|Fort Ord Beach,
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Fort Ord Beach, California, 1999
Note: Clicking on the images will not display larger photos. Photos are actual size.
This isn't a report on some far-off resort, this report is on my favorite free beach. While Monterey County, California may have an anti-nudity ordinance, the State Parks fall under the jurisdiction of the California State Parks Department rangers, who have a more tolerant view towards individual freedoms.
Fort Ord Beach
The latest addition to the California Parks system was about 7 miles of beachfront; freed up when Fort Ord closed, and with it, the rifle ranges which faced the beach. (The dunes had formed the backstop to these ranges, but the beaches were in the defined 'safety zone', and thus not visited by any humans over the last sixty years or so.)
That provides local naturists with a unique site. A pristine, living beach with no immediate ready access for textile-bound humans, right on Monterey Bay. Approximately three miles of this area will eventually be part of the Marina Beach State Park. There is an effort being made to have this beach declared the first officially sanctioned nude beach in California, but that is going to be a long and slow process. In the meantime, local naturists are making their presence known. The access is by the south entrance to Marina Beach State Park, which is not much more than an improved footpath over the dunes.
Sky on Fort Ord Beach
Complete directions to the beach can be found at Fort Ord Dunes, as #28, written by yours truly and edited by Rich Pasco of the Bay Area Naturists organization. (For anywhere else in California, the same San Francisco Bay Gaurdian-maintained site provides the most comprehensive descriptions and directions to beaches and skinny-dipping sites in the state.)
From the parking area, the way in is a footpath, going straight up. It is as steep as it looks, but at the top, the view of Monterey Bay cannot be beat. The climb is worth the effort, for that alone. (Well, almost. <g>).
Once on the beach, make a left and walk for about a half a mile before shedding the trappings of civilization. Since this is pristine beach, there are *no* amenities, so bring everything with you (and pack it out, too). The sand is soft, so there's no need for shoes. Since the site is located at the eastern end of Monterey Bay, and backed by 100-200 foot sand dunes, there's not much wind on a sunny day. Despite the ocean, the area is best classified as semi-arid, so bring plenty of liquids to drink.
Unfortunately, the water temps vary from 50 - 65F (+10 to +18C), with the highest temps occurring during an El Nino event. The surf varies from rough to *very* rough. Only the strongest of swimmers should chance it. (Or the worst of damned fools. <g>) Air temps can be as low as 50F (10C) in the winter months (December to March), rarely getting above 75F (22C) in the summer.
However, for tan maintenance and solitude, it can't be beat. The length of the beach makes for great exercise.
Most days, the ocean provides plenty to see: pelicans, sea lions, seals, porpoise, and a variety of shore and sea-birds.
Gaucho on Fort Ord Beach
The solitude is enough to make me consider it as *MY* beach. <g> If you plan to be in the Monterey Bay area, drop me a line; I'll introduce you to the best view of the Bay in existence -- enroute to the best nude beach, of course!
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