NUDE BEACHES 2014 - Page 7

Hurrah! Here's our 40th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun.

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Fans of this beautiful cove were pleased to learn last year that state officials plan to allow nudity, unless there are complaints, to continue on the north end of the beach, despite warning signs that were erected but taken down just a few weeks later. A big rock separates the clothing-optional side of the shore from the area traditionally used by families and other clothed visitors to the south. While some visitors joke on social media message boards about the increase in gray-haired beachgoers on the sand (a Redwood City woman recently told Yelp the beach needs "some hot dudes" and a female from San Jose compared the women there to those on the "Golden Girls" tv show), others have posted more serious remarks about the gawkers and rude males who occasionally show up. Most visitors, though, relish the tranquil, almost idyllic atmosphere they encounter. Directions: From San Francisco, go south on Highway 1 to the Bonny Doon parking lot at milepost 27.6 on the west side of the road, 2.4 miles north of Red, White, and Blue Beach, and some 11 miles north of Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz, head north on Highway 1 until you see Bonny Doon Road, which veers off sharply to the right just south of Davenport. The beach is just off the intersection. Park in the paved lot to the west of Highway 1; don't park on Bonny Doon Road or the shoulder of Highway 1. If the lot is full, drive north on Highway 1, park at the next beach lot, and walk back to the first lot. Or take Santa Cruz Metro Transit District bus route 40 to the lot; it leaves the Metro Center three times a day on Saturdays and takes about 20 minutes. To get to the beach, climb the berm next to the railroad tracks adjacent to the Bonny Doon lot, cross the tracks, descend, and take a recently improved, sign-marked trail to the sand. Walk north past most of the beach to the nude cove on the north end. Alternately, Dusty suggests parking as far north as possible, taking the northern entrance, and, with good shoes, following a "rocky and steep" — and less desirable — walk down to the sand. It can be slippery, so wear good shoes.

 

PANTHER BEACH, SANTA CRUZ

RATING: B

"This is my all time favorite spot," reported a Redwood City resident after a visit this April. This "is (also) a nude beach," added Taylen, on Yelp, who's even seen naked people fishing at this modestly sized but gorgeous beach, some 10 miles north of Santa Cruz. Bring a beach umbrella, a windbreaker in case the weather changes, and sturdy walking shoes for the path to the sand. Pick from such activities as reading, sunbathing, rock climbing, swimming, exploring the shore, picnicking, birding, whale watching, or doing absolutely nothing at all.

Directions: Panther Beach is between mileposts 26.86 and 26.4 on Highway 1, some 10.6 miles north of the junction of Highway 1 and 17 in Santa Cruz and 40.7 miles south of the intersection of Highways 1 and 92 in Half Moon Bay. Drive slowly so you can make a sharp right turn onto a small dirt road on the west side of the highway, which is difficult to see when approaching from the north. The road leads to a rutted parking area that lies on a ridge between the highway and some railroad tracks. From the north end of the lot, cross the tracks and, while watching for poison oak, follow the steep, sloping, somewhat crumbly path about five minutes to the sand. Visitors this season suggest holding onto rocks or ledges along the trail's more slippery spots for extra support.

 

2222 BEACH, SANTA CRUZ

RATING: A

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