The Bates Tradition:
Nude History 1950-2000
Current Beach Status
What We Propose
Local Support

Other Beaches:
Black's Beach
More Mesa
San Onofre Beach
Gaviota Beach
Avila/Pirate's Cove
Other Beaches

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
FAQ: What About Erections?
FAQ: What About Periods?
Women: First Time Advice
FAQ: Family Nudity

During our four years talking to people in the community we heard mostly support for bringing the beach back. However, every once in awhile we hear an objection that requires a thoughtful response. We’d like address them here. These objections fall into several specific categories:

1. Nudists Attract a “Bad Element” to the Beach

Bates Beach Drug Bust and Gang Grafitti on north sea wall.

Before 2000 when the nudists were asked to leave Bates Beach, the beach was always considered a safe family-friendly environment that attracted several hundred people on summer weekends. Nudists kept the beach clean and quiet compared to the nearby Rincon South Beach (on the Ventura County side of the Point to the south.)

When the occasional voyeur appeared on the beach or the cliff above, the nudists immediately made it clear they weren’t welcome and shamed them off the beach. (Such people continue to visit clothed beaches also!)

In 1999, Sheriff Lt. Darren Farthingham, then a patrol officer on the beach, told us on several occasions, “I never had a problem with the nudists. My problem was with others who were attracted to the beach.” But Farthingham missed the obvious: those people are STILL at (and above) the beach, and the nudists are not around!

These creepy people exist everywhere: at our playgrounds, in shopping malls, in our churches and in our schools. It is unfair to classify clothing-optional 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 city, every community, pracically every block!

But the fact is, with fewer people on the beach, criminals are emboldened by the ability not to have witnesses. With more traffic in the parking lot there will be less opportunity for a car burglar to get the opportunity to break in. After 7 years of crime and trash at Bates, it is obvious that removing the nudists did not solve the problem but made it worse.

Once the nudists left, the beach became essentially deserted. Lewd conduct increased both on the beach and in the parking lot above because the nudists weren’t there to drive them away. Statistics show the tunnel under the railroad tracks a half mile (and out of sight) of the beach has attracted the most people and gang members people who want to participate in illegal activity, regardless of whether the nudists are on the beach or not.

In 2009, drug dealing and prostitution got so bad at the beach, the Parks Department put a trailer in the parking lot to house two security guards. Gang graffiti has begun to appear on and above the beach. Word-of-mouth in the community is that this beach is now unsafe.

So, Lt. Farthingham was wrong. The County’s continued inability to control crime on this beach is not the nudist’s fault. We haven’t been there in any numbers since 2000! Nudists are the scapegoats for the inability of the county to control crime.

But we can help clean it up.

Our proposed Beach Watch Ambassador program will work like a Neighborhood Watch to patrol the area and prevent the type of crimes that occur when nobody is looking. This program cleaned up a crime-ridden Haulover Beach in 1992. It eliminated crime at Sandy Hook in New Jersey and Black’s Beach in San Diego.

Give us a chance and we can do it again at Bates Beach. We can be law enforcement’s best friend. We are the solution!

2. The “Special Use” Issue
"Why should they get a beach of their own? The beaches are for everyone!"

Our reply: Open the Yellow Pages and look up how many municipal golf courses there are in Santa Barbara County? There are eight.
How many public parks have tennis courts on them for public use? Over a dozen.
How many bridle trails? How many bike paths? how many dog parks? Baseball diamonds? Soccer fields?

What is our point? The county traditionally sets aside land for use by special interest groups.

With polls showing 81% approval for a nude beach set aside for that purpose, and over 1500 persons signing our petition, we believe nudists qualify for similar consideration!

So why not also add this sign? >>>>

3. The “Property Value” Issue
"Having a nude beach nearby will make my property values go down!"

We have searched the Internet far and wide and have we never found any study on this topic being published anywhere. We also asked some local real estate agents who are unaware of any such conclusions.

In fact, the continued high prices received for property sold at Hope Ranch here in Santa Barbara near More Mesa Beach and also at Haulover Beach in Florida and prove the opposite. Nudists are good environmentalists, who will keep the beach clean and reduce drug crime and sexual activity. How can that hurt local property values?

This charge remains a canard, made-up by the objectors, like the one from 40 years ago about black people moving into a neighborhood.

In fact, since 2000 (when the nudists left Bates Beach), census statistics show Carpinteria has suffered residential value and population losses!

According to, as of 2009, Carpinteria (zip 93013)'s population is 16,435 people. Since 2000, it has lost 3.74% of its population. Families (non-single residences) represent 66.8% of the population. The median age for residents in Carpinteria, CA is 35.9 (this is older than average age in the U.S.).

