Posted by Brad on May 31, 2006 at 12:20:58:
I was unable to make Photozella, but arrived in the San Francisco Bay area on last Thursday and spent four days, including the following Memorial Day on Monday, travelling the beach scene from Santa Cruz up north past the Muir Woods north of San Francisco. I hit all of the more renowned nude beaches.
This should give you context as to what Photozella was up against. I don't know how it turned out, but if a group of any size showed, cudos go to the marketing and planning of Coccozella.
The weather had reportedly improved in the days following Photozella. I arrived in Oakland on a sunny Thursday afternoon. The forecast was for sunny days for the next few days through Memorial Day. So, given it was late spring, just a couple of days before June, sunny with beautiful weather, I expected to see some throngs of naked folks to spend some quality nudie time with me at the nudie beaches. Wrong.
Mark Twain was reported to have once said "The coldest winter I've ever spent was a summer in San Francisco". Whether he said it or not, it points to what one can expect in this part of the country this time of year.
The wind was vicious. On Friday, it was reported to have gusts up to 40 mph. In other parts of the country, on a sunny day in the low 60s, one can lay out on a beach or lake front comfortably. But not when in the Bay Area. The currents along the cost begin in the artic and sweep down Canada. When they get to San Francisco, they are icy waters, even on the warmest days. And when the wind blows over these waters it not only drops in temperature, but the moisture adds to the coldness of the guys. Above the beaches in the parking lots, I immediately had to put on a long sleeve sweat tops Wind breakers were worn by many, and some even wore winter jackets and coats. It was not breezy and cool, it was down right cold.
The first day, Friday, I went to Red Rock Beach heralded as the Bay Area's most popular nude beach. It is about 5 miles north of Muir Beach and about 15 miles +/- north of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a long walk down to the beach from a parking lot. At about 1:00 p.m., there were four cars in the parking lot. I didn't make the walk and did a U turn.
I went to Muir Beach, another nice spot. I parked in the parking lot, which had about 20 cars. I walked onto the beach and virtually everyone was on the textile side, most wearing wind breakers. I made my way over the rocks to the cove where the nudists are. There was only one couple. They had found a break in the wind, and she was topless but he was not nude. It was just warm enough for me to take of my sweat top. Although I was disappointed in that there was no nudie sunbathing, the cove and surrounding beach and timber line was incredibly awesome.
On Saturday, I went to North Baker Beach. This beach connects to the city of San Francisco and is just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather was still windy and cold, but no clouds in sight. There were about 20 folks on the nude side. Fortunately at the far end to the north where the nudism occurs, the high rocks somewhat break the wind. If one lies down between the riffs of sand near the cliffs, the wind is signficantly abated, and the warmth of the sun brings up the temperature to being tolerable, and if you don't walk about, you can be comfortably nude laying out. Of the 20 sunbathing nude, 17 were men, three were women. I again went to N. Baker Beach on Sunday, which was less windy and a bit warmer. The crowd had grown to around 40 with the same ratio of nude men to nude women. On Sunday I observed more nudies on other areas of the beach, with some of the nude guys walking along the water's edge.
On Monday, Memorial Day, I went south. I first stopped off at Red, White and Blue Beach, just north of Santa Cruz. The wind was less strong on Monday, but still cold and there were 12 people laying out nude. I stayed for a while, then drove north about 5 miles stopping off at Bonny Doon. It was here where I saw the most nudists as there are high cliffs surrounding a cove where the nudists lay out. There were about 40 or so laying out nude, of which 8 were female. Despite the low turnout, I still had trouble finding a place to park - if you're going and it's a warm sunny day, get there early.
After about an hour there, I again drove north about 25 miles and stopped off at San Gregorio. The nude beach at San Gregorio, was exactly what I had heard. The beach has tons of drift wood, and the drift would had been used to build many small shelters - basically circles of drift wood 3+ feet high providing both a wind break and concealing the occupants from the eyes of the rest of the beach. San Gregorio is noted for having a high ratio of gay men that use these drift wood enclaves as "sex condos". There were about 12+ nudists I could see, of which all were male. Given the number of cars in the parking lot, I'm sure this number could be doubled, but I did not see them. I did observe a group of 4 guys in one of the condos that were engaged in sex. The only female I saw was a couple that passed me on my way down to the beach.
I hope this gives all an indication of what the Bay Area nude beaches are like this time of year. I have been to Baker's and Red, White and Blue later in the year, and the crowds were a lot larger. The ratio of men to women, however, was about the same. August through September are the best times.
The reports one reads on nude beach reviews almost always grossly exagerate how many turn out at these beaches. The above is the real story, for at least the days in late spring/early summer that the sun is out, temperatures in the low to mid 60s with wind - which is typical this time of year. Also, as I flew out on Tuesday, fog had rolled in, and of course if there's fog, forget the beaches.
With that said, if you are not going to the Bay Area for nudism, the beaches, landscape and surrounding areas are some of the most beautiful in the world. I had a great time despite the lack of nude beach sunning. The trip for me was worth it if nothing else than the hikes along the beaches and witnessing the spectacular beauty of nature.
For more info on these and other northern CA beaches, including reviews and directions, you can go here:
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