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Issue 16.6 : Featured Article
Free To Be: North America's Best Gay Nude Beaches

Free To Be: North America's Best Gay Nude Beaches


Gay nude beaches and cruising spots located on public land are becoming increasingly rare. This month Starmie Azelf checks out some of the best remaining examples.



Throughout the past decade, many of North America's long established nude beaches and gay cruising grounds have come under fire from politicians, law enforcement, and the wealthy residents of newly gentrified neighborhoods. In an era when government policy is often bought and sold, the days may be numbered for public spaces that allow nudity and tolerate discreet gay cruising – so this month we'll take a look at a few of the best. Experience them now, since they may not last forever.

Wreck Beach in Vancouver, B.C.
North America's largest nude beach is Wreck Beach in Vancouver, B.C., a 7km stretch of secluded sand that has been clothing optional for decades. Numerous public transit lines can get you to Trail 6 near the University of British Columbia, which is where you will leave the familiar city behind and begin a 10-minute, 400+ step descent along a trail that weaves through lush forest. As you follow the trail, you definitely have the sense of entering a different world.  Since 1981, the Wreck Beach Preservation Society has worked to preserve Wreck Beach and has served as its ambassador. On a sunny Summer weekend, you may find hundreds of people at Wreck Beach, including a diverse mix of genders, ages, and persuasions. In addition to the naturist aspect, you're apt to see graffiti art, drum circles, and people playing guitars – as well as folks openly selling alcoholic beverages, pot brownies, chocolate covered mushrooms, and even ecstasy.


Trail to Wreck Beach in Vancouver, B.C.©AndrewMcLellan (wiki.ubc.ca)

There's a gay area near the rock breakwater, at the left end of the beach (as you are facing the water.) In addition, there are trails leading to a gay cruising area. They start at the main beach. Just go left at the bottom of the stairs and then hike for about a quarter mile. When you start seeing cocks and naked men, you've arrived. It's wisest to do your cruising in loose shorts, a t-shirt, and hiking boots since police do patrol the area. Use your head and be discreet. Cops aren't typically going to crawl through underbrush to look for gay cruising activity. But if they find you butt-fucking right in the middle of the main trail, they're obligated to enforce the rules.


Wreck Beach in Vancouver, B.C. ©Xicotencatl (commons.wikimedia.org)

Baker Beach in San Francisco, CA
Located just before the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach is frequented by nude sunbathers and attracts a mixed crowd. The North side of the beach is the gay area, and there are cruising trails in the woodsy areas above the beach. Here's a video showing some scenes from a day at Baker Beach. The main part of the beach has a pansexual, hipster/hippy vibe and you're likely to see people smoking pot and drinking, guys strutting their stuff, etc.


Trail to Baker Beach in San Fransisco, CA. ©Colin Fahrion (flickr.com/photos/headlouse/)

Much like Wreck Beach, there's a low-key, Burning Man vibe. In this case, however, there's a good reason for it. From 1986 to 1990, the North section of Baker Beach served as the original site for the Burning Man Festival. But after park police refused to let them ignite the burning man in 1990 due to bonfire regulations, the event was moved to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.


Baker Beach in San Fransisco, CA. ©PhantomEntity (commons.wikimedia.org)

Black's Beach In San Diego, Ca.
Black's beach has become one of the world's best known nude beaches. This beautiful beach stretches 2 miles and is located at the base of 300-foot cliffs. Clothing optional activity has been happening here since the 1970's, and today the beach can attract thousands of beach-goers during busy weekends. There's a popular gay area of Black's Beach which you can find by heading down Indian Trail, which is half a mile south of Burro Trail. You can find more detailed directions and links to aerial photographs on About.com's gay travel pages.

MORE RESOURCES
Looking for other gay beaches in North America? You'll find a recent list at Tips-For-The-Beach.com. Wondering why Fire Island didn’t make our list? That's because nudity is now banned on all of  Fire Island's public beaches.

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