Usage changes over time. I encourage you to use discretion in locating and using the locations listed.
- Victoria area.
- SAANICH PENINSULA: Island View Beach.
- SAANICH PENINSULA: Sayward Beach. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- SAANICH HIGHLANDS: Pease Lake. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- SAANICH HIGHLANDS: Fork Lake.
- SAANICH HIGHLANDS: Killarney Lake --- Questionable. <<< New. (2010-6)
- VICTORIA: Margaret's Bay. <<< New. (2010-6)
- VICTORIA: Prior Lake. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- VICTORIA: Prior Lake Naturist Preservation Committee.
- VICTORIA: Thetis Lake.
- VICTORIA: McKenzie Lake --- Inaccessible. <<< New. (2010-6) <<< Updated. (2010-7)
- VICTORIA: Arbutus Club.
- VICTORIA: Arbutus Park Club Swim Nights. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- VICTORIA: Deswin House B&B --- Closed.
- VICTORIA: Paul's CO Place --- Closed.
- MILL BAY: Sol Sante.
- SHAWNIGAN LAKE: Koksilah River Park.
- METCHOSIN: Matheson Lake. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- METCHOSIN: Witty's Lagoon Beach. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- METCHOSIN: Albert Head Beach. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- SOOKE: Sooke River Potholes. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- SOOKE: Sombrio Beach.
- SOOKE: Mystic Beach.
- West Vancouver Island.
- PORT ALBERNI: Sproat Lake. <<< Updated. (2011-4)
- PORT ALBERNI: Knob Point --- Rumoured.
- UCLUELET: Unknown Beach --- Rumoured. <<< Updated. (2010-5)
- UCLUELET: Mussel Beach Campground.
- PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Halfmoon Bay. <<< Updated. (2011-4)
- PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Florencia Bay (Wreck Bay) Beach. <<< Updated. (2011-4)
- PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Long Beach/Schooner Cove.
- PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Radar Hill Beach. <<< New. (2010-5)
- TOFINO: Chesterman Beach.
- TOFINO: Middle Beach (Templar Beach).
- TOFINO: Hot Springs Cove.
- TOFINO: Rainbow Beach --- Rumoured. <<< Updated. (2010-4)
- East Vancouver Island.
For folks looking to eradicate unsightly tan lines, [Mike MacIntyre, park technician for the Capital Region District] says there are some well-known CRD beaches that have a reputation of being clothing-optional, although they’re not promoted by the parks folks as such. That being said, MacIntyre recommends just using common sense if deciding to do some nude sunbathing in CRD parks.
“Should people choose to exercise the option to not wear clothing, we probably wouldn’t give them a hard time about it as long as they were being discreet,” he says. “As long as you’re using discretion and not being blatant or acting in a lewd manner, it’s really not something we would consider to be a big problem. I wouldn’t say walk on to Thetis Lake beach and take your clothes off. We would have a problem with that.” - Monday Magazine, 2010 May 26
CENTRAL SAANICH (North of Victoria):
Island View Beach. (GPS: N48 34.584 W123 22.125)
From Highway 17, follow Island View Road to the end (Island View Regional Park). Walk north through the park (on the beach or on the trail behind the beach) for about 500m to a point beyond the park (and below the Indian Reserve). Watch for a tall wooden post which marks the northern boundary of the park (like the one marking the southern boundary). This beach is very windy, so the beachers tend to take shelter in "huts" which have been constructed from logs and other driftwood. Even when heavily populated this beach will probably look deserted. I was there in 1988. It's okay, but Witty's is much nicer. [Info 1988]
Update: Island View continues to see nude use, but it's popularity for dog walking and family strolls dictates caution. The log "huts" are important for visual isolation as well as whether protection. The main beach has signs indicating "NO Nudity". It's important to continue on past the park as described above. [Info from M.R., May 2003]
Caution: It's been years since this incident, and it hasn't been repeated. But I'm leaving the caution here because of the seriousness of what happened. The nude section of Island View Beach has for years been on, or below, native land. It seems that the Band is now trying to stop nudity. At least one person has been accosted by a drunken, gun wielding Band member. Please read the letter to the editor and the follow up article. Hopefully, some of the regulars will try to reestablish nude use of the CRD portion of the beach, but we will have to wait and see how things develop. [August 1997]
Note: BritishColumbia.com still says "Locals use the beach area north of the park fronting Indian reserve land for discreet, clothing-optional tanning. The beach leads a long way north to the tip of Cordova Point." The copyright date has been updaed to 2006.
CENTRAL SAANICH (North of Victoria):
Sayward Beach. [Photo] (GPS: N48 32.442 W123 21.784)
"Sayward Beach is one of Victoria's best kept secrets. Even on a busy day, there's only likely to be about 7 people there throughout the day---even more surprising considering its size. There's about 3 or 4km of beach, but the farther you get from the parking lot, the rockier it becomes. And there's also an RV campground which appears to be very textile---so if you see a Canadian and/or British flag, it would probably be a good idea to turn around and head back. Also, the second stretch of beach has a house overlooking it at the top of a cliff, but apparently the residents don't seem to mind. Sayward is on the east side of the island backed by cliffs and/or trees, so depending on which stretch of beach you go to, you could lose the sun anywhere from 3-7pm. Given the apparent secrecy of the beach, it's definitely a good place to go to relax and soak up the sun without interruption." [T.B., June 1998]
"I have been using Sayward beach for nude sunbathing for going on 13 years now. It has never been very popular but has always had regular use. The locals are used to it being a nude beach, but it surprises others. The beach is backed by trees and is very quiet. Some log hides are there but not everyone uses them. The occasional dog walker or family group comes along so a little discretion is advisable. The view over to Mount Baker is wonderful. I have seen otters, seals on the beach, orcas, and even (once) a grey whale. Eagles are quite common. There have been times I have spent a sunny weekday afternoon on that beach and not seen a single other person. The downsides are that the beach faces east and the sun begins to leave the beach by 3:00 pm. The beach also suffers from a lot of kelp being washed up in the later summer. The water is cold. A flock of geese has taken up residence at the point where the stream comes in." [Malcolm, Aug 1999]
Directions: From Highway 17 or from Victoria, take Cordova Bay Road and turn east onto Fenn Avenue (there's a gas station at the corner), and left onto Parker Avenue. About 1km down the road, park your car at the Parker Park parking lot (GPS: N48 32.082 W123 22.011) (try saying that 3 times fast!). Go down the stairs and walk to the left for about 1km, until the houses end and you round a small point with a stream and--a little further on--a set of rocks. There are a couple of minor streamlets intersecting the beach, but if you can't hop over them, they're easy enough to cross thanks to several logs which act as bridges. Once you pass a small rocky outcropping, you may disrobe at your leisure. There are several segments of beach which you can walk along, each separated by similar rocky outcroppings. Careful! Some of them are covered with barnacles, so you'll probably want to wear shoes if nothing else. [T.B., June 1998] [Malcolm, Aug 1999]
Note: "If you walk further north round the next point there is another beach with some houses up on the cliff tops. That beach is very quiet, too, and I use it if the previous beach is crowded (i.e., more than 2 other people). The beach, which cannot be seen from the houses, ends with a high rocky outcrop. But you can get around this at low tide--even higher tides if you don't mind a tricky scramble over the rocks. That leads to a very beautiful small beach and on to a long series of rocky points and little sandy patches that go around to the sand cliffs that then run up to Cowichan Head (where there is an RV park) and then on round to Island View. On a low tide you can walk all the way from Cordova Bay to Island View with no trouble." [Malcolm, Aug 1999]
Comment: "It is a nice beach. Clean and wide with lots of sand. The water is very clear, but it is also very cold.The beach approach is in the middle of a bunch of houses, and your first impression is that there is no way there would ever be a nude beach in this area. But I followed the directions, and there was a nude beach. You can go nude a little past the end of the concrete bulkhead that protects the property in front of the houses. The nude area of the beach is a dead end area, below a cliff, so it is private and not travelled. And it is true that the sun leaves early from the beach, because it faces east." [D.G., Aug 1998]
Comment: "Sayward is a nice place to be. However, a lot of dog-walkers 'disturb' the nude-beach scenery and discretion is advised. The last time I was there only four others were there." [M.R., Sept 2001]
Comment: "It is very beautiful there and most dog walkers know the area where nudists are and really don't seem to have a problem with it. Most of the people who use this beach are very courteous to people walking through." [R., Jan 2010]
SAANICH HIGHLANDS: Pease Lake.
