Black’s Beach

Black’s Beach is one of those crazy beach spots in the world that has a lot going on. It’s also reasonable hard to access, which might be for the best. This sandy beach is bordered by the 300 foot high bluffs of Torey Pines and the wild Pacific Ocean to the west.  Black’s beach is just north (3 miles) from the ultra busy beach, La Jolla Shores, in San Diego, California. Torrey Pines State Beach is just north of this clothing optional, famous surf spot and is another outstanding 4.5 miles of Southern Californian shoreline from Del Mar to the Scripps Beach.

The activity taking place on the bluffs high above the beach is impressive. Here you will find the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course, the Torrey Pines Gliderport, and of course the Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Where is Black’s Beach? 32°53′N  115° 15′W

Where is Blacks Beach, San Diego California

Very Interesting San Diego Beach

In case you are wondering why you recognize the name Salk.  Jonas Salk developed a polio vaccine which has nearly eliminated this scourge from the face of the earth and saved millions. Salk founded this institute in 1960.  The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is an independent, non-profit, scientific research institute which lives up to its lofty pedigree, as three Nobel laureates on its faculty. Impressive, very.

Activities on Black's Beach in La Jolla, San Diego

If you claimed that Torrey Pines Golf Course is the best public golf course in the world, not many people would disagree. It is owned by the city of San Diego and for nearly 50 years, this golf course on the beach has hosted a PGA event, the Farmers Insurance Open. This public course overlooking Black’s Beach was honored with being selected to host the 2008 US Open, which was famously won in a playoff by Tiger Woods, while playing with a broken leg and torn ALC.

To give everybody equal access to this famed spot, tee times are determined on a first come, first serve basis. Golfers arrive at Torrey Pines as early as 6PM night before on weekends for one of these precious spots.

This rugged nudist beach on the Pacific Ocean, was named after the Black family and their ocean front horse farm. Eventually, the Black family sold the land, which became La Jolla Farms lots.  According to a local realtor, “La Jolla Farms is an exclusive area in which grand estates with expansive grounds and magnificent sea views have been built and sold for as much as $16 million. “The Farms,” as it is called by local La Jollans, offers distinct prestige and a convenient location with easy access to Del Mar, La Jolla Shores, UCSD, University City, and freeways.”

Amazing views of the expansive Pacific Ocean and Black's Beach

Southern California Surfing Vacation to Black’s Beach

Surfing at Black’s beach is considered to be world class, when it is on. Unlike the rest of San Diego, it is not crowded. Except for when it is, then it is not for inexperienced surfers.  There is more power to the waves here because of the deep submarine canyon. This creates idyllic conditions for good surfers, but potentially dangerous for swimming.  The submarine canyon funnels swells into Black’s Beach.

Due to increased funding by UCSD, lifeguard patrols that had been previously decreased have been restored. All year long, lifeguards are on the beach until 6PM. Take note that stingrays can be found when the water is above 50 degrees.

People who have never been to California may recognize Black’s Beach. Many popular golf video games have featured the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

A river runs through it

The submarine canyon at Black’s Beach makes it a great surf spot. What does that mean? Does the US Navy keep nuclear subs here? No, not at the moment. According to Wikipedia,  “a submarine canyon is a steep-sided valley cut into the seabed of the continental slope, sometimes extending well onto the continental shelf, having nearly vertical walls, and occasionally having canyon wall heights of up to 5 km, from canyon floor to canyon rim, as with the Great Bahama Canyon.”

Here is where it gets potentially dangerous: “Submarine canyons serve as channels for the flow of turbidity currents across the seafloor. Turbidity currents are flows of dense, sediment laden waters that are supplied by rivers, or generated on the seabed by storms, submarine landslides, earthquakes, and other soil disturbances. Turbidity currents travel down slope at great speed (as much as 70 km/h), eroding the continental slope and finally depositing sediment onto the abyssal plain, where the particles settle out.”

Check out the gliders floating by in Blacks.

San Diego’s Nude Beach

SoCal’s nudists and naturists alike are fond of Black’s Beach. It is one of the biggest nude beaches in the US of A. For a few years in the 70’s, it was the only public nude beach in America. It was also the first in the US. Nudity is tolerated for the portion of the beach managed by the state park, probably because it was traditionally recognized as a clothing optional beach. Tolerated is the important word, not condoned. The . nudist or clothing-optional section of the beach starts about 100 yards south of the gliderport trail. It is a bit more than a mile stretch of a beautiful Californian beach where people let it all hang out.

How to Get to Black’s Beach?

It can be tricky and also dangerous, even deadly to get to Black’s Beach because of the Torrey Pines bluffs. Landslides do occur. Don’t set up directly under the cliffs. Use one of the four routes to access Black’s beach.

Torrey Pines Gliderport Trail – a steep rugged trail found between the Salk Institute and the Gliderport. The path is maintained by local nudists. The city has put up a Do Not Use sign, because the cliffs are unstable. You should stay on the designated/ marked trail as people have fallen to their deaths or become stuck. I used this trail in July 2017. It requires a bit of energy for the hike and took about 15 minutes at nice moderate pace to go down the 300 feet. If you are infirm, this trail…and realistically this beach is not for you.

Salk Canyon Road from UCSD – Accessible to UCSD students, this is a steep paved road at the southern end of Black’s. The road is a half mile long.

Torrey Pines State Beach – A 2 mile walk from the parking lot along the cliffs, past Flatrock. Only accessible at low tide.

La Jolla Shores – At low tide, a 3 mile walk north from La Jolla Shores beach, past the pier and Scripps beach. Not possible at high tide.

7.3 Secluded

Black's beach is world class surfing on a nude beach in San Diego. Somewhat of a hike to get down to.

  • Je ne sais quoi 7
  • Scenery 8.5
  • Water 6.5
  • User Ratings (1 Votes) 7.8
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About Author

This project, Beach Spot, has been a lingering thought for nearly 20 years. It started on a crazy offshore Venezuelan island, Isla Margarita, during the first dot com craze. The idea evolved while life continually got in the way. A decade was spent on a Mediterranean island as well as a number of years chasing the sun in the USVI.

Back living stateside in San Diego, this project will hopefully be an enjoyable look at a number of beach towns.

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