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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Name Drop Alert: On Sunday I went to brunch with my mom at the St. Regis in Orange County (somewhere).  The maitre de tried to sit us at a table I didn’t like so I requested one I did.  Kudos for him for doing it without making too much of a fuss.  It was only after removing the “Reserved” sign that I figured out it was meant for someone else…that someone being Magic Johnson and family.  So not only did I steal his table but I got to stuff my face with bespoke pancakes (mine had nuts and sprinkles) 6 feet away from him the whole time.

Back to the beach….

I was very much looking forward to Black’s Beach as it is not only legally clothing optional but it’s one of the most well known nude beaches in the country.  It even has its own page.  The directions in the Nude Beach Biblewere a little sparse, so I did my own digging and found this one.  For the most part it’s right on…up to the actual trail portion.  From what I saw, once you park…all roads lead to Black’s. 

You guys have every right to hate me, because once again I failed to take photos.  But you will love me for this one little bit of info: go to the bathroom before you go.  In fact, don’t go ANYWHERE NEAR the port-o-potties they have set up.  I won’t even describe what I saw…I trust that alone will explain things. 

Anywhoo, this hike down to the beach was far less alarming than that of San Onofre. There were actual steps, and the fact that I followed a toddler down should alieve any worry you may have about it.  That said, it isn’t by any means short at all. You will still get the vertigo thing happening if you dare to look beyond the steps in front of you, so tread carefully.

Once I was down on the beach, it was hard to figure out where the “nude section” was because there was such a broad mix of clothed and non clothed people.  If I had to guess I’d say 60/50 in favor of nudists.  Not wanting to be too much in the spotlight I turned right and walked about 50-100 yards and set up camp in an empty space.  This being Labor Day, there were few and far between.  Yes, it was damn crowded!  

As it turns out I picked the perfect spot because I was right below the hang glide base.  My favorite thing about this beach, and one that will keep me coming back despite easily being an hour past San Onofre and having no bathrooms at all, is that I got to lie back and watch the colorful hang gliders go by.  Most beaches, period, are rather dull, even when you have a variety of naked bodies to ogle.  But mix lovely weather, a great playlist on your ipod, a delicious gala apple, and the lazy prettiness of watching colorful parachutes glide in the sky and you have yourself a winner of a beach.  Of course this was Labor day so there were probably more nude bodies and hang gliders than usual, but it’s worth a go anyway.

I wasn’t approached by anyone, but I did manage to attract a nice little circle of men around me.  That was fine as they were all nude.  More men should really get up the nerve to talk to women, if only to say hi.  It gets boring sitting alone.  Of course one pulled out his cell phone so I glared at him and gave him my ass.  Again, come on guys!

The water here is fine, chilly like all water along the California coast.  Beware! The fact that the bathroom facilities are not only lacking, but a long hike up gives people only one other option.  Don’t hate!  When you gotta go, you gotta go, and it’s a big ocean.  Don’t worry…mine was only first class and I was well away from anyone else.  Can’t speak for others though, and there are a lot of people, so don’t be surprised to find a floater or two.  The sand is fine and free of rocks, sticks, and other things that might hurt your soles.  It gets really hot though so be careful. 

There are the same oglers you’d find at any “optional” beach, they just blend in better here because there is so much to look at.  There are also children, which is rare for the states.  None were nude of course (heaven forbid we lose that good old American puritanical spirit) but they happily played and frolicked with their perfectly nude parents.  That was refreshing. 

By mid afternoon I needed to call it a day.  I was nicely tan, out of apples, hot, sandy, and more importantly wanted to miss the I-5 traffic, which is a total bitch; Everyone loves California…sigh.  The hike back up the stairs was a pain in the butt…and thighs.  It’s long and if you are in the same shape as me (note: I do interval training 3 times a week and lift weights), you’ll need breaks.  Why do all the US nude beaches involved mountain climbing?

Black’s Beach pros:

  • Hang gliders to watch
  • Lots of people, including kids
  • Legal
  • Good sand

Black’s Beach Cons

  • Bathroom facilities
  • Questionable water
  • Lots of people, including kids
  • Taking I-5 to get there
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Yes, it has been a while since posting.  But the next few months will be a whirlwind of travel and nude beaches!  Stay tuned.  Apparently some of my anonymity has gone by the wayside…so be it!  Everyone I know knows I love nude beaches and in the spirit of promoting it as a perfectly healthy, innocuous, family friendly activity that has no right being shunned or prohibited feel free to figure out my real name and put a face to the blog.   Blargh!

Anyhoo, this past week I went back home to sunny California.  There were some disappointments and some happy revelations.  Since most of my friends are not all that into nude sun bathing (go figure!) I didn’t get to hang out with many of them.  Also, the best cupcake shop on earth has closed for business (damn you economy!).

But we all know what you came here for, right?  Originally my plan was to go to all the nude beaches along the California Coast.  But when I got there, the joy at being with family and friends, and, frankly, relaxing the way one should while on vacation got the better of me and I decided to make it a half trip instead.

