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The Bates Story:
Tradition 1950-2000
Bates Today
How it Will Work
Local Support

The Law:
Nuditys Laws in California
Beach Etiquette
Recent Developments
1972 Smith Case
1979 The Cahill Policy
1988 Bost Case
1988 The Harrison Policy
19879 Pryor Case
2006 Baca Letter

For First-Timers:
Nudism: The Basics
Beach Etiquette
Nudist Vocabulary

1. Bates Remains Under-Used and Considered Unsafe by the Locals

Compare Photos: Bates Beach June 1999 (left), and June 17, 2010 (right.)
Beach should be thriving with summer crowds, but it is deserted. Nobody uses it (except for dog running).

In 2001, Sheriff Deputy Darren Farthingham, who was a patrol officer at the beach in the mid-1990's, told us on several occasions, “I never had a problem with the nudists. My problem was with others who were attracted to the beach.” He was certain if the nudists left, the "bad element" would also leave, and the general public would come in because they had been afraid to use the beach when the nudists were there.

Read about our Beach Ambassador Program that will answer Farthingham's objections.

But Farthingham missed the obvious: the people intent on lewd behavior are STILL at the beach, whether or not the nudists are around. These creepy people exist everywhere: at every other beach, at our playgrounds, in shopping malls, in our churches and in our schools. It is unfair to classify nude beaches as a "pervert magnet" because all you have to do is look at the Megan’s Law database to see they are everywhere in every community.

After a decade of crime and trash, it is obvious that removing the nudists did not solve the problem but made it worse. The county now has parked a security trailer in the parking lot to handle the increased incidents of drug use, lewd conduct, and even prostitution going on here. During the summer of 2009 we noticed the first evidence of gang graffiti on some of the buildings.

Conclusion: Farthingham was wrong.

In 2000, the nudists were forced off Bates Beach and scattered to other beaches, hot springs, and more remote areas of the County. We have given the County several years to see if the bathing suited crowd would take over our section of beach but they haven’t. It's time the nudists were allowed to come back!

Gang Graffiti is starting to appear on the concrete barriers on and around the beach. Photos taken July 3, 2010.

2. Security Trailer

The lack of a population at the beach means those who do come are more vulnerable to car break-ins and sexual assaults, both of which have risen dramatically these past few years. Word of mouth spread that the beach was unsafe, and many people stopped going there. In response, the county invested a great deal of money to upgrade the picnic area above the beach with new benches and sidewalks.

When we visit Bates beach today, we observe this picnic area is rarely in use. When people do come down to the sand they rarely venture north beyond the safety of the ramp area. Except to run their dogs (see photos below.)

In 2009, a new “camouflaged” trailer was placed in the parking lot by the County Parks Department to act as a base of operations. New swing gates are installed at the parking lot entrance with beach hours now restricted from sunrise to sunset. A pair of security guards live in the trailer from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, reporting illegal activity they see. They don't see much. Crime statistics have hardly changed in the past 2 years. The problem is lack of people on the beach to deter criminals from the privacy they crave.

3. Regarding the Dogs and Horses

Beachgoers and people who live at the Point are being allowed to run their dogs without a leash, in violation of the county ordinance. Come down any day to see and smell the dog excrement littering the sand. We have complained to deputies about the leash law, but this does not seem to be a priority. Even the security guards who live in the trailer let their dog run free on the beach!

All dog photos taken Saturday, July 18, 2009, from 11 am to 2 pm. Horses were on beach at 1 pm July 26, 2009. This is just a representative sample - we took over 30 pictures!. We want to assure you, we have nothing against dogs. We love dogs. Our point is that here is an example of a county law health and safety that is not being enforced on that beach, apparently by choice.

Nudists want the same rights as the dogs and horses!
(And we promise not to pee or defecate on the sand!)


It is still a violation of a Santa Barbara County ordinance to go nude anywhere in Santa Barbara County.) This ordinance is rarly (and selectively) enforced, usually just upon complaint. However, those wishing to go top-free or nude at Bates Beach should exercise caution, common sense, and only remove your bathing suit at your own risk. Your best bet is to walk way down to the end past the concrete barrier, because that area is rarely used.

The good news is most of the locals no longer seem to care about our state of dress (especially if you are friendly to their dogs) as long as we aren't parading ourselves in from of their kids walking to or from the water. While locals on their daily walks up and down the beach may give you an "evil eye," few ever complain to the police.

We also hear a few people have retaliated by wearing minimal brown or orange-colored suits so they look nude from the cliffs and the police get to walk down for nothing. By the way, "pasties" are legally okay. As long as the nipples and areola are covered (bandaids will work also, and the vagina/penis area is covered, you are considered "legal". The things people will do to frustrate those pesky deputies!

Note: There is a new "Nudity Prohibited" sign on the ramp from the parking lot to the sand (see photo) replacing the one that was pulled out of the ground and "disappeared" a year ago. We have observed that sometimes a paper bag is over the sign but that does not invalidate the ordinance.


Always be polite to the officer and admit to nothing. We want to hear from you as many cases get dismissed because they charged you incorrectly. The deputies count on you being intimidated by the experience, and admitting you were nude or complaining about your first amendment rights. That is all they need to write the ticket, so admit to nothing! They want to intimidate you into just paying the fine and never coming back. If they ask for your identification you are required by law to show it, so don't leave your wallet in the car or else they will escort you off the beach (and tell you not to come back). Contact us by email immediately if you get a ticket, or see police activity on the beach, so we can contact our legal team. You might have a case. People beat these tickets all the time.

All photos and text (C) Copyright 2011-2014 Southern California Naturist Association, Calabasas California. All Rights Reserved.

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