(update April 1, 2013)
Warmer weather is on the way and our thoughts are turning to summer fun. Nothing is more relaxing than laying nude on the beach and feeling the warm sun on your skin while listening to the gentle crashing of the waves as they roll in. Or perhaps you just like to watch some cute hot bodies pass by. What ever your reasons, it is time to start planning your trips to the Best Gay Nude Beaches in North America.
Where can you go to enjoy an afternoon or weekend of clothing optional sunbathing and swimming? Here is our list. If you have more suggestions, just send them to us.
West Coast Region
• Black’s Beach, San Diego, CA – Arguably, the best know nude beach in the US. There have been efforts to ban nude sunbathing in state parks, but it is still allowed on the northern section of Black’s Beach. Nudity is not permitted in the southern end of Black’s Beach which is within San Diego’s city limits. Black’s Beach is popular with gay nudist but it is difficult to get to as you have to traverse rocky trails. The gay section is about 1/4 mile north of the straight section. On a busy day you will find around 100 gay men. Directions: From San Diego, take the I-5 north to Genesee Ave. exit and go west on Genesee until you hit N. Torrey Pines Rd. Go left on Torrey Pines and follow it until you hit Salk Institute Rd. (watch for signs for the Torrey Pines Glider Port). Follow the dirt parking lot until the very end and follow the treacherous trail (wear sturdy shoes and walk carefully) down to the beach.
• Marshall’s Beach (Golden Gate Bridge Beach), San Francisco, CA – Thousands of people visit the Golden Gate Bridge each day and walk along the eastern sidewalks to take pictures of the majestic bridge. What they don’t know is that if they took the path westward, under the bridge, they would come to Marshall’s Beach which is virtually an all-gay nude beach. Directions: Take Lincoln Boulevard to Langdon Court and turn into the parking lot. Hike the trail down to the beach, a.k.a. Marshall and if the weather is just right, look for loads of naked gay guys everywhere.
• Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA – This is a more community oriented beach with the gays congregating at the north end. The beach is located within the Presidio. Directions: Take Lincoln Boulevard and either park at the crest of the road near the trail (and closer to the gay end of the beach) or follow Lincoln to the parking lot at Gibson Road.
• San Gregorio Beach, San Mateo County, CA – This beach (not part of the adjacent state beach with the same name), is America’s oldest nude beach, dating back to 1967. The northern end of the beach is the gay end. It is a good place to go with friends and is not particularly social. San Gregorio Beach is privately owned with two miles of soft sandy beach. Directions: The entrance to the parking lot is very hard to find, but you’ll have a better chance if you follow the directions carefully. The entrance is on the west side of Ca Hwy 1 just north of its intersection with CA Hwy 84. You can find it by watching the mileage markers if you know how. It’s between mileposts 18 and 19.
• Laguna Creek Beach, Santa Cruz, CA – Laguna Beach has the scenery that California is known for – the cliffs and beautiful blue water. A great location if you are looking for a quiet afternoon and serenity. Not very busy. Directions: Follow Hwy. 1 9.8 miles north of where it intersects with Hwy. 17. Park on the east side of the road and walk the trail on the west side of the highway until you hit the beach.
• Bonny Doon Beach, Santa Cruz, CA – Here you will find a mix of ages, cultures and genders. Directions: Bonny Doon has its own parking lot on the west side of Hwy. 1 at milepost 27.6 near Bonny Doon Rd. Cross a set of railroad tracks and follow the beach north toward the clothing-optional cove at the end.
• Pirate’s Cove, Avila Beach, CA – This beach is primarily straight, but you’ll find a few gay guys enjoying the sun. Directions: From Hwy. 101, take the Avila Beach exit and follow Avila Beach Rd. until you come to Cave Landing Dr. Follow Cave Landing Dr. to the parking lot and hike the trail to the beach.
• Collins Beach, Sauvie Island, OR – It is a social beach with a wide breath of people from the Portland area. Directions: Sauvie Island is located about ten miles northwest of Portland. Take Hwy. 30 to Linnton and just beyond the town turn on to the Sauvie Island Bridge. Hit the general store at the base of the bridge and pick up a parking permit (a must). Take Gillihan Rd. for several bucolic miles, then turn right on Reeder Rd. and follow it until it becomes a gravel road. Drive until the very end to reach the gay section (look for cars with rainbow bumper stickers) and follow the long and tedious path until you reach the beach
• Wreck Beach – Vancouver, BC – One of the best known nude beaches in the world, it is located in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. The clothing option section is four miles long from Acadia Beach to Booming Grounds creek (south). In the gay section, most guys will be nude, and quiet a bit of action is had in the woods behind the beach. Directions: Wreck is located at the University of British Columbia campus so do yourself a favor and take a cab—although buses are also available—to trail six at NW Marine Drive (most cabbies know exactly where to drop you). The pathway down to the beach is sturdy and well marked and on a busy day, a ton of folks will be using it. The gay section of Wreck is at trail #7 at Old Marine Drive (near where it splits from Marine Dr.). Follow the footpath down to the coast and veer right. A five-minute walk takes you to the gay section.
