Pirate's Cove Beach

  • 01 of 03

    Pirate's Cove Nude Beach

    Pirate's Cove from the Avila Ridge Trail
    ••• Pirate's Cove from the Avila Ridge Trail. m+s mumby / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Pirate's Cove in Avila Bay should not be confused with Pirate's Cove in Los Angeles or Pirate's Cove in Marin County. This beach is also called Cave Landing or Mallagh Landing.


    Between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. Get a map and directions on the last page of this guide.


    • Quarter-mile long cove
    • One of the most beautiful nude beach settings
    • No fishermen here, so it's easy to walk without fear of getting a hook where you don't want it

    Who's at Pirate's Cove Beach

    Gawkers are often a nuisance at Pirate's Cove. Women may find them particularly intimidating.

    • Up to 200 on weekends
    • Suited and not
    • Almost half are women
    • 10 percent families
    • Gawkers on the cliff and on the beach

    Pirate's Cove Beach Facilities


    Pirate's Cove Beach Activities


    More Nude Beaches Within 25 Miles of Pirate's Cove

    Nudity Laws and Pirate's Cove Beach

    Laws regarding nudity at the naturist beach vary by location and fines...MORE are stiff in some places. We haven't been able to get information about San Luis Obispo County nudity laws and the responsibility for knowing the law at Pirate's Cove 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.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Pirate's Cove Beach Reviews and Rating

    View of Pirate's Cove
    ••• View of Pirate's Cove. Google Street View

    What Our Readers Have to Say

    Great Time

    My first time at a nude beach. Everyone was super nice. Played vollyball and got a great tan! Make sure to bring supplies! Will for sure go back! A few gawkers, but I just ignored them. Pests...

    —Guest Diana

    Great beach, great people

    Went there a couple times while on vacation, such a wonderfull time. Nudity seems very natural and normal and the awkwardness wears off quickly. Met pirate Bill, he chased off a gawker, cracked me up. Played volleyball nude for the first time and got a wonderfull tan. My wife was so jealous she couldn't join me.

    —Guest Walmart Troy (Bill gave me a nickname)

    My home

    The cove is a place for the ready and willing to experience one of the most beautiful carefree beaches of all time. If you don't like the idea of nudity, DO NOT GO. If you can't handle picking up your own trash, DO NOT GO. But, if you have an open mind, and a big heart, you will be greeted with open arms. I've been going there since I was 17, and I...MORE couldn't be happier to call this beautiful beach my home. Greetings to the pirates and mermaids out there! :}

    —Guest Mermaid Brizzle

    Very Friendly

    I have visited Pirate's Cove with my wife, baby, and recently my mother-in-law. The locals are laid back and everyone keeps to themselves. The concept of this clothing optional beach is respect for one another. Just do your own thing, as long as it does not intrude on someone else. Once some teens wearing jeans strolled by gawking but that's a rarity. I feel safe here and I look forward to returning with my wife and 2 year old. It gets particularly hot here so bring plenty of water, and reserve some energy for the hike back up from the beach. Also, the water is not too "friendly" to play in as there is a current that could grab ya. Come and enjoy it. This beach is the only nude beach I have visited and I LOVE it.

    —Guest Screamingwheelie

    Very peaceful and laid back

    My wife and I weren't sure we'd be able to make the trek down the steep trail but it wasn't that bad. When we got to the beach we were greeted with the most natural and peaceful beach we have yet been to. The sea lions out on the rock were very pleasant to watch. There has been some land movement on the cliffs recently as has already been stated. We found the people on the beach pretty much left us alone. We took a walk with myself in my bathing suit and my wife going topless. The users of the beach were very respectful almost to the point of not wanting to say hello! We returned to our spot and then I stripped completely and the wife laid back and enjoyed top freedom. There were only three gawkers that day. As has already been stated, fully clothed, beer in hand. They had no business being there but they left us alone, just walked by talking in Spanish. Probably looking for co-eds. Most of the users this day were men but we felt very at ease. Great beach and we'll be back.

    —Guest Mr & Mrs Anonymous Donor

    Rating Pirate's Cove Beach for Clothing Optional Recreation

    More than 8,700 of our readers voted for their favorite San Luis Obispo County nude beach. 43% like Pirate's Cover, 37% voted for Guadalupe Dunes and 19% like Hearst Beach.

    We polled almost 2,500 of our readers to find out how they rate Pirate's Cove. 43% say it's excellent and 14% say it's good with a few flaws.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Getting to Pirate's Cove Beach

    San Luis Obispo Beaches
    ••• San Luis Obispo Beaches. 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 San Luis Obispo County Beach map at Google.

    Driving Directions

    About 7 to 9 miles south of San Luis Obispo (depending on which interchange you start at) and 5 miles north of Pismo Beach off US Hwy 101.
    • Take the Avila Beach exit (#195)
    • Turn right at the end of the off ramp onto Avila Beach Drive
    • Follow the signs toward Avila Beach for 2.0 miles, past Sycamore Hot Springs and a traffic light.
    • As soon as the golf course is visible on the right, look for a road to the left going uphill
    • Turn left on Cave Landing Road
    • Follow the road to a dirt parking lot at the end


    Parking lot at top of cliff

    Walking from Parking Lot to the Beach

    • Take the trail at the south (left) end of the lot
    • Stay to the left go down the long series of steps
    • At the sand, walk east to the far end of the beach
    • The nude area is near the volleyball net