[Photo] (GPS: N48 32.701 W123 29.694)
Pease Lake and Fork Lake "may be Victoria's best-kept swimming secrets. Most of both lakes are inside Mt. Work Park in the Saanich Highlands. And both offer warm, clean water and privacy. ..." [Monday Magazine 1994]
Pease Lake is known to experience nude use. Ever since the removal of the floats, the lake receives few visitors, so cautious nudity is unlikely to offend anyone. Without the floats to enjoy the sun, all you can do is swim unless you bring your own floatation. It's a small lake with only 2(?) waterfront properties on the east side (one to the south of the access and one to the north). So, there's not a lot of residents to complain about nudity on the lake. The thickness of the vegetation makes the lake "invisible" from the road. With your own flotation, and you can paddle out of sight of any other people standing at the water's edge, or anybody looking from the waterfront properties. [A.C., July 1999]
Directions: "Follow Durrance Road away from Durrance Lake until you spot a thin trail leading off into the bushes. Park your car and follow the trail into the lake." [Source: Monday Magazine 1994]
"After turning off Durrance Road, look for a sign saying "Mount Work Regional Park Mackenzie Bight", and then drive 800 meters.A trail leads off through the vegetation, but you cannot see the lake from the road. If you see a sign (GPS: N48 32.624 W123 29.689) saying "Caution narrow winding road. Local traffic only.", you've gone about 100 meters too far. [A.C., July 1999]
Comment: "The water in Pease Lake is always cooler than Prior Lake, and the weather in the Highlands (north of Victoria) seems to be more overcast, even when Prior Lake has clear skies. Just a quirk of the local geography & elevation, I guess." [A.C., July 1999]
SAANICH HIGHLANDS: Fork Lake.
Although the water is clear and warm (in July), Fork Lake has some drawbacks and is basically only good for a quick dip if you happen to be in the area---such as returning from a hike to the Mt. Work summit.
There's nothing that could be called a beach---just a gap in the foliage on the west side of the lake. And, due to the height of the hills and trees behind you as you face the water, there's no direct afternoon sun until you're actually in the water. On land, there's really only enough room to shed your clothes. The biggest problem, though, is that there are three lake-front houses on the far (east and south) sides of the lake, each less than 75 meters away. So, if the homeowners are outside on their patios and sundecks, you almost have to be an exhibitionist as you enter the water (unless you time your swim when you think nobody is watching). Lastly, the lake bottom is steeply sloped and covered with soft sediment.
Directions: Fork Lake is most easily accessed from Highway 1, in Langford. Take the north exit at Millstream Road. Continue to Millstream Lake Road, and then onto Munns Road. Look for the Capital Regional District's wooden-sign, on your left, and the small (6 car), shady, Summit Trail parking lot. Follow the trail toward the Mt. Work summit and watch for a small trail (within 300m) branching off to the right and leading down to Fork Lake.
If you like narrow, twisty roads, then as you leave, rather than retracing your route, you can go east on Munns Road to Prospect Lake Road, West Burnside Road, Helmcken Road and, finally, Highway 1. [Anonymous, July 1998]
SAANICH HIGHLANDS: Killarney
Lake --- Questionable. (GPS: N48
31.702 W123 27.384)
This small, relatively unknown lake just south of the garbage dump at the end of Hartland Road (near Prospect Lake) is said to be good for swimming and, with no houses on the lake, could offer some nude possibilities. The lake is clear water, and quite large, but mostly surrounded by trees & rock cliffs, leaving only a few water-accesses. A resident says that there is a path around the lake. She also said that the lake gets some 'public' use on the weekends, but mostly by the neighbourhood residents during the week. Clothing-optional? Well, possibly...if nobody else is around. (But probably not worth the time to get there.)
Directions: "Take Hartland Road to within 20 meters of the entrance to the dump, and then turn right and park in the Mount Work Regional Park parking-lot (with toilets!) on the north side of the dump-entrance. Walk across the road and head south along the clear-cut BC Hydro right-of-way, under the power lines. You'll pass the kiosk for the SIMBS (South Island Mountain Biking Society. Signs encourage shared usage of the trail on the right-of-way by equestrians, hikers, and mountain-bikers. Some of the narrower trails are posted as one-way to avoid head-on confrontations. It seems to be a great cooperation among BC Hydro, Saanich Parks, and SIMBS. Keep going on the trail, and you'll get to a trail leading to the west side of Killarney Lake. It's a long walk, with not much shade. Be prepared for sunshine & thirst, and have good hiking-boots for the rough ground." [A.C., June 2010]
Bay . [Photo] (GPS: N48 29.633 W123 18.698)
"Victoria is surrounded by cold(!) water and many beaches. A prime example is at Margaret's Bay, which is backed by a steep, forested hill, making the beach quite private. The south end gets only the morning sun, so get away from the stairs by walking the 200 metres to the north end, which gets sun through the early afternoon. As an extra bonus, if you climb the craggy rocks at the north end, you'll see a concrete-walled salt-water pool, and a set of concrete stairs that seemingly lead to nowhere. (Relics of the past?) While not an 'official' CO beach, its remoteness, its 'hidden/unknown' status, and its availability of logs to build a screening-wall, make it enticing to visit." [A.C., Jun 2010]
Directions: Between Cadboro Bay and Cordova Bay, in Gordon Head, make your way to the intersection of Leyns Road and Balmacarra Road. (The best route there depends on your starting point.) Right at the intersection there is a City of Saanich 'beach access' sign and a trail that leads slightly downhill to the top of 75 metal steps that lead to the beach. Some parts of the street are marked 'no parking', so pay attention. For non-drivers, there's a securely-anchored bicycle-rack at the top of the stairs.
