- This Week
Hurrah! Here's our 40th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun.
08.05.14 - 2:28 pm | Gary Hanauer |
Our ratings: "A" stands for a beach that is large or well-established and where the crowd is mostly nude; "B" signifies a spot where fewer than half the visitors are nude; "C" indicates a small or emerging nude area; and "D" depicts places that are in use, but not recommended.
NORTH BAKER BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO
Complete with nude volleyball that's open to anyone, driftwood "art trees" (last year's was called Sea Hag), and occasional live music performed by beachgoers — mostly guitar and drums — almost anything goes on the north end of Baker, where the atmosphere is playful and increasingly social. Over the winter, storms washed away a chunk of the sand (which is starting to return) and all the wooden objects. But Baker's regular visitors, led by the local street fair organizer who prefers to be called Santosh, have erected a new tree. If you join in a game on the sand, don't expect the rules to necessarily be the same ones you followed as a kid. For example, it's considered fair and in play if a ball touches one of the site's driftwood poles. Of course, you don't need to do anything at Baker — it's a great place to relax and be yourself. Or you could go exploring! For a treat, wait until low tide and try finding the beach's "secret" tidepools by walking around the big rocks at the far north side of the beach. One thing that's not tolerated at Baker: gawkers. "People let them know we don't like it," says Santosh. "We want to keep things mellow."
Directions: Take the 29 Sunset bus or go north on 25th Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard. Turn right and take the second left onto Bowley Street. Follow Bowley to Gibson Road, turn right, and follow Gibson to the east parking lot. At the beach, head right to the nude area, which starts at the brown and yellow "Hazardous surf, undertow, swim at your own risk" sign. Some motorcycles in the lot have been vandalized, possibly by car owners angered by bikers parking in car spaces; to avoid trouble, motorcyclists should park in the motorcycle area near the cyclone fence. Parking at Lincoln's 100 or more nearby parking spaces is limited to two hours.
LANDS END BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO
Want to star in your own picture-perfect postcard? Lands End's lovely vistas are just the start of an outing you may wish to call Swim Suit's End. Law enforcers seldom visit the cove off Geary Boulevard, where some visitors doff their togs, often to the surprise of tourists who walk down the beach path, hoping for some good photo opportunities. The site is super small, so on summer weekends, try to stake out a claim to some towel space by late morning. For the best sand, use one of the unoccupied rock-lined windbreaks traditionally made by previous visitors or look for a dab of soft soil further away from the beach entrance. Bring a sweatshirt for sudden fog or wind.