Nude beaches in San Mateo County are few (just two), but they attract a lot of visitors. San Mateo County is also where you'll find San Gregorio Beach, which is the oldest official clothing optional beach in the United States.
You may occasionally find out-of-date resources online that say Montara State Beach and Pomponio State Beach are nude beaches, but they are NOT RECOMMENDED. Montara has too many clothed families on it (and rangers may cite you for nudity there). Pomponio is difficult and dangerous to get to.
Clothing Optional Beaches in San Mateo County
These are the two San Mateo County nude beaches that are easy to reach and used by the general public:
Devil's Slide (aka Grey Whale Cove and Edun): In the past, this beach was also called Grey Whale Cove and Edun (nude spelled backward). These days, it gets its name from a nearby area that's prone to landslides. It's in a California state park and generally gets good ratings from people who have been there. However, it's subject to enforcement of California State Parks policies, which are summarized in the Guide to California Nude Beach Laws.
San Gregorio Beach: The country's oldest nude beach has been around since 1967. It's a sandy beach with caves to explore. And it's a big plus that it's privately owned, which reduces the chances of hassles from law enforcement. It's also a very large beach that doesn't get too many visitors, making it less crowded.
Rating the San Mateo County Nude Beaches
We polled more than 6,700 of our readers to find out which San Mateo County nude beach they like best. 62% voted for Grey Whale Cove and 28% for San Gregorio Beach.
Mapping the San Mateo County Nude Beaches
If you want to see where all the San Mateo clothing optional beaches are located, use this San Mateo County Beach Map at Google maps, where the nude beaches are marked with pushpins. You can use it to get directions to each one.
More Places for Clothing Optional Recreation Near San Mateo County
From San Mateo County, it's not that far to San Francisco County nude beaches or Santa Cruz County nude beaches. A little further away, you can find a few places for nude recreation in Monterey County and north of San Francisco in Marin County.
They're not beaches, but you can also find several clothing optional resorts in California. Most of them charge an entrance fee and offer lots of things to do. Some of them also have places where you can stay overnight.
Nudity Laws in San Mateo County
Before you go to one of these beaches or try to find an impromptu spot for clothing-free sunbathing, you may want to read the San Mateo County nudity laws. Beaches in state parks have different regulations, which you can find here.
This is what the San Mateo County Law says regarding public nudity:
3.32.030 Prohibition against display of private parts. Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who exposes his or her private parts or buttocks, or employs any device or covering to simulate the private parts or pubic hair of such person, while participating in any live act, demonstration or exhibition in any public establishment, establishment open to the public, or establishment open to public view, or while serving food or drink or both to any customer. (Prior code S 3178.2; Ord. 2208, 07/10/73)
3.32.060 Penalty. A violation of this chapter is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) or by imprisonment in the County Jail for not more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. (Prior code S 3178.5; Ord. 2208, 07/10/73)