VICTORIA: Prior Lake. [Photo] [Photo:
dock] (GPS: N48
28.567 W123 27.983)
Prior Lake is a semi-official CO area in Thetis Lake Park (but don't drive to Thetis Lake. Follow the directions below.). This small but beautiful lake can get quite warm in summer. It can also get quite crowded---consider bringing an air mattress. Unfortunately, not much sun reaches the dock before noon due to trees. The float is bigger than it used to be and now accommodates 25-30 people comfortably. As well, another 10 or so can lounge on the dock leading out to the float. On weekends it can still be crowded, so many people bring air mattresses or inflatable boats which can be tied to the 5-6 bouys in the lake. During the week there are usually only 10-12 folks there at any one time. People appear to come for an hour or two of tanning or swimming and then head off, so there is a good mix of people coming and going. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, with people ranging in age from early 20's to those in their 70's, including couples with small children. There is a higher proportion of men, but still many women (about a 65-35 split). [Dave, July 2002]
Directions: From Victoria, head west on Hwy 1 for about 9 or 10 km. Take exit 8 (Helmcken Road) and keep right (to go north). On Helmcken Road, pass Victoria General Hospital (on your left) and make a left (west) onto Watkiss Way. At the next intersection, stay on this road -- do not turn onto West Burnside Road. Eventually, after about 2.5km (?), this road joins Highland Road. (It's no longer possible to get onto Highland Road directly from the highway.) Continue driving past the new subdivision on your right and into the park until you see the "No Parking On Pavement" signs near the silver-gated fire road and a (hard to see) sign marking Trillium Trail. Continue another 50m until you see a trail on your left starting from another silver gate (the portable toilet that used to be here is now further down the trail). From here, a short walk takes you to the lake where you will find a floating dock for suntanning. Both gates have parking for about 5 cars.
Coment: The gates are no longer yellow...they are silver. We drove to Prior Lake on 2003 May 30, but by the time we got there conditions were cool and overcast. The parking area was empty except for one beat-up vehicle occupied by a single male. His presence discouraged us from stopping.
Comment: "I Went to Prior Lake this weekend. The dock was exactly how I remembered it---crowded with friendly people." [J.Z., Aug 2003]
Comment: "Many of the trails around the Lake are closed off with signs stating that the area is closed for the regeneration of plant life. Access to the lake itself appeared to be via the dock only as all the banks are heavily bordered by skunk cabbage. The dock was very busy and while it seemed a friendly and relaxed crowd, this does not seem to be the place to go for peace and quiet! This is definately one for the social nudist rather than the back to nature types!" [Kelly, May 2005]
Comment: "Still there, still popular, trails around the lake are still closed for restoration of plant life. Directions: the same - the gates haven't changed color or anything, do note though that the first gates you come to are for Thetis, Prior lake is another minute or two along the same road." [Kelly, Aug 2007]
Comment: "Nothing new to add except an interactive Google Street View map (looking at the gate to the fire-road)." [A.C., Dec 2009]
VICTORIA: Prior Lake Naturist Preservation Committee.
"The Prior Lake Naturist Preservation Committee can be contacted through Harvard Budgeon at (250) 595-6656. Membership dues are by donation, but the usual range is anywhere from $5-20. Although donation isn't mandatory, all money collected goes into updates to the lake area (this year they plan to expand the dock, add another ladder to it, and get more sand for the beach [all 3 metres of it :-)]), as well as for any legal hassles which may arise." [Last info, June 1998]
VICTORIA: Thetis Lake. (GPS: N48 27.779 W123 27.975)
"Due to highway reconstruction, there's a brand-new access to the main entrance to Thetis Lake Park (the main beach is NOT clothing-optional). Take the trails around the lake to find secluded coves. Directions: Take Hwy 1 out of Victoria and take the highway exit to Colwood and Western Communities. Follow the signs to Thetis Lake Park (i.e., turn right at the traffic-light by the gas station on the right side). Bring $2 in coins for the pay parking." [Anonymous, 1997.]]
Comment: The World Guide says that the 1.5km hike down Trillium Trail will lead to some spots on Thetis Lake that are used nude, but I didn't see any evidence of that when I was there in 1994. I suspect the secret is to find a secluded cove like the preceeding submission indicates. See Prior Lake for instructions on reaching Trillium Trail.
Caution: "Twice now (last Sunday and today), while nude in two different secluded and tree-sheltered coves, both far away from the main beaches, I've been hassled by the same adult male, calling me 'pervert' and threatenly-saying 'put some some clothes on'. Both times, he's had a bicycle (in a 'no-bicycle' part of the park), and a dog. Obviously, he's a voyeur, out to harrass and physically intimidate people. These coves are bicycle-accessible only to top off-road bicyclists; it's not 'by accident' that he has 'stumbled-across' these areas while biking -- he's had to walk/carry his bicycle part of the way, in order to 'scout' the coves. I presume that he is also hassling any people in the other coves -- I noticed him checking-out other coves, before he hassled me." [A.C., June 2000]
Lake --- Inaccessible. (GPS: N48
28.932 W123 28.827)
This small, relatively unknown lake in the northwest corner of Thetis Lake Park is said to be good for swimming and if you could get there it could offer some discreet nude possibilities. You might never be able to get out of the view of the few houses on the north side of the lake, but from a distance of more than 100m, the residents are unlikely to get worked up about it. Unfortunately, there appears to be no good lake access and nowhere to suntan on the shore. Look at the park map (online) for more information. [June 2010]
Directions: Park at Prior Lake, walk a short distance south on Highland Road, and take the wide fire-road to Upper Thetis Lake (less than 15 minutes). Or, start at the main (pay-parking!) Thetis Lake parking-lot, and walk the fire-road between Upper and Lower Thetis lakes to reach Upper Thetis. From just north-west of the north end of the "north-fjord" of Upper Thetis Lake, follow Seaborn Trail to where the McKenzie Lake trail diverges from Seaborn Trail. Just north of where the Upper Thetis "end" of the Seaborn Trail starts, there's an unmarked "Y" in the trail. Important: keep right (east). From this "Y", it's a 20-minute hike, with lots of elevation-changes and lots of exposed tree-roots and small tree-trunks -- watch your step! On the Seaborn Trail, there's a flat (no hand-rails) bridge across McKenzie Creek. Once you get there, just east of this bridge, there's a sign-post pointing (west) to Seaborn Trail. Seaborn Trail also continues east, but you want to go north, on McKenzie Trail. On the McKenzie Trail, you'll cross "Crying Bridge" (go west on the bridge, and then look back to the east side to see the sign). This bridge has hand-rails. Now, you're getting close to McKenzie Lake, and you'll soon get a glimpse of the lake, to the north. [A.C., July 2010]
Comment: "When I got to McKenzie Lake, I was truly disappointed. The first side-trail leads to a very small bay which is the start of McKenzie Creek, but this bay was muddy, and trees and brush on the shoreline made it impossible to get to the 'open' lake. The second side-trail leads to a small hill, where one can look north onto the lake. But, it's a very(!) steep incline down towards the shore, and the side-trail just vanishes. Again, the trees and the brush at the shoreline make it impossible to reach the lake. From this viewpoint, looking at the south-east shore, there did not seem to be any water-access -- trees & brush come right up to the shoreline. The north-east shore has a few private homes. Plus, you're at the south end of the lake, facing north, so the trees behind you block all of the afternoon sun. Thus, there's no place to sun-tan. Would I again hike to McKenzie Lake? Honestly, no. Too strenuous, and the payoff is too small." [A.C., July 2010]
VICTORIA: Arbutus Park Club swim
Arbutus Park organizes NUDE swim nights one Saturday each month (September to March) at Gordon Head Rec. Ctr., 4100 Lambrick Way, Victoria, BC. Admission is $10.00 per person, which helps the Club offset the cost of the pool rental. Please do not arrive prior to 9:15 and no later than 9:35. The facility does NOT have staff on duty at the desk as this is a PRIVATE function.
