Blacks Beach

Blacks Beach
Blacks Beach is famous for the picturesque sandstone cliffs,
the great surf, and the nude beach-goers.

Blacks Beach
About the Beach

San Diego has many beautiful beaches and Black's is no different. Towering over the beach are majestic, sandstone cliffs. These 300-feet high cliffs make entry into Blacks Beach somewhat challenging and deters casual street-traffic. Black's Beach enjoys a certain level of privacy not found in other beaches.

The beach itself is fairly flat and gives a sense of expansion, openness, and freedom. The sand is fine and soft. During high tide, the beach can be quite narrow. In the winter, high tide may reach the sandstone cliffs thereby completely obliterating beach access.

Some of the most powerful ocean waves in the San Diego area can be found at Black's. The underwater canyons channel and focus the water into strong breaks. Water conditions are excellent for good surfers but can be dangerous for beginners. It is common to see a steady stream of surfers coming and going from Blacks Beach.

Due to its remote location, some beach goers prefer to be nude. Although not officially sanctioned, nudity is tolerated by city authorities if it is done in good taste and spirit. Half of the beach falls within City limits (where nudity is prohibited) while the other half falls within State boundaries (where nudity is permitted). Thus, mind the signs which indicate the city/state zones.

All things considered, this beach is very beautiful. It is a grand open space surrounded by impressive cliffs and peaks. From here you can see the paragliders and hangliders float effortlessly along the cliffsides.

How do I get there?

During low tide, you can walk to Black's Beach from Torrey Pines State Beach (walk south for about 2 miles). You can also walk north from La Jolla Shores Beach (about 3 miles). During high tide; however, the water will block access to Blacks Beach from either direction.

Blacks Beach

The sure way to get to Blacks Beach is to:
  • hike down a steep trail from the Torrey Pines Gliderport. This trail is steep with uneven steps and sharp turns. Caution is recommended: indeed, the trail is not for the elderly, nor is it for children. Officials post signs indicating the dangerous conditions so that you are well warned before you descend.

    It takes about 15 minutes to walk down to the beach. Walking up takes even longer and it is strenuous. If you bring lawn chairs, beach umbrellas, surf boards and coolers, be warned that these will seem even more burdensome during your climb up.

  • Another way to get to Blacks Beach is to walk down a one-lane paved road called Salk Canyon Road (junction of La Jolla Farms Road and Black Gold Road). Pedestrians can walk along Salk Canyon Road but vehicles are restricted to those affiliated with the UCSD. Park your car on La Jolla Farms Road and descend Salk Canyon Road by foot.

    The road winds down directly to the beach. There is an off-road, short cut but it is somewhat hazardous and unstable.

Blacks Beach
Who goes there?

Everyone is welcome to enjoy Blacks Beach but because access is somewhat restricted, this beach is used mostly by singles, couples, and surfers - basically, the young and unencumbered. UCSD student are frequent visitors since the beach is near the university. Gay men tend to frequent this beach as well. Families usually choose the beaches further south or north.

A group of volunteers have organized themselves into the Black's Beach Bares. They are "a group of beach users dedicated to the clothing optional use of Black's Beach". More specifically, they help keep the beach clean, safe, and maintained. See Blacks Beach Bares web site.


At the beach: no bathrooms, no showers, no open fires, no restaurants, no garbage cans. Lifeguards are on duty from March to October but there is no permanent lifeguard station. At the Torrey Pines Gliderport: there is a small restaurant (Deli by the Sea) which serves up soups, salads, and sandwiches. Public restrooms (porta-potties) are available at the parking lot. Parking is plentiful and free but the gates close at 8 pm.