Swimming? In Northern CA?

Behold the Northern California coast: rugged, inspirational, and freakin' freezing. Where can you enjoy a shoreside swim without…

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Behold the Northern California coast: rugged, inspirational, and freakin’ freezing. Where can you enjoy a shoreside swim without risking hypothermia? Try Bass Lake in Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s a scenic 2.7-mile coastal hike up from the parking lot, and the water’s warm (warmer than the Pacific, at least) and clean. A plunge into the Bass won’t freeze your ass—but watch the posterior-poking nettles when you’re changing in the bushes. We’re also assuming you don’t mind the occasional free-spirited skinny-dipper. Bonus: Pack a picnic and inflatable raft and make it your own backyard pool.

From Hwy 1 just north of Stinson Beach, take a left on Olema-Bolinas Rd. near Bolinas Marsh. Turn right on Mesa Rd. and follow it all the way (6 miles) to the Palomarin Trailhead. Hike the Coast Trail 2.7 miles until you see Bass Lake on your left.

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