North Rincon Beach (locally known as Bates Beach, named for the access from Bates Rd.) is at the southern tip of Santa Barbara County, just north of Rincon Point.

The beach was once a safe, family-friendly environment that attracted several hundred people on summer weekends. On the convenient southern end, people came to exercise their dogs and watch the world-class surfers practice their skills. The more remote northern end served many people who enjoyed a clothing-optional beach experience. These traditional uses of the beach served the public well for over 40 years.

Beach tourists ate at local restaurants, stayed in local hotels, and brought an estimated half-million dollars into the local Carpinteria economy. A cooperative attitude worked well for the local community and allowed law enforcement officials to focus on significant incidents.

In 2000, a few homeowners at Rincon Point pressed the local sheriff to chase away the nudists from the northern end of the beach, hoping more clothed beach-goers would take their place. But instead, the eviction caused a significant decrease in the number of beach-goers at Bates, providing an opening for drug dealers and others who took advantage of the now-empty stretch of sand for their illegal activities.

People considered that part of the beach so unsafe that in 2009, a security trailer was placed in the parking lot to combat an increase in gangs, drug use and lewd activity along the railroad track above the beach.


Seeing these disturbing trends compelled some local residents and former beachgoers to organize the Friends of Bates Beach (FOBB) in 2008. It affiliated with the Southern California Naturist Association (SCNA) at the same time in order to tap into its volunteers and financial resources.

When Do We Meet?

FOBB meets every third Tuesday of the month, March through October, to discuss beach issues and to provide training when necessary. See our schedule on this page.

Beach Ambassador Program

FOBB established the Beach Ambassador program to patrol the beach beyond the limited resources of the county parks and sheriff departments. Learn more about the FOBB Beach Ambassadors.

Beach Cleanup

We need to keep the beach clean! FOBB runs a monthly cleanup program during the summer, distributing bags to beachgoers and reminding them to pick up after their pets.

Each September, FOBB coordinates the annual California Beach Clean-up Day at Bates. Read more about the FOBB Beach Cleanup Program.

Rincon Trail and Bus Line Extension

In 2010, the city of Carpinteria began actively planning an extension of the California Coastal Trail past Bates Beach. We immediately realized the potential for the trail to bring more hikers and bikers to Bates Beach. We also advocate for the MTA to extend its bus line to the beach. Here is more about the Rincon Trail and MTA plans.

Clothing-Optional Designated Area

FOBB supports the designation of a clothing-optional section of the seldom-used northern half of Bates Beach. This will require amending the county’s out-of-date 1977 nudity ordinance. Read our proposal to the county.