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Show Some Skin at SF Nude Beaches 

Wednesday, Jun 3 2015
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"Hey, do you know where the nude beach is around here?!" a young, tank-top wearing man in sunglasses shouts from the window of his dusty sports utility vehicle.

He doesn't know it yet, but he's just a few feet away from the entrance of one of the Bay Area's best nude beaches — Gray Whale Cove in Half Moon Bay. Across the notoriously dangerous two-lane stretch of Highway 1 and down a flight of wooden steps adorned with local surf gang's graffiti lies one of the most idyllic, calming places to give your privates a breath of fresh air, a sheltered cove colloquially known as Devil's Slide beach, due to the disturbingly frequent rockslides nearby, or Edun Cove (Edun is "nude" spelled backwards).

The small strip of clean white sand is overlooked by an abandoned World War II bunker, perched atop a nearby mountain, protecting the beach's distinctly romantic vibe.

The eager guy from the car stands with his female companion, both toying with the idea of freeing themselves from their clothes. The sandals come off first, then a shirt, and a pair of pants — but that last jump into their birthday bathing suits never quite happens. Perhaps because it's a tad chilly out — although that doesn't seem to be stopping the bikini-and-board-shorts-clad, just-out-of-high school couple from wading into the stinging cold water.

There's a rock wall that cuts the beach in half, with the north side being the nude friendly area and the south side being preserved for clothed visitors, but it's a loose rule that the butt-naked old man taking in the sun on the south side, and the group of teenagers smoking pot near a cave on the north side, don't bother themselves with. And that's OK. That's part of what makes this beach great.

After the trip down the steps you lose all cellphone service. Normally, that's a pain in the ass, but here, where there's plenty of ass to go around, it's a welcome reprieve. On sunny days the beach has the unique ability to take you to a different planet where clothes are optional, Facebook doesn't exist, and all your workweek stress can get washed away by the tide.

For San Franciscans not willing (or able) to make the 30ish-minute trek to this fun getaway, and who feel the need to get naked on a beach as soon as possible, there's plenty of options inside the city.

North Baker Beach is without a doubt one of the best spots to look at the Golden Gate Bridge with your pants off. Only part of this large urban nude beach is of the clothing-optional variety, but it's not the size of the nude beach that matters, it's how you use it — and Baker Beach's skin-friendly side boasts nude volleyball, nude musicians, and plenty of socializing opportunities. One tip for the wiser: Don't gawk and freak people out — no one likes that. If you want something to drool over check out the tide pools.

Marshall's Beach, the northernmost point of Baker Beach, is considered a gay nude beach in the shadow of the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge and has, at times, been called "Nasty Boy Beach," due to its tendency to be used as a hookup spot. The beach gets pretty narrow at hightide, but has plenty of nooks and crannies in the rock walls, and even some man-made privacy barriers built of rock so couples can get down (if they so choose). Others casually stroll the premises, soaking in some sun (or fog) and amazing views.

If you're looking for a little more privacy while showing off your privates in San Francisco, try Lands End Beach a few miles south of Baker Beach. The small beach makes up for what it lacks in sand with magnificent views and intimate surroundings. There's no volleyball here, but there is a cool nickname — "Swimsuit's End."

If you get tired of worrying about which side of the beach you're allowed to display your undersides, try Red Rock Beach. Located a mile south of Stinson Beach, Red Rock is one of the Bay Area's most popular nude beaches. No more dividers or shirts vs. skins nonsense. You can spread out on Red Rock and enjoy a game of nude Frisbee without having to worry about someone throwing it too far onto the shoobie side of the beach.

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About The Author

Matt Saincome

Matt Saincome

Matt Saincome is SF Weekly's former music editor.


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