San Francisco's Nude Beaches

They're Beautiful,
But San Francisco Nude Beaches Can Be Dangerous!

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Nude Beaches in San Francisco - Who Knew?

Sea Stacks off a NorCal Beach; CC Albert ArmstrongSea Stacks off a NorCal Beach;
CC Albert Armstrong

Who even knew there were beaches in San Francisco? Isn't San Francisco The City?? Yep, it is - but it's nestled in and around the Coastal Mountain Range, and it's right smack dab on the Pacific Coast! So - it's got beaches, and some of them are known for their nudity.

As it is in Big Sur, the San Francisco beaches are mostly mixed beaches with the nudity occurring in a particular area of the beach.

All of these beaches are within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and, as such, are subject to the Federal Land nudity laws - which is kind of a cop-out. The Feds have no laws against nudity, so they defer to state, county and local laws. Beginning to sound a little like Catch 22?

Here's what you need to know:

  • There's no such thing as an "official" nude beach in California.
  • In 1972, the California courts decided that beach nudity, in and of itself, does not constitute "indecent exposure."
  • Be circumspect if there are non-nudists in the area so they'll have no reason to file a complaint.
  • Be sure to click here for general information on going au natural in Northern California.

San Francisco's Nude Beaches
Baker Beach

Baker Beach in San Francisco by Suzi RosenbergBaker Beach in San Francisco by Suzi Rosenberg

Because of its setting - its half-mile long stretch of sandy beach, and its awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands - this is a beach for everyone.

Tourists and locals; clothed and unclothed; kite flyers and sunset aficionados; picnickers and dog lovers - everyone enjoys spending time at Baker Beach.

The nude area is north of the Hazardous Surf sign (which should definitely be heeded, as the rip currents make swimming extremely inadvisable!) - be sure to stay in this area if you're going topless or au natural - you may be cited by rangers elsewhere on the beach.

There are some facilities at the clothing-required end of the beach in the form of restrooms, grills, and picnic tables.

Insider Secret: Baker Beach was the site of the first Burning Man Festival back in 1986.

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San Francisco's Nude Beaches
Lands End Beach

Amazing views, driftwood and rocks, not a whole lot of sand, but it's still a popular beach, with the locals especially.

There have been recent improvements made by the park service, which have made the beach a little easier to reach.

This has impacted the amount of nudity (much less to none, so "test the waters" with a quick look around before you decide to doff the clothes!).

Dangerous waters, so no swimming, but there's good hiking along the bluffs and one of the bluffs has a meditation maze!

Lands End is between the Cliff House and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. From above you can see the shipwrecks of the Lyman Steward and the Frank Buck.

San Francisco's Nude Beaches
Fort Funston Beach with a Caveat

I include Fort Funston Beach because it has traditionally been a clothing optional beach, but be forewarned that rangers are no longer tolerant of nudity here.

The reason is, perhaps, that Fort Funston has turned itself to other uses like the programs for schoolchildren at the Fort Funston Environmental Education Center.

The beach area consists of sandy dunes backed by coastal headlands, and the area is one of the country's premier hang-gliding sites!

Dangerous surf and undertows here, and the climb down to the beach and back is strenuous.

More Northern California areas where sunbathing au natural is an option:

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