Nestled between Davenport and Santa Cruz and enveloped by towering seaside cliffs lies the beautiful Bonny Doon Beach. This gem of nature is a well-loved spot for beachgoers seeking a serene and unspoiled coastal oasis. The beach’s unique charm and distinctive features make it a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.
1. Introduction to Bonny Doon Beach
Bonny Doon Beach is a picturesque destination, celebrated for its stunning views, natural beauty, and unique features. Its geographical location makes it one of the most sought-after beaches in Santa Cruz, California. The beach boasts of a coastline adorned with unique rock formations and a breathtaking natural cove.
1.1. Unique Features
The beach’s unique allure is accentuated by the presence of Liddell Creek, a stream that gracefully flows through a tunnel in the rock wall and onto the beach before making its way to the vast ocean. The creek is also responsible for creating a delightful little pond of vegetation on the beach, adding to its overall natural beauty.
1.2. Privacy and Freedom
The beach is divided by rock formations into different sections, offering privacy to visitors. One of the most distinctive features of Bonny Doon Beach is its status as a clothing-optional beach. This allows visitors to sunbathe in the nude, providing a sense of freedom and relaxation.
2. How to Get to Bonny Doon Beach
Bonny Doon Beach is quite accessible and can be reached via a 10-minute drive out of Santa Cruz. The parking is located off of Highway 1, just across from Bonny Doon Road. From the parking lot, a short walk across the railroad track will bring you to the beach.
From Santa Cruz, follow Highway 1 north for approximately 12 miles. The beach parking lot is directly across from the turnoff to Bonny Doon Road. However, please be advised not to leave any valuables visible in your car, as break-ins have been reported at this location.
For those who prefer public transportation, bus routes 40 and 42 have a stop nearby, making it even more accessible for visitors.
3. Exploring Bonny Doon Beach
Once at the beach, visitors can choose to go left for an easy walk down or take a right for a more adventurous climb. The beach is a fantastic location to catch a classic California sunset, making it a preferred spot for photographers and nature lovers.
3.1. Hiking Opportunities
For the more adventurous, there are old double-track farm trails on the bluffs both north and south of the beach. The northern trail leads to the picturesque Shark Fin Cove, while the southern trail offers stunning views of Panther Beach and Hole in the Wall.
3.2. Potential Future Developments
There’s a possibility that the beach might soon be rechristened as Bonny Doon State Beach, a future California State Park, as part of the Coast Dairies Ranch property acquisition. This expected development could potentially improve the beach’s reputation and attract a wider audience.
4. Safety Considerations
While Bonny Doon Beach is undoubtedly a paradise for nature lovers, it’s crucial to exercise caution. The beach’s rocky cliffs pose a potential risk, as rocks may occasionally break loose and fall onto the beach. It’s advisable to avoid laying your towels within 15 yards of the cliff face in the northern part of the beach.
Swimming at Bonny Doon Beach can also be risky due to the presence of rip currents. Therefore, it’s essential to be cautious if you plan on taking a dip in the water.
5. Legal Considerations
Bonny Doon Beach is considered a clothing-optional beach, offering a unique experience for beachgoers. However, it’s critical to understand and abide by the law as public nudity can have legal repercussions. Therefore, before deciding to bare it all, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations.
6. Prohibited Activities
To maintain the pristine condition of the beach and ensure a pleasant experience for all visitors, certain activities are prohibited at Bonny Doon Beach. These include dogs, glass, fires, alcohol, camping, horses, and vehicles.
7. Operating Hours
The beach is open from sunrise until sunset, while the parking lot operates from 10 pm to 6 am.
8. Nearby Attractions
Bonny Doon Beach is surrounded by a number of other stunning beaches and attractions within a 5 km radius. Some of these include Panther Beach, Wilder Ranch State Park, and Greyhound Rock. The village of Davenport, located about two miles north, offers the nearest businesses and amenities.
9. Reviews and Ratings
Bonny Doon Beach is highly rated by visitors for its serene atmosphere, stunning views, and unique features. It has been ranked 69 out of 385 in the California region, with an overall score of 7.8 out of 10.
Bonny Doon Beach offers a unique blend of natural beauty, privacy, and freedom, making it a must-visit destination for those visiting Santa Cruz, California. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful spot to unwind, Bonny Doon Beach has something to offer everyone.
Remember to abide by the beach’s rules and regulations, respect other visitors, and most importantly, enjoy the stunning beauty that Bonny Doon Beach has to offer.