Summer has no uniform. You can wear whatever you want, from flip-flops and tank tops to absolutely nothing at all at Santa Cruz’s nude beaches.

Of course, if you’re going to dive into California’s time-honored tradition of public nudity, you should know what you’re doing. Beginners take note, because skinny dipping, nude sunbathing and naked Frisbee is not easy as it appears. First tip: use plenty of sunscreen. Second tip: use a little more sunscreen. Third tip: exercise your right to bare skin carefully and with respect for others by stripping down only at one of the starter-list nude beaches below.

This guide lists some of the best nude beaches in Santa Cruz County. We give ratings of “A” to places that are large or long-established and where the crowd is mostly nude, “B” to ones where fewer than half of the users are nude, “C” to small or emerging nude areas and “D” to spots we don’t recommend.