East Coast Region
Fire Island, New York – Neither Cherry Grove nor the Pines have much nudity. However, the section between Cheerry Grove and the Pines does, and the woods behind the beach is an area where everything goes. Directions: Take the Sayville Ferry to Chery Grove and the Pines. To get to Sayville, you’ll do better avoiding the Long Island Expressway (LIE) and taking the Northern State to the Meadowbrook Parkway to the Southern State, to the Sunrise Highway (Rt. 27) towards Montauk. Turn right on Lakeland Ave. and follow the signs to the ferry. Note that parking is cheaper at Land’s End Marina (100 yards beyond the ferry dock) than it is at the lot across from the ferry, and is free at the train station.
Gunnison Beach, Sandy Hook, New Jersey – Gunnison Beach is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Jersey’s only legal nude beach. It is the largest nude beach on the east coast. If only I knew this growing up. I lived about 20 minutes away. Directions: From the Garden State Parkway, take Exit 117 onto State Rt. 36 south (follow sign for Gateway National Recreation Area). Continue on Rt. 36 about 12 miles. Nearing the shore, watch for sign “Sandy Hook / Gateway National Recreation Area next right” just before a drawbridge. Immediately following the drawbridge, an exit ramp to the right crosses back over Rt. 36 into the park The gay section is the southern section. After taking the exit ramp into the park, proceed through the fee plaza. Continue straight a few miles, past the Ranger Station (small, tan brick building in center of divided highway) and past sign for Fishing Beach (Area F). Bear hard right at sign with right arrow indicating “All Beach Parking”. Soon after this sign, the road goes through a few sharp turns, and then you will see on the right a plaza with concession and restroom buildings and a pull-off loading/unloading lane. This is the entrance to Gunnison Beach. (If you have someone else in the car, you may wish to unload passengers and gear here before parking.) Immediately following is Parking Area G. If the lot is full, continue on to the North Beach lots (about a 10-min. walk back after parking — follow the crowd!). Walk down the boardwalk onto the beach and bear right towards the volleyball nets, which are in the clothing-optional area. The clothing-optional area is indicated by signs.
• Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown, MA – Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Herring Cove is Provincetown’s most popular beach. Technically it is illegal to disrobe, but the National park Service generally looks the other way. The dunes behind tend to be quite active. Directions: It is one mile from Provincetown out US 6 heading west then follow the signs.
Haulover Beach, Florida – The most popular and heavily used nude beach in Florida it is easy to get to with lots of restaurants and shops nearby. The gay section is on the northern end. When we were last there is was packed, which is normal on a sunny weekend. Directions: From I-95, exit at Golden Glades Interchange on to State Rd., 826 east or go east on 125th St. Find Haulover County Park at about 150th St. on Collins Ave. (Route A1A) and park in the northernmost lot. Walk to the beach through the tunnel underpass.
Apollo Beach, Volusia County, Florida – Apollo Beach is an unofficial nude beach. It has become more popular since Brevard County passed a strict anti-nudity law in 1995 that drove people out of Playalinda Beach. Apollo Beach is the second best nude beach in Florida after Haulover Beach. Directions: Exit I 95 at Florida Highway 44 and head east and it becomes Highway 1A bear right towards the ocean and follow the shore south on county highway A1A to Apollo Beach.
Gulf Coast Region
Hippie Hollow, Texas – Well it isn’t on the Gulf Coast, but Texas is. This beach is actually on Lake Travis in McGregor County Park. Directions: From Austin, take FM 222 to Ranch Road. Drive out Comanche Trail to the parking lot. Make a left turn at the parking lot continue all the way past the paved walkway, over the rocks for about 1 mile (it is a 15 minute walk).
Great Lakes Region
Oval Beach, Saugatuck, MI – Saugatuck is the Midwest’s answer to Provincetown, with several gay resorts and businesses. The nude beach is Oval Beach on the dunes of Lake Michigan. Directions: Oval Beach is located at the end of Oval Beach Road, one mile west of the Saugatuck Ferry landing, across the river from downtown Saugatuck. It’s $5 on weekdays and $8 on weekends for parking. Take Ferry Street north from the neighboring town of Douglas and follow the signs, or take the ferryboat from downtown Saugatuck to one of the nearby beach trails. From the parking lot, walk right (north) to the gay section. You’ll see a small wooden shack with a guy sitting outside collecting money ($10 to gain access to the “private beach” area). Then you have to walk maybe a 1/4 miles or so until you see an orange post. On the actual waterfront “beach” itself you have to keep your clothes on, but its the rolling dunes BEHIND the beach that are clothing optional.
Mazo Beach, Wisconsin – This clothing optional beach is located on the Wisconsin River in southern Wisconsin. The beach is covered with dark soft sand and surrounded by willows, cliffs and bluffs. On busy weekends you will see games of nude volleyball. Directions: Mazo is between Mazomanie and Sauk City on County Highway Y. Once you park, it is about a 1 mile walk down a gravel road (15 minutes) to the beach.
Written by Brian Raymond
Brian owns Out Destinations, a premier gay travel agency featuring gay & mainstream cruises and tours. Out Destinations also offers group travel, and social organization fundraising opportunities. For a free consultation, contact him toll free at 866-217-2341 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.