can see as you stand on the beach, a beautiful sight to behold. This beach is small, just 800 feet long, and was clothing optional before it became a state beach. However, some people choose to go au natural here, although it might not be as common as at other beaches on our list.
The clothes-free area is at the northern end of the beach if you want to give that a try. I’ve seen reports that over the years, this beach has become less nude and more prude.
Is Nudity Legal in California?
Nudity laws in California seem to be regional, which various cities and counties adopting their own laws. Generally, though, indecent exposure is illegal, which is when someone exposes their private parts intentionally to someone who doesn’t want to see. This constitutes a lewd act, and we can all image what that might be. Just the act of going naked in and of itself isn’t always illegal.
Whether ant-nudity laws are actually enforced is another question. According to the SoCalNaturist, park rangers report nudity at just about every state beach in California, even if this is a woman sunbathing topless.
If you do choose to go naked in California, it’s best if you’re at a designated nude beach or hot spring to avoid getting a ticket.
Nude Beach Etiquette in California
I just wanted to write a short section here on nude beach etiquette. This should be common sense, but many people don’t follow these “rules.” Here are a few things to be aware of:
- Don’t stare and make other naked people uncomfortable. Fleeting glances will always happen, but staring is just inconsiderate
- If you’re an older man, don’t just walk up to a nude woman and start talking to her. This happens to me all the time and I find it rude and annoying. If the young woman wants to talk to you, this will be clear
- Don’t engage in lewd behavior. This should go without saying, but nude beaches in California are a relaxing sanctuary for people to unwind and feel the sun on their skin
- Don’t bring your camera. I also see this rule “broken” constantly at nude beaches in California and elsewhere. People have their phones and cameras out, which can make other nudist uncomfortable. If you do need your phone, put a little sticker over the camera
- Don’t fly drones. Yes, I have seen this before. Don’t fly a drone with a camera on it that can capture other nudists sunbathing. Not only does this violate privacy, but the sound of a drone is very irritating
Conclusion on the Best Nude Beaches in California
We hope you wander around and makes tops at all these stunning nude beaches in california. The Golden State often has chilly, foggy weather at the beach, but if you hit a nude beach on a rare warm day, you’ll be blessed by huge amounts of beauty.
Whether you prefer nude sunbathing, reading, or playing a game of frisbee in the buff, you won’t be disappointed by any of the nude beaches on this list.
Other nude beaches to check out: