Bonny Doon Beach


by L. Clark Tate

At first glance the well-kept parking lot on the west side of Highway 1 across from Bonny Doon Road seems misplaced. A quick hike up the pebbled trail on the north end of the lot reveals its purpose: the hidden gem that is Bonny Doon Beach. From there it’s all downhill to paradise—with or without your swimming costume. (Yep, part of this stunning beach is clothing-optional.) Read more

LEGALITIES It’s your responsibility to know and abide by the law. Public nudity is one of those less-than-transparent legal issues and can have serious consequences (like big, swinging fines), so make sure to check out the law and your rights before baring all.

OUR ADVICE? Go, but en masse. Bring a posse of your most open-minded, respectful friends and set the tone for your visit via pure positivity. Be prepared. Be respectful. Beware of sunburn. Ladies, it’s not advisable to venture here on your own, but if you do, make sure you go in the bright light of midday and hightail it come dusk.

NO dogs, glass, fires, alcohol, camping, horses, or vehicles allowed.

CLOSED Sunset to 8am (10pm to 6am for the parking lot). Car break-ins here are reported widely on the web, so it would be wise to follow the rules. Lock valuables in the trunk.

AMENITIES Trash cans but no toilet, so go before you, well, go.

From Santa Cruz, follow Highway 1 north for 12 miles. The beach parking lot is directly across from the turnoff to Bonny Doon Road.

Hwy 1 N Santa Cruz, CA 95067.

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