Los Angeles County puts a proverbial fig leaf on nude sunbathing.
That may seem surprising for a place that has a reputation for scandalous behavior. In fact, LA has strict laws about running around outside without your clothing. Anyone found nude in public anywhere in the City of Angels could be arrested or ticketed. Punishment for the offense includes a stiff fine and court appearance. The Los Angeles County nudity laws are included below.
That means nude beaches don't exist in the county. To be more precise, it's not a good idea to be naked in public at a beach or anywhere else, unless you're a young child or performing in a theater.
Where to Go for Clothing Optional Recreation Near Los Angeles
You may find all kinds of information online about nude beaches in the LA area. El Matador, Smuggler's Cove and Pirate's Cove are sometimes listed, along with Sacred Cove in Palos Verdes.
I have also heard that nude sunbathers use sheltered coves around Malibu with no law enforcement harassment. In the past few years, some readers have hinted that they find discreet places to get rid of those pesky tan lines. In fact, more than 20% of those who responded a poll said they had gone to a nude beach in LA, but no one's talking about where they went.
The local law enforcement officers know how to Google "los angeles nude beach" and check social media as well as you do, and these days any location that you might find is also a target for enforcement.
Penalties are stiff, and a conviction can stick with you for a lifetime.
If you want to practice the clothing optional lifestyle in Los Angeles, don't try sneaking into a place and risking the hassles that could ensue. Try these ideas instead.
Forget the nudist idea and just go to one of the great LA beaches and keep your clothes on.
Try a Nude Beach in San Diego County. For many years, the nude beach at San Onofre was the closest one to Los Angeles, but it closed to clothing optional recreation a few years ago. Now, you'll have to go all the way down to Blacks Beach.
Visit One of the Southern California Nudist Resorts. Nudity laws don't' apply at these privately owned facilities, and many of them offer overnight lodging and lots of recreational options. Some of them are within an easy day-trip drive from Los Angeles.
If You Go North, Expect a Long Drive. There are no nude beaches in Ventura County.
Santa Barbara County has some beaches that get clothing optional visitors, but unless you know about the current law enforcement situation, it's risky. Locals report periods when there are lots of arrests and fines, mixed with long periods without them.
San Luis Obispo County has some well-regarded nude beaches, but it is at least a three-hour drive from Los Angeles to get there.
Los Angeles County Nudity Law
This is what the Los Angeles County - Ordinance 17.12.360, "Nudity and Disrobing" has to say:
A) No person shall appear, bathe, sunbathe, walk, change clothes, disrobe or be on any beach in such manner that the genitals, vulva, pubis, pubic symphysis, pubic hair, buttocks, natal cleft, perineum, anus, anal region or pubic hair region of any person, or any portion of the breast at or below the upper edge of the areola thereof of any female person, is exposed to public view, except in those portions of a comfort station, if any, expressly set aside for such purpose.
B) This section shall not apply to persons under the age of 10 years, provided such children are sufficiently clothed to conform to accepted community standards.
C) This section shall not apply to persons engaged in a live theatrical performance in a theater, concert hall, or similar establishment which is primarily devoted to theatrical performances.
More California Nude Beaches by County
If you want to visit a nude beach in the rest of California, use these guides to find out where to go. Starting north from San Luis Obispo: Monterey County Nude Beaches, Nude Beaches in Santa Cruz County, San Mateo County (where you will find the state's oldest nude beach), San Francisco Nude Beaches, Clothing Optional Beaches in Marin County and nudist recreation in Humboldt County.