- 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 |
Nearly 50 years old, the USA's longest-operating clothing optional beach is located next to, but remains distinctly different from San Gregorio State Beach. For a view of conditions, check out its web cam at www.freewebs.com/sangregoriobeach. Skinny-dippers started flocking here by 1966 after a "Committee For Free Beaches" was formed by a San Francisco State College student who, along with a few pals, distributed fliers at colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area announcing the start of a "free beach," as they called it. Soon, up to 500 persons were showing up on the sand on weekends. A court case to try to stop the venture failed, but that hasn't stopped the private operation from remaining controversial. The main rub: Not everyone likes the driftwood structures on the slope leading down to the beach (a T-shirt hanging from a pole means the site is occupied), where open sex often occurs. Catering to mostly gay visitors, both nude and nonnude straight couples, singles, and families also visit the huge beach.
Directions: From San Francisco, drive south on Highway 1, past Half Moon Bay, and, between mileposts 18 and 19, look on the right side of the road for telephone call box number SM 001 0195, at the intersection of Highway 1 and Stage Road, and near an iron gate with trees on either side. From there, expect a drive of 1.1 miles to the entrance. At the Junction 84 highway sign, the beach's driveway is just .1 mile away. Turn into a gravel driveway, passing through the iron gate mentioned above, which says 119429 on the gatepost. Drive past a grassy field to the parking lot, where you'll be asked to pay an entrance fee. Take the long path from the lot to the sand; everything north of the trail's end is clothing-optional (families and swimsuit-using visitors tend to stay on the south end of the beach). The beach is also accessible from the San Gregorio State Beach parking area to the south; from there, hike about a half-mile north. Take the dirt road past the big white gate with the Toll Road sign to the parking lot.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
GARDEN OF EDEN, FELTON