Black’s Beach The Naked Truth

I remember when I was working at a coffee shop in San Diego’s Hotel Circle while in college, the number one question that the tourists would ask was, “Where is La Jolla,” followed by, “How did you get to Black’s Beach?”

Ok, so why so many inquiries?

Well,  the answer is that Black’s Beach is one of the largest public nude beaches in the United States. Just thinking about seeing naked people made me uncomfortable when I was young, so going there at that time was out of the question.

Fast forward twenty-five years later and I end up taking my two teenage daughters there!

Did I also mention that the surf is phenomenal?

Nude Beach You Say?

The naked truth is yes; you may be swimsuit free on this beach if you like or fully clothed if you wish as well. My girls and I, yes we had clothes on if you were wondering.

In the mid-1970’s, Black’s Beach was the first and only public nude beach in the country.  Around 1977, the southern portion of the beach was taken over by the city of San Diego, and nudity was no longer allowed, but the northern section still allows nudity to this day.

How To Get To Black’s Beach

Black’s Beach is located at the southern portion of the Torrey Pines State Reserve in the community of La Jolla in San Diego. It is an extremely isolated beach and therefore difficult to reach.

Black's Beach Map Black's Beach

There are four different ways to get to Black’s Beach.

Of particular note, I would like to mention that I have written extensively on several of these options so I have linked each specific post for you if you would like more information.

Several Ways To Get Here

First off you may park at Torrey Pines State Beach and walk about 2 miles south.

The second option is to start at La Jolla Shores Beach and walk about 3 miles north.

The third option would be to park at UCSD and walk down Salk Canyon Rd which is a .5 mile gated and paved road that lets you out at the southern section of Black’ Beach. Unless you are a student, I do not suggest parking on campus.

And finally, the way that we took down today is called the Torrey Pines Gliderport Trail. This trail is not for the faint of heart as the descent is steep, but all in all the path is kept up pretty well. In fact, a group of nudist maintains the trail throughout the year.

Torrey Pines Gliderport Trail

Torrey Pines Gliderport View Black's Beach
View from Torrey Pines Gliderport- the trail starts over on the left

Torrey Pines Gliderport is located between the Salk Institute and the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Established in the 1920’s, the Torrey Pines Gliderport has been the go-to place for any type of foot-launched aviation; such as paragliding and hang-gliding.

Today we will be taking the trail which is located just to the south of here.

Walking Down The Trail To Black’s Beach

Ok, are you ready to go and see this unique beach?

Let’s go!

*Click on any photo to see a larger version.

Black's Beach Pano view above Gliderport Trail
View from the beginning of Gliderport Trail

Beginning of Trail Black's Beach La Jolla

Here we are making our way down at the beginning of the trail. As you can see, there is much erosion.  It is critical to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The descent is steep, so if you have bad knees, this trail is not for you.

Gliderport Trail Black's Beach

Gliderport Trail dirt path cliffs

Gliderport Trail Stairs Black's Beach

Black's Beach Trail Midway Down Cliffs

Gliderport Trail Ravine Black's Beach

Black's Beach Trail Halfway Down

Gliderport Trail dirt path cliffs

Gliderport Trail Black's Beach

Gliderport Trail Black's Beach

We are almost there!

Gliderport Trail Surfers going down path

Black's Beach Trail large sandy shore below

Black's Beach Trail View of Cliffs La Jolla
A look back from where we came down

Black's Beach Cliffs looking south

Here, have a look at what we saw when we first exited the trail.

The Naked Truth

When we exited the trail and looked to our right, we were immediately taken aback by the ‘unclothed’ sunbathers. Yes, we saw naked people.  Not necessarily saw, maybe glanced at would be a better word. We turned left and started to walk South.

And the naked truth was that we were uncomfortable. To each their own I always say, so we just kept our heads down and our eyes straight ahead.

Ho Chi Minh Trail

Ho Chi Minh Trail Blacks Beach

Just south of the Gliderport Trail we now come upon the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which many will use as a way to get down to Black’s Beach.

It is a hazardous way to get here, so I am not going say much more, except do not go down this trail.  I am not sure if this was a drill or if someone was rescued, but while we were here, there was a helicopter flying around. Please do not try this route!

B;lack's Beach Girls Front Cliffs

Look how small my girls look next to these cliffs!

Let’s go and check out the southern section of Black’s Beach! Remember, you have to wear clothes over here.

South Black’s Beach-Torrey Pines City Beach

On the southern side of Black’s Beach, a phenomenal surf break is located right offshore. The excellent surf is primarily due to the funneling of the swells going through the La Jolla Submarine Canyon, especially on a WNW swell. The water is also notoriously rough, so only the most advanced surfers should surf here.  Also, swimming is not recommended here, as the rip currents are powerful.

La Jolla Submarine Canyon Black's Beach
Black’s Beach is located, right behind where you see the B. Do you notice the trench coming into the beach?

South View Black's Beach sandy shore

I was surprised by how much sand is on this beach.  I can not think of any other beach which sits in front of cliffs having this much sand and beach anywhere else in San Diego County.

South Blacks Beach Sandy Shore sand view

South Blacks Beach seaweed on sand
The strong currents offshore reek havoc on the kelp forests.

Looking toward the south, you can see Scripps Beach as well as La Jolla Shores Beach in the far background.

Heading Back to North Black’s Beach

While heading back, my girls were panicking a bit, so I told them to stay on the south side while I proceeded going north to take a few more photos. I kept my eyes straight ahead and tried to remain cool.

Suddenly In the distance, I saw an unclothed young gentleman walking towards me on the shoreline. I stopped and turned toward the water and started taking pictures of the waves and a shorebird.

