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The Bates Story:
Background to 2000
Bates Beach Today
Our Solution
Local Support
Reply to Objections

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


We believe that ALL beach users should have fair use access to California's beaches. We feel nude or clothing optional recreation is a valid recreation, that helps the county better serve the diverse recreational interests of the public. Those who enjoy it should be allowed to do so.

Use the menu at left to view other pages in this section of our web site, where we will explain why this is idea benefits the beach and the city of Carpinteria nearby from both a financial and law enforcement point of view. We also examine what the laws are in California and in specific municipalities nearby. We also cite several recent court cases that makes the 1977 Santa Barbara ordinance out of date. We also discuss the impact of other nude beaches and hot springs and show how they bring law-abiding tourists and revenue to their local communities.

Our attorneys believe the existing Santa Barbara county nudity ordinance is out of date. Passed in 1977 before several important court rulings supporting nude activity in appropriate settings (Prior v Municipal Court 1979, CA v. Bost 1988, etc.) we believe the law may not stand up to any court case we might wish to bring against it. After several years of meeting with local business and community leaders, law enforcement, and polticians, it seems clear to us that the easier path is simply to amend the Ordinance. We recommend the existing ordinance be amended as follows (new text is in boldface):

It is the intent of the board of supervisors to prohibit nudity in public places, places open to the public, and places open to public view whether such places are publicly or privately owned, even when such nudity is not sexually motivated or otherwise lewd except at locations specifically set aside for this purpose. (Ord. No. 2507, § 1; Ord. No. 2564, § 1)

Sec. 24-15. Nudity --Offenses numerated; penalties.

a. It is hereby declared a public nuisance and unlawful for any person to appear on any beach, park, street or in any other public place or place open to the public or exposed to public view, including specifically a view from any private residence or any portion of the real property in the immediate vicinity of such private residence, whether such place is publicly or privately owned, unclothed or in such a state of undress as to expose, in the case of a female, any portion of her breasts below the areolas thereof or in the case of any male or female, any part of his or her pubic or anal region or genitalia.

b. The provisions of this section shall not apply to locations specifically set aside for this purpose, nor to any acts which take place wholly within a fully enclosed building or any portion thereof; and nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit any act or acts which are expressly authorized or prohibited by the Penal Code of the state.

c. The county sets aside for this purpose the northern end of North Rincon (Bates) County Beach, starting at GPS _______ and ending at GPS _______.

d. Further, that other locations or special events may be designated for clothing-optional use by majority vote of the County Parks Commission.

e. Violations of this section shall be an infraction punishable by a fine in the sum of fifty dollars for a first violation; a fine in the sum of one hundred dollars for a second violation of this section within one year after the first violation; and a fine in the sum of two hundred fifty dollars for each additional violation within one year after a second violation and within one year after any subsequent violation of this section thereafter. (Ord. No. 2507, § 1; Ord. No. 2564, § 1; Ord. No. 2931, § 1)


1. The exact GPS coordinates are yet to be negotiated, but the traditional clothing-optional section is about 500 yards west of the pedestrian ramp from the parking lot to the sand, starting at the "rusty pipe" sticking out of the cliff side. It traditionall extends beyond the concrete sea wall around the curve about 100 additional yards.

2. Why designate a small section of beach for clothing-optional use? Local governments routinely set aside land for special use such as dog parks, tennis courts, municipal golf courses, bridle trails, paintball areas, etc. Those who believe in clothing-optional recreation believe that have the same right. A Zogby poll foud that 80% of Santa Barbara residents agreed with us, and that number rose to 98% when the designated beach has proper signage (such as the sign pictured at left) to alert others it is nearby.

3. Why Designate the Santa Barbara County Parks Commission to Handle Future Needs? There is no need to specifically name more than Bates and More Mesa beaches as exceptions in the ordinance at this time. But because culture constantly evolves, circumstances may require other adjustments to this ordinance. Therefore we also are requesting an amendment clause to the county ordinance that allows the County Parks Commission to grant other exceptions, as yet unknown, rather than forcing everyone back to the Board of Supervisors for other amendment in the future. We are not locked in to having the granting agency be CPC, but we offer it as a logical nominee. Its members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and it can regulate future demands as the times may dictate. They should also be allowed to issue permits for special events that occur now in other cities and counties across the country, should such ever be proposed in the County.

You Don’t Have To Be A Nudist Yourself To Support This Proposal!

All you have to do is believe that nudists have the right to their own “space” without government interference in their chosen beliefs, just as we support the rights of others to their own beliefs and values, even if they differ from ours.