Time: 9:30-11:00 pm. Dates: Feb 20, Mar 20, Apr 17 
Note: Click here to confirm schedule (hopefully), or email: arbutuspark email@example.com if you have any other inquiries. E-mails are responded to the same day whenever possible.
VICTORIA: Deswin House B&B --- Closed.
VICTORIA: Paul's CO Place --- Closed.
MILL BAY: Sol
Founded in 1957 and located 40 minutes north of Victoria, Sol Sante has a 175 beautiful acres with pool, hot tub, sauna, canteen (open on weekends), volleyball and tennis courts, hiking trails, and a small, but refreshing (read "cold") lake. 3120 Cameron-Taggart Road, Cobble Hill, BC, V0R 1L0. (250) 743-2400. [Last info Dec 2003]
Comment: "A very relaxing, friendly, peaceful place." [Kelly, July 2007]
SHAWNIGAN LAKE: Koksilah River Park.
Just west of Shawnigan Lake on Renfrew Rd. several pools offer clothing-optional opportunities. The C.O. pools are all above Burnt Bridge Camp Site.
Directions (Pools 1 and 2): About 1.5 kms above the bridge and just past the overhead power lines, there is a small area to pull off and park. Walk down the trail to 2 pools. The first one has a small 7 metre wide beach which is good for children. The second, deeper, pool is just 30 steps downstream, but the beach is on the opposite side and is rocky. The plus side is that the sun stays on this pool a lot longer.
Directions (Pool 3): The third pool is about 1 km further along Renfrew Rd, where it intersects a logging road. Parking is anywhere you can safely pull off. Even on weekends parking is not a problem. From the intersection, a 7 m trail leads through the trees to the pool. The pool is very nice, but here, too, the sun shines best on the rocky side of the pool . The lower part of the pool has a gentle slope which is fine for children. Parking further from the intersection is recommended, so as not to tip off the non-nudists.
Other pools: Other pools above these have been used as C.O. but are either directly in view of the road or have become clothing-only pools. The occational skinny dipper is still seen in these pools but it is rare. [Submitted by Ron, July 1998.]
METCHOSIN: Matheson Lake.
"Matheson Lake Park is located in Metchosin, between Roche Cove and Pedder Bay. The approach to the park is well signed. But be prepared to turn a lot of corners on your way to the lake. Reading suggests hiking around the lake trail to avoid the crowds. Isolated spots in the back of the lake are easy to find." [Source: Monday Magazine 1994]
"There is some nude use at the far end of the lake away from the beach. There are a number of spots that are accesible from the trails around the lake. The most private spot is accessed by taking the trail to the lake off the Galloping Goose trail at the 33km marker. Follow it straight to the lake where there are some large logs to swim from. There is also a trail that leads up the hill at the end of the lake from the Galloping Goose at the 33km marker that is used for sunbathing and has a great view of the lake. Both spots are not heavily used but are definately Clothing Optional." [W.R., July 2000]
METCHOSIN (S.W. of Victoria): Witty's
Lagoon Beach. [Photo] [Photo] [Map]
22.845 W123 31.13)
Overall, the beach is excellent. The sand is good except for numerous small rocks mixed into it. The view is beautiful. At low tide a large sand bar makes a great area for frisbee or other games. Swimming is good, though the water is fairly shallow and to get to the water (or the sand bar) a pair of shoes is essential as you must cross a broad band of barnacle covered rocks in the shallow water -- yes, your shoes will get wet.
Directions: To get there turn east from Metchosin Road onto Witty Beach Road (just south of the main entrance to Witty's Lagoon Regional Park) and proceed to the small parking lot at the end of the road. Actually, it may be necessary to park quite a ways back on this road. From the parking lot follow the path and wooden stairway to the beach. Head to the right (south) about 300m past some overhanging trees which form a slight boundary between the clothed and CO areas. The further you go, the more likely you are to encounter nude sunbathers.
Note: One thing to keep in mind with this beach is that because it faces east and is backed by a cliff, it is shaded after 3:00 or 4:00pm. When I was there (on a weekend day in '88) there were only about a dozen other people on this beach. With the exception of one topfree woman, everyone was completely nude. Toilets are available in the clothed area. [Last info M.R., May 2003.]
Update: "There has been severe erosion of the sedimentary cliffs with the heavy winter storms...however the sand is the best its been in years." [B.T., Aug 2007]
Comment: "Our local paper in Metchosin has reported complaints to the police about nude sunbathers at Witty's beach. I don't know if they were acted on or just noted by the police. I didn't think anyone cared as it's been used for nude sunbathing for more than 20 years." [W.R., July 2000]
METCHOSIN: Albert Head Beach.
(GPS: N48 23.683 W123 29.433)
From Metchosin Road, take the Farhill Road and follow Lower Park Dr./Delgada Rd. to Albert Head Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary and park there. Walk north (left) along the beach for about 750m (about half way to the gravel loading dock). [Last info 2007]
Comment: "I've been there on a number of days with decent weather and you hardly see any clothed people there, let alone any nude use." [Anon, June 1998]
Update: "In a municipal council meeting on April 14 there was the 3rd reading of a bill to allow redevelopment of the Metchosin gravel pit into the Royal Park housing development. Royal Park will eventually extend to the waterfront, from Esquimalt Lagoon south along the shoreline. So, the currently-secluded shoreline will be transformed, and highly-probably will be a textile-only area within a few years. Nothing is happening, yet, but the days of C.O. use of the beach are probably numbered." [A.C, Apr 1999]
Update: "The first 12 show homes in the Royal Bay development have been built and are now open for viewing. So the transformation begins..." [A.C, Sep 2003]
SOOKE: Sooke River
Located in Sooke Potholes Regional Park (since 2005), "the Potholes are well-known to clothed visitors, especially for the waterfalls. The hike along the river involves scaling rocks and wading waist-deep in chilly water. Skinny-dippers just go a bit farther along before stripping down. Directions: About 30km from Victoria. Drive west on Route 14 almost to the town of Sooke; turn right on Sooke River Road and then into the parking area (about 5km). Hike 1 km beyond the clothed beach to the nude zone." [Source: World Guide to Nude Beaches & Recreation, 1991]
"You can walk a short distance to a gate that's signed "Private Property" and find secluded spots beyond (near the site of an abandoned, unfinished resort overlooking a waterfall), but I recommend taking the nearer trail on the right, just past the bridge. You can clamber up to several pools from here and find your own private spot." [Cherie Thiessen, Beautiful B.C. Traveller magazine, Summer 1997.]