My first stop right after landing was San Onofre in San Diego county.  The entire impetus for this trip was San Onofre, which news reports had mentioned would be going “officially” textile after Labor Day 2009.  Not wanting to have missed out on the fun I decided to join the last hurrah. 

Practical Info: The World’s Best Nude Beaches and Resorts  (a must have for the traveling nudist) has the directions down right.  Take the 5 and exit on San Onofre/Basilone.  Here’s the thing: just keep going.  If you are driving south on the 5, turn right and go, go, go until you hit the park entrance.  I made the mistake of turning oon one of the side streets because, HELLO!, no signs.  Don’t do that.  Just go straight for a (long) while and you’ll get there.  Then once in the park drive, drive, drive until you hit the very last parking lot.  Trail 6 down to the beach will be there.

The funny thing is, there are at least two signs at the front entrance “strictly prohibiting” nudity.  Of course once I actually made it down to the beach there had to be at least 200 naked people in the “nude section,” the south part of the beach..ha, ha, ha.  Of course, after Labor Day, who knows…but a regular told me they always threaten to start ticketing and nudists still keep coming as usual.  As of September 2009 the entry fee was $15.  This seems to be a recent price hike since the guy after me was bitching about it.  I guess they need to fund the anti-nudity Gestapo that will be going around ticketing people for showing off what Mother Nature gave us.  Sigh!

As stated, trail 6 is the one you want to take down to the beach, as it’s the nearest trail to the nude section.   There are two ways to get down to the beach: the long road, which takes longer or the short cut which may very well break your neck.  You’ll see the shortcut well enough, mostly because veterans will be hiking down it carrying everything from surfboards to coolers, the same way high wire acts manage to juggle balls while walking the tightrope.  But seriously, if you get vertigo, have a fear of heights, have a fear of falling, have on flimsy shoes, or just generally value the one-piecedness of your bones and body…do yourself a favor and take the long road.  Yes it will add 20 minutes to your total walk, but you’ll be happy about it later.  I made the mistake of taking the shortcut only to find out too late that it was not at all safety-friendly and ended up scooting down on my ass much to the amusement of fellow beach goers. Once down on the beach, turn left and (hopefully, if the protests don’t fall on deaf ears) you’ll see plenty of happy nudists enjoying the beach.  There is a goodish mix…all adults.  Mostly men, but enough women to balance it out. The usual dense crowd of gay men, seconded only by solo men (who may or may not be gay).  A fair number of hetero couples and female groups as well.  As usual, I was the only single female I saw.

The south part of the beach pretty much goes on nude forever…even into the military section beyond the flimsy chain link fence.  I’m not advocating going past the fence (or violating the “law” by going nude after Labor Day), but you should know that there are several gaps in it, and plenty of nude sun bathers beyond it.  Your choice!

I found myself a pretty little spot away from the cliques (I hate nudist cliques) but near enough to be noticed (any nudists who says they don’t have at least some exhibitionism in them are lying).  I stripped and laid back to enjoy the sun.  Around the same time I realized I’d ignored the number 1 rule of nude sun bathing. BRING WATER! (seriously!), an Italian gentleman walked by and introduced himself.  He had a bottle of water so I happily welcomed his company.  I agreed to move over to his umbrella on the promise that I could have some of his water, which turned out to be warm but I didn’t care.  It pays to be a female nudist :).

The beach itself is nice enough…especially since SoCal weather is rarely a disappointment.  According to my friend the rocks that were piled on the sand were a recent event.  I loved the look of them so grabbed some to have their own bottle in my collection. There are also a lot of sticks and things in the sand, making it not so nice to walk on barefoot. But when you get to the water you notice a lot of gold flecks in the sand.  Not enough to go panning or anything, but enough to make it a spectacular change from the average beach!

Unfortunately I forgot to snap my usual photos.  I should have at least taken one of the trail so you would see I’m not some big sissy, but I was too busy trying to keep my neck from breaking! And on the beach, well, decorum dictates that cameras are a no-no.  That didn’t stop the Italian and I from snapping each other.  Thankfully it was all my camera because he came out looking like some Adonis (seriously…Italians are all blessed, if you know what I mean) while I came out looking like a beached whale…a tan beached whale, but a whale all the same.  Sigh!  Naturally those photos have been deleted thank you very much. The good news is, nudists are so forgiving of flaws! 

The rest of the day is a blur….meaning none of your damn business.  Then I headed home to spend time with mom.

San Onofre Pros:

  • Large nudist population, at least pre-ban
  • Lovely California weather
  • Gold flakes in the sand near water, worth that alone
  • Public restrooms (before the hike down to the water though)

San Onofre Cons:

  • Fee to enter park
  • Legality of nudism an issue
  • Long hike down to the beach
  • Sand full of rocks and sticks

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Since Mother Nature had chosen to nip my California Nude Beach Road Trip in the bud over Christmas break, I was left wandering around LA in a rental car. Although I couldn’t go nude, there was no reason I couldn’t still visit the beach….and collect another bottle of sand.

