Thu, February 28th, 2013 - By

The Nude Beach Guide to Santa Cruz, California

With steamy hot temperatures in Santa Cruz, California I don’t blame you for trying to wear as minimal as possible, and if you’re daring enough, perhaps absolutely nothing at all. After all, if you’ve come all this way, might as well live it up like the locals, who are blessed with one of the world’s most comfortable weather climates.

The variety of nude beaches in Santa Cruz county is legendary, but I’m going to guide you to which ones won’t make you feel out of place or uncomfortable – especially if the nude beach experience is one you are rather unfamiliar with.

However, before I dish out the nitty-gritty of these birthday suit approved locales, I have one sage word of advice: don’t be scarce on the sun cream!  You can thank me later.

Now, let’s get to the sunbathing.

Bonny Doon

Bonny Doon is the areas most popular and prestigious nude beach perfect for getting together with a nice mix of people; men, women, families, singles, straights and gays are all welcomed with ease.

Directions: It’s off Highway 1 and the beach’s parking lot is about 11 miles north of Santa Cruz. To get to the beach, climb the steep barrier between the railroad tracks across the Bonny Doon parking lot, walk to the other side of the tracks, go down the barrier and take one of several trails to the sand. Walk north past most of the beach to the cove on the north end. There you will find a nice community of skinny-dippers and guaranteed to have a comfortable time.


Everyone may not have a chance to enjoy this little piece of nude heaven since it is as big as an average backyard. 2222 is considered to be one of the World’s smallest nude beaches and if you’re wondering about the odd name, it is across from 2222 West Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz and thus the namesake. While a few local residents and college students give it rave reviews, beach visitors are quite visible to those walking down West Cliff Drive.

Directions: The beach is a few blocks south of Natural Bridges State Park 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. Follow Swift to the sea, then turn right (north) on West Cliff Drive. Keep your eyes open; 2222 is only about five blocks away. Past Auburn Avenue, look for 2222 West Cliff Dr. on your right; the beach is directly across the street. If you come to Chico Avenue, you’ve gone too far. Make sure to park in the nine-car lot across the street, on the ocean side of West Cliff. If the lot is full, continue straight and park along Chico Avenue. Follow the path below the lot to the sand.

Laguna Creek Beach

Laguna Creek Beach is the perfect getaway for some excellent bird-watching while you’re working on that full body tan. You can normally find grebes, gulls and song sparrows on the south end. The beach even has some small protected coves that can be nice to relax and feel as if you’re on a private beach. However, the beach is not usually too crowded; no more than 50 people can be found there at once and the majority of the time it will be just 1 or 2 people on the beach.

Directions: Some 9.8 miles north of the junction of highways 1 and 17 in Santa Cruz and 41.5 miles south of the meeting of highways 1 and 92 in Half Moon Bay, park in the dirt lot on the inland side of Highway 1 or the unmarked side road (actually Laguna Road) next to the lot. A road cut on the west side of the highway faces the lot at the intersection of Laguna Road and Highway 1. Just north of the road cut, follow a narrow path through the bushes. It will become a jeep path. Take it to the north end of the beach, where most of the skinny-dippers hang out. Or walk along the shore to the south end, which attracts suited and nude users.

 Photos by Wonderlane & Steve R

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Thursday, February 28th, 2013 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
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