Home appreciation between 2007 and 2008 was -18.90 percent. Median price asked for vacant for-sale houses and condos in 2007 was $2,676,221. Despite the economic downturn, the average property value at Rincon Point in 2008 remains above $1.5 million.

Click on charts to see a larger image


4. The “Morality” Issue
"Social Nudity is unChristian and against God's teachings"

Is nudity immoral or un-Christian? This is a question of personal belief and free speech protected by the Constitution.

In fact there are several Christian based nudist groups in the United States! On Google, search for “nudist Christian church” and you will get several pages of entries.

Here is some other reading on the subject (pdf format, click on filename to load), first published by our counterparts in Florida:
Nakedness in the Bible, Part 1"
Nakedness in the Bible, Part 2"

California courts agree that nudity is not in itself sexual, despite the efforts of movies, advertisers, and some politicians to link the two. Anyone who has gone to a nude beach, resort, or club knows there is nothing sexual about the experience at all.

Review the court cases under “Law” on this website to see how the courts have refined the enforcement of anti-nudity laws on federal, state, and county lands. The 1989 California court case (California v. Bost) previously discussed set the precedent that simple beach nudity is not indecent exposure. Another court cases California vs. Smith (1972), affirmed that people would be arrested under California Penal Code Section 314 only for lewd behavior. The nudist community supports these anti-lewd behavior policies, and laws, and helps law enforcement enforce them against misbehavior on the beaches!

The facts haven’t stopped certain special interest groups from trying to enforce their own version of morality on the rest of us. We support the rights of others to their own beliefs and values, even if they differ from ours. We ask the same consideration in return.

5. “We Must Protect the Children”
"Social Nudity is Child Abuse. This should be for adults only."

Many opponents of nude beach fall back on the objection that the kids need protecting from gawkers on the beach and from their own parents.

Everyone wants the best, safest environment for their children. We don’t object to the way you are raising your kids so don’t object to mine!

We believe nudist environments – with the close supervision of parents and beach ambassadors, makes kids safer here than on any clothed beach, or at a shopping mall, or even in some churches!

In 1996 Dennis Craig Smith published a 10 year study of children raised in a nudist park environment. His evidence concluded that the children of nudist families grew up healthier, with more stable relationships, lower arrests, were healthier with fewer sexual hang-ups or drug problems that the sample of 100 clothed kids.

Copies of this study (1986 -1996) are available upon request. An extract of four of the chapter with the study’s conclusions are included in this brief for your review (reproduced with the permission of the author).

Part 1: Preface and Study Overview

Part 2: Survey Results 1986 vs. 1996

Part 3: Survey Questions and Methodology

Part 4: Bibliographical References

Summary of Findings:

The respondents resided across the continental United States. The overall mean (average) age of those raised as social nudists was 29.9 year; the overall mean age of the control (non nudist) group was 22.9 years.

1. The great majority (85.0%) of the social nudists were raised by one or both of their natural parents. 90% said nudity at home was a common practice. The respondents generally described their childhoods and adolescence as being "healthy," "normal," and "unemotional."

2. The group raised as nudists are middle-class persons with careers started and marriages established. In this respect they appear quite similar to general population. Social pathology indicators (e.g., psychiatric care, arrest, imprisonments, etc.) did not demonstrate any unusual indices among these respondents. Only three of the social nudists (5.0%) indicated having been jailed for more than two days. Indices of psychiatric illness and treatment among these respondents were well within social norms (Segal, 1975).

3. The analyses did not tie the actual occurrence of social nudity with any negative effects, guilt, or regrets. The vast majority of social nudists (81%) labeled themselves as heterosexuals. When asked if they were regularly engaging in homosexual behavior only 3% of the social nudists said yes.

4. Interestingly, the two groups (nudists and non-nudists) differ in their opinions as to the potentially deleterious effects of parental nudity. As to the potential advantages of nudity, the social nudists group agreed significantly more than the college groups that growing up in a nude environment leads to positive rather than to negative feelings about one's body. However, the college groups failed to agree that nudists have had happier marriages while the social nudists espoused that view.

5. Finally, less than 1% of the respondents indicated any regrets or negative effects about being raised social nudists. The social nudists provide an endorsement of their upbringing by having indicated that 73.3% of them plan to raise their children as nudists.


A. The notion that social nudity during childhood is detrimental to the child's normative course of development is largely a cultural belief rather than a demonstrated outcome.

B. The Freudian doctrine expoused by Drs. Spock and Brothers of the harmful effects of social nudiy on a child's psychosexual development remains only a 19th century theory, without ANY empirical support from those directly affected.

You Don’t Have To Be A Nudist Yourself To Support Our Efforts!

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.

Friends of Bates Beach is a division of the Southern California Naturist Association (SCNA)
A Non-Profit California Corporation
23679 Calabasas Rd #940 Calabasas CA 91302 (818) 225-2273