"Another option, for hikers or cyclists, is to take the leg of the Galloping Goose Trail that runs just above the road. About 3km past the historic Barnes railway station there's a section of the river with beautiful pools, sheltered from the trail and from the road on the river's other side. I especially like this skinny-dipping hole because I can combine it with cycling, which lets me get well away from the crowds. It's also a great way too cool off after all that exertion, in deep clear water surrounded by small waterfalls and boulders. Just remember that road on the other side. You may not realize it's there until you disrobe and suddenly hear cars braking! " [Cherie Thiessen, Beautiful B.C. Traveller magazine, Summer 1997.]
Comment: "Used to be great. Now it's basically over run with teenagers and the drinking/party crowd. Get there early for a parking spot and maybe an hour or two of quiet enjoyment." [Anonymous, 1997]
Reference: More information at SookePotholes.com.
SOOKE: Sombrio Beach.
"Sombrio Beach is about 65km west of Victoria on Hwy 14 (West Coast Road) beyond Loss Creek. Go to top of hill (in clearcut) turn left onto logging road and descend to within about 300m of the beach. Nude area is at south end, although most of the beach is usable. Mostly gravel/cobbles and rock shelf, but you can walk most of it nude with no problems except around the trailhead when there are a bunch of surfers or others there." [Provided by Richard, 1994]
For many years, squatters have lived at Sombrio, but in 1998 they were forced to move on. Hopefully nudists won't be the next target of the authorities. 
SOOKE: Mystic Beach.
"Mystic Beach is about 50km west of Victoria on Hwy 14 (West Coast Road) after Jordan River, park in lot by road (signed) and walk 20-30 mins down forest trail. Last year the only day we went it was infested with tourists and only a couple of CO types. Used to be a good beach, sandy, has waterfall on beach. Will try it out again shortly." [Provided by Richard, 1994]
West Vancouver Island.
PORT ALBERNI: Sproat Lake.
"Beautiful Taylor Arm on Sprout lake which is situated west of Port Alberni on the highway to Pacific Rim National Park. This lake is probably one of the cleanest lakes in the province and has nice tempuratures in the summer months. The best C.O. spot on the lake is known to the locals as 2nd Bridge. The main part of the beach is for the general public but a short walk down the shoreline to some private smaller beaches of sand has always been an unofficial C.O. spot."
Directions: "After driving through Port Alberni on your way to Tofino and Long Beach you will drive by a Provincial Park called Sproat Lake Park. Just drive 11.4 km past the park and over two bridges. Just after the second bridge (Freisen Creek) turn left onto a gravel road that will take you down to a parking lot. From the parking lot follow the trail and when you get to the beach cross the creek and keep going about 150 metres down the shoreline and you will see four or five small beaches . Take your pick." [Anonymous, Sept 1999]
Comment: "The Sproat Lake beach (2nd Bridge) is very tranquil - and hot! I spent much of the afternoon in the shade of a tree. From the beach you can faintly hear a waterfall pouring into the lake on the opposite side. Wildlife viewing is great! There were four other people there, men and women. The beaches to the left of the creek were occupied and the normal practice in such situations seemed to be to set one's self up around the point to the right. The main 'family' beach was deserted! " [I.F., May 2002]
Comment: "I visited this site in 2008. The directions were very accurate. Parking was just off Highway 4 in a small 15 car parking lot, or on the edge of Highway 4. The road down the hill to the lake has been blocked for several years due in part to partying high school kids, and the relative isolation of the spot. Park in the parking area and follow a clear trail (the old road) on an easy 5 minute walk, to the bottom of the hill. The largest and closest lake-side beach was well used (clothed). There were two other beaches. One is accessed by wading across a fast flowing creek. This beach was well within view of the larger main beach. The third beach was within a stone throw of the main beach. This beach had a brand new cottage and float in plain view, within 200 feet. All three beaches were being used by clothed people and their pets. There is a poorly maintained outhouse close by. All three beaches are pebble beaches, with very little sand in sight. This site is poorly maintained and most of the area, especially the beaches, is overgrown with brush. You would be hard pressed to fit more than 50 people in total at a time on the three beaches. I will try the 2nd bridge area again this year, before writing the area off for future CO use." [R.A., Feb 2009]
Update: "I go to 2nd Bridge on a regular basis. The main beach is always clothed use. A short walk to the left across a creek bed you can find various spots out of view of the main beach. Use respect if other people are using the clothing optional area and are all clothed or you are in view do the same. It is a small group of users that are clothing optional users. I try to keep unseen however people have walked past me when I was not aware of their presence and covered up. In most cases they would say that it is fine. Sometimes you will get boaters driving close to the shore and if they are pulling children I would cover up until they are gone. Common sense and respect for everyone goes along ways. Enjoy the area it is extremely peaceful, you are one with the universe and your inner self." [Shawn, Mar 2011]
Note: Camping is available at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Houseboat rentals are available from Fish and Duck Houseboats. and Sproat Lake Houseboat Vacations.
PORT ALBERNI: Knob Point --- Rumoured.
I've heard that there is a clothing-optional beach called Knob Point somewhere in the Port Alberni area which is used by locals. But the only reference I can track down is on Nitinat Lake (GPS: N48 48 W124 42), which is a long journey south from Port Alberni or west from Duncan. I'm not sure if it's the same place, but I will include directions to it. Can anyone provide anything more? [Aug 2007]
Directions: "The usual access to Nitnat Lake is by road from Duncan to Cowichan Lake, and logging road to the head of the lake. The nearest boat launch is at Knob Point, located on the northwest side of the lake." [from <http://www.westcoastaquatic.ca/Ditidaht_Recreation.htm>] "Access to the region is via gravel logging road leading from the western end of Lake Cowichan. This point is reached by turning off Highway 1 north of Duncan and following either the north or south shore of Lake Cowichan. Follow the Nitinat Main logging road to the head of Nitinat Lake." [from <http://www.vancouverisland.com/recreation/?id=177>]
Note: "Access to the Knob Point Recreation Site on Nitinat Lake is no longer possible along the Habiton Mainline (past the Nitinat Hatchery). Access to this site is now only possible by boat." [from <http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsi/Road_Info/Knob_Point_information.htm>]
Note: Vancouverisland.com says  "Nitinat Lake is located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, 70 km southwest of Cowichan Lake and 70 km southeast of Port Alberni. The lake lies alongside the Nitinat Main logging road, with 4x4 road access from Port Alberni and Bamfield on the Bamfield road and South Main. Nitinat Lake can also be reached on Nitinat Main and South Main logging roads from the western end of Cowichan Lake (north shore via Youbou), a 150-km drive from Victoria that takes 2 to 3 hours. The gravel logging road is mostly used by logging trucks during the week, so caution is required, as the trucks are enormous, and take over half the width of the road." and  "Nitinat Lake: The best launching point to start the trip is the boat launch at Knob Point Recreation Site on the northwestern shore of Nitinat Lake - camping facilities are provided."
