San Luis Obispo County doesn't have a lot of places for beach recreation of any kind, whether you want to do it with your clothing on or off. The county includes the south end of Big Sur, but in that area, the cliffs there are too high and steep to allow beach access.
South of Big Sur, you'll find a lovely, quiet clothing optional beach among majestic sand dunes - and one of the state's best-rated nude beaches.
Clothing Optional Beaches in San Luis Obispo County
San Luis Obispo County has only two beaches commonly used for clothing-optional recreation, but one of them is among the best-rated and busiest in California.
Hearst State Beach: Located near Hearst Castle, this beach gets occasional clothing-optional use by locals. Or so we hear. Information about it is scarce, and it is subject to state park nudity policies, which could be enforced at any time.
Pirate's Cove (Avila): People love this beach, but gawkers can be a nuisance. It's a steep climb from the clifftop parking area to the beach at the base of a cliff, just north of the town of Pismo Beach. The land is owned by San Luis Obispo County.
Guadalupe Dunes: This beach is technically in Santa Barbara County, but just barely. The sand dunes are remote and unspoiled — and totally gorgeous, but a little hard to get to.
Rating San Luis Obispo County Nude Beaches
There were only two candidates, but we had to ask anyway.
More than 8,700 of our readers voted in a poll for their favorite San Luis Obispo County nude beach. 43% of them said they like Pirate's Cove and 19% like Hearst Beach.
Mapping the San Luis Obispo County Nude Beaches
If you want to see where all the San Luis Obispo County clothing optional beaches are located, use this San Luis Obispo County Beach Map at Google maps, where the nude beaches are marked with pushpins.
You can use it to get directions to each one.
Nudity Laws in San Luis Obispo County
Pirate's Cove was purchased by San Luis Obispo County in 2013. I haven't found any information about their nudity laws, but in a 2013 article in the New Times, the deputy director of SLO County Parks is quoted as saying: "There’s no ordinance in the county that says nude sunbathing is against the law.”
Hearst Beach is a state beach and subject to state parks policies.
More Clothing Optional Recreation Nearby
The next closest places to San Luis Obispo County for clothing-optional recreation are the Santa Barbara County nude beaches, but only a couple of them are free from law enforcement hassles.
You can also try some of the clothing-optional resorts in Calfornia, which often have overnight lodging, swimming pools, and other activities.