Highlights: This popular nude beach, accessible via a steep trail, is a quarter-mile curve of sandy shore tucked into a wind-protected cove between Muir and Stinson. Regarded as the friendliest Bay Area nude beach crowd, regulars are often playing ultimate Frisbee and naked Scrabble. This is a social place and can be crowded on weekends. In winter, the sand washes out and the shore becomes rocky.
Parking: Two small parking lots (one on each side of the road)
Dogs: Not permitted
Facilities: None (nearest restrooms are at Stinson Beach)
Directions: From Mill Valley, follow the signs to Stinson Beach, heading north on Highway One. The beach is just north of milee marker 11 and the entrance to the Steep Ravine Environmental Campground.
Highlights: Three-and-a-half miles of white sandy shore and crashing waves make this spot popular with surfers and tourists year-round. A nearby small beach town and picnic area attract large groups looking to spend a day at the beach. On warm days, get there early — traffic builds up thick and quick. Whale-watching is big here January through March. Lifeguards are on duty May through October.
Parking: Free parking lots on the southern end
Dogs: Permitted on the stretch called Upton’s Beach but not on the National Park Service section of the beach
Facilities: 51-acre park adjacent to beach offers more than 100 picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms, showers, kayak and boogie board rentals
Food: Snack bar; restaurants in nearby beach town include Surfers Grill and Parkside Cafe
Directions: From Highway 101, exit Highway One/Stinson Beach. At the stoplight, turn left. Continue straight on Highway One about 12 miles to Stinson Beach.