Beach --- Rumoured.
I've heard that there is a spectacular clothing-optional beach somewhere in the Ucluelet area which is used by locals. Unfortunately, that is all the information I have. Can anyone provide anything more?
Update: I have also heard rumours of a Rainbow Beach in the Tofino area. I came across a 2008 forum entry that talks about Rainbow Beach on Kennedy Lake, Tofino, although maps show Kennedy Lake closer to Uclulet, right on Hwy 4. There is a Provincial Park on this lake. (GPS: N49 2.326 W125 31.952) This could be the rumoured beach in Ucluelet, although the beaches south of Halfmoon Bay are also possibilities. [May 2010]
The owner of Mussel Beach Campground wrote to tell me that European visitors often like to go nude or partially nude and the owners/managers have told them to do as they please. Generally they shed their clothes partway down the beach. The owners plan to designate a clothing-optional area. Mussel Beach is wilderness camping---no running water or electricity. Day use is permitted ($5 for 2 people).
Directions: Follow Highway 4 through Port Alberni to the west coast and turn south toward Ucluelet. Turn left onto Albion Road, left again onto a gravel road heading toward Vet, and left again toward Mussel Beach. From the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway junction (Junction 4 ) it is approximately a 20-minute drive over 5 km. of pavement and 8 km. of interesting logging road. Just follow the signs along the way.
For information and reservations call: 1-250-381-9384. E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. [Last info: May 2004]
Update: "Mussel beach has changed hands. We were there in 2002 and while the new owners were tolerant of nudity they were not about to promote it as a clothing optional location. They felt their best value was in church groups etc. It is a beautiful spot but the road in is in terrible condition. You should probably check with them as to what the current status is!" [W.B. May 2003]
Update: "The campground has new managers as of May 1 2004" [Mussel Beach web owner, May 2004] (Note: no specific mention of nude use.)
PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Halfmoon Bay. (GPS: N48 58.609 W125 36.832)
"Gorgeous sandy beaches, and there is hardy ever anyone there. On a sunny day, you can go there and have total privacy for hours. You may have to watch out for the occasional washed-up dead sea lion, but other than that, usually, there is no one there. You should probably have a map to find it the first time (you can get them from the park's station) because it's kind of hidden." [Submitted by Colleen McKay, 1997]
Directions: Access is via the 1.4km Willowbrae Trail which leads to Halfmoon Bay and the south end of Florencia Beach. From the Tofino-Ucluelet junction, head south for 2km and park in an unmarked parking lot across from Willowbrae Road. The trail is flat until it forks and descends steeply to the beach. Take the left fork to Halfmoon Bay. The right fork leads to Florencia Bay.
Note: There are several unnamed beaches just south of the park boundary that appear to be private enough to offer additional possibilities. Can anyone figure out how to get to them? (GPS: N48 58.32 W125 36.6, N48 57.864 W125 36.216, N48 57.72 W125 36.12)
Comment: "I have been going to Halfmoon Bay for just about 10 years when I am in the area, usually for the marathon. I have gone nude several times and have rarely seen any people other than a few and there was no objections to my nudity. I usually go towards the end to give other people room. However, I spend more time at Florencia Bay." [Eric, Mar 2011]
PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK:
Florencia Bay (Wreck Bay) Beach. [Photo]
stairs] (GPS: N48 59.029 W125 36.772)
Florencia Beach is 5km long and has three entrances. Formerly (and occassionally still) known as Wreck Bay for the 1861 wreck of the Florencia which was battered against a rocky islet, the bay was officially renamed in 1930. Decades later (in the 1960's) it used to be known as the place where colonies of Hippies lived enjoying nude recreation without any interference. Once Pacific Rim National Park became established, the authorities felt Florencia Beach was too risque, as well as unsanitary, and closed it up. "The entire southern area of the beach is deserted and secluded so nude bathing, hiking or jogging presents few problems. When I jog there, I carry my running shorts in hand and if someone I do not know approaches (there are no side entrances so there is always a clear view ahead), I put the shorts on until peace is assured and then go my way. I have never had an unpleasant incident on this beach. Because of the difficulty of the hike along Willowbrae Trail and the fact that people are faced with the knowledge that they will have to climb back UP those 174 steps, there are never crowds on this beach and it is truly a superb place to enjoy nature au natural." [Submitted by L.M., Nov/2001]
Directions (North End): The north end is reached from the main parking lot off Wick Rd inside the park (fee requried during March-Oct) via a short gravel trail to a staircase (70 steps) down to a beautiful beach. To the north there is a stretch of about 800 meters and the farther one gets from the steps, the safer one becomes. I have seen many nude bathers in this area, but discretion is definitely called for as the beach is used by families. This section of the beach has one additional advantage. As you may know, this area is buffeted by strong winds, but the north end of Florencia is sheltered from any westerly or notherly winds and this makes it truly delightful. It is predominantly sunny from May through September.
Directions (Middle): The second entrance is via the Gold Mine Trail. From the intersection at the end of Highway 4, turn right and proceed about 1.5 km and turn left into the trailhead entrance. The trail, which is scenic and relatively flat, is about 1.2 km long. It reaches the ocean just north of a small stream that can usually be forded without much difficulty if you takes your shoes off. To the south is about 4km of gorgeous and secluded beach where one can be CO without any interference as long as reasonable discretion is used if a family group approaches which seldom happens. To the north of the stream, one quickly reaches the section of beach described in the section above.
Directions (South End): The third access is via the 1.4km Willowbrae Trail which leads to Halfmoon Bay and the south end of Florencia Beach. From the Tofino-Ucluelet junction, head south for 2km and park in an unmarked parking lot across from Willowbrae Road. The trail is flat until it forks and descends steeply to the beach. Take the right fork and proceed straight down (174 steps!) on a steep wooden staircase until the reaching beach. It is stunningly beautiful with a magnificent island just a few hundred metres offshore.
Comment: "I just returned from spending a wonderfully warm May weekend. I took the south trail to Florencia Beach. At first I was a bit discouraged by the beautifully refurbished hiking trail and the electronic people counter near the parking lot. I was half expecting that the beach had been overtaken by mainstream use. But I made the hike anyway and was rewarded with a spectacular and almost completely deserted setting. It is a fascinating place for beachcombers. But I did find it a little bit lonely! For a Wreck Beach boy like myself, the steep staircase is nothing." [I.F., May 2002]
Comment: "I spend more time here than at Half Moon Bay because you can walk for about 1 mile down the hard packed beach. It also allows you to see people coming and when the tide is out the beach is very wide, allowing people room to go around you if they wish. I have seen other runners running on the beach nude as well. It can be a bit cool when the wind is blowing towards shore which seems to happen most of the time but, when the sun is shining, it is comfortable." [Eric, Mar 2011]
PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Long
Beach/Schooner Cove. (GPS: N49 3.935 W125 47.502)
From Schooner Cove to Wickaninnish is about 8 miles of mostly deserted beach with a number of access points. The unofficial park policy is (so I've been told) "not near parking areas or the main beach." The North end of Long Beach, near Schooner Cove provides more (and safer) opportunities. If you walk in from the Schooner Cove parking lot, the trail is about 1.5 km, which rules out crowds. When you reach the beach, head south until you leave (almost) everybody else behind. But the preferred area is west of Schooner Cove. "There used to be lots of nude people there, but over the years it has waned. Now-a-days you can lay there, run, swim, have 2km of virgin sand to yourself, and maybe see 3 or 4 people walk by at most. It would be great to see more people return to this spot." [Anonymous, 1997] Since this is the North Pacific, the water is cold but the scenery is beautiful and you may even see some whales.
