Marin County north of San Francisco has lots of clothing optional beaches.
Marin County nudity laws are detailed below. Public nudity may be treated as a misdemeanor and yo need to know the rules before you go. Sculptured Beach, Limantour Beach and South Rodeo beaches are located on federal land. Check the federal regulations here.
Clothing Optional Beaches in Marin County
- Limantour: Located at Point Reyes National Seashore, it has soft sand, rolling dunes and lots of wildlife.
- Muir: It's a pretty setting and closer to San Francisco than some of the other beaches.
- Red Rock: It may the most popular nude beach north of San Francisco. Often crowded, it's also known for the friendly people who go there.
- South Rodeo: This beach is lightly used (possibly because it's a small cove that can actually get cold or windy), but it has great ocean views as the only nude beach in the Marin Headlands that faces the Pacific Ocean. South Rodeo Beach is in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and has activities like sunbathing, wading, and dog walking, but swimming is not advised here.
- RCA: Most men and women who come to this beach are nude. You'll find lots of room and lots to do at RCA (tide pooling, jogging, sunbathing, etc. but swimming is not recommended), but it's a little hard to get to.
- Take US Hwy 101 north from the Golden Gate Bridge, and exit onto CA Hwy 1 north. The turnoff toward Bolinas is very difficult to find and unmarked. It is located at milepost 17.01 coming from the south, and is the first left turn after you pass the Bolinas lagoon. Turn left onto unmarked Olema-Bolinas Road. The mileposts are labeled C122.
- Follow the road past the edge of the lagoon to a t-intersection, then turn left. Follow Olema-Bolinas Road for 0.5 mile. You will cross a colorfully-painted bridge and pass a school. The next stop sign is at Mesa Road. Turn right. Drive about 3 miles and you will see an antenna "farm" on the left. Keep driving past it and past the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. The road becomes a gravel road, but keep going until you see a big dirt parking lot on the left. If you miss it, the road ends at a place where you can turn around.
- Sculptured: This one is never crowded and naturally beautiful, but reachable only at low tide. It's also a long walk from the nearest parking. The area has a lot to see though, such as rock formations (including a blowhole in the cliff), tide pools, birds, possible views of whales and dolphins (bring binoculars), and beautiful sunsets. Most people who come to this beach are nude, and it's rarely crowded.
- If you want to go to Sculptured Beach, you're in for a hike, no matter which way you go. It's just north of Olema on CA 1. You'll turn left onto Bear Valley Road toward Point Reyes National Seashore, and follow Bear Valley Road 1.25 miles (2 km) northwest to Limantour Road. Turn left onto Limantour Road and drive to the parking lot at the end. Walk to the beach, then go south (left) along the sand to Sculptured Beach. It's about 3 miles.
Other beaches are sometimes mentioned for nude sunbathing in Marin County, but they all have drawbacks that keep them off our recommended list. Muir Beach and Bolinas Beach are subject to nudity laws and enforcement.
Cross Rock is underwater most of the year and McClures is foggy and windy most of the time.
Other beaches in the Point Reyes National Seashore and Marin Headlands (Black Sand, Kirby Cove, Bonita) attract too many clothed visitors, are prone to get cut off at high tide or only accessible via extremely long hikes or dangerous, eroded trails.
Rating Marin County Nude Beaches
We polled 2,360 of our readers to find out which Marin County nude beach they like best Limantour came out on top with 41%. After that, Red Rock and Muir Beach got 18% and 17%, respectively.
Mapping the Marin County Nude Beaches
If you want to see where all the Marin County clothing optional beaches are located, use this Marin County Beach Map at Google maps, where the nude beaches are marked with pushpins. You can use it to get directions to each one.
Marin County Nudity Law
Beaches in the Point Reyes National Seashore are subject to Federal law, which does not prohibit public nudity. State beaches are governed by policies of the State Parks Department. They are all summarized in this guide to California nudity laws.
This is the Marin County law about public nudity:
6.76.030 Nudity prohibited in public place, place open to public, place open to public view. Every person who wilfully appears in the unincorporated area of Marin County on or in any beach, park, square, preserve, avenue, street, lane, alley or any other public place, place open to the public, or place exposed to public view, whether such place is publicly or privately owned, in a state of dress or undress in which the pubic hair, genitals, buttocks or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola of such person is exposed is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 2183 S II, 1975)
6.76.050 Exceptions. This chapter shall not apply to an appearance in a state of dress or undress as described in Section 6.76.030 upon private property reasonably screened or concealed from neighboring public or private property or from public view, or on a beach or other facility established as "swimsuit optional" by a duly adopted resolution of the board of supervisors. (Ord. 2183 S 1V, 1975)
More Places for Clothing Optional Recreation
From Marin County, the next closest place is San Francisco County nude beaches.
Northern California also has a few clothing optional resorts. Many of them have swimming pools and some offer overnight accommodations. They're all listed in the Guide to Clothing Optional Resorts in California.