NUDE BEACHES 2014 - Page 8

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

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Delightful but difficult to reach, 2222 takes its name from the address of the nearest house on West Cliff Drive, just north of Santa Cruz's popular wharf and Boardwalk areas. It's also one of the smallest clothing-optional beaches. You'll be lucky to encounter more than a half dozen persons in the cove — often you'll be alone — which mainly attracts nearby residents and local college students. A bonus is that walkers on the road above can't see the beach from there. Yup, a visit here is like having your own private nude beach, unless you count the juggler who likes to practice on the sand. But the beach path is only suitable for people who are agile enough to handle a scary-looking, very steep slope. Leave children and anything that doesn't fit in a backpack at home.

Directions: The beach is a few blocks west of Natural Bridges State Beach and about 2.5 miles north of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. From either north or south of Santa Cruz, take Highway 1 to Swift Street. Drive .8 miles to the sea, then turn right on West Cliff Drive. 2222 is five blocks away. Past Auburn Avenue, look for 2222 West Cliff on the inland side of the street. Park in the pullout with eight parking spaces next to the cliff, on the west side of the road. If it's full, continue straight and park along Chico Avenue. Bay Area Naturists leader Rich Pasco suggests visitors use care and then follow the path on the side of the beach closest to downtown Santa Cruz and the Municipal Wharf.

 

PRIVATES BEACH, SANTA CRUZ

RATING: A

One of Northern California's best nude beaches, Privates (yes that's the name) gets almost a unanimous thumbs up from visitors for its clean sand, shelter from the wind, and friendly vibes. New this year: During the summer, the gate to the beach is only open until 7 or 8pm. And dogs are no longer always allowed: They're banned on weekends 10am-5pm and must always be leashed. Most users pay a fee of $50–$100 (depending on if you live in the neighborhood) to buy a gate key that allows entrance, past a security guard at the top of the beach stairs, through May 31. But we list three ways to go for free below under "Directions." Nudists, families, and local residents love the cove, which is divided into two parts — clad and unclad. Surfers, in particular, can be found by the dozens on the sand or paddling out. Want to play nude Frisbee? At the end of the staircase to the sand, turn left and keep walking until you come to the clothing-optional area.

Directions: 1) Some visitors walk north from Capitola Pier in low tide (not a good idea since at least four people have needed to be rescued). 2) Others reach it in low tide via the stairs at the end of 41st Avenue, which lead to a surf spot called the Hook at the south end of a rocky shore known as Pleasure Point. 3) Surfers paddle on boards for a few minutes to Privates from Capitola or the Hook. 4) Most visitors buy a key to the beach gate for $100 a year at Freeline (821 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-476-2950) 1.5 blocks west of the beach. Others go with someone with a key or wait outside the gate until a person with a key goes in, provided a security guard is not present (they often are there). "Most people will gladly hold the gate open for someone behind them whose hands are full," says Bay Area Naturists leader Rich Pasco. The nude zone starts to the left of the bottom of the stairs.

 

MARIN COUNTY

BASS LAKE, BOLINAS

RATING: B

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