Directions: From Schooner Cove, go west until you reach Box Island, where the beach suddenly changes direction. Walk north for about 10 minutes or so until you come to the big wind swept rock. "Any place after that is super." [Anonymous, 1997] Because there is no access beyond Schooner Cove, crowds diminish rapidly.
Note: Camping is no longer available at Schooner Cove. Beach camping has been moved to Greenpoint, which is now the only campground within the park.
PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK: Radar
Hill Beach. (GPS: N49 4.983 W125 50.421)
Radar Hill, with it's impresive view, is named for the radar installation that was built here during World War II. According to TofinoHostel.com, "The trail down from Radar Hill to the beach is a challenging trail, and is quite vertical. When you emerge from the forest near the bottom, a large lazy stream of freshwater greets you to your left and a pristine sand beach bowl is in front of you. This beach is also known by the locals as “Nude Beach”." [May 2010]
TOFINO: Chesterman Beach. (GPS: N49 7.369 W125 53.988)
"Chesterman Beach is located next to the new Wikinnish Inn, a luxury hotel south of Tofino (rooms start at $300 per night). When I was there, there were a number of nude bathers on the beach and they would casually saunter down to enjoy the body surfing and swimming in the ocean. The water is really cold, but the beach is quite large and even though the beach is frequented by walkers from the hotel, none seem to mind the discrete nudity. Most of the time the walkers are a bit amused, but none seemed offended. So if discretion is used it is accepted. On a typical weekend, there were about 20 naturists at any one time and they were both topless and nude. I spoke to an employee of the hotel and they told me that the beach is government land and no one is usually hassled if discretion is used."
Directions: "Take the Pacific Coast highway to the Tofino/Uclulet junction, turn right going north toward Tofino. Drive past Pacific Rim Park to the turn off to the Wikinnish Inn (there are two of them, an old one which you will come to first, bypass this one and go to the second one closer to Tofino) turn left (west) to the approach to the Inn, at the junction (where the road has a left-hand turn, turn left and immediately right and park in the parking lot. The main nude section is on the beach closest to the hotel, although you can go almost anywhere as long as you use discretion as there are a lot of families using the beach as well. Don't flaunt the nudity and everyone can enjoy." [Anonymous, Aug 1999]
TOFINO: Middle Beach. (GPS: N49 8.205 W125 54.614)
Beyond the northern end of Pacific Rim Park are a bunch of commercial campgrounds and resorts. Several of these are adjacent to Mackenzie Beach a large and very popular beach. A trail at the north end of the beach leads through a patch of trees to Middle Beach (formerly called Templar Beach), a smaller but less used beach. (Signs now indicate that the trail is only for use by guests of Middle Beach Lodge. I'm not sure if there is an alternate route. When I was there in 1988, Middle Beach had a lot of nude use, but that was before Middle Beach Lodge was built. I don't know if nude use still occurs.
Perhaps more promising are several small beaches north of Middle Beach. These can be accessed through the trees, but it's probably easier to stick to the shore and climb along the rocks. Access can also be gained from Tonquin Park in Tofino (by heading southward). These beaches pretty much vanish at high tide.
TOFINO: Hot Springs Cove
Provincial Marine Park). [Photo]
Located 35km north of Tofino, Hot Springs Cove is accessible only be boat and float plane. Frequent flights depart from Tofino to take tourists to this popular spot. Located in Maquinna Provincial Park, a half hour walk from a government wharf, the springs flow from the rock cliffs into natural pools, merging with the waves of the Pacific. During the day (10:00-6:00) most users are clothed, but the rest of the time nude use is frequent. The pools are large, holding 15-20 people. Sunsets can be spectacular. Bring some aquashoes. Transportation is about $75/person. Camping is available in the park (no facilities) and on native land outside of the park. There are some other accommodations outside of the park as well. (Photo provided by Tim Driskell).
Beach --- Rumoured.
I've heard that there is a clothing-optional beach called Rainbow Beach somewhere in the Tofino area which is used by locals. Unfortunately, that is all the information I have. Can anyone provide anything more? [Aug 2007]
Update: I came across a 2008 forum entry that talks about Rainbow Beach on Kennedy Lake, Tofino, although maps show Kennedy Lake closer to Uclulet, right on Hwy 4. There is a Provincial Park on this lake. (GPS: N49 2.326 W125 31.952) [Apr 2010]
East Vancouver Island.
"The area downstream from Forbidden Plateau Road is an easy 15 minute hike down to the nude area. As you proceed downstream, it gets more and more remote until you get the feeling that the outside world has gone away. There is a hard sandstone bar across the river that has many potholes filled with water, so the rocks warm the soak a little. This is where we like to lay out. Clothing is not needed beyond this point. Very few visitors; almost no gawkers; eagles flying overhead; great fossil hunting. After a heavy rain, it is impossible to get across to the sandstone bar without getting wet feet. I recommend water shoes as the rocks can get slippery in the summer." [D.J. March 2002]
Directions: "Park at the bridge which crosses the Browns River on Forbidden Plateau Road. Be sure to be well off the travelled portion of the road. There is a path which leads downstream from the bridge on the south side of the river, follow it until you get to the first waterfalls (textile use only), then continue downstream approx. one KM to the nude area. Swimming holes, hiking, and lounging on the rocks." [D.J. July 2008]
"It is also accessible by walking up the Browns from the confluence of the Puntledge River. Very shallow, warm in summer, very clean, and almost the whole river to yourself. However, after heavy rain these rivers can be very fast, and a little dangerous." [D.J. March 2002]
Comment: "Plenty of people taking advantage of the sunshine on the Browns River, recently. Water levels are really low, and the water temp is quite nice. Word is starting to get out about the area." [D.J. Aug 2003/Sep 2004]
Comment: "It has been a great summer down at the river again. Not very many folks coming down to use the river, so lots of privacy. Looks like the area will remain a clothing optional destination for the foreseeable future." [D.J. Sep 2004]
Comment: "I've been down at the river quite a bit lately. There seems to be only light use of the Browns River tanning areas so far this year. I've met about 6 other folks down there enjoying the sunshine. The water levels are dropping with the warm weather and the temp of the water is going up and the scenery has been great. Lots of eagles to watch---a young one down there always seems to be hungry---and the fossil hunting has been good. One note: had a rock slide come down on me last weekend and ended up with stitches in my leg. The shale cliffs in the area seem to be particularly unstable this year---probably because of all the rain earlier." [D.J. Jul 2005]
Comment: "The water is really nice and warm right now. There have been a number of people down there using the area, but I have never seen more than 6 at once this year. The trail leading down has a few obstacles and downed trees that have to be navigated, otherwise, is a special kind of paradise." [D.J. Jul 2008]
COURTENAY: Trent River.
