San Onore Trail #6
San Onofre, a surfers paradise, was the closest nude beach to Los Angeles and Orange County. In the last few years some over-zealous rangers decided this remote beach shouldn’t be nude and began a crack-down on nudists. It’s been in and out of the courts, with most citations dismissed, but it’s been enough of a hassle that the formerly crowded nude beach area is now virtually deserted. There are still lots of nudists on the beach, but they have to be much more aware of rangers, or patrols from Camp Pendleton marine base. One could wonder why a state desperate for money waged a lengthy legal battle with nudists looking for some peace and relaxation – subsequently driving down revenues from park admissions – but that’s another subject
It takes some work to get to San Onofre trail 6 nude beach, but it’s a beautiful place once you do. Surfers come here all year long for the great waves. Some are very good. Some are just beginning. They’re all having fun.
The nude area now starts south of the chain link fence which separates the state park from Camp Pendleton marine base. Closer to the fence are surfers and couples. Further down the beach is mostly gay. There are lots of rocks, and costal scrub brush, with areas of sand. If you’re looking for a big social beach, this isn’t it. But if you’re willing to deal with the possibility of eviction by marines – it’s still a great place.
A few years ago some big storms messed up the area right by the water and there are now millions of small rocks. You can get over them without much difficulty, but they make it impossible to enjoy a walk along the shore unless the tide is really low.. Some people like to bring beach sandals or water shoes to walk across the rocks. You can leave them on the rocks when you go for your swim. Some people wear tennis shoes and socks and nothing else. Don’t do this. It’s just weird.
Camping at San Onofre
Although you can't officially camp nude at San Onofre, it is nice to camp and take a short walk down to the nude beach area. More on camping at San Onofre can be found at this link.
What to Bring
There’s no shade so if it’s a hot day – you’ll need an umbrella. The sand is soft, but most people bring a small beach chair. Alcohol is prohibited, but an ice chest with some waters, iced tea or lemonade makes your day more enjoyable. And of course a few sandwiches, some chips, etc. Very few people bring radios – and those who do – find they’re not appreciated. It’s a friendly, relaxed, back to nature feeling. If you want music, bring your ipod, but don’t force everyone else to be part of your musical tastes.
Directions to San Onofre
San Onofre State Beach is located just north of Camp Pendleton and just south of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant. From Interstate 5, exit at Basilone Road. Approaching from the south, that's past call box 5-710. Turn west. The road will curve left, continue south on the access road. You will have to pay $15 at the toll booth for day use. Follow the road to the south end of the beach, nearly three miles, and park near Trail 6. Parking is used to scarce in the summer, but with the ranger hassles, parking spaces are available almost anytime. You might want to use the bathroom before going further, since there are none at the beach.
Follow the trail to the beach. You will bear left and then turn right down a steep incline that often has a deep rut. That is the only obstacle to using a wagon or cart. When you reach the beach, head south, a left turn. A little beyond the last lifeguard tower is a wash, and a few hundred yards past that is the fence where the nude section starts