Here is the picture I was taking when the bare naked man was walking by on my right.  I am not going to lie; I stayed here for quite some time until the coast was clear.

Shorebird Black's Beach sandy shore ocean

North Blacks Beach sandy shore beach

Once the coast was clear, I headed a bit more north and came upon more people without bathing suits on.  I found it fascinating that on Black’s Beach there were just as many people walking the beach clothed enjoying the shoreline, as unclothed.

Looking over toward the cliffs, can you see the paragliders are soaring in the air?Paraglider Blacks Beach cliffs people sand

Paraglider Blacks Beach cliffs sandy shore

Paraglider Blacks Beach sandstone cliffs

 There is a lifeguard posted up here to keep a watch on the water. Can you spot him at the very top?

End of Our Adventure

So, thank you so much for joining me on my very first visit to Black Beach, I must end with apologizing to any nudist or naturalists that I may have offended by the overuse of the word naked throughout our adventure. But, I am not afraid to say that it was quite a shock to me! I think I will be able to handle it much better next time. In fact, one day I think I will come here and layout…on the south side of course.

So what did you think? Would you like to visit a nude beach? Have you ever visited a nude beach before? I know I will always remember this day and I am pleased that I finally came to Black’s Beach, even though it took me 25 years to do it!

Until next time!

I have always had a deep-seated passion for the Ocean Environment which ultimately led me to receive a degree in Marine Biology. Living in the San Diego area for over 30 years, I have extensively explored the 70 miles of San Diego’s coastline, and I am here to share! Please use my website to your advantage and have a look around at all the wonders that the beaches of San Diego can offer you!

16 Replies to “Black’s Beach The Naked Truth”

  1. Hi Colleen! Thanks for sharing! I never thought that there`s a nude beach near San Diego.. I went there two years ago, love the weather (I am from northern part of America)! I really appreciate you showing pictures so i can kinda picture what you are writing about!
    Great article!
    And by the way, i don`t mind going to a nude beach:)

  2. I didn’t even know there were nude beaches in the U.S.! It’s interesting though. Really I’ve only heard about them in Europe. I don’t have a problem if people want to do that there though, if it’s allowed, be my guest! I personally wouldn’t undress myself, but that doesn’t mean others can’t. Besides the nudity, I’m sure this is a great beach to visit. You have some really nice pictures of this place. I would be disappointed though in regards to not swimming. Rip currents are definitely something not to mess with though (my brother almost drowned once because of them). If I’m ever in that area, I’ll definitely have to check Blacks Beach out. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Jeremy! The day we visited the waves and currents were not that bad, but as a precaution, I still didn’t see anyone in the water except on the shoreline. You are so correct- rip currents must be respected! As for the nude beach, to each their own! I do not think I could ever do it myself 😉

  3. Hi Colleen

    I like the write up on the naked beach, i have never been on a nude beach but is always something i have thought of doing, but i don’t know if i am brave enough. Maybe one day.
    Great post keep up the good work.

    Chris

  4. Omgosh, the pictures on your site are beautiful! They pull me in and “I wanna be there!” I absolutely love the candor in your writing when talking about the ‘bare naked’ man that was walking by!

    I have always been curious about going to a nude beach. Especially since moving here to FL. But I was always worried about feeling uncomfortable. Because I’m okay with my clothes on 🙂 However, reading your article, knowing there were still people there clothed makes me actually re-think y decision. It’s always been on my bucket list!

    Thank you for the motivation 🙂 And keep moving forward. I love your site.

    1. Hi Sabrina! Yes, I was surprised on how many clothed people were freely walking around. I just did want to be rude and be seen looking at anyone. There are many other things to concentrate on here, such as the wildlife, waters, huge sandy beach and towering cliffs as well as paragliders in the sky. Thank you for checking out my site! 🙂

  5. Hi Colleen,

    thank you so much for sharing “the naked truth” with us (that pun made my day). It was a fun read for me.

    See: I am from Europe (Germany, to be precise) and over here nudity seems to be a much more “normal” thing than it is in the US. Especially in the eastern parts of Germany there used to be a big “culture” of nude beaches and the like.

    Personally, I do not feel comfortable there and being on a naked beach does not give me any kind of “pleasure”. But it’s interesting to read that you and your kids felt so uncomfortable that you tried to avoid basically any contact with the people enjoying the beach naked 🙂 Made me smile; and got me thinking: I always feel like Americans and (Western) Europeans share a lot in terms of culture these days, and then you read about this and realize that there are still many differences in culture that manifest in situations like these. Really interesting!

    Thank you so much for sharing this interesting story!

    All the best to you and your family. Enjoy the beaches, naked or not 🙂

    chris

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Chris! Yes, I have had no prior experience with nudity, so it is a shock for me. I am a prude, I will admit it 😉 I have no problem if others enjoy it, but it is not for me.

  6. Hi Colleen! Good post! I love all the pictures. It really takes me there. If I am ever in the San Diego area, I’ll have to go there.

    I lived in Austin, TX. for a decade and Black’s Beach reminds me so much of Hippie Hollow. That’s the nudist beach off of the Colorado River. But it is also pretty much legal to be topless in Austin city proper as well. One of my favorite swimming spots, Barton Springs, you’ll see topless girls all over the place.

    I was a little taken back the first time though too!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Tina

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting Tina! I am happy to hear that I am not the only one who was a bit uncomfortable at first. Topless girls I can handle, it is the nude men that I have a hard time with 😉

  7. Black Beach? I always loved San Diego but this beach looks awesome! I would definitely want to go but I’m not a nude sunbather. I’ve never been to one but this is a beach I have to see when I go out to see my nephew. He lives by the beach in San Diego. I have to ask him if he knows about this place. Thanks!!
    ~Rob

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