Bonny Doon Beach

  • 01 of 04

    Bonny Doon Nude Beach

    Bonny Doon Beach
    ••• Bonny Doon Beach. Jason Cartwright/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Bonny Doon Beach is a peaceful beach, site of a popular annual nude event held on New Year's Day. This beach was sold in 2001 and now belongs to the State of California. The State Parks Department took control of it the propery 2006, but they don't yet list it as a state park. As of 2013, state officials plan to allow nudity on the north end of the beach unless there are complaints.

    You may be taking your clothes off when you get there, but wear good shoes to protect your feet from broken glass that litters the trail on the way down.

    Location

    Santa Cruz County, north of the town of Santa Cruz. Get a map and directions on the last page of this guide.

    Description

    • Peaceful clean beach
    • Sunny, sandy
    • Dogs allowed, and you may see a migrating whale
    • This part of the coast is often foggy (and cold) all day
    • After-hours assaults have become too common here. Get out before dark.
    • Burglaries from parked cars are also a problem. Don't leave anything valuable inside.

    Who's at Bonny Doon Beach

    • Mostl...MOREy nude
    • More women than at other area beaches
    • Friendly crowd
    • Gawkers

    Bonny Doon Beach Facilities

    None, except for a nice, paved parking lot

    Bonny Doon Beach Activities

    Swimming is not advised because of undertow

    More Nude Beaches Within 25 Miles of Bonny Doon

    Nudity Laws and Bonny Doon Beach

    Laws regarding nudity at the naturist beach vary by location and fines are stiff in some places. I have made every effort to provide accurate information, but the responsibility for knowing the law at Bonny Doon Beach is yours.

    Nude or naturist beach neophytes, please be respectful of others and read the Nude Beach and Topless Beach Etiquette guidelines before you go to a nude beach and check the nudity laws too.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Bonny Doon Beach Reviews and Rating

    Bonny Doon Beach
    ••• Bonny Doon Beach. Antti T. Nissinen/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    The Bay Guardian newspaper gives Bonny Doon a grade of "A" and our readers seem to like it, too.

    What Our Readers Have to Say 

    Great Beach

    My wife and I love this beach. Something to remember is never sit or lay too close to the cliffs, we hear rocks falling down every time we're there. Just a few, but no need to risk it. A fun sport with gawkers, is to bring a little mirror and shine the sun in their faces! As for the pervs and sex on the beach, we have no problem confronting them and telling them to knock it the hell off. It's how we lose nude beaches in the state. Be pro-active! In fact, the only verified citation issued at Bonny Doon wasn't for nudity, it was for lewd behavior.

    —Guest Jim

    Bonny Dune Nude Beach

    the last time i was there,the sand was almost gone.i had to climb down,and use a rope to get back up.something needs to be done about the sand.otherwise people are not going to be going to that side of the beach.

    —Guest keith

    Watch out for the waves

    The Bay...MORE Guardian reported in August 2013 that "Two women in their 30s died June 30 after they were swept into the ocean by a wave" at Bonny Doon.

    —Guest BeachWatcher

    Gawkers

    One problem is the gawkers on the cliff, carrying binoculars and just sitting and standing there for hours.

    —Guest Mike

    Rating Bonny Doon Beach for Clothing Optional Recreation

    When we asked more than 7,000 of readers what was your favorite Santa Cruz County nude beach, 54% voted for Bonny Doon. 18% like Laguna Creek, 17% voted for Panther/Hole in the Wall and 8% for Scott Creek.

    When we asked them to review Bonny Doon, 35% rated it excellent, 13% said it was good but with a few flaws.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Getting to Bonny Doon Beach

    Santa Cruz County Nude Beaches
    ••• Santa Cruz County Nude Beaches. Adapted from Google Maps

    If you want an interactive version of the map, would like to convert to a close-up satellite map that shows the beaches and trails or need driving directions, use our Santa Cruz County Beach map at Google.

    Driving Directions

    • Follow CA Hwy 1 north from Santa Cruz or go south from San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.
    • This location is easy to find. Look for the Bonny Doon Road sign on the east (land) side of the highway and a large paved parking area on the opposite side.
    • If you're driving north, Bonny Doon Beach is past Fambrini Produce. Driving south, it's just past the town of Davenport. See a photo of the parking area on the next page.
    • Watch the milepost markers to know when you're getting close. The beach is at milepost 27.6. Read how to interpret a California milepost marker

    Parking

    • Paved parking area on the west side of highway is free, but it can fill up early (and is closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
    • Parking is illegal on CA Hwy 1 or Bonny Doon Road

    Public Transit

    Santa Cruz Metro...MORE buses can take you to Bonny Doon Beach. Check the schedule.

    Walking from Parking Lot to the Beach

    • Follow the path that starts near the north end of the parking area and walk over the railroad track. This is an active railroad line, so take care to watch for trains.
    • There are several paths to the sand, but most are steep and slippery.
    • Walk about 50 paces to the right after crossing the railroad track to a path that goes up the hill. At the first fork, go left. The right fork will take you uphill and away from the beach.
    • Follow the path to the beach. The next left fork leads to a set of steps that are also steep, but they're made of rocks and provide better footing.
    • The nudist area is at the north end.
    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Bonny Doon Beach Parking Lot

    Bonny Doon Beach Parking Area
    ••• Bonny Doon Beach Parking Area. ©Betsy Malloy Photography
    This photo was taking looking north from the end of the Bonny Doon parking area. The white vehicle entering from the right is on Bonny Doon Road. The path to the beach is visible just above the white and gray cars about halfway up on the left.