"Where the new inland island highway crosses, you can park under the bridge, then walk up or down the river to a number of locations where the sun is warm. Some nice swimming holes, too. By July the water is more than warm enough to swim in, and very clean. However, after heavy rain this river can be very fast, and a little dangerous. " [D.J. March 2002]
QUALICUM BEACH --- No nude
The World Guide once listed Qualicum Beach but didn't mention how to find nude areas. Recent development in the area has eliminated pretty much every possibility that may have once been there.
NANAIMO: Piper's Lagoon --- No
Located about 5km north of the ferry terminal, Piper's Logon Park apparently has a sandy beach plus a series of small coves, but it is a popular area used by families.
"There is a spot along the Nanaimo river, called White Rapids, that used to be CO. But it's been years since I was there. The area itself can be dangerous for swimming. There have been drownings there in the past---it isn't called White Rapids for nothing. But the scenery is gorgeous."
Directions: "It is south of town, in an area called Chase River. There is a road called White Rapids off of the main road, and a little trail winding down to the river. " [Joanne, 1997]
Warning: "There are dangerous currents at White Rapids and every year people are killed. The water looks relatively tame, but it is not. A visitor may not know where and where not to swim. This area is often frequented by the teenage crowd looking for an element of danger. If you wish to swim, several other sites exist that do not run the risk of death and are also beautiful. White rapids is the only site with a small series of small water falls. Other sites have their own beauty." [Anonymous, 1998]
River (Red Gate). [Photo] (GPS: N49
4.793 W124 0.908)
"The Nanaimo River is the warmest place to swim on Vancouver Island. You can swim for an hour and not get cold. The summer temperatures are about 24-25 degrees C. There are many areas where nudity is accepted. Even the more popular family areas have some CO use as long as it is away from the main crowds. Drive along Nanaimo River Road upstream of the Bungy Zone, stop where you see a few cars parked along the road and follow the trail down to the river. Beware of signs warning of dangerous currents. White Rapids is one area but it's best to keep driving and find another (safer) spot. There are lots of them. Some are private; others less so. One good site is just west of the junction of South Forks Road and Nanaimo River Road." [Anonymous, 1998]
Directions: From Hwy 1, take the Nanaimo River Road exit, just north of the Nanaimo Airport, and follow that road west until it joins South Forks Road [Map]. If you are coming from the north, you may want to take Nanaimo Lakes Road and South Forks Road to reach the same junction. From here, drive west 1.5 km to a red Forestry access gate, park on the road and walk down the old overgrown logging roads for about 500 m. "Follow the logging road about halfway to the river, where an intersection of logging roads is encountered. Continue straight through and follow it the rest of the way down to the river. A hundred metres or so after the intersection, there is a small path that cuts off to the right down a steep bank. It is a bit of a shortcut if you have good footwear and don't mind getting a bit dirty from the forest fire soot. The shortcut doesn't really cut off very much... but later in the summer it does avoid a more overgrown area that is popular with mosquitoes." [Eseven Xo, June 2009]
Note: There is another gate 1.0 km from the junction which also leads to the same location, but it is more overgrown.
Description: "The area from the rock 100 m downstream of the trail to the downstream pool (with the abandoned bridge crossing) is the area most used by nudists. Often I have this site to myself. From where the trail meets the river to the upstream pool is usually more crowded (20 people) and is sometimes used by nudists. This is especially true when the area is less crowded (5 people)." [Anonymous, 1998]
"While it is true that the downstream area one could easily be all nude all the time without bothering anyone, it is more to due to the difficulty of getting there. It would easily be the most desired spot were it not for the fact that the best lounging area is on the opposite side of the river. However, this is the location that I go to when the two other main spots are already occupied with people. After walking about 50 yards down stream, you can either wade across the rapids (water about mid-thigh deep, but fast) or walk a few more meters and swim across the big beautiful pool. On the other side you will be greeted with a very large, gently slopped, smooth rock bluff... Heaven!
"My favourite location is the upstream location mentioned. It has a rock bluff that shields the view of a nice flat rock area and swim pool from the path and downstream pools. It is also the part of the river that receives the first sun of the day and the last sun as well. The other pools tend to get shaded by the overhanging trees an hour more on either end of the day. If I don't want to be disturbed or if I'm with my more-modest girlfriend, I place my beach bag on top of the rocks to signal to others that someone is already there. Only on the busiest of days has this been ignored... and even at that, my wife has enough time to put on her bottoms before being noticed. I have found that anyone social enough to share this smaller area with others has had no issue with our (un)dress. The water/cliffs/deep pools are awesome! To get to this area, a crude path along the river bank needs to be navigated. Running shoes work better than sandals here.
"Between these two areas is a large pool with several smaller beach areas separated by rock bluffs. This area is at the foot of the trail that you just walked in on. It is possible to obtain semi-privacy while onshore, but while in the water you are in full view of anybody that is coming down the path. This is probably the safest location for families with children to swim, though I have only encountered children here once.
"Since finding out about this spot from this website, I've been using it at least once every week (more, when the sun shines!). I encounter other nudists about 1 out of 4 trips to the river. Mostly in the evenings (after 5:00pm). At this time of day, few people make their way upstream or down. I wouldn't call the nudist scene social, but everyone seems to get along." [Eseven Xo, June 2009]
Reference: OurBC.com references this location as a clothing-optional beach and information about other (non-nude) locations on the river.
Bungy Zone. --- Nude jumping returns.
The Bungy Zone offers adventurous people the thrill of jumping off a bridge and plumetting 43m (140 ft) toward the icy waters of the Nanaimo River. For years they have offered free nude bungee jumping on opening day. Admission is no longer free, but nude jumpers pay only $30-40 while clothed jumpers pay $100. Check their website <www.bungyzone.com> or call them for more details. Bungy Zone also offers alternatives to bungee jumping (zip line, rappelling, and "the Ultimate Swing"), but I don't know if these are offered for free. 1-800-668-7771 or 1-888-668-RUSH (7874). [Last info Jan 2009]
River Falls Provincial Park. (GPS: N49 14.717 W124 21.012)
"The water's not warm. It really is wonderfully invigorating, though, on a hot summer day. The water is beautifully clear and green, and the surrounding forest is shared by pileated woodpeckers and warblers. You'll soon forget about the chill. Honest.
Directions: "Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is 10 kilometers off the Vancouver Island Highway, near Coombs. The park is at the end of the road, and offers great camping. Drive down to the picnic area, and head over the bridge that overlooks Englishman River Falls. Then turn right. There's a directional sign here that shows the trail. The farther down the path you're willing to walk, the greater your reward.
"The spot where the couple interrupted my mother and me was 10 minutes along the path, just past the last picnic table. After the surprise, we scrambled another 10 minutes along the trail, crossing a logging area, and found complete privacy." [Cherie Thiessen, Beautiful B.C. Traveller magazine, Summer 1997.]