Having been born and raised in LA, and, more importantly, spent a vast amount of time in summer and after-school daycare, I have a long history with the local beaches. They are cheap, easy entertainment for groups of dual income offspring.

Since I was residing in the San Bernadino valley a trip to the beach was a bit of a drive, something I didn’t want to do more than one day, so I had to pick one and stick with it. That narrowed it down to Santa Monica, with it’s infamous pier or Venice Beach, home to all things wacky.

Looking at a map cleared things up. They are practically right next to each other! A difference of only about 2 miles. Save that one for future reference dear readers.

So I hopped in my little subcompact and headed west, waiting until long after rush hour was over. I was hoping to find some fortuitous street parking but ended up in the far right lane going South which takes you directly to the Santa Monica parking lot…not exceptions. So I was out $7.

I headed straight for the beach once I got there and just sat and watched the birds and families play. It was chilly but not terribly cold, and a bit of walking later on took care of that. I didn’t even need my coat.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

 

Here’s a panoramic video:

Then I walked up on the pier and had a looksee. It was all as kitschy as I remembered from grade school.

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

In retrospect it would have been fun to take the Ferris Wheel, but I was a little put out at having spent $7 already for parking so I passed.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get to Venice so I decided to begin walking there and focus on the Santa Monica Pier more when I got back.

Playground

Playground

There is a bike path and a walking path most of the way there. Lucky is the person who lives close enough to get that type of exercise on a daily basis.

Bike Path

Bike Path

Walking from Santa Monica to Venice beach took me about 20 minutes at a moderate pace….totally doable for the average person.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Whereas Santa Monica Pier is more like Staten Island, Venice Beach is more like Woodstock. Both are fascinating and worth visiting if you are ever in LA, but each certainly appeals to a different crowd.

Venice is like a living breathing curio shop where you will find find things that make you laugh, cringe, roll your eyes, and drop your jaw. I’ll let the photos do the talking:

Healer

Healer

Cheap!

Cheap!

Sand Sculpture

Sand Sculpture

Only in Venice

Glass Walker cleaning up after the show

Glass Walker cleaning up after the show

Your Name on Rice!

Your Name on Rice!

Say Cheesy!

Say Cheesy!

Painted Skulls

Painted Skulls

Potman!

Potman!

Speaking of which, if you are planning on bringing the kiddies along and your morals match those of the average (uptight) American it should be noted that there is sometimes quite a heavy focus on marijuana along the walk. God bless California for getting with the program and legalizing it already (for “medical use” anyway).

Bongs!

Bongs!

Some were more brazen about it than others. One man simply walked up and down the path holding a sign reading: Help me Get Pot.

he turned at the last second...no need to alert the jerks in the DEA

But there is more than just kitchy art and drug paraphernalia on Venice. It’s also home to the famous Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzenegger (I refuse to call him the governator) used to work out.

Muscle Beach

Muscle Beach

Sign

Sign

There are little shows as well:

Frozen Man:

Piano Playing dog:

One thing I never noted when I was a kid, so perhaps it’s new, is the artwork on the buildings and benches.

Benches

Benches

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom Upclose

Bathroom Upclose

I decided to get my bottle of sand at the midway point between the two places.  No since wasting bottles on sand that was most likely exactly the same and didn’t involve any nude sunbathing.  Besides, it wasn’t my first trip here…but it was fun to reminisce.

By the time I made my way back to Santa Monica I was too pooped to explore further. Plus I was hungry….so off to In & Out I went!

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I’m a SoCal gal.  Meaning I hail from California.  Each year I go back for Christmas since I get at least a week off.  I like going back.  This is mostly because Houston gets damn cold in the winter. And I don’t want to hear it from you New Englanders and Midwesterners.  50 degrees is damn cold!

So I’m quite used to packing t-shirts and tank tops and shorts and perhaps the one pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and fully enjoying the warm sunny sunshine. Now it looks as though the reverse is true.  Apparently a rare 50 year Arctic Blast has hit my home state.  The irony is, the next few days here in Houston will be in the balmy 70s.  This after getting my first patch of snow last week.

This normally wouldn’t bother me, even though my mom has this thing about turning up the thermostat but apparently doesn’t have this thing about buying down comforters (a lessen I learned myself here in Houston the hard way early on).  However, I had this whole long trip planned down and up the PCH to the amazing array of nude beaches along the coast.  Blacks, Pfiefer, Red, White & Blue, etc….  And now those plans have been thwarted; because I love being nude on a beach as much as the next person, but even my nipples have their breaking point.  You might have wondered why I’d even plan such a thing in winter anyway.  But  that’s the beauty of not having seasons!!  It never ever changes.  That’s why so many people want to live there. 

So now I have to figure out what to do with my rental car for 2 weeks in LA.  What would you do with 100% free time, a rental car,  and limitless options in Cali?

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