Santa Cruz has always been known for its beautiful coastline, moderate climate, and its alternative community lifestyles. A few miles north of the city is a beach with coves protected by cliffs. Called Bonny Doon Beach, it has been a beloved destination for locals and tourists who want to lie sans clothing under the sun for zero tan lines. Yes, Bonny Doon Beach is a clothing-optional beach with plenty to offer.
Where Is Bonny Doon Beach Located?
Bonny Doon Beach is to the north of Santa Cruz, about 2 miles before you reach Davenport. It is located on the intersection of Highway 1 and the Bonny Doon Road. The beach is about 11 miles away from the city.
To get to the beach, you can drive up to Highway 1 and stop at the intersection of Bonny Doon Road. On the left side of the road, you will see the beach’s parking lot, where you can leave your car for free. A trail that leads to the beach is found across the railroad. The trail is steep but pretty safe to hike.
Important Things to Know
The beach is open to the public from 8am to sunset. There have been reports of car burglaries and after-hour assaults, so it’s highly recommended that visitors leave before it gets dark. It is also advisable that you don’t leave any valuable belongings inside your vehicle.
There are no facilities at the beach – no restrooms, no built shelters, and no vendors. You’d need to bring your own chairs, umbrellas, and food and drinks when you head there. The nearest businesses is in Davenport, which is 2 miles away.
The rules include no bringing of dogs (although some beach goers do bring their pets), no glass containers, no camping, and no alcohol. The beach is occasionally patrolled and you might get cited for violations of these rules.
The atmosphere is friendly, with a good mix of men and women, the elderly, and even families.
The beach is divided into separate coves due to the towering cliffs, which seem to embrace small parcels of private spaces for nudists. Visitors can pick a covered spot, take off their clothes, and enjoy the sun and sand without worrying about gawkers or other beach goers.
The beach is also protected from strong gusts of wind, making it the perfect spot for a picnic.
Swimming is not advisable at Bonny Doon since the waters can be dangerous with strong rip currents.
Bonny Doon Beach is not an official nude beach but there is no law that prevents it. The natural formations of rocks and cliffs on the beach create the perfect atmosphere for nude sunbathing, making it a favored spot for many who love to don their birthday suits while enjoying the outdoors and nature.
Each year, a popular gathering of like-minded nudists is celebrated every New Year’s Day.
On any given weekend during the summer and spring seasons, about 50 nude sunbathers can be found at the beach. Technically, the clothing-optional portion of the beach is the secluded northern end, where the coves are found.