When you consider the nude beach, chances are, the usual suspects come to mind. You know, Mykonos, where the parties legendarily go on as the clothes come off. Or Saint-Tropez, where silver screen icon Brigitte Bardot bared all in the ’50s. Or pretty much every beach in Miami (despite the fact that there’s only one on-the-books nude beach in town).
But, sensitive subject matter aside, your typical nude beach is generally located on well-trodden sand. In fact, some destinations, like Austin’s Hippie Hollow, reach capacity on balmy weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. So, if you’re looking for some privacy and seclusion while still scoring a chance to publicly bare it all, it can be a bit like, well, pinpointing a single grain of sand out of an entire beach.
Enter: the aptly named Secret Cove, a strip of granite boulders and calm cerulean waves on the northeast shore—that’s the Nevada side—of Lake Tahoe.
Secret Cove, as its name might indicate, is a doozy to find. Heading south from Reno, down Route 431, bear a left, once you get to Incline Village, at Route 28. Drive for about 15 minutes and you’ll pass Marlette Lake. On the right, you’ll see a parking lot for Chimney Beach. Park there. (For what it’s worth, nudity is technically against the law at Chimney Beach, but rangers and police will turn a blind eye as long as you’re behaving yourself. However, the beach is a popular family destination, so you may want to keep that in mind before you strip down.) From the lot, head south down the lakeshore for about a half a mile. Eventually, you’ll come upon a pine-sequestered inlet. That’s Secret Cove.
For reference, here’s what you’re looking for. (Geographically, man. Get your head out of the gutter.)
(And just for kicks, here’s the view at sunset.)
Other than the stunning vistas—and the fact that it’s a nude beach, of course—one of the main draws of Secret Cove is its naturally low water level. Feel free to sunbathe high and dry for hours on end.
But if you would like to get your feet (or more) wet, be wary. In July, when lake water is warmest, the average surface water temperature for Lake Tahoe is little under 65º Fahrenheit—barely tolerable for even the most warm-blooded out there. And for the rest of the the swimmable year, you can expect waters to be in the 45 to 55º Fahrenheit range. Good luck lasting more than a minute in that. As such, if you can’t resist the siren’s call of leaving shore, you may want to consider hopping on a boat.
Just remember, above all—whether you’re visiting Secret Cove or any other nude beach on the planet—to follow the inviolable rules: No photographs without permission. No bare skin on shared public seats. And no touching. And for more bare-it-all escapes that aren’t so tough to find as this hidden gem, pay a visit to any of the 20 Best Nude Beaches In the World.
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